Pepper Jelly – Ideas for Using this Kitchen Staple

pepper jelly

Pepper jelly has become increasingly popular and we find it paired with all sorts of fruit flavors.  The combination of heat and tropical fruits is an excellent one and there is so much that can be done with it to spice up your dishes!


We were introduced to pepper jelly over a decade ago when at a family Thanksgiving Dinner a family member brought pepper jelly over cream cheese and crackers as an appetizer.  It became an easy appetizer staple after that for every potluck picnic.  But since then, the options of pepper jellies have expanded and the ideas about how they can be incorporated into your next meal have expanded.


In Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, we are starting to see an increase in pepper jellies that are incorporating tropical fruits and we couldn’t be more excited. One of our favorites is a Pepper Jelly made with Pineapple or Mango.  This opens up the flavor profile and works perfectly for brunches or to balance against savory components of your meal.  The pineapple is an excellent pairing with fish, poultry, hams and cheeses.


Here are some ideas on how to use your Pepper Jelly (tropical or regular):

    • Use as a glaze for pulled pork (in the slow cooker), with some adobo sauce.
    • Topping for ice cream, panna cotta or puddings. Middle layer in cakes. Add to cocoa or chocolate dishes.
    • Spice up cranberry sauce.
    • Put on biscuits or cornbread.
    • Add to stir fries instead of ginger and sugar.
    • Pot sticker Dipping Sauce: add 1 T pepper jelly and 1 t water to a sauce pan, warm on medium heat till jelly melts. Add 1 t soy sauce and 1/2 t rice vinegar, or to taste. Serve w pot stickers.
    • Spiked Mayonnaise: Mix equal parts mayo and pepper jelly, use as a sandwich spread. This is especially good with ham, smoked turkey and/or Gruyere cheese.
    • Glazed Salmon: Mix together bourbon, honey, melted butter and pepper jelly until evenly incorporated. Spread over salmon, and bake skin-side down at 450 degrees until done, about 12-15 minutes.
    • Grilled pineapple: Mix pepper jelly with half as much warm water, stir to combine. Grill sliced pineapple. Brush jelly mixture on grilled pineapple, sprinkle with julienned mint leaves and serve.
    • Warm and brush on grilled chicken, pork chops or baked ham to glaze.
    • Pour over goat’s cheese or cream cheese for a great appetizer.  Serve with Crackers.


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