Cherry Jalapeno Jam (No Pectin!)

24 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Refrigerate 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes

Cherry Jalapeno Jam is a quick and easy no pectin jam recipe with fresh cherries, jalapenos and warm spices for a tasty sweet, spicy spread.

Fresh jellies and jams like Strawberry Jam and Blueberry Jam are a great way to use up late summer berries! This easy recipe takes juicy ripe cherries and adds fiery jalapenos for a sweet, sour, and spicy Spread you’ll want in your Pantry all year long.

Cherry Jalapeno Jam prepared and served on cream cheese with crackers, dipping cracker in jam and cream cheese

This recipe is unlike any other jam you’ve tried before. The rich sweet taste of the cherries perfectly balances out the spicy heat from the peppers. On top of that, you have warm spices like ginger, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Then there’s a granny smith apple to add some extra tartness. It hits every flavor note and will leave your taste buds dancing.

Cherry Jalapeno Jam is wonderfully easy and doesn’t require any pectin or preservatives. The jam thickens naturally thanks to the cooking process along with all the natural pectin in the cherries, jalapenos, sugar, and apple. Once it’s simmered long enough to activate the thickening ingredients, it finishes setting in the fridge. The result is a thick, spreadable sweet and spicy jam unlike any other.

Cherry Jalapeno Jam ingredients in separate bowls

This hot pepper jam is the perfect amount of sweet for serving with fresh, warm White Bread but it also goes great with savory meats and cheeses. Take your holiday charcuterie board to the next level by adding homemade Cherry Jalapeno Jam. You can also preserve this jam and give it away as gifts during the holidays too. There are canning instructions in this post so that you never have to be without a jar of this amazing spicy sweet jam!

How to Make Cherry Jalapeno Jam

  • Prep: Start by slicing the apple, jalapenos, and cherries.
  • Cook: Once all the ingredients are prepped combine them in a large, heavy saucepan, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer for about 50 minutes.
  • Note: As the ingredients cook together the mixture should reduce to about 4 cups. Make sure to skim the foam off the surface from time to time.
  • Cool: Allow the jam to cool a bit before pouring it into a jar or other airtight container. Cover and chill in the fridge. It will continue to thicken and it cools.
Cherry Jalapeno Jam ingredients in large pot

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FAQs for Cherry Jalapeno Jam

Can I use frozen cherries?

No, you don’t want to make this jam with frozen cherries that have been thawed. When you freeze fruit, the natural fruit pectin breaks down and since we are not adding pectin to this jam, you want to use fresh cherries.

Do jalapenos contain pectin?

Yes, jalapenos do contain natural pectin. There higher amount of natural pectin makes them perfect for adding to jams and jelly and they can even be turned into jelly on their own.

What kind of cherries should I use for jam?

The most popular cherries for making jam are Bing Cherries, Dark Cherries, and Rainer Cherries. It’s really up to you whether you prefer sweet cherries, sour cherries, or something in between.

Cherry Jalapeno Jam prepared and served on cream cheese, close up

Key Ingredients

  • Sugar: Sugar adds sweetness to balance the heat from the jalapenos and tartness of the cherries. It also helps to thicken the jam and is a natural preservative.
  • Vinegar: Cider vinegar helps to balance out the sweetness from the sugar without bringing a strong vinegar taste. It also helps set the jam because it activates the natural pectin.
  • Spices: This jam has a warm spice blend of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Cloves and ginger have a subtle spicy taste that compliments the jalapeno while the cinnamon and nutmeg have a bit of earthy sweetness that brings out the deeper cherry notes.
  • Jalapeno Peppers: Jalapeno peppers provide a delicious fiery kick that goes amazing with a fruity jam. You can adjust how many you want, or remove the seeds, depending on how spicy you want it.
  • Sweet Cherries: Fresh cherries are the star ingredient and when they are in peak season, they are sweet, juicy, and full of cherry flavor. You can use any variety you prefer, and they are best when slightly firm to the touch but not hard with some give but not mushy.
  • Apple: Granny Smith apples are tart and crisp, providing a counterbalance to the sweetness of the cherries. They also contain natural pectin, which helps the jam set without the need for added pectin.
Cherry Jalapeno Jam prepared and served on cream cheese with crackers, dipping cracker in jam and cream cheese

Can Cherry Jalapeno Jam be made in advance?

Yes, Cherry Jalapeno Jam needs to be made at least a few hours ahead of when you plan on serving it, preferably overnight. Although it’s delicious as a sauce as soon as it’s done cooking, jam does need to chill in order to set. You can also can the jam and keep it for up to a year. See below for water bath canning instructions.


  • Heat: Most of the heat in hot peppers comes from the seeds so depending on the level of spicy flavor use jalapenos with seeds or without. You can also switch up the peppers and try habanero peppers or cherry peppers. Roasting the peppers first will give your jam a deep smoky, spicy flavor!
  • Berries: The spicy flavors of this hot pepper jam would taste delicious with other berries too. Try it with blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries, or do a mixed berry jam.
  • Jelly: If you prefer jelly, instead of using the whole cherries and apple, you can process them first then puree and strain the mixture to just use the cherry juice. If you are using just the cherry juice, you will need to add liquid fruit pectin to help it set.
  • Lemon: Instead of the apple cider vinegar, you can use lemon juice to help thicken the jam and add a tart, zesty flavor. Use fresh lemon juice and you can add even more lemon flavor by adding grated lemon zest too.
Cherry Jalapeno Jam prepared and served on cream cheese with crackers

Canning Instructions

  • You will need a water bath canning pot or a large, wide heavy bottomed stock pot. This canning recipe is for water bath canning not pressure canning.
  • Sterilize half-pint or pint sized canning jars along with their lids, and the rings. It’s best to use straight-sided jars to make removing air bubbles easier. Keep everything in hot water while you prepare the Cherry Jalapeno Jam.
  • Once it’s done cooking, ladle the hot pepper jam into the clean, hot jars leaving ¼ inch space at the top. Run a flat spatula (or special canning tool) down the inner sides of the jar to remove air bubbles.
  • Wipe down the rims of the jars with a clean linen towel to remove any drips. Secure the rings around the lids with fingertip tightness.
  • Bring water (enough to cover jars) to a roiling boil in the canning pot. Carefully place the filled jars in the boiling water, leaving at least ½ inch space between jars.
  • Process the Cherry Pepper Jam in boiling water for 10 minutes, then turn off heat. Leave the jars in hot water for 5 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the jars, again with canning tongs or heat safe oven mitts, from the water bath and set on a thick towel or wire rack. Do not set them directly on the counter.
  • Cool jam for 12-24 hours. You may hear pinging as the lids seal. Test lids by pressing down on them, they should not give or wiggle.
  • Store your canned Cherry Pepper Jam in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.

How to Serve Cherry Jalapeno Jam

  • Sandwich: This Cherry Jalapeno Jam makes a great sandwich spread with roasted turkey or chicken. Keep a jar on hand to make extra delicious leftover Roast Turkey sandwiches during the holidays.
  • Grill: Brush it on Grilled Chicken or Pork Chops during the last few minutes of grilling for sweet, sour, spicy glaze. Serve more jam on the side or pour on top.
  • Appetizer: Serve it as a snack or appetizer with cream cheese and crackers. Pour the jam over a block of softened cream cheese and serve with hard crackers or Pita Chips.
Cherry Jalapeno Jam prepared and served on cream cheese with crackers

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How to Store

  • Serve: Let the jam completely cool before serving so it has time to set. Don’t leave the jam at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Store: Kept in an airtight container Cherry Jalapeno Jam will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
  • Freeze: Let the jam cool in the fridge before freezing it, and make sure there’s room in the container for the jam to expand. It will stay good in the freezer for a year.

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Cherry Jalapeno Jam

Cherry Jalapeno Jam is a quick and easy no pectin jam recipe with fresh cherries, jalapenos and warm spices for a tasty sweet, spicy spread.
Yield 24 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1 dash ground cloves
  • 1 dash ground nutmeg
  • 4 jalapeño peppers , sliced
  • 2 pounds sweet cherries , pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple , cored and chopped


  • Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan; bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, and simmer until slightly thick and reduced to 4 cups (about 50 minutes), skimming foam from the surface of mixture occasionally.
  • Cool; pour into an airtight container. The jam will thicken as it cools. Cover and chill.


Note: Refrigerate preserves in an airtight container for up to three weeks.


Calories: 96kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 106mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 54IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
Cherry Jalapeno Jam prepared and served on cream cheese with crackers, dipping cracker in jam and cream cheese

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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