Cranberry Pepper Jelly | Love and Olive Oil
get fresh recipes by email: Sweet and spicy, festive and fruity, this pepper and cranberry jelly is a perfect holiday aperitif. Today I share a vacation touch on my favorite pepper jelly recipe, adding fresh cranberries for a unique flavor and a beautiful ruby ​​red color. Despite the mixture of peppers and cranberries, it's still […]

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Sweet and spicy, festive and fruity, this pepper and cranberry jelly is a perfect holiday aperitif.

Today I share a vacation touch on my favorite pepper jelly recipe, adding fresh cranberries for a unique flavor and a beautiful ruby ​​red color. Despite the mixture of peppers and cranberries, it's still a pepper jelly first and foremost, rather than a spicy cranberry sauce (let's just clarify this from the getgo).

Three glass jars of cranberry pepper jelly on a light pink background, with fresh cranberries and a mixture of red peppers scattered around.

Look, I know I just posted a pepper jelly recipe 2 minutes ago (in fact, it was 2 month there is, but we all know that in this alternate universe, we live in time no longer makes sense so ...)

The thing is, the peppers keep coming. It's mid-November and we're still getting loads of hot and sweet peppers with our CSA deliveries every two weeks from Caney fork farm. Circumstances made me extremely aware of food waste, and that, coupled with the fact that I really don't like peppers very much (so chase me), led to batch after batch of pepper jelly (which has at least less the benefit of being stable and more readily offered than the fresh peppers themselves). I've done so much I'm running out of pots (oh, the horror!)

Three glass jars of cranberry pepper jelly on light pink background, one with two spoons.

This holiday twist pairs tangy cranberries with sweet and spicy red peppers and just a hint of orange zest. I used mostly sweet red peppers, with two red cayenne peppers thrown in for just a hint of heat (but you can easily customize this recipe to be as spicy as you want, as long as the final amount prepared of peppers is the same, regardless of the proportion of hot or sweet).

It can often be difficult to judge in advance the heat level of the pepper jelly, especially since no two peppers are the same in terms of heat level.

But here's a tip: While you're preparing your hot peppers (with gloves on, please !!) place a small piece on your tongue and let it sit. If you have a little heat but nothing unbearable, you can probably use 4-6 without the jelly getting too spicy. However, if your tongue starts to tingle with a lingering burn, it means you have a hot one on your hands, and it would probably be a good idea to limit it to 1 or 2 for the entire batch. Because there is definitely a difference between pleasant warmth and… pure pain.

Overhead, three jars of cranberry pepper jelly with two spoons on a light pink background

Plate of seeded crackers and a jar of cranberry pepper jelly, a cracker spread with cream cheese and a dollop of jelly

Now let's be clear: this is cranberry pepper jelly, NOT a spicy cranberry sauce. It tastes like pepper jelly first and foremost, with the cranberries providing an underlying flavor and fruitiness as well as a deeper red color.

I don't see it replacing the traditional cranberry sauce on your holiday table, but rather it would be a great appetizer to stave off hunger before the big meal. Serve it with crackers and soft cheese (goat cheese being my favorite), or a spoonful on a wheel of melted brie. It's also a fantastic grilled cheese (ok ok, maybe it goes great with cheese in all forms).

And don't forget to bookmark the recipe for next year, because it's sure to be the star of the cheese board at your big holiday party.

Glass jar of cranberry pepper jelly on light pink background with two rose gold spoons

I cut this recipe down because, unlike classic cranberry sauce, pepper jelly is best enjoyed by the spoonful, not the spoonful. That said, be aware that it can easily be doubled and canned for year round enjoyment (for canning instructions, follow the procedure for my original pepper jelly recipe here).

If you need labels, I didn't design anything new for this recipe because I chose not to, but the editable version of my sweet and spicy pepper jelly labels would be super easy to adapt to say cranberry pepper jelly instead.

Pepper and cranberry jelly

Sweet and spicy, festive and fruity, this cranberry pepper jelly is a perfect holiday aperitif.


  • 3/4 cup finely chopped red peppers, a mixture of hot and mild peppers to taste
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz / 58 g) whole cranberries, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 3/4 cups (250 g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Pomona Universal Pectin
  • 1 teaspoon of calcium water *


  1. To prepare the peppers, remove the stems and seeds and finely chop them in a food processor. You can vary the proportion of sweet and spicy peppers, or even use fully sweet peppers, as long as you have a total of 3/4 cup of finely chopped pepper. Also mix the cranberries in the food processor until finely chopped.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sugar and pectin until evenly incorporated.
  3. Combine the peppers, cranberries, orange zest and apple cider vinegar in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes to soften the peppers.
  4. Add calcium water and increase the heat to medium-high; bring to a full boil, then whisk in the sugar / pectin mixture, stirring vigorously until completely dissolved and the mixture returns to a boil.
  5. Stir in the remaining sugar and bring to a full boil. It should be noticeably thickened.
  6. At this point, the jelly can be transferred to washed and sterilized jars, and be treated in a water bath if desired (see here for full instructions). Otherwise, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or frozen for up to 6 months.

* Calcium powder for making calcium water is included with Pomona brand pectin.

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