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21 December 2018

A very easy recipe for making candied jalapenos, aka Cowboy Candy, for desserts or snacking. They’re a great blend of sweet and heat. Basically jalapeno slices preserved in a seasoned simple syrup, they’re perfect for garnishing cocktails, topping corn bread or cupcakes, or popping into your guacamole.

We’re making Cowboy Candy today, my friends! It’s such a HAPPY DAY!

I love Cowboy Candy, otherwise known as Candied Jalapeno Peppers. They’re sweet and spicy and I can just eat a whole jar’s worth in a sitting. Yes, I’m that bad.

It’s a classic recipe, really. It’s a great way to preserve your summer jalapeno harvest, as you can preserve them in a water bath and keep them in the pantry, or just store them in the refrigerator for a few months easy.

Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy) Recipe

What Is Cowboy Candy?

Cowboy candy is another name for candied jalapenos, which is essentially jalapeno pepper slices that are simmered and sweetened in a seasoned simple syrup.

They’re a perfect combination of sweet and spicy and they’re ideal for quick sweet snacks or garnishing. The candying process also helps to preserve them, too.

Ingredients You’ll Need for Making Cowboy Candy

You will need the following ingredients to make Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapenos):

  • Jalapeno peppers (about 6-8 peppers, a pound or so)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (optional, for a bit of heat)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • Other seasonings, as desired. See the discussion below.

Once you’ve gathered up your ingredients, let’s talk about how we make them, shall we?

How to Make Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapenos) – The Recipe Method

First, slice the jalapeno peppers into ¼-inch round slices.

Chopping jalapeno peppers in a pan to make Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy)

Stir together the sugar, vinegar and seasonings in a pan. Bring to a quick boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer until the sugar dissolves into a gooey syrup.

Stirring the seasoned simple sugar in a pan

Add the jalapeno pepper slices and mix to evenly coat them with the syrup.

Adding jalapeno peppers to the pan

Simmer them about 4 minutes. They will darken a bit as they slightly cook and absorb some of the sugars.

Simmering jalapeno peppers in a pan to make Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy)

Transfer the candied jalapeno peppers to cleaned jars, then fill the jars with the remaining syrup.

Pouring the simple sugar into the jarred Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy)

Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy) Recipe

For Preserving/Jarring

First, clean your jars and lids using a steamer rack in a 16-quart pot. Place the jars on the rack and fill the pot with water, enough to cover the jars. Do not let the jars touch the bottom of the pot, as the heat can cause the glass to crack.

Bring the water to a boil and boil the jars for 10 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs when you’re ready to use them.

Prepare the candied jalapenos per the instructions above.

When the candied jalapenos are ready, scoop them into the jars, leaving ¼ inch head space.

Clean the lids with soap and hot water, then place them onto the jars. Secure them with cleaned canning rings. Wipe the rims clean.

Place the filled jars back into the hot water bath, onto the steamer rack, ensuring the jars are covered with 3 inches of water.

Return the water to a boil and process them for 10 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs and tighten the screw caps.

The jar lids should make a popping sound as they seal. If a lid doesn’t seal for some reason, you can reprocess it, or store the jar in the refrigerator.

Invert the jars to test for leaks. Flip them upright after 10 minutes and allow to cool.

Store the jars in a cool, dry place. They will last a year or longer this way. Once you open them, however, keep the jars in the refrigerator.

Makes about 3.5 cups.

Packed into three ½ pint jars.

Serving Up Your Cowboy Candy

I like to simply snack on my Cowboy Candy straight out of the jar as a quick sweet snack, but they are ideal for garnishing. Pop them on top of your favorite Corn Bread Recipe, on top of a cupcake or a slice of pie.

Garnish a cocktail with them. Margaritas, anyone? Chop and swirl some into your favorite guacamole recipe for a touch of sweetness.

So many ways to serve up your candied jalapenos!

Just quit stealing them off the plate, Mike!

Grabbing some Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy)

How Long Does Cowboy Candy Last?

Candied jalapenos will last about 3 months in the fridge. However, if you process them in a water bath (method included in the post and the recipe card, they can last easily a year in the pantry, until you are ready to open them.

Try Some of My Other Spicy Dessert Recipes

People also asked about these similar topics: Pickled Jalapenos.

Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy) Recipe

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS.Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

5 from 6 votes
Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy) Recipe
Candied Jalapenos Recipe (Cowboy Candy)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

A very easy recipe for making candied jalapenos, aka Cowboy Candy, for desserts or snacking. They're a great blend of sweet and heat. Basically jalapeno slices preserved in a seasoned simple syrup, they're perfect for garnishing cocktails, topping corn bread or cupcakes, or popping into your guacamole.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dessert, jalapeno, spicy
Servings: 12
Calories: 80 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1 pound jalapeno peppers (about 6 or 8)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
Instructions
  1. First, slice the jalapeno peppers into ¼-inch round slices.

  2. Stir together the sugar, vinegar and seasonings in a pan. Bring to a quick boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer until the sugar dissolves into a gooey syrup.

  3. Add the jalapeno pepper slices and mix to evenly coat them with the syrup.

  4. Simmer them about 4 minutes. They will darken a bit as they slightly cook and absorb some of the sugars.

  5. Transfer the candied jalapeno peppers to cleaned jars, then fill the jars with the remaining syrup.

  6. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

FOR PRESERVING/JARRING
  1. First, clean your jars and lids using a steamer rack in a 16-quart pot. Place the jars on the rack and fill the pot with water, enough to cover the jars. Do not let the jars touch the bottom of the pot, as the heat can cause the glass to crack.

  2. Bring the water to a boil and boil the jars for 10 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs when you’re ready to use them.

  3. Prepare the candied jalapenos per the instructions above.

  4. When the candied jalapenos are ready, scoop them into the jars, leaving ¼ inch head space.

  5. Clean the lids with soap and hot water, then place them onto the jars. Secure them with cleaned canning rings. Wipe the rims clean.

  6. Place the filled jars back into the hot water bath, onto the steamer rack, ensuring the jars are covered with 3 inches of water.

  7. Return the water to a boil and process them for 10 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs and tighten the screw caps.

  8. The jar lids should make a popping sound as they seal. If a lid doesn’t seal for some reason, you can reprocess it, or store the jar in the refrigerator.

  9. Invert the jars to test for leaks. Flip them upright after 10 minutes and allow to cool.

  10. Store the jars in a cool, dry place. They will last a year or longer this way. Once you open them, however, keep the jars in the refrigerator.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Makes about 3.5 cups.

Packed into three ½ pint jars.

Nutrition Facts
Candied Jalapenos Recipe (Cowboy Candy)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 80
% Daily Value*
Sodium 5mg 0%
Potassium 111mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 19g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 18g
Vitamin A 9.1%
Vitamin C 54.3%
Calcium 0.6%
Iron 1.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This recipe was updated on 12/21/2018 to include new photos and a video. It was previously published on 5/19/2014.

Candied Jalapenos Recipe (Cowboy Candy) - A very easy recipe for making candied jalapenos, aka Cowboy Candy, for desserts or snacking. They're a great blend of sweet and heat. #Dessert #CandiedJalapenos

14 comments

  1. Vicki Anderson

    I’ve been making Cowboy candy several years and every year have requests to use honey as a substitute for “all that sugar”. I’m aware that boiling honey takes a lot of the value inherent to honey away. However what do you think about that and can it be done?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Vicki, yes, you can use honey with this. Another visitor said they did this and it turned out great for them. Let me know how it turns out for you!

  2. nanci fragassi

    WOW…..that’s all I can say!!!! You may not want to print this because I had to alter it a bit. I had ONE pepper, so I cooked up a tiny batch, just to see what it would taste like. I only had 2 packets of white sugar, (I rarely use it), so I tossed in some brown sugar, and a bit of honey. AWESOME…and I think it’s going to be my new best snack. I also used hot chili powder. I’m sitting here wishing I had a juicy burger to pile these onto…….
    Thanks for the recipe……

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      I love it, Nanci! I love the variation with the honey and brown sugar! So perfect! And also yes, so perfect for burger topping. Enjoy.

  3. Mike, I figure a man who has a pepper blog can stand to answer a hot question or maybe two. How do you NOT stir things TOGETHER. My stirring always makes them go together. Never APART. I can never stir things apart. When I stir, I just stir, and they always go together. How about that???

    Also, how do I stir ABOUT 6 or 8 things. When I stir 6 things, 7 things or 8 things, I stir 6 things, or 7 things or 8 things. It gets even worse sometimes, (at other blogs). I have to choose between ABOUT 3 or 4 things, and that is very hard for me to do. I like to add 3 things or 4 things to a recipe, but putting about 3-4 things in keeps me awake at night.

    Thanks for keeping my taste buds awake, too.

    Malcolm.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hey, Malcolm. Honestly, I think many cooks and recipe creators use vague terms like “about” and imprecise measurements like “3-4 or so” is because cooking, unlike baking, is more fluid. It’s why we use “salt and pepper to taste”. For me, I often say “2-3 jalapenos” because the recipe is good either way, and it’s up to the cook to determine how many jalapenos they might like. Same with simmering times. “Simmer about 20 minutes” means you can simmer longer to let the flavor develop even more. As far as “stirring together”, my guess is people add “together” as a simple modifier, as I did in this recipe. If you can figure out the “stir apart” trick, I’d love to hear it! Sounds like some fun molecular gastronomy to me! Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      They’re AWESOME, Karly! I can’t stop eating them.

  4. I have a quart jar of jalapeno peppers on the shelf that I purchased and have not opened yet. Could you use the pickled jalapenos in this recipe? Thanks.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Donnie, you should be able to use them, though you’ll still get some of the vinegar flavor in the final. I think it would be a good combo, though. Let me know how it turns out for you!

  5. I made 48 x 4. oz jars of this special spicy nectar as holiday gifts. This was a BIG HIT! Thanks for sharing and Happy Holidays to everyone in CPM Nation. John

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Awesome, John! They make the perfect gift! YOU ROCK!!

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