Spicy cranberry-pepper jelly

cranberry jelly

I am mildly addicted to jams, jellies, and preserves. Well, maybe it’s a little more than a mild addiction. More often than not, I will return home from a vacation with jars of jam in my luggage, heavy to carry but totally worth it. If I visit a new grocery store, I can spend ages in the jam aisle reading all the labels and carefully picking a new jam to try.

cranberry jelly

When I was preparing for my PhD defense, I went through jars of jam. During the last week before the big day, I honestly polished off a large jar of Bonne Maman rhubarb jam in the space of 3 days. I ate it on toast. I ate it spooned directly onto pieces of aged cheddar cheese. I ate it straight from the jar. I guess you could say that jams and jellies are comfort foods for me in times of crisis.

cranberry jelly

When I was younger, I used to take the left-over Thanksgiving cranberry jelly to school in a tupperware. I would eat it for dessert at lunchtime. While most kids had jell-o cups, I ate leftover cranberry jelly, happily. Jell-o freaked me out (and still kind of does), but cranberry jelly was a real treat for me. I think it’s the intense flavor of cranberry jelly that gets me every time. It’s sweet and tart, and so amazingly cranberry. I just love the stuff.

cranberry jelly

Pepper jelly is another favorite of mine. It’s sweet and spicy, and sometimes it can even be a little vinegary. I especially love toast with a thick layer of cream cheese or a mild goat cheese, and then topped with an embarrassing amount of pepper jelly. Sometimes I add lettuce or sprouts (if I have them on hand), in an attempt to be healthy. Greens on a pepper jelly toast happen rarely at best. I just want the jelly, really.

cranberry jelly

All this to say that when I saw the recipe for cranberry-pepper jelly in the November issue of Bon Appétit, I had to make it. Combining two of my favorite jellies into one seemed like a genius idea to me, and boy was it ever. It’s quite spicy, loaded with cranberries, and with just a hint of sweetness. It would make a great accompaniment to a Thanksgiving turkey, or even just a simple Sunday roast chicken. Delicious! And yes, I also ate it by the spoonful, and dolloped over slices of Weston Première Fournée bread with some Chèvre des Neiges spread thick.

As you can see, I stuck to the original Bon Appétit recipe pretty closely, and only slightly changed the method.

Spicy cranberry-pepper jelly

Course Preserve
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 3 jars
Author Janice


  • 3 red bell peppers seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 long red chilli peppers seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed hot pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp grey salt
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup liquid pectin I used <a href="" rel="nofollow">Certo brand</a>
  • 3 cups frozen cranberries you can use fresh of course!, thawed


  1. In a medium saucepan, stir together the chopped peppers, granulated sugar, pepper flakes, and salt. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 30 minutes so that the peppers begin to release some of their juices.
  2. On medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Make sure all the sugar is dissolved before proceeding.
  3. When the sugar is dissolved, add the lemon juice and liquid pectin, and stir. Continue simmering for another 10 minutes
  4. Add the cranberries, and simmer gently for another 10 minutes or until the cranberries have burst and the mixture has thickened slightly.
  5. Transfer jelly to sterilized jars, and let cool completely before refrigerating. Alternatively, you can seal the jars according to your jar manufacturer’s instructions.

berries, condiment, cranberry, holidays, jam, jelly, pepper, recipe, spicy, Thanksgiving

10 Responses to Spicy cranberry-pepper jelly

  1. PolaM November 5, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

    Wow this looks like a genius idea! I bet it tastes great!

  2. healthyfoodietravels November 6, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    How interesting! I have never associated cranberries with spicy, but it sounds like a great, unusual recipe 🙂

  3. mjskit November 7, 2011 at 2:52 am #

    I will admit it – I’m greatly addicted to jams and jellies and always looking for something new and exciting. Well – you did it with this recipe! I will be having this on my Thanksgiving table!

  4. Aveen November 7, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    Oh how jealous I am of people who can get Bon Appetit magazine! This looks absolutely delicious, when the cranberries start appearing in our local shops I’ll definitely be trying this recipe. Love your photos too.

  5. liza November 15, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    Hi there
    I saw ur jelly pic at food gaucker and loved ur blog. Was wondering if u could tell me how many jam jars I will need for this recipe? Im making this recipe later today and don’t want to be short jam jars. Thanx for ur time.

  6. Jan November 16, 2011 at 3:06 am #

    @liza Thanks for the kind words, Liza! This recipe made six 125 mL jars (a little over 3 cups total), plus a little extra that I put in a tupperware. I used smaller jars than the standard 1 cup (250 mL) jars to give out as little gifts! Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

    • De August 18, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

      Hi, I am going to try this receipe later and I’m wondering about the seeds from the
      cranberries? I kind of think I should cook/smash cranberries and run thru cheesecloth/strainer and just add juice, but I’m not sure. Can you tell me more about the seeds from the crabberries???

  7. Anonymous November 22, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    I just made and jarred my first batch of hot pepper jelly – not this recipe, but my own. I only had one jar, which I used and filled, but I had enough left over to put into a small tupperware bowl. Is this okay? I plan on using it on Thursday. What’s the shelf-life like? And is it okay and/or necessary to refrigerate it?

  8. Jan November 23, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    @Anonymous Definitely refrigerate! If you haven’t canned the jelly in a sterile jar, refrigeration is best to store jams and jellies. It will keep for awhile in the fridge, and definitely will keep until Thursday!

  9. liza December 30, 2011 at 5:00 am #

    Thank you so much for your tips. I made this jam and added a little cinnamon and it turned out awsome. Thank you again.

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