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March 20, 2023 2 min read


Pepper jelly, with its unique combination of sweetness and spice, has become a favorite condiment for many. However, for those with dietary restrictions, such as vegans and individuals with gluten sensitivities, enjoying traditional pepper jelly recipes may not always be possible. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore ways to adapt pepper jelly recipes to accommodate vegan and gluten-free diets while maintaining its delicious flavor.

I. Vegan Pepper Jelly: Choosing the Right Ingredients

A. Sugar alternatives

Traditional pepper jelly recipes often call for granulated sugar, which may not always be suitable for vegans due to the refining process that sometimes involves bone char. To make your pepper jelly vegan-friendly, consider using alternative sweeteners like:

  1. Organic cane sugar
  2. Coconut sugar
  3. Maple syrup
  4. Agave nectar

Agave nectar

B. Pectin considerations

Pectin is a plant-based ingredient and is generally suitable for vegan diets. However, it's essential to ensure that the pectin you use is not derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or mixed with non-vegan additives. Look for certified vegan pectin or fruit pectin labeled as GMO-free and without added dextrose or other animal-derived ingredients.

Certo Liquid pectin

II. Gluten-Free Pepper Jelly: Avoiding Cross-Contamination

A. Use gluten-free vinegar

Vinegar is a key ingredient in most pepper jelly recipes, and while most vinegar types are naturally gluten-free, malt vinegar contains gluten. Be sure to use a gluten-free vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar or white distilled vinegar, to keep your pepper jelly safe for those with gluten sensitivities.

gluten-free vinegar

B. Preventing cross-contamination

When preparing your gluten-free pepper jelly, take precautions to avoid cross-contamination with gluten-containing ingredients. Some tips for preventing cross-contamination include:

  1. Use dedicated, clean utensils and cookware.
  2. Ensure your pectin and other ingredients are labeled gluten-free.
  3. Keep gluten-free ingredients separate from gluten-containing products.

III. Adapting Your Favorite Pepper Jelly Recipe

A. Modify the sweetener

Replace the granulated sugar in your favorite pepper jelly recipe with an equivalent amount of your chosen vegan sugar alternative. Adjust the sweetness to taste, keeping in mind that some alternative sweeteners may have a more potent flavor than traditional sugar.

B. Ensure all ingredients are gluten-free

Double-check that all the ingredients in your recipe are gluten-free, including the vinegar and pectin. Make any necessary substitutions to accommodate a gluten-free diet.

IV. Enjoying Your Vegan and Gluten-Free Pepper Jelly

A. Pair with vegan and gluten-free accompaniments

Serve your vegan and gluten-free pepper jelly with suitable accompaniments, such as:

  1. Gluten-free crackers or bread
  2. Vegan cheeses or spreads
  3. Fresh fruits and vegetables

vegan and gluten-free pepper jelly pairings

Consider vegan and gluten-free pepper jelly pairings

B. Incorporate into plant-based and gluten-free dishes

Use your vegan and gluten-free pepper jelly in a variety of plant-based and gluten-free dishes, such as:

  1. Glazes for roasted vegetables or tofu
  2. Salad dressings or dipping sauces
  3. Dessert toppings for vegan and gluten-free pastries

Homemade Quinoa Tofu Bowl with pepper jelly

Homemade Quinoa Tofu Bowl with pepper jelly


Creating vegan and gluten-free pepper jelly doesn't have to be a daunting task. By making simple ingredient substitutions and taking precautions to avoid cross-contamination, you can enjoy the sweet and spicy flavors of pepper jelly while adhering to your dietary restrictions. With these adaptations, everyone can indulge in this versatile and delicious condiment.


Add pepper jelly to your favorite gluten-free snacks and meals!