Cowboy Candy Recipe – Simple Candied Jalapenos

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Pepper Geek takes part in various affiliate programs. This means that purchases through our links may result in a commission for us.

This cowboy candy recipe will change the way you use your fresh jalapenos from the garden. Candied jalapenos are the perfect sweet sandwich topper, or a tasty snack for true Pepper Geeks!

There are so many ways to use jalapeños. We love pickling, making poppers and using them in guacamole. However, there is something special about this candied jalapeño recipe that keeps us making them again and again.

Video Recipe:

What Are Candied Jalapeños?

The principle of candied jalapeños is simple: Make a light syrup with a bunch of sugar, some vinegar and spices, and cook the peppers in it. The vinegar and sugar both act as preservatives to keep the peppers good for up to 3 months in the fridge.

We experimented with a few different blends of spices and found that ginger and allspice are highly complimentary. A little turmeric adds a great color and mild citrus flavor, and a pinch of homemade pepper flakes kicks up the heat.

Cowboy Candy Ingredients

The texture of cowboy candy is crunchy, springy and addicting. The sound they make when you crunch on them will make you want to put them on everything. It’s hard to describe how satisfying the texture is.

Since the peppers are only cooked for a few minutes, they maintain a lot of their original crunch. In addition, the high sugar content prevents the peppers from becoming mushy and soft, keeping crunchy for weeks!

How To Make Cowboy Candy

We prefer working in smaller batches, but if you have a huge number of jalapenos to use, feel free to multiply the amounts shown.


  • 6-8 jalapeno peppers (depending on size)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp allspice (or cinnamon)
  • 1 pinch hot pepper flakes (optional)

Cowboy Candy Recipe

  1. Slice Peppers

    Clean and dry the jalapenos. Remove the stems and slice them into 1/4 inch rounds.

  2. Boil Vinegar, Sugar and Spices

    In a small pot, stir together the vinegar, sugar, turmeric, ginger, allspice, and pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and boil for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid begins to feel syrupy.

  3. Add Peppers to Syrup

    After the syrup has thickened slightly, add the peppers to the pot and stir thoroughly. Increase heat to bring back to a boil quickly, and then reduce to medium-low to simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Peppers should begin to soften and change color slightly.

  4. Add Peppers to Jars

    Using tongs or a slotted spoon, pack the pepper slices into a glass jar, leaving 1/2 inch of room at the top for air.

  5. Cover Peppers With Syrup

    Pour the hot syrup over the candied jalapenos in the jar and cover tightly with the lid. Store in the refrigerator for 2-3 months. For best flavor, allow the flavors to meld in the fridge for a few days.Cowboy Candy Recipe

How Long Do Candied Jalapenos Last?

It is okay to eat your cowboy candy right away, but for the best flavor, you should allow the peppers to sit in the fridge for a few days. By doing this, you allow the flavors to infuse properly.

When prepared correctly, candied jalapenos should last at least 2-3 months in the fridge. The high concentration of sugar in addition to vinegar greatly reduce the likelihood of mold or other microbial activity.

Cowboy Candy

Always use a clean fork or utensil when serving your cowboy candy. As with any preserved food, be sure to give it a good look-over and smell each time you plan to eat some. There is always a possibility of contamination.

How To Use Cowboy Candy

Given the name, it is no surprise that cowboy candy is a perfectly acceptable snack, all by itself. However, you can also use your candied jalapeno peppers in a few other ways. Here are a few ideas.

Cream cheese and crackers. The sweetness and vinegar bite work beautifully on cream cheese and a crunchy cracker. Try these candied jalapenos on Ritz with cream cheese

Put them on sandwiches. The crunchy, springy texture is perfect for bringing your sandwich game to a new level. You can even drizzle a small amount of the syrup onto the sandwich as a sweet, zingy condiment. YUM!

Chop and use in salsa. If you’re feeling experimental, why not try adding your candied jalapenos to your next batch of salsa? Most salsa recipes include hot peppers of some sort, and sweetness is always welcome in our salsa.

Throw them in an omelet. The breakfast of champions always includes spicy peppers. The sweetness of cowboy candy can compliment your next cheesy omelet. Or, just try them as a side to your next breakfast.

Snack on them. As advertised, cowboy candy is basically a sweet treat. If you like spicy food, these mildly hot snacks will do just fine on their own.

Cowboy Candy Recipe and Ingredients

Cowboy Candy Recipe

Cowboy Candy Recipe

Delicious candied jalapenos – sweet, tangy and perfectly crunchy.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: candied jalapenos, cowboy candy
Servings: 1 cup


  • Small pot
  • Ball jar
  • Tongs or slotted spoon


  • 6-8 jalapenos depending on size
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1 pinch hot pepper flakes optional


  • Clean peppers and remove stems.
  • Slice the peppers into 1/4 inch rounds.
  • In a small pot, stir together the vinegar, sugar, turmeric, allspice, ginger and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes on medium low heat or until the liquid thickens and becomes slightly syrupy.
  • Add the jalapeno slices to the pot and stir to combine.
  • Bring the mixture back to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for an additional 3-4 minutes until the peppers begin to curl and change color.
  • Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes.
  • Using tongs, put the peppers into glass jars. Pour the leftover liquid over the peppers until fully covered.
  • Seal jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 months.


If you don’t have allspice, try substituting cinnamon or nutmeg.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy this cowboy candy recipe! It truly is one of our favorite ways to store jalapeno peppers. Let us know how yours came out and what you might recommend adding.

Calvin Thumbnail


One of the original Pepper Geeks! When Calvin isn’t gardening or learning more about peppers and botany, he might be traveling new places or playing some music.

Similar Posts


  1. 5 stars
    It’s Delicious in tuna salad, using cowboy candy and substitute of sweet pickled relish!

    Pallet overload!

  2. 5 stars
    Oh man these are good! Been making them for a couple years now and made the mistake of gifting some to friends… now they want em all the time! Tip: if you want them less spicy, use an apple corer to take the pith and seeds out… I also add some white onions to mine for a little variety.

  3. I was looking for something different to do with my bumper crop of jalapeños. I’ve already made 60 jars of pepper jelly. Your recipe looks really good.
    I would like it to last and saw your suggestion to water bath it. How long would I process it? Will it make the peppers soft?

    Also, if I use 6-8 peppersper batch and I use quarter pint jars or half pint jars, approx how many jars will that size batch make?
    Thanks. Looking forward to this.

  4. Have you ever tried honey or maple syrup instead of granulated sugar? Just wondering how that might taste. Thanks!

  5. We love the taste of the jalapeños but wondering why mine are tough! What did I do wrong? I tried cooking one jar longer but now the syrup is too thick.

  6. 5 stars
    We began using your recipe months ago when you first shared it. Storage??? No problems there. We eat the batch in less than a week. Yes, we are making it every week. We occasionally throw in a fatalii or a scotch bonnet for fun…whew! A neighbor ate lunch with us a few months ago and tried the cowboy candy on her hot dog. She is now making a batch every week. We will, though, can some for the winter. Thank you so much. It is wonderful.

  7. 5 stars
    Love the Cowboy Candy!! It tastes so good with any grilled item, hotdogs, hamburger, bratwurst, sausage sandwiches. Anything!! Peppergeek recipe is the best.
    Thank you for this recipe

  8. 5 stars
    I’ve made these and love the flavor! I’ve also gifted a few jars to my brothers, since they like hot & spicy foods too! The only thing I’ve never used them in are omelets… What a treat!

  9. 5 stars
    I have 2 questions:

    1) do you have any suggestions for protecting from severe coughing during cutting the peppers? ive tried masks, wet bandanas, running them under water, so far none work and i have a hard time breathing when cutting the peppers.

    2) any suggestions on how to determine how hot a jalapeno is? i’ve tried looking for smooth light green color, and they are still extremely hot for me.

    thank you!

    1. Hi Carol,

      If you are cutting superhot peppers often, you may want to invest in a sealed respirator face mask. They are a bit expensive, but well worth it to save you from suffering. The other option is to cut/cook outdoors whenever possible.

      As for jalapenos, no there isn’t a good way to determine heat from appearance. It mostly comes down to the particular strain of pepper and the growing conditions. I have found that store bought peppers in the winter time are less spicy than those bought in mid-summer.

      Hope this helps!

  10. Will these store in a pantry or must they be put in the refrigerator? I have three GALLON storage bags of jalapenos and won’t have enough room in my fridge for that many jars.

    1. For this recipe, you must store them in the refrigerator. Look into ‘waterbath canning’ to fully sterilize the food for pantry storage.

  11. Hi Calvin,

    I didnt see in your recipe when to add the tumeric, ginger and Allspice. I am going to make this today with my harvested jalapenos. Are they added when you make the simple syrup before adding the sliced peppers or when you add the peppers? Thank you in advance as I have been making some of your recipes from your weekly email. 😊

    1. Hi Tracy,

      Apologies! I have updated the recipe to include the spices. You are correct, they are added along with the vinegar and sugar before boiling.

      Thanks for reaching out, I hope you enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating