Candied Jalapeños

Candied Jalapeños, also known as Cowboy Candy, are a delightful blend of sweetness and heat. This irresistible condiment transforms fresh jalapeños into a sticky, sweet, and spicy treat. Perfect for topping off burgers, adding to your favorite tacos, or simply enjoying with cream cheese on crackers, Candied Jalapeños bring a unique twist to many dishes.

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Candied Jalapeños

  • Author: recipstep
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: About 4 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Candied Jalapeños, also known as Cowboy Candy, are a tantalizing blend of sweet and spicy flavors. This recipe transforms fresh jalapeños into a versatile condiment or snack that pairs wonderfully with cream cheese, meats, and more, adding a delightful kick to any dish.



20 large jalapeños
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Wearing gloves, slice and discard stems from peppers, then slice into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In a large pot over high heat add all the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add in the sliced jalapeños, bring the heat back up to high and simmer for exactly 4 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the peppers to clean, sterile canning jars to within a 1/4-inch of the upper rim of the jar.
Put the heat back on under the pot to high and boil the liquid for about 6-7 minutes. Then remove pot from the heat and let cool for about 3 minutes.
Using a ladle (or pitcher with a spout), carefully pour the liquid syrup into the jars, making sure all the jalapeños are completely submerged. (Take a chopstick and poke it into the bottom of the jars a few times to release any pockets of air.)
Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp paper towel. Seal with two-piece lids. Place in the fridge.
Let chill for at least 2 weeks (preferably a month.) The longer they sit, the better they will taste.
Keep stored in the fridge and eat within 2 months. (For canning info, see notes below.)


  • Wearing gloves while slicing the jalapeños can prevent irritation from the capsaicin.
  • Adjust the amount of sugar and vinegar based on your taste preferences and desired sweetness/spiciness level.
  • For crisper jalapeños, reduce the simmering time in the syrup.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Condiment/Snack
  • Method: Simmering
  • Cuisine: American


  • Calories: Approximately 50 per tablespoon
  • Sugar: 13g
  • Sodium: Negligible
  • Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 13g (mainly from sugar)
  • Fiber: <1g
  • Protein: 0g

FAQs About Candied Jalapeños

Can I use green and red jalapeños interchangeably in this recipe? Yes, you can use both green and red jalapeños interchangeably. Red jalapeños are simply riper than green ones and may offer a slightly sweeter flavor, enhancing the candied effect.

How do I adjust the heat level in Candied Jalapeños? To adjust the heat, you can remove or leave the seeds in the jalapeños. Removing the seeds and membranes will result in a milder flavor, while leaving them in will keep the heat.

What’s the best vinegar to use for the syrup? Apple cider vinegar is commonly used for its slightly sweet flavor, but white vinegar works well too, offering a clearer color and a more neutral taste.

How long do Candied Jalapeños last? When stored properly in sterilized, airtight jars and kept in the refrigerator, Candied Jalapeños can last for up to 3 months.

Can I make Candied Jalapeños without sugar? Sugar is a key component in candying, but for a sugar-free version, you might experiment with sugar substitutes. Keep in mind that the texture and flavor will vary from the original recipe.

Selecting the Perfect Jalapeños

Choosing the right jalapeños is the first step to making this delicious treat. Look for firm, bright green peppers without any blemishes. The size of the jalapeños can affect the candying process, so try to select ones that are similar in size for even cooking.

Preparing the Jalapeños

Begin by slicing the jalapeños into uniform rounds, keeping the seeds in if you prefer extra heat. Wearing gloves during this process can help prevent irritation from the capsaicin in the peppers. Once sliced, set the jalapeños aside while you prepare the syrup.

Creating the Sweet Syrup

The syrup for Candied Jalapeños is a simple mixture of sugar, vinegar, and spices. Combine white sugar, apple cider vinegar, and a mix of turmeric, celery seed, and garlic powder in a large pot. Bring this mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to let it simmer until the sugar dissolves completely, creating a sweet and tangy base for the jalapeños.

Candying the Jalapeños

Add the sliced jalapeños to the simmering syrup, cooking them until they become translucent but still retain some crunch. This process infuses the peppers with the syrup’s sweetness while maintaining their natural spicy flavor. The key is to simmer them just long enough to candy the peppers without making them mushy.

Storing and Serving Candied Jalapeños

Once candied, the jalapeños can be stored in sterilized jars, covered in the remaining syrup. They can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three months. Candied Jalapeños are incredibly versatile; they can be served as a condiment on sandwiches, as a topping on pizzas, or even as a sweet and spicy addition to charcuterie boards. Their unique flavor profile makes them a conversation starter and a favorite among those who love a good balance of sweet and heat.

Experimenting with Flavors

Don’t hesitate to experiment with the flavors of your Candied Jalapeños. Adding ingredients like ginger, cloves, or cinnamon sticks to the syrup can introduce new flavor dimensions that complement the spiciness of the jalapeños. Each addition creates a unique taste profile, allowing you to customize the candied jalapeños to your liking or to suit the occasion.

Incorporating into Recipes

Candied Jalapeños aren’t just for topping crackers or sandwiches; they can be finely chopped and incorporated into various recipes for an unexpected burst of sweet heat. Mix them into cornbread batter, stir into coleslaw, or blend into barbecue sauce to elevate the flavor of traditional dishes. Their versatility makes them a valuable ingredient in the kitchen.

Gifting Candied Jalapeños

Homemade Candied Jalapeños make excellent gifts for food enthusiasts who appreciate a combination of sweet and spicy flavors. Pack them in decorative jars, tie with a ribbon, and include a tag with serving suggestions or recipe ideas. This thoughtful, homemade gift is perfect for housewarmings, holidays, or as a special treat for friends and family.

Candied Jalapeños

Safety Tips for Handling Jalapeños

When handling fresh jalapeños, especially in large quantities, it’s important to wear gloves to protect your skin from irritation. Avoid touching your face or eyes during and after processing the jalapeños, as the capsaicin can cause discomfort. Working in a well-ventilated area can also help minimize exposure to the spicy vapors, ensuring a more comfortable cooking experience.

Celebrating the Versatility of Candied Jalapeños

Candied Jalapeños embody the creative spirit of cooking, demonstrating how simple ingredients can be transformed into something extraordinary. Their ability to enhance a wide range of dishes—from savory to sweet—celebrates the versatility and creativity that cooking at home offers. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a culinary novice, making and using Candied Jalapeños is a delightful way to explore new flavors and bring a touch of sweetness and heat to your cooking repertoire.

Mastering the Canning Process

For those who want to enjoy Candied Jalapeños year-round, mastering the canning process is essential. Ensure your jars are sterilized and the lids seal properly to preserve the freshness and prevent spoilage. The water bath method is ideal for canning Candied Jalapeños, as it secures the jars’ airtight seal, keeping the contents safe for consumption over many months. Always follow up-to-date canning guidelines to ensure food safety.

Pairing with Cheeses and Meats

Candied Jalapeños have a unique ability to complement a variety of cheeses and meats, making them a standout addition to any cheeseboard or charcuterie platter. Their sweetness cuts through the richness of cheeses like Brie or goat cheese, and their spiciness pairs well with cured meats such as salami or prosciutto. Experiment with different combinations to discover your favorite pairings.

Creating Signature Dishes

Let Candied Jalapeños inspire you to create signature dishes that highlight their distinctive flavor. Consider crafting a signature sandwich, pizza, or appetizer that features Candied Jalapeños as a key ingredient. These signature dishes can become a hit among family and friends, showcasing your creativity and culinary skills.

Hosting a Tasting Party

Organize a tasting party where guests can experience the versatility of Candied Jalapeños firsthand. Offer a variety of dishes and pairings that showcase the Candied Jalapeños, allowing guests to explore their sweet and spicy complexity. This can be a fun and interactive way to introduce others to the delights of Candied Jalapeños and to share your culinary creations.

Exploring International Cuisine

Candied Jalapeños can also be a gateway to exploring international cuisine. Their blend of sweetness and heat can complement dishes from various culinary traditions, from Mexican to Asian. Use them as a topping for tacos, a spicy-sweet addition to Thai dishes, or even as a garnish for Indian curries. Their universal appeal makes them a versatile ingredient in global recipes, offering a unique twist on traditional flavors.

Candied Jalapeños

Enhancing Breakfast Favorites

Elevate your morning routine by incorporating Candied Jalapeños into breakfast favorites. They can add a delightful twist to omelets, breakfast burritos, or avocado toast. Mixing Candied Jalapeños into cream cheese for a spicy-sweet bagel spread can transform a simple breakfast into a memorable meal, offering a balance of flavors that wakes up the palate.

Discovering Sweet and Spicy Desserts

Candied Jalapeños aren’t just for savory dishes; they can also find their way into desserts, creating an intriguing sweet and spicy combination. Chop them finely and sprinkle over vanilla ice cream, fold into muffin or cake batters, or use as a topping for cheesecake. These unexpected dessert additions will surprise and delight guests, showcasing the versatile nature of Candied Jalapeños.

Crafting Artisanal Cocktails

Bring a kick to your cocktail game by featuring this recipe in artisanal drinks. Muddle them at the bottom of a glass for a spicy margarita, incorporate into a jalapeño-infused simple syrup for cocktails, or garnish a Bloody Mary for an extra burst of flavor. These Candied Jalapeño-inspired cocktails can become the highlight of any gathering, offering a unique twist on classic beverages.

Educating Through Cooking Workshops

Share your passion for this recipe by hosting cooking workshops focused on this versatile ingredient. Teach participants how to prepare, can, and incorporate Candied Jalapeños into various dishes. These workshops can inspire others to explore new flavors and recipes, fostering a community of food enthusiasts eager to experiment with sweet and spicy combinations.

Sustainability in the Kitchen

Using this recipe as a way to preserve and enjoy seasonal produce aligns with sustainable kitchen practices. By canning surplus jalapeños, you reduce waste and create a delicious product to enjoy throughout the year. Promote sustainability by sourcing jalapeños from local farmers’ markets or growing your own, further connecting the cooking process with the cycles of nature and the importance of supporting local agriculture.

Candied Jalapeños


This recipe, with their perfect balance of sweetness and heat, offer a delightful way to spice up a wide range of dishes. From elevating breakfast to creating standout cocktails and desserts, these versatile treats open up a world of culinary possibilities. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a curious cook, making Candied Jalapeños is a simple process that yields delicious rewards. By exploring different uses, experimenting with flavors, and sharing your creations, you can enjoy the rich taste of this recipe in countless ways. So, dive into the world of wit and let your culinary creativity shine.


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