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21 December 2018

A very easy recipe for making candied jalapenos, or homemade cowboy candy, for desserts or snacking. They’re a great blend of sweet and heat. Basically sliced jalapenos 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 homemade cowboy candy today, my friends! It’s such a HAPPY DAY!

I love DIY cowboy candy, otherwise known as Candied Jalapenos. 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.

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. They are essentially sliced jalapenos 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. 

The term has been around for ages, but the recipe is so popular, some small time company even trademarked the common name. That particular product isn’t much to speak of, but this homemade version is far superior. Everything is better homemade, isn’t it? And super easy! Why buy this stuff when you can SO EASILY make it at home?

Let’s get cooking!

Ingredients You’ll Need for Making Homemade Cowboy Candy

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

  • 1/2 pound Jalapeno peppers (about 10-12 average sized jalapenos)
  • 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 Homemade Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapenos) – The Recipe Method

 

First, slice the jalapenos into ¼-inch round slices. You can remove the seeds if you’d like, but I make them without coring. You should wear gloves if handling hot peppers bothers your skin.

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. Just pour the boiling syrup right in. You can cool it slightly first if you’d like.

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

Wipe the rim of the jar then cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy) Recipe

Boom! That’s it! I love my homemade cowboy candy. Great stuff!

Leftover Syrup

If you have any leftover syrup, save it. Use it to make yourself a cocktail or a spicy mocktail. It’s quite delicious! Pour it over cupcakes. Get creative!

Nice and spicy and sweet.

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. Ensure the jars are covered with 3 inches of water.
  7. Return the water to a boil and process them for 10 minutes for half pints, or 15 minutes for pints. For higher altitudes, process them for additional time (at least an extra 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.

Makes about 3.5 cups.

Packed into three ½ pint jars.

Serving Up Your Candied Jalapenos

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

It’s super awesome over cream cheese. Smear some cream cheese over crackers and top them with candied jalapenos. Amazingly delicious. You can even mix them into a serving bowl with cream cheese for a candied jalapeno cream cheese dip.

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 jalapeños!

Just quit stealing them off the plate, Mike!

Grabbing some Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy)

Mike’s Recipe Notes

This has turned out to be an amazingly popular recipe. They’re really THAT good. I’ll post here as questions pop up. Here is some additional information to help you along.

  • Jarring or Canning: If you’re uncomfortable with canning or jarring the peppers, you don’t have to process them. Some people like to use a pressure canner to preserve their homemade cowboy candy, or they like to use the water bath method as outlined in the recipe. You can skip those steps and just keep the candied jalapenos in a jar in the refrigerator. They will still last a good 3 months this way.
  • Wear Gloves: Peppers can cause skin irritation and burning. Some people are more sensitive than others. The oils from the peppers can get onto your skin when handling them, and especially cutting them. It is best to wear gloves when handling hot peppers. If you notice any skin burn, go to this page – How to Stop the Chili Pepper Burn.
  • Slicing the Jalapenos: You’ll be chopping a LOT of jalapeno peppers for this recipe. Use a mandolin or food processor with a slicing accessory to save some chopping time.
  • Removing the Seeds and Innards: If your concerned about the overall heat, you can core out the jalapenos before slicing them. Most of the heat resides in the pepper innards.

How Long Does Homemade Cowboy Candy Last?

Candied jalapenos will last about 3 months in the fridge. If you process them in a water bath, they can last easily a year in the pantry until you are ready to open them.

I’ve included how to process them with a water bath below and in the recipe card.

Can I Make This Recipe with Other Peppers?

Absolutely. You can “candy” any type of chili pepper. Just slice them into rings and proceed with the recipe.

Some peppers are obviously larger than others, though. Chop those up into smaller pieces.

The process is great with spicier peppers. I personally love candied habaneros. Crazy delicious.

The candying process tamps the heat quite a bit with candied jalapenos or any pepper, so they won’t be as spicy as you might expect.

Try making these with superhot chili peppers as well, like scorpions or Reapers. Oh baby!

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.

Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy) Recipe
Print Recipe
4.96 from 41 votes

Candied Jalapenos Recipe (Homemade Cowboy Candy)

A very easy recipe for making candied jalapenos, or homemade cowboy candy, for desserts or snacking. They're a great blend of sweet and heat. Basically sliced jalapenos preserved in a seasoned simple syrup, they're perfect for garnishing cocktails, topping corn bread or cupcakes, or popping into your guacamole.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dessert, jalapeno, spicy
Servings: 12
Calories: 80kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound jalapeno peppers about 10-12 average sized jalapenos
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions

  • First, slice the jalapeno peppers into ¼-inch round slices.
  • 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.
  • Add the jalapeno pepper slices and mix to evenly coat them with the syrup.
  • Simmer them about 4 minutes. They will darken a bit as they slightly cook and absorb some of the sugars.
  • Transfer the candied jalapeno peppers to cleaned jars, then fill the jars with the remaining syrup.
  • Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. You can eat them right away, but it is best to let the flavors develop at least 1 week in the refrigerator before eating.

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. For higher altitudes, process them for additional time (at least an extra 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.

Video

Notes

Makes about 3.5 cups.
Packed into three ½ pint jars.

Nutrition

Calories: 80kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 455IU | Vitamin C: 44.8mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.2mg

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

139 comments

  1. 4 stars
    The taste was great! But am I the only one who can’t handle the spice? Am I just a wuss? I popped one in my mouth and it was delicious for a second then I was running for the milk. Did I do something wrong?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Jamie, a couple things on this. #1 – it could just be that you got a hotter batch of jalapenos. They do vary in heat. Candying them really tamps down the heat, though. When I eat them, I notice no real heat, though I do eat hotter foods frequently. #2 – you can core them out next time to remove the innards before making them. Most of the heat in peppers resides in the inner whitish innards. I hope you like it more next time.

  2. 5 stars
    Wow wow wow! I made this today and I’ve not been able to stop nibbling on them! I’m now thinking that I’ll need to do another batch in 2 weeks time. Thanks for sharing!

  3. 5 stars
    Gonna try this today with a 50/50 mix of jalapeño and Fresno peppers. They will be awesome on my burnt ends tomorrow!

  4. Jeff in Houston

    5 stars
    Mike…Mike…Mike…GREAT recipe! Made a batch and they went to family members for Christmas. Now making another batch for myself!

    The only thing I added was a teaspoon of whole coriander seeds…gives a bit of floral note to tie in the sweet/spicy mix. The coriander seeds become very soft and biting into one while hitting a jalapeno is a good taste combination.

    Thanks for the recipe…just simply great!

    Respect!

  5. 5 stars
    Just some ideas on what to use these on. I have put them on tacos, pizza, Nachos, sandwiches (especially Subs) and I think I am just scratching the surface, it adds a sweet heat to all those things that makes great flavor. Both my wife an I think so.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent! All great ideas for sure, Ray! I love it. Glad you are enjoying them.

  6. Deborah Ketelsen

    5 stars
    So delicious! I canned using water bath style and worked great. It’s the perfect gift for the holidays, especially if you use red and green peppers. I also didn’t cook until it was really gooey as I wanted more liquid, and it worked great. I also slow cooked pork ribs last night using the sauce…delish!!!

  7. I accidentally put 1/2 tablespoon of turmeric and ground ginger instead of 1/2 teaspoon… is there anything I can do to fix it or did i just completely ruin it/ the taste of it?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      You should be fine, Mita. Just give the syrup a taste and adjust from there. Enjoy!!!

  8. Louise Sala

    5 stars
    Do I have to use the water bath method for pantry storage. Normally when I can, salsa for example, I usually put jars in the oven at 200 degrees and boil the lids, jar the salsa and wait till the lid pops and that keeps the salsa for at least 2 years. I make a lot lol. I am thinking I can do the same thing here. Also when I made the syrup, it did not really thicken but was still absolutely delicious. I did triple the recipe. Any thoughts on that . Thanks

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Louise, it is safer to do the water bath method, but a lot of people safely use the method you currently use. If you feel comfortable with that, I’m sure that is fine.

  9. Jeri LaFlamme

    5 stars
    Fantastic recipe. 2.25 pounds of peppers fills 1
    quart jar. Great for gift giving.

  10. Margaret Mooney

    5 stars
    Hi there.

    I am based in the UK (Northern Ireland) and am an avid chilli fan. I grow a lot of them in my conservatory and make various chilli jams and sauces but love the idea of candied chillies. My question is, as I am based in the UK with a different vinegar strength to the US, do I need to do the water bath step?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hi, Margaret. Thanks. I don’t think so. The sugar content alone will help these keep a while in the refrigerator. If you plan on long term pantry storage, you can water bath, but otherwise you should be fine.

  11. 5 stars
    I just made these. They are incredible. I shared the link for this recipe on my personal pages. I am thinking I could use some of my other hot peppers, also.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Lisa! Absolutely, you can use this recipe with other peppers as well. Enjoy!

  12. Thanks so much for the recipe Michael, I have been trying to figure out what to do with the hundreds of jalapenos I have been harvesting from our garden. I already knew I was going to use a lot of them with all the berries I have been hoarding to make different flavored pepper jams for Christmas gifts, but I really wanted something different to switch it up a bit and I remembered how much my boys loved these on their nachos at their football games when they were younger. Now I have to figure out what to do with the dozens of Banana peppers I have been harvesting and the 100s of habanero peppers that will be ready to harvest in a week or two. Our habanero peppers are literally twice the size they were last year, I have already picked a few of the Chocolate Habaneros as they were ready, so the other varieties of habaneros shouldn’t be too far behind and there are still hundreds of flowers all over our 4 bushes. This has truly been a great year for peppers.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Absolutely, Suzy. I have so many recipes on the site here to help you with your banana peppers and habaneros. Take a look around. Happy to make some suggestions! Enjoy!

  13. Virginia Alvarado

    5 stars
    I love your recipe! This is my first year of making Cowboy candy and now I am hooked!
    I harvested a load of hot banana peppers today and after cutting into rings I have about two gallons! Have you ever tried this recipe with hot banana peppers? I also have an abundance of Habaneros so I was thinking maybe I could add some of those into the banana pepper mixture for added heat.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Great, Virginia! Thanks! Yes, this recipe will work with any peppers.

  14. 5 stars
    I like these better than my other recipe. However, since I can them, I put the peppers in the jars raw and pour the hot syrup over them and then put them in the water bath. I had to double the syrup ratios, or I never would have been able to cover the 3 pints I made! No leftover syrup. 🙁

  15. Opal Barker

    Can sliced onion be added to the peppers? If so, will that mixture need to be processed in a hot water bath for longer than 15 minutes for pints.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Absolutely, Opal. You can “candy” onions and other ingredients. Let me know how it turns out for you. You don’t have to water bath it longer, but be sure to check the pH. 3.5 or lower is preferred for home preserving.

  16. 5 stars
    Made them last night, a bit dissapointed I only got 1-12 oz jar. But will make more today in 4 oz. jars and I water bathed it. One person commented because of the acidity, there is Apple Cyder Vinegar in this recipe, I I guess enough acid. And also will follow advice to simmer at lower Temperatur as my syrup was still a bit too watery (have a new gas stove and I’m still getting used to it). Great taste with a great kick. (Jalapeños are homegrown :-))

  17. Carlita Edwards

    5 stars
    I love this recipe, as do all of the recipients of my jars of candied jalapenos. I always triple the syrup recipe, and usually have some extra jalapenos, just not enough to fill a jar, so I have started putting the leftover candied jalapeños in my dehydrator, and drying until crispy. We love them in almost everything .

  18. Susan Friemel

    Mike, I was wondering if it is okay to jar and water bath the leftover syrup?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Susan, I’ve never done that, but there is no acidity, so not sure a water bath would work. It’s just sugar water, though, so it could. You should be able to freeze it without issue.

  19. I was curious if anyone did the canning method and just put the raw jalapeños in the jar, put the syrup on top of them, and then did the water bath. I would hate for them to turn into mush after cooking in the syrup and then the water bath.

  20. Janet Post

    5 stars
    I will admit to being a bit skeptical when I decided to try this recipe. I had so many jalapeno’s and I am not keen on pickled peppers. What the hell was I going to do with them. So, I made a small batch of these Cowboy Candies. These are the best things I have ever made. I had them on stove top stuffing — and is now the only way I will ever eat stove top stuff ever again. My family is begging me to make cornbread so they have something new to spread these on. My daughter, who eats hot peppers raw, eats them straight out of the can with her fingers while curled up in a chair reading. Now I’m thinking I don’t have ENOUGH jalapeno’s in my garden!!

    This recipe is brilliant. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing!!!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Well that’s a heck of a review! I love it, Janet. Thanks so much! Super happy you are all enjoying them. Time to grow more!

  21. RICHARD W DULEE

    I have a rhubarb patch. I do a 50/50 jalapeno and rhubarb mix. I do not vary the recipe at all beyond that addition. It’s an amazing variation I recommend to this already great recipe.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      That sounds awesome, Richard! Love it. Nice touch.

  22. I was wondering if this recipe would work with chopped frozen jalapeños?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Jeff, it would work, but thaw the peppers first. They will absorb the sugar. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  23. 5 stars
    This recipe was fantastic. Just the right amount of heat / flavor.

    Do you think this recipe would work for cucumbers and greenbeans also?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent! Glad to hear it, Angie. Yes, you can conceivably “candy” any type of food this way. Enjoy!

  24. Is it necessary to put the peppers in the syrup before putting in the jars? Can’t you put the peppers directly in the jars and then add the syrup?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Patty, you can do it that way. You’ll get more absorption with my cooking method, but it will still come out good that way. Let me know how it turns out for you.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Edward! Glad you enjoyed them.

  25. Your recipe calls for 1 pound of jalapeños and then says around 6 or 8, but one pound is more like 20-25 jalapeños according to my scale right now?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Dana, go by weight and start with a 1/2 pound, or 10-12 average-sized jalapenos. I made an adjustment to the recipe to make it more clear. Thanks. I hope you enjoy them.

  26. 5 stars
    These will go GREAT in my Spam w/Bacon Hawaiian Scramble: dice the Spam, slice red onion, and I use canned pineapple, drained — Save the pineapple juice to mix with the candied syrup and, you know, whatever else is in your freezer (like tequila?). Saute in whatever oil you like, or rendered fat (I use Wild Boar Fat from Fatworks: https://store.fatworksfoods.com/products/copy-of-grass-fed-buffalo-tallow-a-k-a-thunderfat-8-oz). Then toss with candied jalapeños. I’ll be wrapping these in flour tortillas along with shredded sharp cheddar (sweet, savory, and HOT: I don’t deseed), lightly toasted on my stovetop griddle just to melt the cheese, with guacamole and maybe sour cream mixed with lime juice/zest on the side. I don’t think that a Tequila Quarantini would be out of line here. Or a Dirty Ashtray (Tecate, tequila, lime juice, hot sauce, cracked black pepper: https://www.redcuprebellion.com/2017/10/29/16568616/booze-blog-rebellion-the-dirty-ashtray), for the less stout-hearted!

  27. What is the purpose of the turmeric, Chile or cayenne powder? I’ve seen garlic powder in some recipes? Don’t we just want to taste pure sugary jalapeño?

    Thank you!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Nicole, they add a bit more flavor, though you can skip them and just enjoy the sweetness! They’re great that way!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Randy. I do love my sous vide, but yeah, this method is pretty darned easy. Glad you enjoyed it!

  28. 5 stars
    Great. Made 15 pints for Christmas gifts and they were a hit. Use Ancho chili powder and the taste is fantastic. Great website. Thanks!

  29. 5 stars
    This recipe is spot on! I used to buy candied peppers in Key West. They were called “Texas sweet & hot jalapeño peppers”. But had to pay for shipping and the price just kept going up. Then I found your recipe and I can make them myself. Thanks for sharing I’m making my second batch today.

    I put them on mini cornbread muffins before I bake them. I also put them on deviled eggs. BIG HIT in my house!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Great, Anna! Yeah, so much better when you can make them at home. I love them for cornbread. Sounds great for deviled eggs! Nice! Glad you are enjoying them.

  30. Made these and I love the flavor but the syrup didnt thicken the way I thought it would what did I do wrong?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hello, Mike. It’s hard to say. Possibly you used too much liquid or too high of heat. When you do heat the liquid/vinegar with the sugar and seasonings, it will be runny, not overly syrupy. Once it cools, it will form more of a thick syrup.

  31. 5 stars
    I like that this is a small batch recipe. I only got 4 of the 4 oz. jars, but syrup to pepper ratio was perfect. Syrup tasted good so I think they will be good. Doing water bath now.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Great, Dianna! I’m happy it worked out as needed for you. I appreciate your stopping by!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Chris, yes, the peppers that you strain out from making jelly are essentially “candied”. Very tasty.

  32. 5 stars
    I made 4 batches last night and used a mix of colored jalapeños and also added onion. Looks and tastes amazing. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent, Mike! Sounds wonderful! I appreciate the comments. Have a good one.

  33. Linda Weatherred

    P.S. to my previous comment….
    I used jalapeno pepper seasoning instead of the chili powder and loved it. Chili powder tends to be too harsh for my taste.

  34. linda Weatherred

    5 stars
    Made these today and, oh my my, they are so good!!! My son was here and he took a jar home with him as he loved them also! Wonderful recipe….yum! Thanks Mike 🙂

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Tami, yes, you should process for additional time at higher altitudes. Figure an additional 10 minutes.

  35. Tara Bishop

    I wondered how this recipe would work with leaving cayenne peppers whole-so whole candied peppers? What are your thoughts. I would probably be using little cayenne peppers so they’re not very big. Thank you!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Tara, yes, this would work. However, the sugars might not completely penetrate the peppers if left whole. I would poke some holes in them or slice them open to make sure they are candied throughout. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  36. 5 stars
    I made this peppers tasted great, but the syrup turned into a hard candy instead of staying liquid. What did i do

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hi, Travis. You may have had too much sugar, which can harden up. It will also harden up when it cools. Try some more liquid and lower the heat next time.

  37. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe and love it!!! I did come across an issue on one batch however. Probably something I did or didn’t do… The peppers floated to the top and it seems like the syrup is at the bottom. Any suggestions on what I did? Can this be fixed? Thanks in advance!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, D. If this happens, it is best to reduce the heat so the liquid stays just a touch thicker. Then, stir the peppers more so they get evenly coated with the sugar mixture. You can also process the peppers twice by stirring them in and coating them, removing them to cool a bit, then return them to the pan and swirl them in again with the simple syrup. I hope this helps!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Keri, absolutely. I mix them all the time for different recipes. Enjoy!

      1. Would you suggest it’s ok to mix the jalapeño-habanero-chili peppers for my first round of cowboy candy or stick with jalapeños only? Thank you!

        1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

          Keri, absolutely! It’ll be spicier, but delicious! Let me know how it turns out for you. This recipe will work for any type of pepper.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Jennifer, you can skip it if you’d like. Try other seasonings that you might prefer for additional flavor.

  38. 5 stars
    I made these, specifically, for use in concocting a spicy pineapple martini. I used 2 parts pineapple juice, one part vodka, and one part Cointreau. Then I added a healthy teaspoonful of the syrup and shook with ice, a couple of the jalapenos for garnish.
    It was dangerously delicious (especially rimmed with sugar and a bit of cayenne)!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent, Carol! I love the idea of making a spicy martini. Wonderful!!!

  39. 5 stars
    I had 4 pounds of red and green jalapenos to do something with, so I have made this. I did take a lot of the seeds and membranes out, because my peppers were really HOT! I made twelve half pints; half red & green and the other half just green. They look beautiful, and I know some people are really going to enjoy this treat!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Totally, Judy! Sounds awesome! I’ll bet the jars look like Christmas Candy from the wonderful colors! Enjoy.

  40. I want to make a smaller like maybe a half pint or less and I don’t want them real sweet so about how much sugar

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Debbie, I would use at most 1/3 cup of sugar, though you can probably get away with a few tablespoons. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  41. Erin Thompson

    I just read the comment about replacing the sugar with honey. What would the ratio be of honey to 1 cup sugar?

    Thanks
    Erin

  42. I’ve been makingvthese for several years. The recipe I usually follow calls for the same amount of peppers as this one but 6 cups of sugar and 2 cups of cider vinegar. I always end up with a lot of extra syrup. So I’m going to try it this way. I have about 10-12 Lbs of peppers sitting on my counter right now. So I’m going to triple the recipe a few times to get all if these canned.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hi, Kari. Let me know how it turns out for you. You can definitely use more sugar if you’d like, though for me, I’ve found that you really don’t need that much for good candied jalapeno peppers.

  43. 5 stars
    Made these last week for the first time. Followed directions exactly and made sure all the seeds were in pot with the peppers. I am not a hot or spicy lover and for me much too hot. Gave jars to a couple of friends who said they were too mild but liked overall taste although a bit too sweet. I plan to make them again with slightly less sugar but wondering if I can add red pepper flakes rather than the chili powder. I want to make them super hot and watch a few people brought to their knees.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Taylor. Yes, you can use spicy chili flakes with this recipe, as spicy as you’d like. Let me know how it turns out for you. Enjoy!

  44. I am wanting to use fresh slices/chopped ginger and turmeric instead. Being I have never tried your recipe yet. What would be your suggestion to how much to use?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Nilsa, you can use them fresh, no problem. I would suggest up to a tablespoon each, chopped, then adjust after that to your preference. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  45. 5 stars
    Dianne in MN. Awesome recipe I planted 135 pepper plants, divided by 23 types of peppers they’re just starting to ripen. The jalapenos are coming on strong! Got to wait for the Anaheim and the cherry peppers and the hot cherry peppers Etc.

  46. Your recipe states 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, and the printed version on your website lists 1 cup apple cider vinegar. I used the 1 cup and mine isn’t becoming syrupy at all. Which measurement is correct?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Kathy, it is 1/2 cup, though you’ll still get them plenty candied with 1 cup if you process them through the mixture again. Or, you can simmer it a bit until it reduces, then candy the jalapenos. Apologies for that. The recipe is updated.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      William, absolutely. Candied habaneros are a wonderful thing!

      1. Can you use stevia I am a diabetic and have had this recipe before and love them but can’t do the sugar now

        1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

          Stacy, yes, you can use stevia to make this. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  47. 5 stars
    Made this using ancho chili powder and it was fantastic. Gave some jars to friends and they loved it. Thanks for the receipe

  48. Why do you use turmeric? Other recipes say to store them for a month to enhance the flavor. Any suggestions? Can’t wait to try them ! I pickle carrots, onions and jalapenos and can’t wait to try something new. Thanks for the recipe

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Turmeric is nice for color and a touch of flavor, but you can omit it. You can let them sit in the refrigerator at least a week or longer to let the flavor develop. Enjoy!

    2. Turmeric also has antifungal & antibacterial properties so it would aid in preserving

      Turmeric also is antifungal & antibacterial so it will aid in the preservation process.

  49. Candace Fife

    5 stars
    Question. I bought some of these at a farmers market and I’m crazy about them. Here is my question because now I have to make more. I bought a blackberry cowboy candy, a pineapple cowboy candy, a strawberry one and the regular one. Can’t find a recipe with the fruit added. How would I adjust the recipe to make them with added berries? Thanks.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Candace, I would add larger cut fruits with the jalapenos and “candy” them the same way. For blackberries, either keep them larger or crush them down to get some of the juices in with the liquid. They would add some awesome flavor!

      1. 5 stars
        Would you add the jalapeno measurement and the fruit together? Say like 3/4 lb jalapeno and 1/4 lb of the fruit ratio for 1 batch? I hope that isn’t confusing. Or just use the 1 lb jalapeno and just add some fruit without changing the original recipe?

        1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

          You can add them together, Candace. The measurements are pretty flexible, though. You really just want to make sure the jalapenos and fruit are properly covered with the simple syrup. Let me know how it turns out for you!

  50. Chillihead scottish variant

    It would be significantly less spicy but I feel that this idea would suit banana peppers perfectly. They are already rather sweet and tangy. Especially if you used lemons to make the syrup somewhat sour. Mmm.
    Also, would candied peppers still be viable for use in the production of a chilli sauce?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Absolutely, this can work for any pepper, really. To your preference. I think it would work nicely for a thick, sweet chili sauce.

  51. 5 stars
    I made these and put them in the center of my dark chocolate candies with some diced strawberries. It was awesome. Great recipe!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Awesome! What a perfect use for these! I wish I had one. YUM.

  52. Vicki Anderson

    5 stars
    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!

  53. nanci fragassi

    5 stars
    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.

  54. 5 stars
    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.

  55. 5 stars
    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!

  56. 5 stars
    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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