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How to Make Candy Apple Jelly (Only Four Simple Ingredients)

I am a mom of two who loves to try and share simple, money-saving repair advice for families!

Candy Apple Jelly is beautiful and tastes like baked cinnamon apples. This is an excellent homemade gift during the holiday season!

Candy Apple Jelly is beautiful and tastes like baked cinnamon apples. This is an excellent homemade gift during the holiday season!

Candy Apple Jelly: An Easy Jelly Recipe

With Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching, unique homemade gifts are often desired for party hosts and for friends and family. For people who love to can their own jelly and jam, Candy Apple Jelly is an excellent gift idea.

The apple jelly recipe is so easy to make that any beginning canner can make it in a short period of time. This jelly fills the kitchen with an amazing cinnamon apple aroma, is brilliantly red, and tastes a lot like freshly baked apples. The flavor is amazing, and friends and family will be sure to want the recipe!

This recipe will make approximately 6 to 8 jars (8-ounce size) of jelly.

Pretty Packaging Idea for Jelly

If giving this jelly as a gift, be sure to buy decorative jelly jars. Ball makes beautiful jelly jars with a quilted glass design. Cut a square of fabric with a seasonal design, place the fabric at an angle over the lid, and secure the fabric in place with the jar's ring. Add a cute label stating "Candy Apple Jelly" and make the jelly part of a gift basket or use as a small hostess gift.

Candy Apple Jelly Ingredients

  • 4 cups apple juice
  • ½ cup Red Hots (candy)
  • 4 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 package of pectin

Any store-brand apple juice will work. Some people prefer to use apple cider for this recipe, but the clearest, jewel-red color will come from using apple juice.

Red hots are small, red, cinnamon candies that can be found on most candy aisles, or in the bulk food department.

Pectin is generally kept alongside other canning supplies and may be found at any grocery store.

The finished jelly will be viscous, and brilliant ruby in color. The jelly can be canned or refrigerated. If refrigerated, eat within 2 weeks.

The finished jelly will be viscous, and brilliant ruby in color. The jelly can be canned or refrigerated. If refrigerated, eat within 2 weeks.

Apple Jelly Canning Supplies and Preparation

A large water bath (boiling), canning funnel, lid lifters, lids and rings, and a jar lifter are needed to can the jelly. If the jelly is not canned, it must be refrigerated and eaten within 2 weeks. Canned jelly will keep in a pantry for up to a year.

Clean the jars and rings well with hot, soapy water, and set aside. Depending on the lid manufacturer, the lids may need to be boiled or merely washed in hot, soapy water (consult the instructions on the package).

Candy Apple Jelly is very simple to make, and it requires only four ingredients (click to enlarge).

Candy Apple Jelly is very simple to make, and it requires only four ingredients (click to enlarge).

How to Make Simple Candy Apple Jelly

  1. Add the apple juice, red hot candies, and pectin to a large saucepan. Stir to dissolve the pectin. Turn on the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Do not allow the candies to stick to the bottom of the pan. The candies will melt and the entire mixture will turn a brilliant red color.
  2. Once the jelly starts to boil, add the 4 ½ cups of sugar, stirring thoroughly to dissolve the sugar. The jelly will thicken considerably once the sugar is added. Bring the mixture back to a rolling boil, and boil for 2 minutes.
  3. Ladle off any foam or undissolved candies, and fill each prepared jar, leaving ¼” headspace in each jar.
  4. Apply the lids and tighten the rings, and place the jars into the boiling water bath. Ensure that each jar is covered by 2” of boiling water, and process for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the hot water bath with the jar lifter and set on the counter to cool.
  5. Each lid should “ping,” or seal with a popping sound after a period of time. Check the jars by pressing on the center of each lid: a sealed jar will not flex, and will remain depressed. Unsealed jars will flex up and down: these must be refrigerated and used within 2 weeks.

Canning Supplies for Beginners

Canning may seem intimidating to some, but it is really a simple process. Anyone who has a vegetable garden or who likes to make homemade gifts should give it a try. I prefer the Ball jars and canning lids, though nearly any brand will work sufficiently well.

That said, be sure not to use the old-fashioned wire-and-glass jars with the rubber seals; these often do not seal well, and the risk of botulism or other food poisoning makes these vintage jars unsuitable for modern canning. Current canning jars use glass jars and reusable rims, but the lids must be purchased new for each canning job to ensure a tight seal. Fortunately, the lids are very cheap!

Ball makes a “Canning Discovery Kit” which allows would-be canners to experiment with canning, and this Candy Apple Jelly is a fun and easy recipe to make with this kit. The kit comes with three mason jars and a basket to use in any large stock pot. This allows people to experiment with canning without investing large amounts of money in canning equipment.

The Ball Canning Discovery Kit

Questions & Answers

Question: Can you seal apple jelly with paraffin?

Answer: Sealing jelly with paraffin wax is no longer recommended as the seal is nearly impossible to guarantee and may become disturbed over time, allowing mold and other pathogens to grow in the jelly. The preferred method for canning jelly is hot water bath canning as it forms a vacuum seal over canned goods.

© 2011 Leah Lefler


Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on September 08, 2020:

You can freeze this jelly, though I would make sure to freeze it in jars that won't crack due to freeze-thawing!

DD on August 25, 2020:

Can you freeze this jelly?

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on March 06, 2017:

I would try one pouch, Pat, but if it is too thin then I would use 2 the next time around. One pouch should do the trick, since apple juice has pectin in it, which helps the jelling process.

Pat on October 09, 2016:

Sounds good like to try it I use liquid certo

for jams and jelly how would that work out and if I use one package or 1 pouch in the liquid there is 2 pouches ??

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on January 04, 2015:

This is one of the first recipes I ever canned. I loved it because it was simple to make and I could make it with a couple of ingredients from the store. It also made a great homemade Christmas gift!

RuthieDenise on December 25, 2014:

I have been wanting to learn to can and this jelly recipe sounds like a good to start with. Thanks

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on January 05, 2014:

It sounds like a success (even if it didn't gel with the low sugar content), Sheryl! I never thought about using it on ice cream - that would be delicious!

Sherylswanson0426 on January 04, 2014:

Ok, so my jelly really did not gel so I used it as 'candy apple drizzle' which was loved by my nieces on pancakes/ French toast and loved by adults in my life on ice cream :)

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on December 12, 2013:

Thanks for updating, Sherylswanson! I am so glad it worked - I have a feeling the "low-sugar" pectin would work better for the jelly if you halve the sugar content. I have some on-hand (I make my fruit jelly with less sugar to make it a bit healthier). Sometimes it will thicken a little over time, too!

Sherylswanson0426 from Manchester, Pennsylvania on December 05, 2013:

The cinnamon hard candies melted perfectly. I could not bear that much sugar so i cut the sugar in half. Taste is great but it should be a bit thicker. I will definitely do this again using the cinnamon hard candies (they are easy to get all the time) but I will up the pectin a little to compensate for less sugar. Thanks!!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on December 04, 2013:

It might work, Sherylswanson0426 - I haven't tried it with hard candy, only with the red-hots. The idea is the same, though! I'm not sure if the hard cinnamon candy would melt as easily as the red-hots. If you try it, let me know how it works out!

Sherylswanson0426 from Manchester, Pennsylvania on December 04, 2013:

Any guess if this will work with cinnamon hard candies rather than red hots?

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on October 12, 2013:

Hi loverofcanning,

I never crush mine with a rolling pin - just add the red-hot candies to the apple juice and slowly bring the juice to a boil. If the candies are not melting, try reducing the heat and letting the mixture cook a bit longer (sometimes bringing the juice to a boil too rapidly won't give the candies sufficient time to melt). I hope this helps!

loverofcanning on October 11, 2013:

I've tried two batches and my candies did not totally melt. It seemed like the outside of the candies melted but not all of it. I even crushed them with a rolling pin before adding and they still didn't melt away. Is this normal?

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on June 13, 2012:

Hi Cassie - use the 1.75 oz. package. I use Sure Jell, which is the type that most of my friends use. I have used Ball's brand of pectin, too, but it came in a jar and I had to measure it out with a teaspoon. I really like the Sure Jell because it comes in the 1.75 oz. packet, and you can just dump the whole thing in!

If you use Splenda, you will need to purchase the pectin labeled for "No Sugar" recipes (in the pink box if you use Sure Jell). Sugar is needed to set the jelly, but the "no sugar" pectins will work just fine with Splenda. Be aware that making a jelly with the no sugar pectin will result in runnier jelly - it is totally possible to do, but the "set" might not be as good as jelly made with sugar.

Cassie on June 12, 2012:

I am totally new to canning but you made this look super easy. My grandma used to make cinnamon apple jelly when I was a kid and I have not been able to find it anywhere until now. My question (sorry if it's a dumb one) is how much pectin is in the package you're using? I was checking amazon and I see a 1.75 oz, a 1 oz, and a 2 oz box. Is a certain brand better than another? Also for canning purposes can splenda be substituted for the sugar?

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on October 24, 2011:

Thanks, Melanie! I hope your friends and family like the gift!

Melanie Prunty on October 24, 2011:

Thanks so much. Great recipe!!!!!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on October 23, 2011:

Hi Melanie! This jelly is a tad "runny" and it will move a little if the jar is tilted. The jelly should be fine as long as the jar lid seal is tight. If you have a jar to spare, you could try opening one to see if the jelly is set enough - I made a batch about six weeks ago and it is looser than strawberry jam, but is still definitely jelly (it shouldn't be liquid). I noticed my jelly was on the loose side, but it was fine on toast or in PB&J sandwiches. It is very pretty!

Melanie Prunty on October 23, 2011:

I love the taste of this jelly and the color is beautiful! The only worry I have is that I canned this 2 days ago and when I pick up the jar and turn it sideways the jelly moves, is that normal? I know the jars are sealed properly, so will the jelly be good? I plan on giving them as christmas gifts. Thanks for the very easy and recipe.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on October 13, 2011:

It is really tasty - my older son loves the jelly. I only make it in the fall, so he looks forward to it all year long! I hope you enjoy it!

LaniK from Minnesota on October 13, 2011:

NOM NOM! I'm keeping this for my recipe box - the kids are gonna love it. Thanks for sharing!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on September 19, 2011:

Definitely not healthy, but it is fun and tasty! It is also really easy to make!

Rachelle Williams from Tempe, AZ on September 19, 2011:

What is this? Candy Apple Jelly, you say... I have to try this, seriously. Grrrreat hub!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on September 18, 2011:

I should clarify that you can add 1 1/3 packages of pectin on a second attempt at the jelly if the first one doesn't work out... you can't really add pectin to a finished jelly recipe (for obvious reasons)!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on September 18, 2011:

I hope your jelly is gelling well! It is usually runnier when it is hot, and it should thicken as it sits and cools. If it is still runny after sitting, you can try adding a little more pectin (about 1/3 of a package on top of the first package). I've made this one a few times and never had a problem with it, but more pectin will solve a "runny jelly" problem if you are having issues with it! I hope that helps!

shari on September 18, 2011:

Thanks so much

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on September 18, 2011:

Hi Shari, the jelly takes about a day to completely firm up. It will be a little on the "loose" side if used before it has completely set. You can also do a "gel test" by spooning off some of the boiling jelly and putting it on a cold plate - if it gels up nicely, then it is ready to go.

shari on September 18, 2011:

does this set up immediately or does it take a day?

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on September 18, 2011:

It is a fun fall canning project - it is a fun thing to give away as a homemade gift, or to bring to Thanksgiving dinner to spread on toast!

Dr Rockpile from USA on September 17, 2011:

Sounds good! I may have to give this a try.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on September 13, 2011:

It is very easy! This would be a great first canning project!

Ella D'Zur on September 13, 2011:

It sounds wonderful and looks so easy.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on September 08, 2011:

Oh, I bet using the red-hots with chopped apples would taste great over ham! We used to have a pork recipe that used apple cider - it was delicious. I need to find it again (we used to cook it a lot when we lived in Ireland, because it was one recipe that we could find all the ingredients for there)! The candy apple jelly is pretty fun to make, and it does taste good over toast!

Joilene Rasmussen from Ovid on September 08, 2011:

I like this idea. I had used similar ingredients with chopped apples, which is great served over ham and other meats, but this jelly looks really fun and versatile.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on September 08, 2011:

I have actually thought of trying a recipe with apple juice and caramel jelly beans... it may work! The color would be a dull brown, however... so it might not look as appetizing!

Trsmd from India on September 08, 2011:

I've never heard of a jelly apple. I don't really like apples but I love caramel, so I would pick the caramel apple. It makes the apple easier to eat.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on September 08, 2011:

You could try red cinnamon flavored jelly beans. I'm not sure if it would come out the same, though...

I wasn't sure where to find red-hots, but they were actually in the bulk foods aisle (where the candy is stored in large tubs).

If you're going to substitute the candy portion of the recipe, I would make a guess that jelly beans would do the best job of it. I've never tried it before, though, so no guarantee on the results! :)

chrisand on September 08, 2011:

Yum. This sounds absolutley delicious. If I can't get Red Hots candy, can I substitutre with something else, or do you need that for the cinnamon flavour?

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on September 07, 2011:

It is pretty simple! You can always modify the recipe to eliminate the candy, too (we generally try to avoid too many artificial dyes with the kids, but this was a fun one to make)! Strawberry jam is really easy to make, too (just strawberries, sugar, and a box of pectin)!

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on September 07, 2011:

Oh my gosh, this looks like such a fun jelly to make! Perhaps this can be a sort of "gateway recipe" for me- to get me easing into the process before moving on to more advanced jelly and jam recipes.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on September 04, 2011:

This is definitely NOT a "healthy" jelly - I usually make regular strawberry jam from real fruit (they sell no-sugar pectin that really helps with sugarless fruit jams). It is fun to make, though, and does make a great gift. I like it on toast and the boys thought it was really fun. They had it in their peanut butter and jelly sandwich the other day and loved it - I usually use strawberry jam, though!

cardelean from Michigan on September 04, 2011:

This sounds like a great, easy recipe! I'm not a big fan of added sugars to jellies/jams but I've yet to find a way to can without them. I am still going to try it though because I love to can and it sounds delicious and would be perfect gifts! I'll let you know how it turns out. :)

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on September 02, 2011:

I always have a hard time giving up the jelly I can... both the boys eat a ton of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so we go through a ton of it!

leann2800, I was really surprised by how well the candies melted. Just be sure to stir or else they will stick to the bottom of the pan as they melt!

Handicapped Chef and sagebrush mama, this recipe is really easy (as long as you stir while the candies are melting)! My kids are really excited to eat it - I had some on toast earlier.. delicious!

Hyphenbird, I was going to make it for gifts, too. It is so pretty and it really does taste great!

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on September 02, 2011:

Oh this looks so great. I will be making it for my Christmas baskets this year. I hope I can bear to give it up. laugh

sagebrush_mama from The Shadow of Death Valley...Snow Covered Mountain Views Abound! on September 02, 2011:

This looks like a great project for my teenagers! Working on some canning just now, as I read!

Handicapped Chef from Radcliff Ky on September 02, 2011:

Nice Nice Nice I'm going to have to try this sounds good and tasty.......plus its super simple.

leann2800 on September 02, 2011:

This looks so simple. I have never thought of using candy in the jelly. That's cool.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on September 02, 2011:

Thanks! It is really simple - the candies melt pretty quickly and you don't need to crush any fruit (like you do with strawberry jam). The apple jelly tastes great on a bagel or English Muffin!

cre8ivOne from Midwest, USA on September 02, 2011:

Sounds so yummy and easy! I will try it out !

Thank you for the recipe : )

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on September 02, 2011:

It is the perfect homemade jelly gift - it really does taste wonderful. I made some today and have half a jar of "extra" in the fridge - it is excellent on toast!

Marissa from United States on September 02, 2011:

Thanks for sharing! This seems like such an easy and yummy thing to make. I think I'm going to try this for the holiday season. :)

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on September 02, 2011:

It is a really fun and easy canning recipe - and the jelly is so pretty from this recipe! I made some today. I had some friends introduce me to canning, and I love it. One warning, though: it can be addictive!

Mishael Austin Witty from Kentucky, USA on September 02, 2011:

Wow! Thanks for this! My grandmother used to do a lot of canning. I never knew how. Now I have a better idea. Sounds delicious! :-)

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