Every year my spice-lovin’ husband plants WAY too many hot peppers in our vegetable garden. He can’t help himself, I suppose, but our family can only eat so much salsa and Chile Verde.
This year, rather than letting our delicious crop of jalapeños go to waste, I searched Tasty Kitchen for new recipes and could hardly believe my luck when I came across a recipe for Candied Jalapeños (Cowboy Candy) from TK member Rebecca.
Canned jalapeños? Yes please! What could be better than enjoying the fruit of our summer labor on a cold day in February?
After making a batch of Rebecca’s Candied Jalapeños, I know one thing for sure: there is no way I’ve canned enough jars to make it till February.
You may be wondering what Candied Jalapeños taste like. It’s a wonderful mix of sweet and heat. I made my first batch with the seeds and membranes included and it was SPICY! The tangy, savory sweet flavor of the syrup knocked my socks off. In short, Cowboy Candy is delicious and totally addicting.
I’ll be making another batch for my family this week, and one to give as gifts for the holidays. This time around I’ll remove the seeds and membranes (which is where most of the spicy heat is found), so the rest of my family can enjoy their treat without watery eyes and runny noses.
Here’s how to make Cowboy Candy.
Start with fresh, firm jalapeños. As with any canning recipe, the quality of your vegetable (or fruit) is very important.
Remove the stems from your peppers. Yes, I’m wearing gloves, which might seem a bit cautious. But try inadvertently rubbing your eye after chopping a quantity of spicy peppers, and you’ll opt for gloves too.
This would be a good time to core out the seeds and membrane if you like a milder flavor.
Slice the peppers into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices.
Beyond the obvious jalapeños, the ingredients are sugar, cider vinegar, turmeric, celery seed, ground cayenne pepper and granulated garlic. I live in a smaller community and couldn’t find granulated garlic. I chose powdered garlic at half the measurement (1-1/2 teaspoons) as a substitute, since powered is much finer than granulated. Powdered garlic was easy and worked great for me. After reading the comments on Rebecca’s blog, I discovered that she recommends one clove of garlic per 1/4 teaspoon of granulated, if you have trouble finding granulated like I did.
Pour 6 cups of white granulated sugar into a large pot.
Add the vinegar and spices.
Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the peppers and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Some of the slices looked more cooked than others, but that’s okay.
Using a slotted spoon or mesh skimmer, transfer the peppers into clean, sterile, hot canning jars. Fill to within 1/4 inch from the rim of the jar. You can use half pint or if you have big eaters, go for pint jars. Knowing my husband, I opted for pints and yielded 4 jars.
Return the syrup to the stove, turn up the heat and bring back to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes.
Use a ladle to pour the boiling syrup over the jalapeños.
Insert a clean, sterile chopstick to the bottom of the jar several times to release any trapped air. Add or remove syrup if necessary to leave 1/4 inch head space.
Wipe the rims of the jars using a clean, damp paper towel to remove any stickiness. A clean rim is important for a good seal.
Fix on new two-piece lids to fingertip tightness.
Rebecca included recommended canning times on the recipe: 10 minutes for 1/2 pint and 15 minutes for pint jars. However, I live in the Rocky Mountains at almost 5000 feet, so I made a quick call to my local State Extension service for canning times at my altitude. The canning times vary depending on where you live, so I highly recommend making the same phone call to find the right time for you. I processed my pint jars for 25 minutes.
Add your cans to your canner with two inches of water over the tops of the lid. Start timing only after your water has come to a full boil.
Rebecca recommends waiting about 2 weeks before eating your jalapenos, for best flavor. This turned out to be a tall order for our house and my husband broke into a jar in less than a week.
Already we’ve enjoyed them on burgers with jack cheese and on turkey sandwiches.
We’ve also loved them as an appetizer on crackers with cream cheese. I get the feeling we’ve just begun finding ways to enjoy this spicy treat.
Just be sure to spoon some of the syrup onto whatever you are eating! It is the star of the show.
Thank you Rebecca for sharing Cowboy Candy with us. You are truly a genius in the kitchen.
Be sure to check out Rebecca’s Tasty Kitchen recipe box for more of her delicious recipes. You’ll also love her blog Foodie with Family.
These little beauties are so addictive: sweet, spicy, and tangy. Once you start eating these, you’ll find all sorts of places to stash them—sandwiches, potato salad, grilled meat, and pasta, just to name a few.
- 3 pounds Firm, Fresh Jalapeno Peppers, Washed
- 2 cups Cider Vinegar
- 6 cups White Granulated Sugar
- ½ teaspoons Turmeric
- ½ teaspoons Celery Seed
- 3 teaspoons Granulated Garlic
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
Wearing gloves, remove the stems from all of the jalapeno peppers. The easiest way to do this is to slice a small disc off of the stem-end along with the stem. Discard the stems.
Slice the peppers into uniform 1/8-1/4 inch rounds. Set aside.
In a large pot, bring cider vinegar, white sugar, turmeric, celery seed, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pepper slices and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers, loading into clean, sterile canning jars to within 1/4 inch of the upper rim of the jar. Turn heat up under the pot with the syrup and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes.
Use a ladle to pour the boiling syrup into the jars over the jalapeno slices. Insert a cooking chopstick to the bottom of the jar two or three times to release any trapped pockets of air. Adjust the level of the syrup if necessary. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp paper towel and fix on new, two-piece lids to finger-tip tightness.
If you do not want to can these to the point of shelf stable, you can simply put the jars in your refrigerator and store them there. I prefer to keep the fridge space free so I can them. If you wish to can them, follow the instructions below.
Note: If you have leftover syrup, and it is likely that you will, you may can it in half-pint or pint jars, too. It’s wonderful brushed on meat on the grill or added to potato salad or, or, or … in short, don’t toss it out!
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 full rolling boil, set the timer for 10 minutes for half-pints or 15 minutes for pints. When timer goes off, use canning tongs to transfer the jars to a cooling rack. Leave them to cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. When fully cooled, wipe them with a clean, damp washcloth, then label.
Allow to mellow for at least two weeks, but preferably a month before eating. Or don’t. I won’t tell!
Calli is truly a woman of many talents, from cooking, sewing, crafts, beautiful photography and gardening. Her blog, Make it Do is a treasure trove of recipes, household tips, crafts projects, sewing patterns … you name it. It’s also peppered with photos of her beautiful kids. Go visit her site, and visit it often. There’s always something new to learn there!
Comments are closed for this recipe.
Jenny on 12.1.2011
Can anyone tell me if it is possible to make a half batch of these, put them in a jar and just keep it in the fridge? I have never canned and don’t know if I am ready to start but my husband would LOVE these….Thanks in advance!
Joyce Sizemore on 10.29.2011
I have been purchasing candied jalapenos and had lots on the bushes this year so just made my own. So good. The syrup is good to add a can of sliced beets to the syrup and let sit a couple weeks and they are so good also. Guess you could use the leftover syrup for just about any vegetable.
Therese on 10.24.2011
I made these a few weeks ago with a mix of anaheims and long cayennes. We like spicy so the milder anaheims and the spicer cayenne were a nice mix for us. Marinated a skirt steak in the sauce for about 30 minutes and then grilled it up and topped with the peppers – delish and super simple! I think we left the tumeric out because I didn’t have any, and it was still great.
Corynne on 10.11.2011
I made these last month and they were a hit. I am one of those people that dont crave spicy things but I know a lot of people that do so I use my garden stash of jalapenos on them. Great recipe and my plants are overflowin again so I think I will make some more this week. I probably will add more peeppers this time because I had a pint of syrup left over (and I canned that too) for exactly the reasons listed above. Thanks for another tutorial!
Wendyo on 10.6.2011
Oh, I wish I had seen this a few days ago! I just used up all the peppers in my garden canning pepper jelly. Next tear I’ll be sure to do this!
Kelly Cree on 10.6.2011
try block of cream cheese, diced jalapenos (with syrup) and a blob of apricot jelly –all on a cracker. Looks crazy–takes amazing. A great appetizer that is easy to put out — about 30 seconds and keep around the house. Thanks for another great recipe!
Becky on 10.2.2011
I can’t wait to try these. I’m always on the look out for different things to can.
lauren in arkansas on 10.2.2011
I made these yesterday and WOW, I think the next time I’m going to leave out the cayenne pepper! These are MOLTEN!
eq4bits on 9.30.2011
I made this last fall, using a slightly different receipe, but used jalapenos that had turned red as well. I made jars of ‘green’ and jars of ‘red’, so come Christmas I had the perfect color combo on either side of the cream cheese in the middle of the hors d’ouvres tray
Julie on 9.29.2011
Just made these…I am sure they will be our new addiction, I had about 3 lbs of peppers, made 8 1/2 pints and 2 1/2 pints of syrup. Can’t wait to try them…I know we won’t be able to wait 2 weeks ;o)
Marlene on 9.27.2011
I love these things. I always can the leftover syrup. It makes a great glaze but it’s even better when a small amount is drizzled over a bowl of Breyers Vanilla Bean ice cream. I know it sounds gross but there’s an incredible explosion in your mouth… I can’t even explain it. Just try it!
Leslie Jackson on 9.26.2011
I buy a jar of whole pickles and drain juice and slice into slices! Layer pickles jala and sugar as you refill the jar one cup per a layer. (3 cups int he average jar). Then pour 2-3 tanlespoons of vinegar over the top and put in fridge. The longer they sit the hotter they get. We do this for the County Fair Sale and serve with beans and corn bread for the buyers! I cant keep my fingers out of the jar!
This recipe reminds me of this because I love both the peppers and the pickles!
J @ ... semplicemente ... J on 9.26.2011
I want some of those fabulous jalapenos!
Emily on 9.26.2011
I’m so excited to try this – what a great idea! How long do you think they’ll last in the fridge once opened? I’m thinking I’ll just make one big jar to eat right away instead of “canning” them.
mtmanor on 9.26.2011
Love these! And very easy for a canning festival. I think next time I make Pepper Jelly I’m adding some of the sliced and cooked peppers to the mix. They seem to work well together.
Debbie in ok on 9.25.2011
So, I want to make these but don’t have any kind of “canner” is there some way to still seal the jars without one?
megan custy lee on 9.25.2011
Yum! My fav sushi restaurant in town puts these on top of their “dragon roll”.
Myra in CO Springs on 9.25.2011
My mom has been making Cowboy Candy for years! She cans them to add to goody baskets for the holidays. They are so yummy! Love them on club crackers with cream cheese.
PT in SC on 9.25.2011
Oh My…I’ve got peppers in the garden…they must have been waiting for this recipe.
Karen on 9.24.2011
I’ve gotta try this. My husband is always hunting around for some spicy snack. Most commercially available “hot” foods are just not spicy enough. This sounds like a winner. I may even have to try canning.
Alyssa on 9.24.2011
I so want to try this; I love jalepenos! I’ll have to save this recipe for a time when I’m not living in a dorm room and have to share my kitchen with 150 other people.
carol on 9.24.2011
Cowboy Candy sounds and looks luscious but a very good grocery store item that is also luscious is Sweet & Hot Jalapeno Pepper Rings by Mezzetta. They are great with the Chicken Salad mentioned earlier and as a garnish with many dishes.
Kristi on 9.24.2011
How do you get your jalapenos to grow to that size. I live in South Texas and mine have yet to get any longer than maybe 2 inches and they’re super hot!! Second, those candied jalapenos are awesome when you process them with an 8 oz block of cream cheese with about 3-4T. of candied jalapenos in your food processor and then eat them with fritoes….YUMMO!!
LM on 9.24.2011
I make a delicious, easy spread with these (I’ve always bought them at a local market, never made them myself). All you do is chop up a bunch of the candied jalapenos, include some of the juice, and mix it with cream cheese. Slap it on a cracker and you won’t believe how good it is. And everyone always loves it – even those who claim to hate jalapenos and spicy stuff.
elizabeth s. on 9.24.2011
This looks fabulous!
I’ve never canned before, so this just might be my first attempt!
Thanks for sharing,
P.S. I am so glad you showed a picture and commented on the use of gloves while cutting jalapenos. My cousin went to the hospital with burns on her skin due to cutting and chopping, barehanded, a large amount of jalapenos…. Not something to be trifled with.
Tracie B on 9.24.2011
I made these following the same recipe this summer. They are fabulous! However, they are HOT and I would also remove the seeds and membranes on the next batch I make. I also think that banana peppers would be super canned this way. Thanks for the post and the beautiful pictures!
Katrina on 9.24.2011
What a great idea!
homegrown countrygirl on 9.24.2011
Great pictures! I wanted to grab some of them right out of my computer screen and pop them in my mouth!
One thing, though… are you sure you used pint jars? There might be something wrong with my eyeballs but those kind of look like half-pint jars to me. Like you said, jar size (and altitude) matter for knowing the proper amount of time to process in the canner. No big deal if something gets processed a bit too long… it just might make the food a little mushier than intended. But processing for too short a time would be dangerous.
Rebecca on 9.24.2011
Wow, Calli! Thank you (and Tasty Kitchen) for doing such a beautiful and clear tutorial of my recipe. It’s wonderful to know that everyone else seems to love these as much as we do around here. My husband can eat half of a jar in one sitting. I always suspected he was, in reality, Superman, but this gave me confirmation.
IttyBittyBeastie on 9.23.2011
How have I seriously lived this long without these??? Never again! :o)
Katie McG on 9.23.2011
Holy Mackerel!!!!! Can I just say how beautiful those look! Can I just say how much I want to make those! I’ve made pickled jalapenos with carrot slices and garlic pods ala Rick Bayless but Candied Jalapenos – I’m sold. Thank you so much for posting that.
Kathy W. on 9.23.2011
Oh my goodness, those look delicious! My husband is not a spicy food lover so I could eat the whole jar myself, lol. I do, however, have some spice loving family members. Perfect for the holidays! Thanks!
Laurie - Simply Scratch on 9.23.2011
Oh my word. I so have to make this!
Lise on 9.23.2011
Reminds me of the jalapeno jelly I make every year to give as Christmas gifts – can’t wait to try these!
Just a Girl on 9.23.2011
In our family we have a very similar and lazy way of making candied jalapenos…we take a jar of store bought jalapenos drain it and fill the jar with sugar. Let it sits until the sugar is dissolved and if necessary repeat filling with sugar. It does have a tendency to make a sticky mess.
Angela on 9.23.2011
Just so you know, the hotness in the peppers is not found in the seeds: http://www.chilipepperproductions.com/facts/trivia.html
patricia on 9.23.2011
I know I will be making this soon, thanks!!!
CaySal on 9.23.2011
I bet these taste similar to homemade pepper jelly made with jalapenos. I love the stuff! We use it as a marinade sometimes when cooking pork and chicken, eat it on crackers with cream cheese, put it on cheeseburgers…
SueZ on 9.23.2011
I’ve made this recipe with my grown-in-South-Texas-sun and almost blew out my sinuses. My jalepenos are too hot to be believed. I’ve been using a sliver, a teensy amount, to flavor chili, but oh boy, too hot for the cracker/cream cheese route.
Some jalepenos are just not trustworthy!
Sarah Taylor on 9.23.2011
Wondering where to find the magnetic lid lifter that is the best thing I have ever seen, I’m used to using a spoon to lifting lids out of the hot water!
Theresa DePaepe on 9.23.2011
I make these every year and have posted about them on my blog, too. I use these in the wintertime as a substitute for fresh in salsas, and they are great! If you love these, you’ll like jalapeno jelly, too. Yummy.
Krystal J on 9.23.2011
Do you know approximately how many jalapenos you used? These look delicious, and would make a great gift!
Wenderly on 9.23.2011
Wow do those little guys look tasty! Can’t wait to make some!
AlainaB on 9.23.2011
I made these the end of August for the first time and am anxiously awaiting my first “taste” of the finished, canned product. Make sure to save the sauce for future marinades… the possibilities are endless…
Janelle on 9.23.2011
When you seed and remove the membrane, do you have to cut them lengthwise first?
callimakesdo on 9.23.2011
You can remove the seeds and membrane using the tip of an old fashioned potato peeler. That’s I’ve used for stuffed jalapenos and it worked great. You could also cut them lengthwise, which might be faster but not as pretty.
Pickle Diva on 9.23.2011
I made this on the first weekend of September while doing my regular canning for craft shows. I have many customers that LOVE my spicy stuff, especially when mixed with something sweet! Before I sell anything I test my stuff out on my unsuspecting co-workers. I just opened the first jar this past Monday, and HOLY SMOKES! People went nuts! I sold out of every jar I made the next day (I doubled the recipe and yielded 10 jars), and I have a ton of orders for the next batch! My friends are calling this Cowboy Crack!
This recipe will certainly NOT last until February!!!
I also saw another one of the canning blogs I follow make a similar recipe this week too. Must be something in the September air!
*A note on doubling the recipe.* We had tons of syrup left over partly because we made a double batch, and possibly also because I really packed the jars with peppers, so we canned the syrup as well and are calling it Spur Sauce. My friends and I have tried it and it goes great on fish, chicken, in bbq sauce, meatloaf…anything saucy you can think of, this sauce fits right in!
Nikki Keehl on 9.23.2011
Great recipe! Cant wait to make them!
Mandy Jane (in the Oregon woods) on 9.23.2011
This will be on our canning list for the weekend! We have a ton of tomatillos and tomatoes and peppers. Its gonna get steamy. Thank you for all the inspiration!
Jennifer C. on 9.23.2011
I mix a pint jar (juice and all) with a large tub of cream cheese in the food processor and use as a dip for crackers. It’s one of our favorites! Play around with the quantities of each to achieve your desired heat.
LorieG on 9.23.2011
I make these with a slightly different spice mix and everyone who has tried them loves them.