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Smoky Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapeños)

What is Cowboy Candy?

Cowboy candy is candied jalapeños. Sweet, sour, spicy….and now smoky, too! It is more addicting than crack. For reals. Just ask anyone who has tried it.

It is a staple in the canning community and very popular as gifts during Christmas, due to the festive red and green peppers and delicious flavor.

Cowboy Candy is typically made with vinegar, sugar, and spices. Most recipes include turmeric, but this recipe has no turmeric. We didn’t have any on hand and we did not miss it one bit!

How Do I Eat Cowboy Candy?

Cowboy Candy is eaten straight out of the jar, on crackers or bagels with cream cheese, on salads, on meat dishes…basically, you find any excuse to eat these!

The syrup also makes a great marinade for meats and is EXCELLENT for a spicy peanut brittle.

Your family and friends are seriously going to love you for making this. But, be prepared for CONSTANT requests to make these!

How to Make Cowboy Candy

You’ll need red and green jalapeños. Now, the red and green aren’t necessary and you can do either/or, but the 2 colors really make it pretty, especially if these are being made for holiday gifts.

cowboy candy canning recipe

It can be Christmas year-round with these!

You’ll also need vinegar, sugar, and some spices: garlic powder, cumin, cayenne, celery seed, and smoked paprika.

First, you make the syrup. Add everything to a pot except the peppers and heat to a boil, then simmer.

Add the peppers then simmer.

Put peppers in hot jars, then top off with syrup. You WILL have leftover syrup. DO NOT WASTE IT! Pour the syrup in jars, too. It is liquid gold! Remember what I said above? There are lots of uses for the leftover syrup.

Now all that’s left is to water bath can your candied jalapeños. This is one of those foods that the longer they sit in the jar, the more the flavors develop. We try not to open them for a couple of weeks. ‘Try’ being the operative word.

candied jalapenos canning recipe

Welcome to your new addiction.

We highly recommend you double or even triple the recipe. You’ll find out why after you make these.

5 from 2 votes
cowboy candy recipe
Smoky Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapeños) Canning Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins

Sweet, Sour, Spicy, Smoky. Prepare to be addicted.

Servings: 6 half-pint jars
  • 3 lbs jalapeños sliced
  • 2 cups vinegar (can use apple cider or white)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  1. In a large pot, bring syrup ingredients to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.

  2. Add peppers to pot and simmer for 4 minutes.

  3. Using a slotted spoon, scoop peppers into jars, leaving 1/4" headspace.

  4. Pour syrup into jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Fill empty jars with any leftover syrup you have, also leaving 1/4" headspace. Wipe rims of jars clean with a damp cloth and put on lids and bands (only finger tight).

  5. Place jars in prepared water bath canner filled with enough hot water to cover the jars by 2 inches. When the water reaches full rolling boil, start the timer. Water bath can half-pints for 10 minutes, or pint jars for 15 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Use the leftover syrup as a meat marinade or whip up some Cowboy Peanut Brittle.

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. These are seriously like crack! We ate them so quick. Think we will need to quadruple next time haha Thanks so much for the recipe!

  2. I have a quart of juice left over. Please tell me you have a jelly recipe. I’ve looked everywhere for help using just the juice as a starter and not making the jelly from scratch.

  3. I canned 7 pints this morning and 3 pints of the brine for marinade, I cannot wait until they can be opened. I am testing these to see if my farmers market customers will love these as much as regular cowboy candy

    1. I hope they did well at the Farmer’s Market! Thanks for trying out one of my recipes 🙂

  4. Haven’t made there yet but it’s on my son has had this before and he is addicted to it so I’m going to try and make some for him as a present for being there when I need him

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