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Candied Jalapenos – Cowboy Candy Recipe

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These Candied Jalapenos, otherwise known as Cowboy Candy, are such a great treat any time of the year! Candied jalepeños are a great way to use up all of those jalapeños from your garden next summer!

candied jalapenos in an opened jar with jars in backgroundPin

What is Cowboy Candy?

Candied jalapenos, aka cowboy candy, are basically sliced jalapeno peppers that are quickly blanched in a flavorful simple syrup.

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About Growing Jalapeño Peppers

Peppers plants are easy to grow. Either in your home garden, or even in large pots, they are foolproof, even if you have a black thumb!.

Peppers prefer hot, dry weather, and the flavor of the pepper will be hotter, the dryer the season is. Here is a helpful article regarding growing peppers.

Jarred cowboy candyPin

I usually plant about 30 mixed pepper plants. So by the end of September, even after picking all of the ripe ones all summer, I have about 1/2 a ton of jalapeños! Which is fine by me!

I make a plethora of salsas and pickled peppers! This recipe is very loosely based on my hot pepper relish, zucchini relish and sweet pickle relish.

What you need

  • sliced jalapenos
  • apple cider vinegar
  • white sugar
  • turmeric
  • celery seed
  • granulated garlic
  • ground cayenne pepper
Ingredients for candied jalapenos, sugar celery seed, vinegar, cayenne, garlic, turmeric.Pin

How to make it

Prepare jars, lids and bands. No need to use sterile canning jars since these peppers will be processed for over 10 minutes.

  1. Mix vinegar, sugar and spices, for brine in large pot. Bring to boil. Reduce and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, wash and drain jalapenos.
  3. Wear gloves to cut up this quantity of peppers! Slice peppers into uniform rings, about ¼ inch rounds. You can also use a mandolin or food processor for more even slices. (use the stem-end when slicing to make them easier to hold.)
  4. Add the peppers to brine and simmer for 4 minutes.
  5. Use a slotted spoon to load jalapenos into washed and sterilized pint jars or half pint jars. Leave 1/4 inch headspace (the space between the rim of the jar and the product).
  6. Once peppers are loaded into jars, turn heat up under the syrup again and boil hard for 6 more minutes. Ladle additional boiling syrup over top of peppers in jars, leaving the head space. Remove trapped pockets of air with a wooden or plastic chopstick or bubble removal tool.
  7. Wipe rims of jars with damp paper towel. Place two-piece lids, center lids and then screw on bands fingertip tight.
  8. Load jars in hot water bath canning pot with canning tongs. Make sure jars are covered with 2-inches of water above the jar. Process 15 minutes for pints.
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Always date and label jars before storing.

If you would prefer not to water bath can them, you can just put them in sterile jars and store them in the refrigerator for at least six months, if not longer.

You can remove the seeds if ribs if you would prefer a less hot pepper. Most of the heat lives in the seeds and ribs.

There are a few things that will make your life easier when canning fruits and vegetables.

The first is a good set of canning tools. The second is a large enough canning pot.

It is possible to use tools that you already have in your kitchen, but take my word for it, I have saved myself more burns since I bought the right tools!

candied jalapenos on white plate with silver spoonPin

Pro tips for success

  • Seeds and ribs can be removed for less hot peppers. Most of the heat lives in the seeds and ribs.
  • Use proper canning techniques when canning peppers to ensure food safety. Details above.
  • Do not cook the peppers too long, or they will get soggy.
  • Do not throw away extra brine! It is great in lots of different foods. Store it in a sterilized jar in the refrigerator. Add to sauces, stews, and chilies, and make spicy aioli for burgers, fish, and tacos. Brush fish, poultry, beef, or pork while cooking for an extra zip. 
  • Always wear gloves when cutting up large quantities of hot peppers.
  • Never touch your eyes, mouth or nose with gloves! It can cause serious irritation!
  • Any hot pepper can be used for candy, such as Hungarian wax, hot cherry, serrano, habanero, and more.
  • Some of the sugar and spices may fall out of the solution as the peppers sit in the pantry. This will not affect the flavor of the brine or the peppers.
  • This cowboy candy can be quick-canned. In other words, not processed in the water bath canner. Store in clean, sterilized jars. Let sit on the counter until room temperature, then store jars in the refrigerator for 3-6 months, if not longer.

Saving the Brine From Candied Jalapeños

Brine for canning in jar.Pin

DO NOT throw out the the remaining syrup!

Place it in a jar and use it in a variety ways! Brush it on meat, fish and poultry on the grill or roasted.

Make an aioli. Try it in coleslaw and potato salad or macaroni salads! Deviled eggs are great too. Anything you can think of!

It is amazing on these Cornish Game Hens, mixed with mayo to make a quick and tasty, spicy aioli or mixed with cream cheese or sour cream for a quick, tasty dip for veges! The possibilities are endless, really!

The worse part of this recipe? You have to try to keep everyone away from them for at least 2-3 months, if you can manage it, 4 is even better, so that they can age!

It’s torture, really, waiting for these babies to be ready to eat!

If you can’t wait, they are still tasty right after they are done. The flavor is just better with the wait.

In the meantime, do yourself a favor and buy a jar from your local grocer. They are readily available, but certainly not as good!

Recipes Using Cowboy Candy

Tools Needed to Make Cowboy Candy

Contains affiliate links, for full disclosure, see FTC Disclosure, here.

whole jar of candied jalapenosPin

Love Gardening? If you love growing your own produce, these posts are packed full of information about how to get that big harvest by the end of the season! Don’t miss our How to Start a Garden Series!

The first section is Planning Your Garden. Second is Preparing the Garden Site.

The third is Choosing Plants and Planting Your Garden. The fourth is Garden Maintenance.

The last is Harvesting a Garden and Preserving the Harvest, this article has over 100 FREE recipes for preserving your harvest!

I hope you like the post today for this Cowboy Candy Recipe! Do you can fresh produce in the fall? Leave me a comment below!

Enjoy! And have fun cooking!

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How to Can Candied Jalapenos

These Candied Jalapenos, otherwise known as Cowboy Candy, are such a great treat any time of the year! Candied jalepeños are a great way to use up all of those jalapeños from your garden next summer!
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
4.96 from 42 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 7 half pints
Calories: 100kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Wash and drain peppers. Wear gloves to cut up this quantity of peppers!! Cut into 1/8 – 1/4" slices.
  • Add the vinegar, sugar and spices to a large stock pot.
  • Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the peppers and simmer for 4 minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon to load jalapenos into washed and sterilized jars. Leave 1/4 inch head space. 
  • Once peppers are loaded into jars, turn heat up under the syrup again and boil hard for 6 more minutes.
  • Ladle additional syrup over top of peppers in jars, leaving the head space. 
  • Wipe edges of jars.
  • Place lids and bands on jars. Finger-tip tighten.
  • DO NOT throw out the the remaining syrup! Place it in a jar and use it in a variety ways! Aioli, brush it on meat, fish and poultry try it in cole slaw and potato or macaroni salads! Anything you can think of!
  • Place the jars in the canner with hot water in it. Bring to a full rolling boil. Boil for 10 minutes for half pints, 15 minutes for pints. Turn off burner and let stand in hot water for 5 more minutes. Then remove and leave stand on counter overnight.
  • The next day check for seal. If center of lid flexes up and down, they must be stored in the refrigerator. Place sealed jars in a cool, dry place.
  • Try to resist the temptation to open them for at least 2 months! I like waiting 3 for the flavors to develop! In the meantime, console yourself with the syrup!!
See all of my favorite tools and gift ideas on my New Amazon Store!Check out Binky’s Amazon Store!

Video

Notes

Jalapeños can range in heat from 2500-8000 Scoville units which is huge difference. These Candied Jalapeños can be really hot some years and not hot at all in other years.
Seeds and ribs can be removed from peppers so that are less hot. Most of the heat lives in the seeds and ribs.
There is no problem cooking the brine down more, just be aware that the more that you cook it down, the less you will have to fill the jars, so you may want to add a bit more of everything to ensure you have enough to leave the headspace that you need.
Having said that, the brine doesn’t really have to be thick. It is more for preserving the product and not used as a sauce.
Use proper canning techniques when canning peppers to ensure food safety. Details above.
Do not cook the peppers too long, or they will get soggy.
Brine can be cooked down more, before peppers are added, to thicken it more.
Do not throw away extra brine! It is great in lots of different foods. Add to sauces, stews and chilies, make spicy aioli for burgers, fish, tacos. Brush fish, poultry, beef or pork, while cooking for an extra zip. 
Always wear gloves when cutting up large quantities of hot peppers.
Never touch eyes, mouth or nose with gloves! Can cause serious irritation!
Some of the sugar and spices may fall out of solution as the peppers sit in the pantry. This will not affect the flavor of the brine, or the peppers. If you cook down the brine further, to make it thicker, that should reduce this.
This cowboy candy can be quick canned. Store in clean, sterilized jars. Let sit on counter until room temperature, then store jars in the refrigerator for 3-6 months, if not longer.
Any hot pepper can be used to candy, such as Hungarian wax, hot cherry, serrano, habanero, and more.

Nutrition

Calories: 100kcal | Carbohydrates: 127g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 485mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 121g | Vitamin A: 1855IU | Vitamin C: 192.3mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg
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This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you go to the link and purchase something at no additional cost to you. See FTC Disclosure here.

Originally published January 23, 2018

111 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Would it be safe to use the extra syrup to make an additional run (or half run) and put them in a large jar in the fridge instead of processing them?

    Thank you for the recipe. They are delicious!

    1. Yes, you could. They should be good for a few months unopened and maybe a month once they’re opened. We also use the brine to make spicy mayo or ketchup. We use it in deviled eggs, coleslaw, potato or mac salad. It’s really versatile.

  2. 5 stars
    My son-in-law turned me on to sweet jalapeños he had purchased at a grocery store at a family 4th of July picnic a couple of years ago. Being a “home canned is always best” type of things person, I have been searching for a good recipe. I just put up 8 pints and since we can’t wait to try them, I kept out about 1/2 pint in the extra brine. We’ll try them and wait for the others til they “mature”.

    1. I usually do the same thing because we can’t wait either. They’re good but better as they age. Thanks Debbie.

  3. 5 stars
    Just made 30 pint size jars!!!! Awesome recipe! I wore gloves because I’m extremely sensitive to hot peppers…but love eating them😋

  4. I have tried your recipe yet but plan to very soon. It has less sugar than the previous ones I made, can’t wait to try yours!!! (some I have made are just a little too sweet for my taste)On another note, I don’t understand the comments about the syrup being too thin. What possible difference does it make? Cowboy candy is about the peppers

    1. It really doesn’t make a difference. Having said that, I use the brine to make other condiments. Try mixing it with ketchup or mayonnaise. You’ll love it! Let me know how you like them Linda!

      1. 5 stars
        Made them today, best recipe I have tried! I did see a similar one, same amount of vinegar but only 3 cups of sugar, which is what used and for me it is perfect, but each to their own for the sweetness

        1. I’m so glad you like them Linda! Yes, the sugar content is not crucial to the safety of the product, so lowering it is fine.

  5. 5 stars
    My entire family LOVES candied jalapenos! I have never processed them for long-term storage so we are trying your recipe. Looking forward to the tasty results!

  6. I use cowboy candy the following way; put cream cheese on a Keebler cracker and spoon Cowboy Candy on the top of cream cheese

    1. We just love them with cream cheese too. You can also mince some up and add to softened cream cheese to make a spread. Thanks for checking out the recipe Carolan!

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Beth! I just made a half batch test recipe. They’re in the canner now. After tasting the syrup I am sure I would like to make more. However I’d prefer not to wait a few more months until tasting this batch to make adjustments. While we like hot, the syrup is very hot. What can I expect in 2-3 months when this batch is ready to eat? Does it stay hot or does the flavor mellow out? Just trying to figure out if I want to remove pepper membrane and seeds. Although I do understand the heat of peppers does vary. I’m confident I will be making these often once I get the heat level to our liking. Thanks so much!

    1. As you said, the heat of levels of jalapeños varies widely. In hot, dry years the peppers are usually hotter too. If they are hot for you now, they will be hot in 2 months. I would suggest removing the ribs and seeds and see if they are more to your liking. Also, you don’t have to wait the 2-3 months. They just tend to be better. Thanks for checking out the recipe Cheryl!

  8. After adding jalapenos the syrup became too liquidy .I thought it would thicken but didnt.what did I do wrong ?

    1. The syrup isn’t really a thick one. It is just to impart flavor. That will not affect the taste of the peppers. Give them as long as wait to taste because the flavor gets better. Thanks for trying the recipe Florence!

      1. Do you know if I would be able to use cloves of garlic instead of granulated garlic? I’m just concerned about canning safety and wasn’t sure if the cloves would still be safe.

  9. Wow these are way too hot. Didn’t need the cayenne at all. Wish I’d have read the reviews for the tip to cook down the brine more. Mine turned out pretty watery.

    1. The heat level is going to depend on the heat of your peppers. Jalapeños can range in heat from 2500-8000 Scoville units which is huge difference. There is no problem cooking the brine down more, just be aware that the more that you cook it down, the less you will have to fill the jars, so you may want to add a bit more of everything to ensure you have enough to leave the headspace that you need. Having said that, the brine doesn’t really have to be thick.

    1. I have not personally tried them with sugar substitutes but I think it should work fine. Let me know if you try it! Thanks Jo!

      1. I’ve tested the acidity levels on multiple occasions and with the added vinegar, they are always below pH 4.6. These are basically pickled.

  10. 5 stars
    Totally addicting! It was hard waiting 2.5 months before opening a jar.
    I look forward to making many pints of Candied Jalapenos next year.
    FYI – I used fresh garlic instead of granulated garlic.

    1. Sure, fresh garlic will work fine. I’m so glad you like them! You’re right the waiting is the hardest part. 🙂

    1. I haven’t really measured it in cups but I would guesstimate that each half pint takes a bit over 1 cup, if packed. Thanks for checking out the recipe!

    1. If they are processed and they sealed, they don’t have to be kept in refrigerator. They can be quick canned without processing, then they need to be stored in the refrigerator.

    1. That’s odd. I always have a lot of brine left over. I’m not sure why that happened to you. Glad you like them! Thanks April!

        1. You may have cooked it down too much. I’ve made hundreds of batches of them and have never run out of brine. In fact I always have extra brine.

  11. These are sooo HOT.. saved a bit in a smaller jar and not tasty at all… the syrup did not thicken and looks watery in the jar after canning… What may have happened?? I followed the directions to a tee! 😢😢

    1. If the brine wasn’t as thick you like, you could have just cooked it down more. The peppers will be better if you let them sit for a couple months, as the recipe states. As far as the heat level goes, that is solely dependent on the pepper itself. This is one of my most popular recipes. I’m sorry it didn’t work well for you!

  12. 5 stars
    I have a jar of these in my refrigerator right now. I have a hard time not snacking on them all day. Definitely a favorite snack of mine.

    1. Two questions:
      1. Is sterilizing jars really necessary, considering the processing time?
      2. I don’t have granulated garkuc, but l do have some Penzy’s Roasted Garlic. Do you think this would be an OK substitution?
      Thanks for your input.

      1. Yes, the roasted garlic will be good. The new theory on jars is that they do not need to be sterilized, just hot when you add the liquid. I always get them hot in the water bath because I need to have the water hot anyway. Thanks Roxane!

  13. 5 stars
    There are several members of my family who would LOVE these. I’ll be trying for sure! And I’m super intrigued to use the syrup to make aioli!

    1. The aioli is killer. No kidding. Even my husband loves it and he is not crazy about super spicy foods!

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