Cranberry Pepper Jam

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Tart cranberries and spicy peppers mingle in this sweet and spicy Cranberry Pepper Jam.

When I realized I had been buying Cranberry Pepper Jam almost every time I was at the grocery store, I knew it was time to make my own version of this jam.

Cranberry Pepper Jam - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

I first tasted the jam with brie and fancy wafer crackers. Then I poured the jam over a simple block of cream cheese and served it with Ritz crackers. My kids went nuts over that.

Next, I spread the jam on the Best Ever Ham Sandwich. When you layer this Cranberry Pepper Jam with creamy goat cheese, salty ham, and fresh arugula, it’s the sandwich that everyone is going to be talking about.

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned an upcoming recipe that has been as highly anticipated as this Cranberry Pepper Jam.

I mentioned that I would soon be sharing the jam recipe when I first shared the sandwich recipe a couple weeks ago. In the time since, I’ve received countless emails, messages, and snaps asking when I’ll be sharing the recipe for the jam.

I’ll apologize now for the delay, because the recipe just wasn’t perfect until this version. And when I say it is perfect, I mean it. It is absolutely positively PERFECT now.

Cranberry Pepper Jam is everyone's favorite appetizer!

Cranberry Pepper Jam

When you’re working with cranberries, I’ve found that it’s really easy to make a cranberry sauce. As evidenced with this classic homemade cranberry sauce and this spicy hot pepper cranberry sauce, we love our cranberry sauces.

However, for this jam, I wanted something more jelly-like than cranberry sauce, sweet with a solid hint of heat. This Cranberry Pepper Jam delivers it all.

(If you’re looking for a little more heat in your jam, the finely minced jalapeno and serrano peppers in this recipe can be increased by up to ½ cup without affecting the final result.)

Cranberry Pepper Jam is sweet, spicy, and completely irresistible! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Cranberry Recipes

This time of year, there’s no end to the cranberry recipes that we love. Lucky for me, I learned many years ago to buy as many fresh cranberries as possible each holiday season and toss the bags straight into the freezer.

This makes it possible to make the crazy popular Cranberry Christmas Cake and the Nantucket Christmas Cranberry Pie all year round. Cranberry Almond German Pancakes and Cranberry Pecan Brownies in July? Yes, please!

As soon as apple season hits, this Cranberry Apple Tart needs to happen as well. There are so many ways in which we use cranberries throughout the year. And this Winter Spice Cranberry Cake? It’s not just for wintertime

You’re going to love all of these recipes, so stock up on cranberries ASAP and be set for all of next year!

Cranberry Pepper Jam is my favorite food to gift!

Why I Use Pomona’s Universal Pectin

You may notice two unusual additions to this recipe; calcium water and Pomona’s Universal Pectin. The calcium water comes in the box along with the Pomona’s, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing them separately.

Because I feel rather strongly about how spectacular Pomona’s pectin is among all others, I’m going to give you a somewhat detailed explanation of why it is that I am recommending this particular pectin product.

Pomona’s Universal Pectin, unlike most other commercial counterparts, does not contain any weird preservatives or fillers. Pomona’s, unlike most other commercial pectins, allows you creative license to scale up or down any recipe to your heart’s content. If you scale up other pectins, the jams or preserves almost inevitably fail.

Cranberry Pepper Jam is the appetizer I want on every cheeseboard!

Pomona’s also allows you to make low/no sugar jams, jellies, and preserves with the same product should you wish to do so. If you want to use a grocery store pectin, you’ll need to buy a separate, specialized kind of pectin for that.

Pomona’s lasts forever and has no expiration date as long as it is properly stored.

Pomona’s may seem more expensive if you just compare the box vs. box prices, but with the Pomona’s you can make between 3 and 5 batches of your favorite jam and with the major brand pectin, you get one batch per box. That makes Pomona’s comparable in all cases and cheaper in most.

*huge thanks to Rebecca Lindamood for her extensive help while developing recipes using Pomona’s and her willingness to share that knowledge so freely. Notes on the use of Pomona’s are very lightly adapted from her words here.

Cranberry Hot Pepper Jam is an EASY appetizer that everyone loves!

Kitchen Tip: I use this pot, this pectin, these jars and these jars when making this recipe.

Cranberry Pepper Jam Recipe

  1. Combine the cranberries, bell peppers, jalapenos, serranos, and vinegar in a large deep pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. While the mixture comes to a boil, shake together the calcium water according to the package directions. In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of Pomona’s pectin.
  2. When the mixture on the stove is boiling, add the calcium water and sugar/pectin mixture. Stir and bring to a boil again. When the sugar and pectin have dissolved, about a minute of simmering, add in the remaining 5 cups of sugar all at once. Stir to combine and bring to a roiling boil. (A rolling boil will continue to boil across the entire surface even while stirring.)
  3. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute and then remove from the heat. Remove from the heat and pour into sterile jars. Process in a hot water bath and then store in a cool dark place for up to a year. Alternatively, this jam may be stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. The jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month or alternatively, you can freeze it for up to 6 months.
You're going to LOVE this Cranberry Hot Pepper Jam!

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Cranberry Pepper Jam - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Cranberry Pepper Jelly

4.75 from 36 votes
Cranberry Pepper Jelly is sweet, spicy, and absolutely irresistible. Everyone goes crazy for this spicy jam at the very first bite!
Pin Print Review
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Servings: 112 about 3 ½ pints (or approx 112 tablespoons)

Ingredients 

  • cups fresh cranberries roughly chopped
  • cups red bell pepper finely chopped, about 1½ peppers worth
  • 2 large jalapeno peppers finely minced, about ⅔ cup worth
  • 2 serrano peppers finely minced, about ⅓ cup worth
  • 2 cups plain white vinegar
  • 6 cups sugar divided
  • 1 tablespoon Pomona’s Universal Pectin *
  • 4 teaspoons calcium water *

Instructions

  • Combine the cranberries, bell peppers, jalapenos, serranos, and vinegar in a large deep pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. While the mixture comes to a boil, shake together the calcium water according to the package directions. In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of Pomona’s pectin.
  • When the mixture on the stove is boiling, add the calcium water and sugar/pectin mixture. Stir and bring to a boil again. When the sugar and pectin have dissolved, about a minute of simmering, add in the remaining 5 cups of sugar all at once. Stir to combine and bring to a roiling boil. (A roiling boil will continue to boil across the entire surface even while stirring.)
  • Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute and then remove from the heat. Remove from the heat and pour into sterile jars. Process in a hot water bath and then store in a cool dark place for up to a year. Alternatively, this jam may be stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. The jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month or alternatively, you can freeze it for up to 6 months. Enjoy!

Notes

You’ll notice two unusual additions to the recipe; calcium water and Pomona’s Universal Pectin. The calcium water comes in the box along with the Pomona’s, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing them separately. I’ve explained in the body of this post why it is that I am highly recommending this particular pectin product. 

Nutrition

Calories: 42kcal · Carbohydrates: 11g · Potassium: 5mg · Sugar: 10g · Vitamin A: 65IU · Vitamin C: 2.8mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

{originally published 11/1/2017 – recipe notes and photos updated 12/9/19}

Sweet 'n Spicy Cranberry Pepper Jam is completely irresistible! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Gwen says

    Why do you specify just a year for a jam that has been water bathed? I am still eating jam that I canned three or four years ago. If properly processed, it should last for many years.

    • Mary Younkin says

      While you may be comfortable storing it longer. I base my recommendations on what USDA recommends from a food safety standpoint. They suggest 12 months.

  2. Annmari says

    On the cranberries, is that 1 1/2 cups chopped or pre chopped? This is my first attempt at canning anything so learning as I go. 🙃

    • Mary Younkin says

      Unfortunately, it isn’t a straight substitution. Yes, you can make jam with regular pectin, but this particular recipe is specifically written for Pomona’s, Gina.

  3. Karen Stead says

    This will be the first time I have attempted making jam, this combination sounds delicious. Can I ask you what size jars I should plan on using for the recipe?

  4. Suzanne Russell says

    Help! I know you are most likely not going to get this in time. I am in the process of making this jam RIGHT NOW. I purchased the Pomoma’s, but only 1 tsp of calcium is in the box. This recipe calls for 4 tsp. I am not sure what to do. Please advise. Thanks,

    • Suzanne H Russell says

      Nevermind. I’m an idiot. You can delete this question. I actually have to mix the powder WITH water. DUH! I am so embarrassed. Please delete.

    • Mary Younkin says

      Jam tends to be very finicky and exacting in the science required for it to set. Unfortunately, I don’t recommend altering the ingredients here at all, Debra.

  5. Shannon Smith says

    I’ve been canning jams and jellies for decades. Never before have I seen or heard of a recipe calling for calcium water. In fact, I’ve never heard of it. What purpose does calcium water serve for this specific recipe?

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Shannon, I make this particular recipe using Pomona’s pectin. It’s 100% natural and unlike most pectin, its gelling properties are activated by calcium water instead of sugar. This allows you to use less sugar when making jams or jellies. I hope that helps!

    • Jaye Peach says

      OK, I’m a wee bit confused!! We’re using the Pomona’s pectin & calcium water, because “this allows us to use less sugar when making jams & jellies” But you said in another comment, “not to cut back on the sugar!”
      So does it work to cut back on sugar in “OTHER” recipes, but just not this one? I’m not following you!

    • Mary Younkin says

      This recipe is formulated to work exactly as written. It was created with less sugar than typical jam recipes and it works due to the pectin and calcium water combinations. I can’t tell you without trying it myself exactly how Pomona’s will work for other recipes when reducing the sugar content. In theory, it will work, but again, I can’t comment on that specifically, as I haven’t tried it myself.

  6. Susan Ebers says

    Hello! This recipe looks great! Just ordered the Pomona pectin, as I’ve have problems with Sure Jell especially with peach freezer jam. Could you please tell me how long do you waterbath? I have a Nesco digital canner that pressure cans and water baths….( actually just came across comments from 2021 that you responded to . 5 minutes sterilized jars or 10 minutes unsterilized.. is this correct? Thank you !

  7. Richard says

    yum. I made this exactly as posted and it was great. A little sweet for me, but it is “jam” and once added to cream cheese or Brie, and crackers……YUM!
    The jam set just right and was more of a really thick “sauce” than a “jam” consistency. Which made it great for dipping or spreading with breaking crackers.5 stars

  8. Richard says

    I made a comment earlier, but did have a question.
    Do you remove the seeds from all the peppers (Jalapeno/Serrano)?
    I did, just because I wasn’t sure how much heat all those peppers would put out (few seeds did make it through). I think next time I will leave a few more seeds for a little more heat. Or should I increase the peppers?
    Peppers are so hard for me to figure out the heat they are gonna have in a recipe. lol.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      I know what you mean about peppers being tricky, Richard. Luckily I can handle a range of heat so you can’t really get too hot for me. I do remove the seeds but if you wanted to leave a few it doesn’t hurt.

  9. Shirley Lankford says

    I want to make this —— it looks Delicious!! I only have Sure Jel. Can i do it with Sure Jel. Also. What is Calcium water??? Thanks

    • Angie Faulhaber says

      Did you attempt Sure Jell yet. I did this am. I don’t think I used enough, but we will see as it sets! I used one full box for this recipe.5 stars

  10. Ashley Lulek says

    I can’t wait to try this! Quick question, am I supposed to remove my seeds and insides of my peppers? Thank you very much for the recipe 😀5 stars