fbpx

Info

All demo content is for sample purposes only, intended to represent a live site. Please use the RocketLauncher to install an equivalent of the demo, all images will be replaced with sample images.

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

I love 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.

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 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 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. 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 Cowboy Candy

I like to simply snack on my Cowboy Candy 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 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 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.

5 from 15 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 sliced jalapenos 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
Author: Mike Hultquist
Ingredients
  • 1 pound jalapeno peppers (about 6 or 8)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 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. 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
  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 5mg0%
Potassium 111mg3%
Carbohydrates 19g6%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 18g20%
Vitamin A 455IU9%
Vitamin C 44.8mg54%
Calcium 6mg1%
Iron 0.2mg1%
* 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.

55 comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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!!!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. 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!!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

4K Shares
Pin3K
Share2K
Yum7
Tweet
Email