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Sweet and Spicy Candied Jalapeños (Cowboy Candy)

Sweet and Spicy Candied Jalapeños (Cowboy Candy)

Candied Jalapeños, colloquially known as Cowboy Candy, is the ultimate jalapeno relish during the holiday season. Thinly sliced jalapeño rings are marinated in simple syrup and spices to create spicy and sweet pickled jalapenos.

This jalapeno recipe takes only 6 basic ingredients, including a ton of spicy peppers, and 15 minutes to prep.

More Jalapeno Peppers Recipes: Red Pepper JellyPickled Peppers  and Cranberry Jalapeno Dip.

Jar of Candied Jalapeños with a fork holding some up.

What is Cowboy Candy?

Cowboy Candy started in 1922 at WHH Ranch. Yep – over 100 years! Classic and icon are two words that come to mind. While their cowboy candy recipe is unparalleled, we’ve created our own version of homemade candied jalapenos.

Making candied jalapenos involves marinating fresh jalapeno slices in a sweet glaze, resulting in a powerhouse condiment. The jalapeños soften but maintain their heat, which is harmoniously countered by the sugary glaze.

Individual ingredients to make candied jalapenos recipe.


Here are the ingredients required to make Candied Jalapeños. Please see the recipe card below for the full details.

  • Jalapeño Peppers (Fresh Jalapenos or other Fresh Peppers)
  • White Sugar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (or White vinegar)
  • Seasonings – granulated garlic, celery seed, ground turmeric powder and chili powder (optional).
Hand holding a jar of cowboy candy.

How To Make Cowboy Candied Jalapenos

Here’s a general overview detailing how to make candied jalapeños. For the full details, see the recipe card below.

Slice The Jalapeños –  Throw on a pair of gloves and use a pairing knife to slice the pepper into 1/4-inch rounds.

Make The Syrup – Boil the syrup ingredients in a large saucepan. Add the jalapeños and simmer. Transfer peppers to sterile canning jars using a slotted spoon.

Boiling Syrup –  Boil the remaining liquid until it turns syrupy. Pour the hot syrup over the pepper slices in the mason jars.

Marinate – Let the jars come to room temperature. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 weeks for the best flavor and texture.

White plate topped with cream cheese and cowboy candy. Jar full of candied jalapenos and crackers next to it.

Serving Suggestions

A versatile spicy condiment, candied jalapenos will add a spicy kick to many of your favorite dishes: 

Three crackers on a white plate topped with cream cheese and cowboy candy.

How To Slice The Peppers

There are three options for slicing up the jalapeños. All options to create sliced jalapenos are great – it really comes down to how you like to work in the kitchen. I pick “easy to clean” over “quick” any day of the week, but you may be the opposite.

Mandoline Slicer

If you’re a long time reader you know I detest whipping out my Mandoline slicer. Using it is great, but cleaning it in a safe way is a a hassle. But it works really well here.

Food Processor

Add the peppers, one at a time, through the feed chute of your food processor.

Hand Cut

Whip out some gloves and cut them by hand with a sharp knife. I actually prefer this method. Sure it’s tedious but there’s less “stuff” to clean.

Jalapeno rings on a cutting board.


A few tips to note before making this sliced jalapeños recipe:

  • Always wear gloves when handling spicy jalapeño slices.  
  • Seeds in or seeds out? As with many spicy jalapenos recipes, it’s up to you. It won’t affect the recipe other than the texture of the seeds.
  • Don’t start the timer until the syrup comes to a full rolling boil. Don’t shortchange the cook time.
  • Try and let your jars of cowboy candy develop for 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator before enjoying, if possible. You can absolutely wait just a week, but a good month really brings out the texture and flavor.
  • Don’t throw away the leftover syrup. You can use it for another batch or add it to chili, cocktails, etc.
A mason jar full of cowboy candy surrounded by crackers, bread and a white napkin.


Pepper Options – While fresh jalapeños are traditional, you can use any other hot peppers: red jalapeno, serrano peppers, banana peppers, fresno chilis, and bell peppers are good options. Check the Scoville scale for heat levels before making.

Smoked Jalapeños – Smoke the jalapeños before slicing for even more flavor! Go easy on the level of smoke.

Spices – Other popular spices to consider adding: mustard seeds, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, or black pepper.

Chopped Peppers – Chop the peppers vs. slicing for more of a relish texture.

Overhead shot of cowboy candy in a glass jar.

Canned Jalapeños

Here’s how to can this candied jalapenos recipe for maximum longevity:

1. Ensure the lids on the mason jars are securely fastened.

2. Place the filled jars in a water bath canner fitted with a canning rack.

3. Pour in water until the jars are submerged by 2″.

4. Heat the water until it begins to boil. Once boiling, set the timer for 10 minutes (you may have to adjust the duration for altitude).

5. Carefully remove the jars using canning tongs and set on a cooling rack.

6. Allow the jars to sit undisturbed for 24 hours. The jars should seal themselves as they cool.

7. Wipe the jars with a damp paper towel and store up to a year.

Always check the NCHFP for safety tips if your’e unfamiliar with the canning process.

Fork with candied jalapeños on it.


  • A jar of cowboy candy lasts up to 3 months when properly refrigerated
  • Canned candied jalapeños can keep for up to a year when stored in a cool, dry place. 

I’d love to hear how you’re planning on using Candied Jalapeños! Share your ideas and recommendations below.  Remember, when you have an abundance of jalapenos, think Cowboy Candy!

This recipe was originally posted in December 2020, but has been updated with new photos and additional text.

Top down view of a jar of candied jalapenos (also called cowboy candy)

Cowboy Candy (a.k.a. Candied Jalapeños)

Make this sweet and spicy Cowboy Candy recipe, a.k.a. Candied Jalapeños, to make the best cream cheese dip for your holiday gathering. Spicy jalapeño rings are marinated in a sweet simple syrup. Top your sandwiches, burgers and nachos with this flavorful and versatile condiment. It would also mix well with Little Smokies in Grape Jelly
5 from 87 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Canned Recipes, Christmas Appetizer, Dip Recipe, Holiday Appetizer, Jalapeno Recipes, Mason Jar Recipes, Spicy Recipes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 314kcal
Author: Darcey Olson
Cost: $5


  • 1 Lb Jalapeño Peppers
  • 3 Cups White Sugar
  • 1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder (*Note 1)
  • tsp Ground Turmeric Powder
  • tsp Celery Seeds


  • Cut the jalapeño peppers into 1/8" round slices.
  • In a large sauce pan, add the sugar, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, turmeric and celery seeds and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer until the sugar mixture has a thick syrup consistency, approx. 5 minutes.
  • Add the pepper slices to the sauce pan and toss to coat. Raise the heat to return to a hard boil. Once a rolling boil is achieved, immediately reduce the heat again and simmer for 4 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the jalapeños to clean canning jars. Leave about 1/4" of space at the top.
  • Reduce the syrup, one last time, by bring it to a full rolling boil for 5 minutes.
  • Ladle the syrup over the jalapeños until the syrup reaches about 1/4" from the top.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. Let the jalapeños marinate for a minimum of one week, before enjoying. (*Note 2)


Note 1 – Chili Powder is optional. Most of the major cowboy candy producers includes this ingredient in their recipes, but feel free to omit.
Note 2- Try and let your jars of cowboy candy develop for 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator before enjoying, if possible. You can absolutely wait just a week, but a good month really brings out the texture and flavor.
Try subbing in smoked cream cheese in place of plain cream cheese for an added kick.


Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 79g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 167mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 77g | Vitamin A: 611IU | Vitamin C: 67mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Recipe Rating


Wednesday 17th of August 2022

I pour the extra sauce over my cornbread or my biscuits. Oh my goodness!!!! I could eat this stuff on anything anytime!! I can't get enough of it!!!

Darcey Olson

Monday 24th of October 2022

YUM!! I have a batch waiting to finish so I know the first thing I'm going to use it on!

Cathy Stephens

Tuesday 16th of August 2022

Can you use jalapeños from a jar for this recipe?

Darcey Olson

Monday 24th of October 2022

Hi Cathy - I wouldn't recommend it. Those jalapenos are already full of liquid therefore I don't know how much of the syrup it would actually take on.

Gregg Kangas

Thursday 7th of July 2022

I've been making these for well over a year now, but I do 1-1 1/2 tsp celery seed 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp of Cayenne powder. I am very curious to try the chili powder. last batch I made with a Agua chili twist, juice of 1 lime to the syrup and add 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro at the end. EVERYONE I give this to absolutely loves it and begs for the recipe. Can't wait to try your version! Thank you


Monday 14th of February 2022

I made these and waited a few weeks to enjoy them and HOLY COW they are delicious! I brought some to a party and they were a huge hit. I will have to have batches of these available at all times. Great with cream cheese on a cracker, on meat, on sandwiches. I did go through the effort of taking out as many of the seeds as I could and I liked that they weren't too spicy. Sweet but still had a little bit of that jalapeno kick. Very delicious. Thank you so much for the recipe!

Darcey Olson

Monday 14th of February 2022

Kate thank you for the nice comment! These are our FAVORITE at Christmas time and we always have some on hand for random recipes.