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Cowboy Candy Recipe – Simple Candied Jalapenos

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.

Recipe Rating

Elsa Hunt

Friday 10th of November 2023

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

Pallet overload!


Friday 3rd of November 2023

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.

Jan Olsen

Saturday 14th of October 2023

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.

Sharon Wisely

Thursday 13th of July 2023

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


Sunday 16th of July 2023

Not in this recipe, but I'm sure maple syrup would be delicious.


Friday 7th of October 2022

Hi Calvin Is it ok to use frozen jalapeños from my garden ?


Sunday 9th of October 2022

Definitely, the texture may differ slightly, but I think it should work out