Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapenos)

Total Time

Prep: 25 min. Process: 15 min.


3 pints

Updated: Oct. 12, 2022
If you love spicy food like we do, then these tasty candied jalapenos—also known as cowboy candy—are for you! You can save the syrup to baste roasted chicken or grilled salmon, or mix it into salad dressings. Jars of this dynamite condiment make a great gift. —Rita Ladany, Edison, New Jersey
Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapenos) Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 1 pound jalapeno peppers (about 16), cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1-1/2 cups thinly sliced garlic cloves (about 4 bulbs)
  • 3-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 3/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cayenne pepper, minced, optional


  1. Pack jalapenos and garlic into three hot 1-pint jars to within 1/2 in. of the top. In a large saucepan, bring sugar, vinegar, seasonings and, if desired, cayenne pepper to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.
  2. Carefully ladle hot liquid over pepper mixture, leaving 1/2-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot mixture. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars; screw on bands until fingertip tight.
  3. Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil; process for 15 minutes. Remove jars and cool.
Cowboy Candy Tips

What is cowboy candy?

Cowboy candy is another name for candied jalapenos. In the past, it often included maraschino cherries, but modern versions tend to stick to a sweet brine with herbs and spices.

Does pickling jalapenos make them hotter?

Pickling jalapenos actually makes jalapenos a bit less spicy! The sugar in this recipe helps make jalapenos heat slightly milder, but they still retain a good amount of kick. If you want to mellow it even further, mix the cowboy candy into some cream cheese and use it as a spread.

What can I do with candied jalapenos?

You may feel stumped, but you can do so much with candied jalapenos! They are a tasty topper for burgers, steak, or hot dogs. You can also mix them into dips, salad dressings or add them to a grilled cheese.

How long will candied jalapenos last?

When properly processed in a home canner, cowboy candy will last up to a year if kept in a cool, dark place. More than likely, they won’t last that long, though. Once opened, refrigerate for up to 2 to 3 weeks.

—Maggie Knoebel, Taste of Home Associate Recipe Editor/Test Cook and James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor, Culinary
Canning Altitude
The processing time listed is for altitudes of 1,000 feet or less. For altitudes up to 3,000 feet, add 5 minutes; 6,000 feet, add 10 minutes; 8,000 feet, add 15 minutes; 10,000 feet, add 20 minutes.
Peppers (Hot)
Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.

Nutrition Facts

2 tablespoons: 10 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 1mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.