posted November 13, 2023
These quick Candied Jalapeños are the perfect combination of spicy and sweet. They’re easy to make and oh-so delicious. They’re perfect on top of BBQ, salads, sandwiches, and more. One bite and you’ll be hooked.
Candied Jalapeño Peppers
Candied jalapeño peppers are a great way to turn spicy jalapeños into sweet, bite-sized treats that still bring the heat. I personally find myself growing a couple jalapeños in the garden each year just so I have an excuse to make these. These jalapeños are sweet, spicy, and delicious, and I eat them faster than a kid eats his Halloween candy.
What is Cowboy Candy?
Cowboy candy is another name for candied jalapeños. Because jalapeños are a spicy pepper bursting with flavor, they’re perfect to be pickled and sweetened up. By boiling them with sugar and vinegar, you create a beautiful balance between sweet, spicy, and acidic. Even though they’re still spicy (and they’re supposed to be!), they now have a sweet flavor that makes them more manageable (and crazy addictive).
Quick Candied Jalapeños
When preserving vegetables, I often go the “quick” method, by using acidic liquid to pickle them and store them short-term in the refrigerator. Sliced jalapeños are delicate, so a quick canning method works best to help them retain their shape and crispness. While you can pressure can jalapeños, I prefer using this method because it is faster, and the jalapeños maintain their crunchy bite better than if they were pressure canned.
Once cooked and cooled, these jalapeños are delicious on just about anything. Since we’re in the business of BBQ, I serve these with just about anything I smoke or grill. They provide a great sweet, spicy addition to ribs, pulled pork, and more. I also stick them on sandwiches, nachos, burritos, tacos, and anything that needs a bit of added oomph. If you’re planning on taking an appetizer to a party, grab some cream cheese and chips and serve these candied jalapenos on top of the cream cheese for a sweet and spicy dip.
I seem to find new uses for these peppers all the time, and I have friends and family tell me candied jalapeños are some of their favorite toppings. Honestly, the possibilities are endless for quick candied jalapeños, and since they take less than 30 minutes to make, I bet you’ll be making them over and over again.
How to Candy Your Jalapeños
Making candied jalapeños is super quick and easy. Follow these 4 steps, and you’ll be snacking on this sweet and spicy goodness soon.
- Slice the jalapeños. Make sure to remove the stem, and slice your jalapeños into rings. I always recommend wearing gloves when working with jalapeños to prevent the oils from getting on your skin. If you don’t have gloves, make sure to use a spoon to remove the seeds (if you’ve chosen to do so), and try to handle the sliced jalapenos as little as possible. Oh, and don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly when you’re done. Touching your eyes after slicing jalapeños is no fun.
- Bring to a boil. Combine the jalapeños, water, sugar, vinegar, salt, and celery seeds in a medium-sized saucepan at medium heat and bring everything to a boil. If you have especially spicy jalapeños, it might also be wise to open a window or turn on your kitchen fan while your jalapeños are boiling.
- Simmer. Reduce the heat and allow everything to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Cool and store. Remove your saucepan from the stove and set aside to cool. Once cooled, transfer everything to a lidded glass jar or container. Candied jalapeños can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
These candied jalapeños only get better with time. I highly recommend allowing them to sit for a day or two before digging in.
Tips for Making Cowboy Candy
Even though this recipe is already easy and fast, here are some handy tips to keep in mind as you’re making these tasty treats.
- Serve in a bowl. When serving these jalapeños with a BBQ platter, put them in a bowl with some of the liquid. This keeps them contained without the spice seeping through everything else on your platter.
- Switch up the heat. You can decrease the spiciness of these jalapeños by removing the seeds before boiling. If you’re wanting to make some candied peppers that aren’t as spicy, substitute the jalapeños for cocktail bell peppers or banana peppers. Like your jalapeños hot? Simply slice the peppers and place them in the saucepan. This will provide a good amount of heat.
- Reuse the liquid. Once you’ve eaten all those tasty jalapeños, don’t throw out the remaining liquid. Add a little (or a lot) of it to some of your homemade BBQ sauce to give your sauce an extra kick of heat.
How to Store Candied Jalapeños
You can store these Candied Jalapeños in any lidded glass jar. You’ll want to keep them in the refrigerator to help retain all the sweet, spicy goodness. They’ll maintain their flavor and kick for up to 4 weeks this way, and use them for toppings on all sorts of things, or devour them all on their own.
Recipes Using Candied Jalapeños
Candied Jalapeños are delicious with so many different foods. They’re a must-have on the side of all my BBQ platters. They’re also amazing on the side of these tasty recipes. You’ve just gotta try them.
- Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
- Grilled Sweet Potato Nachos
- Simple Smoked Pulled Pork
- Smoked Deviled Eggs
- Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket
Candied Jalapeños Recipe
Follow the recipe, and I’ll teach you the simple steps to making your own candied jalapeños (cowboy candy) at home. I’m here to help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipes and videos on YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook.
- 10 to 12 jalapenos (sliced into rings)
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon celery seeds
- Bring all ingredients to a boil. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.10 to 12 jalapenos, 1 ½ cups water, 1 cup white sugar, ½ cup white vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon celery seeds
- Simmer the jalapenos. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Allow to cool. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Store and enjoy. Once cooled, transfer to a lidded glass jar or container. These candied jalapenos can be stored in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
BBQ Must Haves
Join the Grill Squad
The Grill Squad is our exclusive membership program that will transform bland cookouts into booming barbecues that you'll remember for a lifetime. The technique and skills you learn will bring your backyard cookouts to a new level. For the cost of a full brisket, you'll get annual access to an exclusive BBQ community, Pitmaster Classes, discounts, and much much more!