how to make chilli jam (and bonus sweet chilli sauce)

how to make chilli jam (and bonus sweet chilli sauce)

Did you take up gardening during lockdown? Do you, by any chance, have mounds of chillies and tomatoes that you’re wondering what to do with?

You’re not alone – during lockdown, companies saw record levels of seed sales and the ONS reported a 147% increase in time spent doing DIY and gardening. Tomatoes were one of the most popular crops, and the RHS and PHA even encouraged members the public to try out growing them (and chillies) without ever leaving the house, using the food already in the fridge.

Well, if you’re looking for a way to make sure those confinement chillies don’t go to waste, look no further! I’ve found the perfect way to preserve chillies (and tomatoes): sweet chilli sauce and chilli jam. Minimise food waste and spend a slow afternoon cooking up some delicious food… It’s a win-win.

So, I’ll be honest, I set out to just make a chilli and tomato chutney. Along the way though, I accidentally also stumbled across a pretty damn good sweet chilli recipe (if I do say so myself), and that’s when I knew this two-for-one recipe had to be shared.

I used a combo of various green and red chillies we’d grown (there’s a breakdown of individual chillies and their spiciness below) and some huge beefsteak tomatoes, but you can use whatever you’ve got. You can also easily scale this recipe up or down – just keep the ratios the same.

ChilliScoville Heat Units
Aji Mango four chillies (25,000-50,000)
Thai Dragonfive chillies(50,000-100,000)
Marconione chilli (1-1,000)
Cayennettathree chillies (20,000)
Jalapenotwo chillies (2,500-8,000)
Scoville ratings for chillies used in this recipe.

The recipe

Time needed: two clocks

Difficulty: two stars

Portions: 4 x 250ml containers


150g chillies

1kg tomatoes

3 cloves garlic

1kg sugar

600ml cider vinegar

1 tsp pectin (skip this completely if you’re only wanting to make sweet chilli)


A blender

A pan

A couple of plates

Empty jars


For both the sweet chilli and chilli jam:

1. Chop up the veg.

Cut your chillies, tomatoes and garlic into rough chunks.
I’d recommend also scraping the seeds out of the chillies, as they’re likely to add a fair amount of spice even seedless! That may depend on the varieties you’ve used though, so that’s at your discretion. Also, I’d strongly recommend gloves. Trust me, I learnt the hard way that you don’t want to end up with chilli under your nails (ouch).

2. Stick all your chopped ingredients in a blender.

Give everything a quick blast in the blender until it’s a consistent texture – this shouldn’t take long.

3. Heat the vinegar and sugar in a pan over a low heat.

Don’t stir the pot – just leave it until all of the sugar has dissolved.

4. Add your blended ingredients in a separate pan on a medium heat.

Leave it bubbling around 40 minutes.
During this time, stick a couple of plates in the fridge (don’t worry, this will make sense in a minute!).

5. After half an hour, prep your jars.

To do this, wash them in warm soapy water and preheat your oven to gas mark 3 (160°C). Then, put them straight in the oven on a baking tray lined with a few sheets of newspaper, and leave them for 10 minutes. This is to so that they’re sterilised and will be resistant to cracking later on when you pour the bubbling-hot liquid in. Soak your lids in boiling water for a few minutes.

For the sweet chilli sauce:

6. Test the sauce’s consistency.

At this stage, we’re trying to see how thick the sauce will be when it’s cool – while it’s bubbling away in the pan, it’s going to look a lot runnier than it will turn out.

To do this, take one of the plates out of the fridge (from step 4) and drop a little of the sauce on it.
Wait for the poured mixture to cool for a minute, and then tilt the plate. You want it to run slowly to the other side of the plate.
If it’s running far too quickly, leave it to bubble for a little longer and repeat the test, bearing in mind that it’ll still be a little thinner at this stage than it’ll turn out.

7. Pour the mixture into jars.

Once it’s reached the desired consistency, pour the sweet chilli mixture into your jars and leave it to cool.

If you want to also make chilli jam, just make sure to leave some behind in the pan, and carry on to the next steps.

For the chilli jam:

8. Stir in the pectin.

Once the sauce has bubbled away (or you’ve extracted whatever you want to use as sweet chilli sauce), you need to add the teaspoon of pectin and stir it in well. Heat it on a rolling boil for another couple of minutes.

9. Test the consistency.

Get a plate out of the fridge, drop a little sauce on it and leave the mixture to cool for a minute.
Push your finger slowly through the mixture and watch for a little wrinkle forming. This can be quite subtle, so watch closely.
If it’s not there, just keep cooking and repeat this step until it is.
As a last resort, you could try adding a little more pectin, but be careful – I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been left with a thick, grainy, sliceable jam by adding too much pectin (could barely even give that one away).

10. Pour your jam into jars and cool.

Once you’ve passed that elusive wrinkle test, your chilli jam is ready.

That’s really it! Enjoy both of these in toasties, with crispy tofu or even as a sub for ketchup alongside a cooked breakfast.


Some spicy new content for you 🌶 (link in bio➡️) #food #sweetchilli #jam #chilli #recipesforyou

♬ original sound – slowshf

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