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‘Tis the Season for delicious party appetizers! This Hot Pepper Jelly Cream Cheese Dip with Bacon has a little bit of sweetness, a little bit of heat, and a bit of savory saltiness from BACON — need I say more?!

crackers nestled into pepper jelly cheese dip in a baking dish.

Served warm with buttery Ritz-style crackers or pita chips, this amazing appetizer is absolutely addictive. This cream cheese and jalapeño jelly dip is so tasty that I have a feeling I may just have to make it to share at all the special occasions we attend this year!

Why you’ll love this Pepper Jelly Dip with Cream Cheese!

  • Perfect for a Holiday Party. This easy holiday appetizer is the perfect blend of flavor — sweet and salty with a bit of heat — that keeps guests migrating back to the snack table!
  • Easy Appetizer. This is one of the easiest cream cheese dips to make! Whip the ingredients, warm them up, and top with freshly-fried crumbled bacon.
Ingredients for hot pepper jelly cheese dip on a table.

Ingredient notes

  • Hot Pepper Jelly | Use your favorite jar of hot pepper jelly from your local grocery store or homemade jelly if you have it!
  • Cream Cheese | Set the regular cream cheese out at room temperature to soften before adding to the recipe.
  • Cheese | Mix in some shredded sharp cheddar cheese to contrast the mild cream cheese flavor.
  • Bacon | Top the dip with salty and savory crumbled bacon. Don’t use bacon bits in this recipe. Fresh fried and crumbled is best.
  • Garlic | A minced garlic clove brings subtle spice.
  • Crackers | Choose a variety of your favorite crispy crackers for dipping.

How to make Pepper Jelly Cheese Dip

It’s magic! Make this easy hot pepper jelly and bacon dip and watch it disappear as soon as it’s served! It’s irresistible and always a hit!

STEP 1 | Preheat and prep

Get started by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and prepping the ingredients. Mince the garlic and chop the bacon.

blending cream cheese and cheddar cheese together in a glass bowl; adding pepper jelly to cheese mixture for pepper jelly dip.

STEP 2 | Combine and bake cream cheese mixture

In a large bowl, beat the softened block of cream cheese with the cheddar cheese, garlic, and salt, mixing well until combined and creamy. Stir in 1/2 of the jar of pepper jelly. 

Then, pour the whipped cream cheese mixture into a lightly greased one-quart baking dish and bake it for 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

baked cheese dip topped with pepper jelly and crumbled bacon.

STEP 3 | Top with jelly and bacon pieces

Now, heat the remaining jelly in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to soften and slightly melt. Then, spread it over top of the baked dip and sprinkle the top with crumbly bacon.

STEP 4 | Serve and enjoy!

Serve the spicy jelly cheesy dip hot ‘n fresh with your favorite crackers or pita chips. Dig in!

tips

  • Be sure to heat the jelly before spreading it on top of the cheese for the best results!
  • Don’t be tempted to substitute bacon bits — freshly fried and crumbled bacon works best with this dip.

For more warm and spicy dip recipes, try my Jalapeno Popper Dip made in the slow cooker or my baked Jalapeno Pimento Cheese!

hot pepper jelly cheese dip topped with bacon in a serving dish on a table with Ritz crackers and red bell peppers.

Variations and substitutions

  • Peppered Bacon on Top. Take this perfect appetizer a step further with delicious peppered bacon!
  • Spicy Pepper Jelly Options. If you want something a little different, try green pepper jelly, jalapeno pepper jelly, or homemade pepper jelly, like my Hot Cherry Pepper Jelly.
  • Add-Ins. For more flavor, mix in chopped bell peppers or sliced green onions.
  • If preferred, substitute the cream cheese with richer and tangier Neufchatel cheese.
crackers nestled into pepper jelly cheese dip in a baking dish.

Storage and reheating tips

  • Store leftover spicy jelly cheese dip in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
  • Reheat the leftovers in the microwave on high for 30-second increments, stirring between, until hot and ready to serve!
two crackers with cheese dip on a plate.

Frequently asked questions

What crackers are good for dipping into spicy red pepper jelly cheese dip?

Sturdy crackers make for the perfect combo with this pepper jelly appetizer. Try it with Ritz crackers, Club crackers, pita chips, pretzel thins, and other similar options.

What do you eat hot pepper jelly with?

Besides using hot pepper jelly for this delicious dip recipe, you can use it to glaze roasted vegetables, make it a chicken wing sauce, spread it on crackers, and more!

What cheese is good with hot pepper jelly?

Pepper jelly is delicious with cream cheese, manchego, gouda, and other creamy cheeses. For the perfect dip, cream cheese is the best option.

What is the best store-bought pepper jelly for cream cheese?

I suggest using Braswell’s Red Pepper Jelly because it’s reliable and uses premium ingredients.

a serving knife dipping into a bowl of hot pepper jelly cheese dip on a table.

Serving suggestions

Hot Pepper Jelly Cheese Dip with Bacon is irresistible at holiday parties. You’ll want to pick up more than one jar of pepper jelly to have on hand for the holiday season.

Serve this dip with your choice of crisp Ritz crackers, veggie sticks, or toasted pita bread.

Looking for more of the best dip recipes?

Try my elegant Cheesy Shrimp Dip with a sautéed shrimp scampi, baked until hot and bubbly, or this delectable Blue Cheese Dip with Bacon, Chives, and Walnuts served with assorted crackers and fresh fruit.

Hot Pepper Jelly Cheese Dip with Bacon | Life, Love, and Good Food

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crackers nestled into pepper jelly cheese dip in a baking dish.

Hot Pepper Jelly Cream Cheese Dip with Bacon

This easy holiday appetizer is the perfect blend of flavor — sweet and salty with a bit of heat — that keeps guests migrating back to the snack table!
4.26 from 246 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Appetizers
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 229 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 10.5 oz jar Hot Pepper Jelly
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • Crackers for dipping

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until creamy. Add cheddar cheese, garlic, and salt and mix well. Stir in 1/2 jar of hot pepper jelly. Pour into a lightly greased 1 quart baking dish. Bake 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  • Heat remaining jelly in microwave for 20-30 seconds to soften, slightly melt. Spread over top of the dip and sprinkle top with bacon.
  • Serve immediately with crackers or pita chips.

Notes

    • Be sure to heat the jelly before spreading it on top of the cheese for the best results!
    • Don’t be tempted to substitute bacon bits — freshly fried and crumbled bacon works best with this dip.
    • Store leftover spicy jelly cheese dip in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
    • Reheat the leftovers in the microwave on high for 30-second increments, stirring between, until hot and ready to serve!

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingsCalories: 229kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 7gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 341mgSugar: 15g

Life Love and Good Food does not claim to be a registered dietician or nutritionist. Nutritional information shared on this site is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

Keyword bacon, dip, holiday party, hot pepper jelly
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
Sheila Thigpen, blogger

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

11 Comments

    1. Hi,Lisa. I’ve never tried making this dip in a crockpot, but I think it would be possible if you have one of the mini crocks. Let me know if you do try it!

  1. Sheila, this looks so amazing! I admit, I still love the good ol’ cream cheese block with chili pepper jelly, but THIS! Now this, looks company worthy

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  4. Would this be Good at room temperature? I would like to take it to a party right out of the oven but it will sit out for a couple of hours before the last guests eat it.

    1. Cheri, this dip is best served warm and since it is cream cheese based, I would advise that it not sit out too long. Perhaps you could ask the host if you can keep the dip in a warm oven until ready to serve. Happy Holidays!

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