Hot Pepper Wine Jelly

Hot Pepper Wine Jelly, also know as Christmas Jelly because of it’s beautiful red and green peppers, is my favorite holiday party appetizer. It’s also my favorite Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and curled up on the couch watching a movie during a nor’easter appetizer. The zing from the peppers combined with the sweet sugar and the richness of sour cream is awesome.

How Hot?

You can adjust the heat level with your choice of hot pepper. Heat is rated with the Scoville Heat Scale. I personally wouldn’t go higher than Jalepeno because I’m a heat wimp. If you’re using this recipe for a party appetizer I suggest putting a small sign in front of the serving bowl so everyone knows it has some degree of heat. I haven’t made this jelly without hot peppers. If you have I’d love to know how it tastes.

  • 0  Bell peppers
  • 1,000 to 2,000 Poblano and Ancho
  • 2,000 to 5,000 Jalepeno
  • 100,000 – 350,000  Habenero

I make this jelly in late summer and hot water bath can it. To make and serve as an appetizer in the next couple of weeks you don’t need to can it. I still ladle it into pint canning jars and cover it with a canning lid and ring. The lid will seal but the jars should be stored in the refrigerator.

Serving Suggestions for Hot Pepper Wine Jelly

This recipe makes two pints. I use one pint for an eight ounce block of cream cheese. Place the cream cheese on a wide plate and scoop the jelly over it. Ritz type crackers are my favorite flavor of cracker to serve with this jelly but they break easily under the pressure of a knife spreading cream cheese, so be aware of that. A firmer cracker helps keep this convenient as an appetizer in a crowd.

I keep a few dip spreaders on hand to switch out in case jelly gets on them.


Print Recipe

Hot Pepper Wine Jelly – Appetizers


  1. A lot of heat in hot peppers comes from the seeds. Remove seeds according to preference. Handle them carefully. Latex gloves make this process safer and can be stripped off outside in and thrown away.

    A few pulses in the food processor will mince the peppers. Large pieces might float to the top so small is good but pureed is too much.

  2. Combine the sugar, red wine vinegar and peppers in a non-aluminum four quart sauce pan. Stir well to start dissolving the sugar. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a full rolling boil (boils hard when stirred) for one minute.

    Add pectin and stir, bringing it back to a full rolling boil for one minute. Remove from heat. Ladle into sterilized jars and cover with lids and rings if you’ll be hot water bathing this jelly. If you’re going to store it in the fridge to use in the next two weeks, store it in jars in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

This jelly is also known as Christmas Jelly because of the red and green peppers. You can use yellow and orange Bell peppers if you’d like. The added color makes the jelly visually appealing without changing the flavor.

If your peppers float to the top they were probably very fresh with a high moisture content. Next time, let them dry for a while after cutting them up. Mix them peppers into the jelly before serving.

Pour the jelly over a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers. I love it with Ritz Crackers.