Sweet And Spicy Jalapeno


Sweet and spicy jalapeno dip recipe is an easy and perfect appetizer for Super Bowl Sunday and any other occasion. This dip is spicy but still sweet which makes it more delicious to eat for almost anyone. Today’s recipe is for spicy, sweet, and a little bit smoky pickled jalapeno peppers. I was going to go with the traditional bread and butter pickles but you know I like to shake things .Candied Sweet Heat Pickled Jalapeno Recipe

Candied Sweet Heat Pickled Jalapeno Recipe is a tasty combination of sweet, savory, & hot flavors. Enjoy these on burgers, sandwiches, wraps & salads.


  • In a large pot, bring cider vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, cayenne, and celery seed to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the jalapeno pepper slices (and red bell pepper, if desired) and simmer for 4 minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers into clean, sterile canning jars, packing the jalapeños semi-firmly within ¼-inch of the rim of the jar.
  • Turn heat up for the remaining syrup and bring to a full rolling boil.
  • Boil for 5 minutes.
  • Use a ladle to pour the boiling syrup into the jars over the jalapeño slices.
  • Insert a knife into each of the jars two or three times to release any trapped pockets of air.
  • Add more syrup if necessary. (*see notes for leftover syrup)
  • Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp paper towel then screw on two-part canning lids.
  • If you do NOT want to properly can these, simply cool jars at room temperature for an hour and then store them in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 months.
  • Use proper canning procedures to store at room temperature for longer periods of time.
  • To can, place jars in a canner and cover with water by 2-inches. Bring the water to a full rolling boil. When it reaches a boil, set the timer for 10 minutes for half-pint jars or 15 minutes for pint jars. When the timer goes off, use canning tongs to transfer the jars to a cooling rack or kitchen towel. Leave them to cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. When fully cooled, wipe them with a clean damp washcloth. Double check that they’ve sealed properly by pushing down on the center of the lid. It will not move if it is sealed.

Candied Jalapenos Recipe (Homemade Cowboy Candy)

Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy) Recipe


What Is Cowboy Candy?

Cowboy candy is another name for candied jalapenos. They are essentially sliced jalapenos that are simmered and sweetened in a seasoned simple syrup.

They’re a perfect combination of sweet and spicy and they’re ideal for quick sweet snacks or garnishing. The candying process also helps to preserve them, too. 

The term has been around for ages, but the recipe is so popular, a small company even trademarked the common name. This homemade version is far superior. Everything is better homemade, isn’t it? And super easy!

Why buy this stuff when you can SO EASILY make it at home?

Homemade Cowboy Candy Ingredients

You will need the following ingredients to make homemade Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapenos):

  • Jalapeno Peppers.
  • Sugar.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar.
  • Seasonings. I use chili powder, turmeric, ground ginger and others. Use your favorites.

How To Make Homemade Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapenos) – The Recipe Method

First, slice the jalapenos into ¼-inch round slices. You can remove the seeds if you’d like, but I make them without coring. You should wear gloves if handling hot peppers bothers your skin.

Chopping jalapeno peppers in a pan to make Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy)

Stir together the sugar, vinegar and seasonings in a pan.

Bring to a full rolling boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer until the sugar dissolves into a gooey syrup.

Stirring the seasoned simple sugar in a pan

Add the jalapeno pepper slices and mix to evenly coat them with the syrup.

Adding jalapeno peppers to the pan

Reduce heat and simmer them for 4 minutes. They will darken a bit as they slightly cook and absorb some of the sugars after you add the pepper slices.

Simmering jalapeno peppers in a pan to make Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy)

Transfer the candied jalapeno peppers to cleaned jars, then fill the jars with the remaining syrup. Just pour the boiling syrup right in after you transfer the peppers with a slotted spoon. You can cool it slightly first if you’d like.

Pouring the simple sugar into the jarred Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy)

Wipe the rim of the jar then cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy) Recipe

Boom! That’s it! I love my homemade cowboy candy. Great stuff!

Makes about 3.5 cups.

Packed into three 1/2 pint jars.

Leftover Candied Jalapenos Syrup

If you have any leftover syrup, save it. Use it to make yourself a cocktail or a spicy mocktail. It’s quite delicious! Pour it over cupcakes, even potato salad. Get creative!

Serving Up Your Candied Jalapenos

I like to simply snack on my candied jalapenos straight out of the jar as a quick sweet snack. They are also ideal for garnishing. Pop them on top of your favorite Corn Bread Recipe, on top of a cupcake or a slice of pie.

It’s super awesome over cream cheese. Smear some cream cheese over crackers and top them with candied jalapenos. Amazingly delicious. You can even mix them into a serving bowl with cream cheese for a candied jalapeno cream cheese dip.

Garnish a cocktail with them. Margaritas, anyone? Chop and swirl some into your favorite guacamole recipe for a touch of sweetness.

So many ways to serve up your candied jalapeños!

Just quit stealing them off the plate, Mike!

Grabbing some Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy)

Mike’s Recipe Notes & Tips

This has turned out to be an amazingly popular recipe. They’re really THAT good. I’ll post here as questions pop up. Here is some additional information to help you along.

  • Wear Gloves: Peppers can cause skin irritation and burning. Some people are more sensitive than others. The oils from the peppers can get onto your skin when handling them, and especially cutting them. It is best to wear gloves when handling hot peppers.
  • Slicing the Jalapenos: You’ll be chopping a LOT of jalapeño peppers for this recipe. Use a mandolin or food processor with a slicing accessory to save some chopping time.
  • Removing the Seeds and Innards: If your concerned about the overall heat, you can core out the jalapenos before slicing them. Most of the heat resides in the pepper innards.

How Long Does Homemade Cowboy Candy Last?

Candied jalapenos will last about 3 months in the fridge without processing. If you process them in a water bath in canning jars, they can last easily a year in the pantry until you are ready to open them.

Candied Jalapenos

boiling the syrup for candied jalapenos
boiling peppers for candied jalapenos
making candied jalapenos - pouring syrup into jars with jalapeno slices

Candied Jalapeno are the perfect combination of sweet and spicy!  Perfect on burgers, sandwiches, nachos, or just by themselves!

This candied jalapenos recipe has rapidly become a true family favorite!  Perfect on sandwiches and so much more.  We also love easy condiment recipes like my Creamy Beer Cheese, and Refrigerator Dill Pickles

close up of candied jalapenos in glass jar

If you’ve never had a candied jalapeno, boy oh boy are you in for a treat my friend.  They’re truly the perfect balance of sweetness and spiciness.  The sugar tames the sharp heat from the jalapeno, turning it into this mouthwatering little gem.

They’re great on so many things… I’d be hard pressed to list them all!  Nachos, pulled pork/chicken, burgers, sandwiches, chopped up on hot dogs, in potato/macaroni salads, in egg salad, on a cracker or bagel with some cream cheese, or just with a fork.

I found a similar recipe in an old church cookbook I’d had for a long while, and did some tweaking to our tastes a couple years back… and ever since then, it’s been a staple in our refrigerator!

And don’t worry if you’re nervous about canning or worried you don’t have the necessary supplies to can, as there’s actually no canning going on here! 

Of course, you can actually can them if you’d like.  They’ll have a much longer shelf life that way, but I wanted to share the shortcut way here today 

holding an open jar of cowboy candy

How to make candied jalapeños

  1. Slice peppers.  You’re looking for slices about 1/4 inch thick.  Set them aside for now.
  2. Bring syrup mixture to a boil.  Add vinegar, sugar, and spices to a large pot and heat until boiling.  Once the mixture boils, reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.  If you notice your mixture starts to foam up a lot, like the picture on the right, decrease your heat and stir it a bit to get it to calm down.
  3. Bring back to boil, then add peppers.  Increase the heat and bring the mixture back up to a boil.  Once boiling, add your sliced peppers, and allow to come back to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for about 4 minutes. 
  4. Transfer peppers to jars.  I like to use a slotted spoon to leave as much of the liquid in the pot as possible.  Fill the jars to within about 1/4-1/2″ of the top of the jar.
  5. Boil the syrup and add to jars.  Increase the heat again and bring the syrup to a full rolling boil.  Boil for about 6 minutes.  Either ladle, or transfer syrup to a pitcher to pour into the glass jars with the peppers.  Fill the jars to within about 1/4-1/2″ of the top of the jar. https://66576b56cde7123ace6573326a5acc4e.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
  6. Wipe rims, seal and refrigerate.  Wipe the rims of jars with a damp paper towel and screw on canning jar lids.  Refrigerate for at least 1-2 weeks (3-4 weeks for optimal flavor and texture).


  • Fresh is best – The best candied jalapeños are made with the freshest jalapeños.  The pepper skin should be firm, with no deep blemishes.  Try to find consistently sized peppers, so your slices will be uniform in size.
  • Slicing – since you’ll be slicing 1.5 lbs of peppers, you’ll want a sharp knife and steady hand, a food processor with the slicing blade attached, or a mandoline.
  • Gloves – jalapeños are notorious for varying in heat level, so to error on the side of caution, I like to wear disposable gloves when working with them.  The oils from cutting peppers can get onto your skin and cause burning and skin irritation.  And god forbid you do something like rub your nose or eye before you’ve THOROUGHLY washed your hands.  Don’t ask me me how I know just how bad it’ll hurt… So trust me, glove up.
forkful of candied jalapenos


  • Double – as crazy as it may sounds, once you try these sweet and spicy jalapeños, you might want to make a double batch the next time.  This recipe is easily doubled… just make sure to double ALL the ingredients, but keep the cooking process and times the same.
    • If you hover over the serving size number in the recipe card down below, a slider bar will pop up.  Just slide the bar in either direction, until the number of servings you want shows, and it’ll automatically calculate the correct amount of each ingredient!
  • Peppers – technically you can “candy” any pepper, so if you’re up for it, you can try using hotter peppers, like serranos or habaneros!  Keep the process the same.
  • Milder – while candying tames the heat of the jalapenos quite a bit, if you’re really worried about the heat, you can core the peppers before slicing.
candied jalapeno on fork

Making candied jalapeños ahead of time

This is a natural make-ahead recipe, as the jalapenos need a good couple of weeks to plump back up and for the flavors to mellow out and mesh together.

If I’m patient enough, I like to wait for 3-4 weeks before opening a jar, but let’s face it… sometimes I just want the sweet-heat goodness before then.  1-2 weeks is a good middle ground.


Candied jalapenos should be sealed in an airtight container and refrigerated.  They should last about 2-3 months when kept refrigerated and the lids are sealed after each use.

I like to take a permanent marker and write down the date I made the pickles on the lid, so I’ll know when it’s been 2-3 months.  Honestly, our’s never last that long before we devour them!

If you wanted to can them via a traditional water bath, they can last a good year in the pantry.  But again, that’s only if you’ve canned them.

Leave a Reply

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

TheSuperHealthyFood © Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.