Cream Cheese Pepper Jelly and crackers will get any party started! Super quick and super easy to bring together, this one is handy up your sleeve when you don't have a lot of time but want to make something with taste and texture.
I have summarised the reasons why I think you will love this recipe and want to make it again and again in the points below:
- Super, super easy.
- Super, super fast.
- Read the 2 points above again 😂 .
- Easy to get your hands on ingredients: you can get what you need for this recipe at the local shops (everyday ingredients). No need for a recipe to the deli or anywhere fancy. Coles, Woolies, Walmart all have what is needed.
- Party starter: everyone needs a couple of party starters for entertaining. This combination works as the colours pop but you don't need to spend time or energy in the creation of it.
- Fresh is not always necessary: cream cheese and pepper jelly both have reasonable in date periods. The jelly even longer than the cream cheese. This means you can grab these ingredients when you do your shopping, keep the jelly in the pantry and cheese in the fridge and when time calls for it, you have it. No running to the store the day of a gathering, BBQ, party for shopping.
- Cast your eye back to the top 2 points I make here in my summary and read them again 😁😂.
The ingredients needed to make the recipe are shown in the photo below. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific measurements.
As you can see, the recipe calls for:
- Cream cheese: it is best to use a block for this, not a spreadable tub. The main reason is that the tub is looks half the size of the block, even when they weigh the same amount! I also think it presents better when using the block than a tub with sauce poured over the top.
- Pepper jelly: this is the common name for this product in the USA and other countries. Here in Australia, it is more commonly seen as 'chilli jam'. It is a sweet product with a little bit of heat from the chilli's, also contains capsicum (peppers), sugar and some preservatives.
- Jalapenos: optional and not essential by any means, however, if you have or want to, slicing a jalapeno in half, remove the seeds and chopping it for garnish will add another pop of colour as well as some what informing the eaters of what they will be enjoying.
- Crackers: you can use your favourite crackers for the recipe. You can use Jatz, Ritz, water crackers or corn chips. I mention this further down in the post also, however, if you provide a cheese knife for serving this will ensure that no cracker breaks mid dip. The trick is to 'spread' for one, not to 'dip'.
Note: For Aussies who love philly and sweet chilli sauce, you will love this recipe. The pepper jelly is much thicker than sweet chilli, so it won't completely slide of the cheese and you will get more spice on the top of the cracker. Pepper jelly is much more commonly used in USA than Australia, however, I encourage you to try this as they are onto a good (really) thing with this combination.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. You will need a pair of scissors to cut the foil off the block of cream cheese to start with. Most boxes of it will have a perforated edge to it, so that part if easy to pull off.
- Plate the cream cheese (Photo 1)
- Pour pepper jelly over the top (Photo 2)
- Add sliced jalapenos (Photo 3)
- Serve with crackers (Photo 4)
How to Make Cream Cheese Pepper Jelly
To make the dip, start by undoing the box of cream cheese and use scissors to cut then pull the foil off the cheese. Discard this and the cardboard.
Place the cheese on the plate that you want to serve it on (flat is best not a bowl). Use a spoon to pour the pepper jelly over the cream cheese, cover the whole top surface and let it naturally flow down the sides.
Sprinkle chopped jalapenos on top of the chilli jam. Spread crackers around the side of the dip and provide a small cheese knife.
Note: I have been intentional in the photos above to show you the steps to bring the recipe together as seperate to the presentation photos throughout the post. ie above I plate on a white plate but serve on a timber board, this is simply to show you the steps. I do recommend as I mention above to plate the cheese on the serving plate and 'make' on there so you don't have to move it. Although if you do like I have, you can use a flat silicon turner, slide it under and plate. This would be handy if you were making 3 x plates of the dip and you didn't have room on the bench for 3 platters.
A simple approach is the most effective for this recipe.
You need a plate (or board), a cheese knife and some crackers. If you don't use the jalapeno, it is simply the combination of the cheese, jelly and crackers.
The knife not only helps to prevent mid dip cracker breaks, but also keep the dip reasonably clean on the table. You can provide a butter knife if you don't have a small cheese knife.
So it will get a little messy when you serve the dip as the jelly can be sticky, but people get this and can lick it off their fingers if there is any mess and enjoy the sweet spicy yumness of the flavour pairing!
That 1st bite into the cracker will be the best thing ever, you don't have to trust me, try it and see.
How to Guide
How to Store
To store the ingredients pre making, keep the cheese in the fridge and the jelly and crackers in the pantry.
Once you have made the dip, leftovers can be stored in the fridge for that day and the next.
This is a no bake recipe and is not suitable to freeze and there is no need to heat. It is best served with the cheese cold or at room temperature so that it has a little bit of time to soften.
Here are my top tips and tricks so that you can master the recipe from the get go!
- You might be tempted to use a spreadable tub instead of block of cream cheese as 'same, same' but I urge you to use the block instead if serving to guests, it takes the presentation up several notches.
- Most shops such as Walmart and IGA will sell the cream cheese in a 'great value cream cheese pack' which has 2 x blocks that are cheaper than purchasing 2 individual blocks. Both come separately wrapped so you don't have to use these at the same time. This is super handy for the festive or holiday season as you can make this dip again and again without having to repeatedly go to the shops. 1 jar of pepper jelly (225-300 grams) will do 2 x dips. So if you grab a share pack of cheese, 1 jar of chilli jam and 1 box of crackers (3 individually wrapped portions), you will be able to make this recipe on 2 separate occasions and stick to your budget at the same time!!
- Provide a small cheese knife when serving the cheese. This is because some crackers like water crackers can break off due to the firmness of the cream cheese. If you provide the knife the eaters can 'spread' the cheese as opposed to try and dip their cracker into it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What cheese goes well with pepper jelly?
Cream cheese is an excellent pairing for pepper jelly.
What kind of crackers do you serve with cream cheese and pepper jelly?
Water crackers, Jatz or are great options to serve with cream cheese and pepper jelly. As some crackers can break, it is a good idea to provide a cheese knife so that the cheese and jelly can be spread rather than dipped. This will ensure no breaking of the cracker in the cream cheese.
What do you eat pepper jelly with?
Pepper Jelly is versatile and lends itself to being paired with a number of tasty ingredients. Try it as a burger sauce, in a bowl on a cheese platter, on top of crostini as part of an appetizer or as a snack with crackers and firm cheese.
Do you refrigerate pepper jelly?
You do not need to refrigerate pepper jelly, especially when you have it initially in a sealed jar. Once opened you can store it in the pantry, however if you are in a warm climate, like Australia it is best stored in the fridge as the humidity can effect non refrigerated spreads.
How long is opened pepper jelly good for?
Check the side of the bottle of pepper jelly as this will dictate the shelf life of the product once opened. Some brands will say consume within 7 days, but some will have a longer shelf life of up to 1 month.
What does pepper jelly taste like?
Pepper jelly is a sweet tasting ingredient with a little kick of heat. Whilst containing bell peppers (capsicum) which is not spicy, the jelly also contains chilli which delivers a level of noticeable hotness (spiciness) to the taste buds.
More Easy Dip Recipes
If you love getting your dip on (don't we all), then here are some more flavour combinations I think will be right up your alley.
- Corn Dip with Cream Cheese
- Labneh Dip
- Cream Cheese Jalapeno Dip
- Black Olive Dip
- Cream Cheese Bacon Dip
- Green Olive Dip
- Kalamata Olive Dip
PIN and save the recipe for later!
Cream Cheese Pepper Jelly
- 1 Chopping board to cut the jalapeno
- 1 Sharp Knife for the above step
- 1 Teaspoon also for the above step
- 1 Serving board
- 1 Soup Spoon to spoon jelly onto cheese
- 1 Cheese knife for serving
- 225 gram / 8 oz block cream cheese Note 1
- ⅓ cup pepper jelly Note 2
- ½ jalapeno Note 3, seeds removed, finely chopped
- Cheese: remove the cheese from the fridge, undo the cardboard box and use scissors to cut the foil off. Discard the foil and box. Place the block of cheese onto the serving plate.
- Jelly: use a spoon to dollop the pepper jelly over the cream cheese, cover the top surface and don't be worried if it flows down the sides.
- Garnish: sprinkle the chopped jalapenos over the top of the cheese.
- Serve: place some crackers on the chopping board near the cheese and provide a cheese knife for serving!
- Note 1 - Cream cheese: in Australia the block is 225 - 250 grams, which is the same as the American 8oz cream cheese block. This is a rectangular shape. The dip won't look as impressive if you use the spreadable tub (round shape). Don't think twice on it if you get a 225 gram block as opposed to 250 grams as this is 'same, same' for the recipe. Tesco in UK sells this in a butter like container weighing 200 grams, again this is fine to use as 'same, same'. No need to adjust anything in the recipe across these different, but similar measurements.
- Note 2 - Pepper jelly: also known as chilli jam in some parts of the world. In Australia, you will find it with the relishes at the shops in a 225 - 300 gram jar. In USA, some stores will have 8 oz (283 grams) jars. In UK Tesco has a 285 gram, Nando's Sweet Chilli Jam. These will all be fine to use and each jar from 225 grams up will allow you to make the dip twice as you will only need half this amount'.
- Note 3 - Jalapeno: this is an optional ingredient added as garnish. If using, I recommend slicing the jalapeno in half, scraping the seeds out (discard) and then finely chopping with a knife and chopping board.
- Note 4 - Crackers: you are not limited here to a specific type and you can use your favourite. I mention it in the post also, however, it is handy to provide a cheese knife for serving and let people spread the dip as opposed to dunk into it as even the sturdiest of crackers will break due to the firmness of the cream cheese. This will also avoid having to dodge someone else broken bit of cracker when you are diving in to get your dip on 'spread it' my friend, skip the 'dipping' or 'dunking'.