How to Can Hot Pepper Mustard


While not a very widely used spread, this hot pepper mustard is a delicious, spicy treat that’s addictive. The ingredients seem odd, but the combination of peppers and mustard creates a slight pickle-like sweetness with just the right amount of heat!

Are you ready for a truly unique condiment recipe?

Canning becomes a tradition. So much, sometimes, that I forget some recipes aren’t in everyone’s recipe box. A case in point: this hot pepper mustard.

The idea seems odd, but I’ve become so used to it on our family table at so many different times of the year. We eat this on everything: nachos (amazing!), pizza (don’t give me that look), meat, sides… it just adds an extra pop of spice and flavor. So far, everyone that tries it falls in love. Now, it’s your turn!

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

The best part of this condiment recipe is that it only needs six ingredients to work its magic! There are definitely some unique additions, though, but everything should be readily available in the grocery store. Here are the ingredients:

  • Hot peppers sound fairly generic, and that’s on purpose because you can use any hot or sweet pepper you want. I like yellow hot banana peppers as they work well with the yellow mustard color. I always add one red pepper for a bit of extra color.
  • Vinegar makes this more of a pickle relish. The high ratio of vinegar provides the acidity needed for easy shelf-stable canning.
  • Sugar balances out the acidity of the vinegar. Traditionally, this recipe had nearly the same amount of sugar as vinegar, which would be around four cups! I see no need for all that much sugar, so I reduced it, with no complaints from anyone.
  • Salt brings out the flavor and helps to preserve the sauce. Use either canning salt or kosher salt and compensate for the measurement depending on your choice of salt.
  • Prepared yellow mustard is a unique ingredient, but the flavor pulls this whole recipe together. The sharp yellow mustard is cut with spicy peppers and helps make this a condiment.


▢ 6 cups finely chopped hot peppers
▢ 4 cups 5% white distilled vinegar
▢ 3 tsp canning salt (or 4 tsp kosher salt)
▢ 2 cups prepared yellow mustard
▢ ½ cup granulated sugar (or monk fruit sugar)
▢ 1 cup water
▢ 7 tbsp Clear Jel (USDA recommendation)

Here’s how to make this recipe.

Since there are so few ingredients in this recipe, the steps are pretty simple. While water bath canning can sound like a tedious (or scary) process, it’s relatively easy. Here are the steps to make this hot pepper mustard:

Prepare the hot peppers. Cut off the stem end of the pepper. Then cut the pepper in half lengthwise and remove most of the seeds. If the seeds are left in the mixture, they remain whole and do not break down very well, affecting the overall texture. Once the seeds are removed, slice up the pepper into smaller, rough pieces.

Chop up the hot peppers. Once all the peppers are prepared, place them in a food processor. Pulse until the peppers are ground up into evenly-sized pieces. Depending on the number of peppers, this could take multiple batches of grinding. Once ground, place all of the peppers in a heavy-bottom kettle.

Mix together all ingredients. On top of the peppers in the stockpot, add the vinegar, prepared yellow mustard, sugar, and salt. Mix all of the ingredients together until everything is incorporated. 

Cook the mixture on the stove. Place the stockpot with the pepper mustard mixture on the stove and let it come up to a boil. This dissolves the sugar and salt and cooks the peppers.

Add in the Clear Jel slurry. Once the mixture has boiled, remove it from the heat and prepare the Clear Jel slurry. In a bowl, mix together the Clear Jel and water until the Clear Jel is dissolved. Using a whisk, slowly add the slurry into the pepper mustard mixture and mix it to incorporate. The mixture should immediately begin to thicken. Return the kettle to the stove to heat the mixture, thickening the Clear Jel. Make sure to whisk the mixture continuously to prevent splattering.

Pack the jars for the water bath. To clean and sterilized glass jars, ladle the hot pepper mustard mixture using a funnel for cleanliness. Fill each jar, reserving ½-inch of “headspace” at the top. Once all of the jars are filled, wipe off the top of each jar with a paper towel wetted with hot water. Then place on the lid and the ring, and tighten until fingertip tightness.

Process the jars in the water bath. On a stovetop, heat water in a heavy-bottom kettle fitted with a rack. Using a jar lifter, place each glass jar filled with the hot pepper mustard into the water, one at a time. Make sure that once all of the jars are in the canner that the tops of the jars are covered with water. If they are not, simply add some hot water to the pot.

Remove the jars from the water bath. After 25 minutes of boiling (see times below to see if you need to adjust due to altitude), remove the jars from the canner, tipping them slightly while still over the kettle to remove any water from the tops of the jars. Allow the jars to sit undisturbed for 24 hours before removing the rings. This ensures that the seal is not hindered. After 24 hours, you can remove the ring (or leave it on).

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • When working with peppers, use gloves. This will prevent any of the spice from getting into any open injuries or inadvertently into your eyes.
  • If looking for a bit more spice, throw in one habañero pepper. This will act as a level of “control” in the pepper mustard, meaning that this habañero will act as the hottest spice level in the mixture. If averse to spice, simply use all banana peppers and leave out any spicier varieties.
  • When canning, make sure to use a good-quality heavy-bottom stockpot that will distribute the heat evenly. This is important to prevent hotspots, which could cause burning.
  • Preparing a Clear Jel slurry is important. If both the Clear Jel and water were added directly to the hot pepper mustard mixture without first being mixed together to dissolve the Clear Jel, the Clear Jel would become clumpy and would not mix in well.

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