Even though this year’s 12 Days of Christmas series is over, I still have a few more ideas and recipes to share between now and Christmas Eve.

Today, I’m teaming up with my friends over at Kraft Recipes to tell you about a recipe and gift idea that’s perfect for the season. Once you’re finished here, by sure to head over to Kraft Recipes and check out their large collection of delicious recipes here.

If you’re a long-time follower of Inspired by Charm, you may remember when I was running my B&B and Gift Shop, I used to make jams and jellies to sell in the shop and include in my gift baskets. It’s been a while now, so I’ve forgotten the exact number, but I probably made a couple thousand jars of jam and jelly during those years. It’s crazy to think about. I made everything from blackberry to strawberry, and even unique concoctions like champagne ginger peach.

Of all the jams, one of my favorites was Red Pepper Jelly. I know it sounds weird, but I love it.

Red Pepper Jelly | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

So, when I was looking through Kraft Recipe’s products and spotted SURE-JELL (the pectin used to thicken jams and jelly) and Philadelphia Cream Cheese. I instantly knew what recipe I would share with you.

You might be wondering what cream cheese has to do with Red Pepper Jelly. While you can use this jelly in a variety of ways, the way I love it best is served on a cracker with cream cheese. Yep, that’s right. Cracker, PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, Red Pepper Jelly. Yum!

Red Pepper Jelly | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Trust me on this. You need to try it.

Even better, this makes the most perfect appetizer. Just place a block of cream cheese on a plate, spoon over your homemade jelly, add a spreader, and serve with crackers. Done. If you have last minute visitors, this is a lifesaver. With the jelly already made, it can be on the table in minutes. Plus the red and green colors of the bell peppers are so appropriate for the season. What do you think?

Red Pepper Jelly | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Red Pepper Jelly | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Now, before we get into the recipe, I want to point out one thing. People usually add jalapeño pepper to this jelly. It gives it just a little kick that works nicely with the cream cheese. For the recipe below, it’s a minimal amount of heat that most anyone can handle. Depending on your heat preference, feel free to decrease or increase the amount of jalapeños.

Red Pepper Jelly | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Also, the recipe I’m giving you takes you through the steps for preserving and sealing your jars. You can skip this part if you plan on storing the jelly in your fridge and eating it pretty quickly (in about a week or two). I do like to seal the jars because this jelly makes a great holiday gift, and any extra jars can be stored in the pantry for up to a year.

Red Pepper Jelly | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Red Pepper Jelly | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Okay, recipe time!

Red Pepper Jelly | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Red Pepper Jelly

Makes six 8-ounce jars

Here's what you will need:
3 cups red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 (1.75 ounce ) package SURE-JELL powder pectin*
5 cups white sugar

Begin by sterilizing six 8-ounce canning jars and lids according to the manufacturer's instructions. Begin heating your water in a hot water canner for processing.

Place the red bell peppers, green bell peppers, and jalapeño peppers into a large saucepan over high heat. Mix in the apple cider vinegar and Sure-Jell pectin. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil while stirring constantly. Then, quickly stir in the sugar. Return to a boil and boil for one minute. Remove from the heat and skim off any foam.

Then, quickly ladle the jelly into your prepared jars, filling each to 1/4 inch from the top. Cover with flat lids; then screw on the bands tightly.

Place the jars into the canning rack, and slowly lower the jars into the canner. The water should cover the jars completely, and should be hot but not boiling. Bring water to a boil and process for five minutes.

Remove the jars and allow them to cool completely.

To create the Red Pepper Jelly appetizer you will also need:
1 block (8 ounces) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese

Simply, place the block of PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese on a plate. Then, spoon the red pepper jelly on top of the cream cheese. Serve with crackers.

*Often times I will add an extra 1/2 pack or whole pack of powder pectin to ensure my jelly gets firm. Traditionally, this recipe only requires one package. However, you may consider adding a bit more.


Red Pepper Jelly | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Not too bad, right? Jelly making and canning are a bit of a process, but I think it’s a really fun pastime. Plus, having homemade treats on your shelf is the best.

Red Pepper Jelly | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

And, as I mentioned above, they make great gifts.

Red Pepper Jelly | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Definitely give this recipe a try and let me know what you think! Or, if you’ve had and love red pepper jelly as much as I do, let me know in the comments below. I’m curious.

Red Pepper Jelly | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Thanks again to my friends over at Kraft Recipes for inspiring this walk down Jam-and-Jelly-Making Memory Lane. For more delicious recipes, be sure to visit blog.kraftrecipes.com

Until next time!

This post was created as part of my collaboration with Kraft Recipes. The opinions, thoughts, and ideas in this post are my own.
Inspired By Charm Paint Colors

  • katienearchicago at

    How much sugar? Did I miss it? Would love to make for food gifties!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      5 cups white sugar 🙂

      xo Michael

  • Vanessa at

    Oh my goodness…I knew you were awesome! Pepper Jelly is one of my favorite holiday memories! My southern grandma always made it. And since I am fromMInnesota, all my friends thought that it was so weird-until they tried it!! I am so happy to see this on your blog-brings back memories! Merry Christmas!

  • Kim at

    Thanks for the recipe. I will give this a try, as I typically have a difficult time finding jarred red pepper jelly at the stores this time of year. I have a great recipe for using it: 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese, 1 cup chopped toasted pecans, 3 minced green onions, and 3.5 ounces or so of pepper jelly. Just mix it all together and serve with crackers. Can be prepared ahead, but don’t add the jelly until just before serving. Super delicious and everyone loves it.

  • Lesli at

    Michael, any recommendations for how to firm up jelly that is still thin? Would it work out to pour it back into a pan, reheat and add more liquid pectin? Or better to throw out and start over?

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Yeah – you can do that. Either more pectin or more sugar. Or a little of both.

      xo Michael

  • Asha at

    Oh, this looks simply stunning. The slight spice from the chillies, so so good.
    Perfect holiday appetizer.

  • Kristen at

    Yum! I love pepper jelly but have never tried to make it at home! You must try pepper jelly thumbprint cookies! I use a generic thumbprint dough (gluten free for me) then roll the balls in chopped pecans before making the indentation. I usually do half the batch with jalapeño jelly and the other with red pepper jelly for a really festive and unique holiday treat. They are so flippin delicious and a departure from all the overly sweet confections.

  • Pippa Griffin at

    Michael – Can’t wait to try this! What beautiful pictures and I’ve always wanted to try making red pepper jelly! One question: we try to eat naturally and when I make fruit preserves, instead of using boxed pectin, I’ve been grating in a granny smith apple which has tons of natural pectin. Do you think this would work with this jelly or should I forego my idea and just make it as you’ve so generously shared the recipe???

    LOVE the snowflake tags too – everything you do always that special touch of charm!
    Merry Christmas from the Rockies, Pippa

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Pippa, I wish I could advise you, but I have never tried to make jam / jelly with out pectin or with a substitute. Maybe a google search could give you some advice / answers. Hope that helps.

      xo Michael

  • Patty at

    I have to go to the store tomorrow and I will buying the ingredients for this. I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pat Schwab at

    Hi Michelle, Just wondering how spicy this is and if you could make it without the jalapeno? Thanks Pat S

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Pat – if you check the post above I talk about the spiciness. Yes, you can leave them out if you wish.

      xo Michael

  • Gina at

    Yum! Love red pepper jelly but have never made my own. Will definitely try it. Another yummy recipe with red pepper jelly is to take those little phyllo cups, place a little bit of Brie in cup, top with hot pepper jelly and a few slivered almonds….warm in oven until Brie softens a bit….serve warm. BTW I made your wonton artichoke bites last week and everyone loved them!

  • Arthur in the Garden! at

    Ha! I don’t think many remember that song but the jelly does look good!

  • Guerrina at

    I LOVE this appetizer! It’s addictive! Thank you for the recipe. Do you also have a recipe for sweet red pepper relish?

  • Summer at

    Thanks for this recipe Michael! Pepper Jelly is my fave and I’m definitely going to give these as gifts!

  • Effie at

    I’ve been making Red Pepper Jelly for years!!! It is fab & so unique. Peoplw are always surprised at first…but so far, anyone who has tried it, has been really impressed by it!!!

  • Brenna@Domestic Charm at

    This is one of my fave quick and easy appetizers – cream cheese and pepper jelly. But I have never made my own pepper jelly. I think now I will start! Thanks for the recipe Michael!

  • Andrea at

    My sister-in-law first brought cream cheese and red pepper jelly to a family Christmas party years ago and it’s been a staple at all our holiday parties ever since! I can’t wait to make my own jelly!

  • Shannon Johnson at

    Definitely need an extra 1/2 or full pack of pectin for the recipe, I used 1 pack on my first batch and it was very liquid still so i used 2 on my second batch and worked great to firm it up nicely!

  • Cassie Anthony at

    Hey I stumbled upon your blog via Pinterest. I’m an Emporium native so we’re practically neighbors! Love red pepper jelly. The Blackbird Distillery in Brookville has fantastic pepper jelly if you run low and want to take a break from DIYing. And of course you have to taste test the shine! http://blackbirddistillery.com/Blackbird_Distillery/Home.html

  • Laura at

    Should jalapeño pepper seeds be removed?

  • Judy at

    I was browsing your website (which is wonderful I might add) when I came upon the pepper jelly and cream cheese appetizer idea. I have had this before and thought it to be delicious. I thought it would be good to serve at our Super Bowl party. Alas, my guests did not have very adventerous palates, so this did not go over very well (oh pooh LOL). I was thinking “Oh what am I going to do with these leftovers (I had doubled the recipe!)?” I couldn’t scrap the jelly back into the jar, and couldn’t completely eradicate the jelly from the cream cheese. I stuck upon the idea to incorporate the pepper jelly INTO the cream cheese by whipping them both together. It made for a very tasty and palatable dip. It did not go to waste (I deplore wasting food). Thought I’d share.

    • Karen at

      So funny! My friends and family are the same way — they won’t place two (or more) items on a cracker. And that includes jam that’s already poured right on top of the cream cheese. One item only; none of that fancy stuff! 🙂 So now I too mix the jam and cream cheese together, then right before serving add chopped pistachios. So good! Seconding your dip method for anyone new reading this.

  • marie at

    How many jars does this make?

  • Michele at

    I waited a long time to brave red pepper jelly–silly me!!:). My daughter served it the way you did and I fell in love. A little local restaurant makes and sells their own and it is thin, which I like because one of my favourite ways to use thin jelly is to take a nice heavy bread ie. sourdough and grill it into a sandwich filled with applewood smoked cheddar and very thin slices of granny smith or golden delicious apples. Cut it in half and dip it in the thin jelly…makes the tastebuds do a song and dance:)! So for the first time, i have searched for recipes and settled on this one and will likely attemp to keep it on the thin side. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Linda Boling at

    Red Pepper Jelly Recipe

  • NancyML at

    Hello, Michael! I’m a new reader, really enjoying your take on entertaining. However, I’ve a dilemma at the moment.

    What’s your secret for the clarity of your red pepper jelly? Whenever I make it, it always seems to end up looking muddy looking, not sparkling with bright colors like yours. Do you drain your chopped peppers before adding them to the mix? Maybe chop by hand, not food processor?

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at


      I do not drain them, but I do chop them by hand. I wouldn’t have thought of that, but I’m sure that’s what’s making the difference. Hope the helps. 🙂

      xo Michael

    • Regina Fisher at

      Do you skim the foam from the top before pouring into the jars?

  • Sheila Haynes at

    Some recipes do not work well when they are doubled. Have you tried doubling this recipe to make 16 jars? If you have, do you increase the cooking time?

  • Sandy Pinnell at

    I’m not familiar with the canning process. Do you have to use a pressure cooker or is this in an open container on top of the stove?

  • Emily at

    Hi Michael,

    Did you buy the snowflake tags or did you cut them out of card stock or something? It makes a lovely presentation. I want to do something festive like that, so I can give jars as Xmas gifts.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I purchased them. However, I forget where. They were from Michael’s or Walmart. Thanks!!

      xo Michael

  • Janet at

    I am wanting to make this jelly but I would like to add one diced sweet Vandalia onion to the recipe. Any thoughts on doing this, Michael?

  • Judy Yarbrough at

    Could u make this recipe with the sugar free Sure Jell & use a sugar substitute? Would love to make for my husband & myself as we are diabetics.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Judy, I’m not sure. I’ve never made it that way. You’d have to search somewhere else for a different recipe.

      xo Michael

  • Brenda at

    I just made this recipe. My peppers are floating to the top of the jars though. How can I fix this? I love your blog.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      It’s probably too late now, but you can turn the jars upside down as they are setting. Or even gently “shake” them as they start to set to evenly distribute the peppers.

      All that being said, you can also stir the jelly before serving and you’ll be good to go. 🙂

      xo Michael

  • Sherry at

    This pepper 🌶 jelly is simply delicious! I always get compliments on it when I serve it.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I’m so glad you like it! It’s one of my favorites too!

      xo Michael

  • Megan at

    Do you take the seeds out of the peppers or leave them in?

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Remove the seeds. 🙂

      xo Michael

  • Shanna at

    I’m wanting to do it tonight for a potluck but don’t want to make a hole bunch. Do you have a smaller condensed recipes?

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      This is the only recipe I have at the moment. Sorry, Shanna!

      xo Michael

  • Lizzy at

    I would rather not have bits floating in my jelly, can I strain this, or run it through the blender?

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I’m not sure. I think the diced peppers are really pretty in the jelly especially when serving. You could try a different recipe that would yield just a jelly without the diced peppers.

      xo Michael

  • Kathy hebner at

    Minecame out too thin. Emptied all jars, added more pectin. Thickened up a bit but not enough. Can you think of recipes I could use the thin jelly in?

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      It will sometimes thicken up as you let it sit for a day or buy refrigerating it. I’m not sure what could have happened?

      You can always mix it with the cream cheese to create a dip. It tastes the same, just a different presentation. 🙂

      xo Michael

  • Anna wolfenbarger at

    How long will this last in the refrigerator if you don’t do the preserved jars? Is that even an option?

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I’d assume it would last about 2-3 months. That seems to be the standard for how long any jelly should last in the refrigerator after opening a new jar.

      xo Michael

  • Regina Fisher at

    I love red pepper jelly. I make it all the time but especially around the holidays. My favorite is with cream cheese and crackers as well. Try the whipped cream cheese in the tub…yummy! I usually put my peppers in the blender first before putting them on the stove. This usually makes a nice,clear jelly. A few drops of red food coloring gives it that little extra color of red.

  • Elizabeth reid at

    My son and I made this ,it turned out so well we made another batch.I have given some away as gifts ,but now I don’t have any left .I will be making a double batch again ,this time I am not telling anybody I made it .It is easy and a delicious red pepper jelly ,thanks for sharing

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