Sugar free red pepper jelly /

Sweet Red Pepper Jelly (With No White Sugar!)

I love to make pepper jelly and my friends and family love to eat pepper jelly – win-win. Around Christmas time, I love to gift small jars of red and green pepper jelly to friends and family. I was so excited to figure out that I could make a sweet red pepper jelly with no white sugar!

Sugar free red pepper jelly /
Love some local peppers!

If you have made jams or jellies before, maybe you have cringed a little as you pour in all that sugar! Ugh. I knew there had to be another way. Making this sweet red pepper jelly with no white sugar was almost as easy as making my usual hot pepper jelly, I just needed to do a few extra steps. The red peppers were a gift from a friend. I am sure that will make this jelly all the sweeter!

Sugar Free Red Pepper Jelly
Eat the rainbow!

This year I decided to make my green pepper jelly the usual way – with a little spicy kick and a lot of sugar but I decided to try something a little bit different with my red pepper jelly – I wanted it to be sweet and I didn’t want to use any white sugar. Generally, when you use the regular Certo pectin, you need a lot of sugar to make the “jelling” action turn your lovely pepper puree into actual pepper jelly. After a little searching, I came across Pomona’s Universal Pectin – a pectin that doesn’t require the use of any sugar. Bingo!

Sugar-Free Red Pepper Jelly
Peppers from my garden … so pretty!

Before you make the jelly … 

First, the box of Pomona’s Universal Pectin comes with two packets. One packet is the pectin and the other (smaller) packet is the calcium powder. Before you start the jelly process, you need to make some calcium water. Put 1/2 teaspoon white calcium powder and 1/2 cup water in a small clear jar with a lid. You can keep this jar of calcium water in your fridge for a couple of months and use it as needed.

Sugar Free Sweet Red Pepper Jelly
Pomona’s Universal Pectin

Preparing the Jars … This step can seem a little overwhelming – but as soon as you do it just once, you will realize that it’s not that hard! 

I wash my jars in the dishwasher right before I need them. Some people keep their jars on a cookie pan in the oven at 250 degrees. Sometimes I do this, sometimes I don’t. For the lids, I simmer the two-piece lids in a pot of water on the stove – don’t let it boil. I keep them in the hot water until I need them and then pull them out as needed with tiny tongs.

To boil the jars, bring a large pot of water to boil – you can put a canning rack in the bottom or a round cake cooling rack – this prevents the glass jars from touching the bottom of your pot directly. When the water comes to a boil, place the jars in the water – it’s best to use jar lifting tongs – they are only about $4 and they will prevent you from dropping glass jars or splashing boiling water on yourself. The water should be about an inch or so taller than the jars. Cover and let boil for 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove from the heat and place on a towel to cool.

Sweet Red Pepper Jelly With No Sugar
Jar Lifting Tongs

Preserving/Canning the Jelly … After you have filled the jars with red pepper jelly, leave a bit of headroom – basically not quite to the top – and then secure the two piece lids. You should boil the sealed jars of jelly for about 10 minutes. If I make a really small batch of jelly and I know that we are going to eat it in the next couple of weeks, I skip this step. However, if I am making a lot of jelly or giving it away for gifts, I boil the jars – you wouldn’t want your jelly to spoil after all this hard work! Enjoy!

Sweet Red Pepper Jelly With No White Sugar!  

Sugar Free Red Pepper Jelly

Red Pepper Jelly is one of my favorite ways to preserve extra peppers all year long and this recipe includes no white sugar! 

Course Canning and Preserving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 180 tablespoons
Calories 10 kcal
Author Erin Brighton


  • 2 lbs red peppers about 1 1/2 cups, chopped
  • 1 1/3 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 c honey
  • 1 1/2 t Pomona pectin powder
  • 1/2 t calcium powder to make the calcium water
  • 2 t calcium water


  1. Prepare 6 pint jars.

  2. Combine 1/2 teaspoon of calcium powder with 1/2 cup of water. Shake and set aside. You only need 2 teaspoons - put the rest in the refrigerator for another time.

  3. Finely chop peppers and put into a blender. Add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar. Puree.

  4. Put pureed peppers and the remaining 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar into a large pot. Add only TWO TEASPOONS of the calcium water.

  5. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for about 5 minutes.

  6. Stir pectin powder into 1/2 cup of the honey until the pectin powder is dissolved.

  7. Add the remaining 1 cup of honey. Stir.

  8. Add the pectin-honey mixture into the pot. Bring to a boil. Stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. Return to boil and remove from heat.

  9. Using a funnel, pour into prepared jars.


Sugar Free Red Pepper Jelly
Sugar Free Red Pepper Jelly

Other Favorite Preserving Recipes …

Slow Cooker Apple Butter With Molasses

Hot Pepper Jelly

Oven Dried Apple Chips

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Applesauce

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Erin Brighton

I am a native New Englander now living in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina and enjoying summers in sea-breezy Scituate, Massachusetts with my five small kids and two large dogs. I love to cook easy, local, and gluten-free for friends and family.

35 thoughts on “Sweet Red Pepper Jelly (With No White Sugar!)”

  1. Thank you so much for this recipe!

    I was searching for a sugarless red pepper jelly recipe for my Community Kitchen group, they are hard to find, I am definitely going to use yours.


  2. I’ve always wanted to make my own jelly! You are right though, it is almost like baking when you see all that sugar go in, haha. We plan to pick up some local honey so I will make sure to grab extra to give this recipe a try! Will probably make ours spicy 🙂

  3. Dinner at the Zoo

    Would you believe that I have never tried pepper jelly before? You’ve convinced me to make it and try it!

    1. I think you are going to love it! My kids devour it and it always goes over well as gifts… I hope it’s a hit!

    1. I have not tried it with regular! I often substitute vinegars interchangeably but I honestly can’t say if this would work… If you try it, let me know!

    1. Yes! You can make your own calcium water by mixing the calcium powder with water. The calcium powder comes in the box of pectin. I realized that I included that as a step above the actual recipe.

    1. This is kind of a hard calculation. If I calculate the totals based on 2 lbs of peppers resulting in 6 pints of jelly and there are 32 tablespoons in a pint, you get less than 1 gram of sugar per serving.

  4. I’ve been looking for a no sugar pepper jelly and this sounds good. Would no sugar sure jel work? I’m trying to use mine up so I can move to Pomona.

  5. Michelle Smith Rapoza

    Trying this now and very new to canning. How long can the jars stay out of the boiling water before you fill them? Or should I leave them in hot/warm water until I’m ready to fill?
    Thank you.
    Also have you ever added a jalapeno for a little kick?

  6. wrong about the carbs/sugars !!! you’d determine the amount in the peppers (fairy low) AND the honey (high and can vary a bit from season to season even within same bee colony due to moisture content), the cider vinegar, and the bit in the pectin (maybe unknown, but low), then divide the total but the resulting amount of jam you get. USDA has online values for foods.

    I forget my cider vinegar amount (think it’s 1 1/2) but for 4 cups of pepper slurry (I grind fairly fine so the peppers don’t all float to the top) I use 2 cups honey and a different pectin and hot pepper included in the slurry. nippy is nicer. i’m not a carb count but figure it’s about less than half of typical jams. I want the tastes of the fruit I jam. my general rule for low sweet jams is 2 cups honey to 4 cups mashed fruits or berries. cheers.

    1. Hmm! I feel like my peppers and other ingredients did make just about six pints. I know that sometimes it makes more and sometimes less depending on what I can gather from my garden.

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