Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapeños)

My dear friend Karen turned me on to a delicious snack called cowboy candy. Some of you may have heard of it, but when she first mentioned it to me, I was clueless, I had never heard of it. I’ve tried jalapeño jam, but never cowboy candy. I love jalapeños so the title alone had me curious.

Freshly chopped jalapeños is a beautiful site to behold behind a camera lens. The other ingredients of turmeric, garlic, celery seeds, sugar, and cayenne pepper make for an easy recipe to follow. This recipe calls for three pounds of jalapeños but because jalapeños are so expensive here in Germany, I made this recipe with only one pound of jalapeños (sigh).

When she first emailed me and told me all about the recipe I was sold at candied jalapeños. She knew I’d be drooling at her description of the dish and I can only imagine the grin on her face when I asked her for the recipe. She baited me well.

She and her daughter Katie have their own food blog called Katie Pies. Her blog is about their love of all things sweet to include pies of course.

After cooking the jalapeños in a mixture of apple cider vinegar, spices, and sugar, they take on a rich deep green tone. The hard part was letting them sit for about two weeks before eating; they taste better after sitting in the fridge for a couple of weeks. The explosion of tastes on one’s tongue ran the gamut of salty, sweet, and a little bit of spice in every bite.

One evening, my hubby and I sat down with a glass of wine and gobbled up the entire pile of goat cheese topped with these candied jalapeños. It was easy; we spread some goat cheese on a cracker or bruschetta, piled on some cowboy candy and before we knew it the pile of cheese and jalapeños were gone. I do have some more cowboy candy but now I need to run out and get some more goat cheese, maybe I’ll try some with Brie next time.

Have you ever had cowboy candy?

Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapeños)

Yield: Makes 6 half pint jars


3 pounds fresh jalapeños, washed
2 cups apple cider vinegar
6 cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon celery seed
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper


Remove stems from all of the jalapeños and slice into 1/8 to 1/4 inch rounds. Set aside.

In a large pot, bring the cider vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed, garlic and cayenne pepper to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the pepper slices and simmer for 5 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon, transfer the peppers into clean sterile canning jars leaving ¼ inch at the top of the jar.

Turn the heat and bring the syrup to a full rolling boil. Boil for 6 minutes. Pour the syrup over the jalapeño peppers in the jars but still leaving ¼ inch from the top. Make sure there are no air pockets. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp cloth and place lids on the jars.

You can store these in the refrigerator or complete the canning process so that they are shelf stable. Either way they need to mellow for at least two weeks before eating.

To complete the canning process place the jars in a large pot of hot water, covered by 2 inches. Bring the water to a full boil and boil for 10 minutes for half pints and 15 minutes for pints. When the time is up transfer jars to a cooling rack. Leave them to cool, undisturbed for 24 hours.

Written by Veronica / Photos by Veronica

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  1. This sounds amazing! Making this weekend, YUM!

  2. Oh my! 🙂 On the to do list for sure! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Ooooh…I’ve never had candied jalapeños! How delightful! The cooks in my classes will love these.

  4. I have never heard of these but I love jalapeno jelly. That sweet/hot combination is so delicious. I can’t wait to give them a try.

  5. Never heard of it. I think I will make it cuz my husband love anything that with jalapeno!! But two week waiting?? geez! it will be worth of waiting!

  6. Yum! I took a cooking class over the summer and we made some fresh corn & crab spring rolls, which also contained cowboy candy. I was the only one in the class nibbling on the cowboy candy alone 🙂 Those were some spicy jalapenos!

  7. Yet a new discovery for me to try, thanks Veronica! Keep warm over there in Germany!

    • Gracias Celia, Looking forward to hearing about your indulgence with this recipe. Trying to stay warm with all the fresh new snow today! It makes the outdoors like a Winter Wonderland, beautiful and so peaceful.

  8. I’ve never tried this and love to have a new recipe for canning. Pinning and hope to try this soon.

  9. What a delightful twist on an old favorite! Wouldn’t this be fun on a buffet table. Watch the looks on people’s faces.

  10. Made with a little modification; added a piece of dried ginger, a couple of allspice berries, and substituted chipotle powder for cayenne. Eagerly waiting for the end of the two curing period.

  11. Added a handful of candy red hots. Made the syrup a nice red, and it was delicious.

  12. Recipe sounded too good to pass, so made it! Now the hard part, waiting for two weeks…..

  13. Just made mine and can’t wait for the two weeks to be up. Don’t be like me; don’t forget to wear your gloves when handling those jalapenos!

  14. We are making our third batch of Cowboy Candy. The first batch we just used green jalapenos. The second and third batch, we also add yellow, orange and red sweet peppers, some sweet onion and a little bit of habaneros (finely chopped). You can leave out the habaneros, but the sweet pepper and onion make a wonderful addition to the candy. Makes it prettier too.

    I can’t keep enough of this stuff in stock. Hubby and son give it away and everybody eats it right away. I think next year we will have to grow our own peppers just to not have to pay for them.

  15. Back again. We have now made 5 batches of Cowboy Candy. I left out the habaneros altogether because it really is hot enough with just the jalapenos. In part of one batch, I seeded and de-veined some of the peppers to lower the heat just a touch per my Mother-In-Laws request. And to satisfy my Father-In-Law, we chopped everything in his jars to make it more like a relish.

    And thanks to my own Facebook posts, I have friends all over the country wanting to know where their Cowboy Candy is!

  16. Can’t wait to make this. I canned 7 half pints of jalapeno-chile tetpin jam last wk and have been looking for another recipe to can. I just found it .

  17. Just wondering,  I simmered   the brew for allotted amount of time but when I put the peppers in am I suppose to wait till it simmers again before I start timing or just have them in there for 4 min.  I waited until it simmerred again but had to turn the heat up to get it to simmer.  HELP.  I will probably do this again  and I’d like to know the answer.  Thank You

  18. Mary D Rappleyea Reply

    Sounds wonderful! Definitely will be trying this when my jalapeños are ready to be picked and put up.

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