Sweet, tangy, crispy, and spicy, these candied jalapenos are so easy to make at home. They’re an addictive snack, perfect in sandwiches, and perk up your favorite salads. No canning needed — they’ll stay good tightly covered in the refrigerator for an indefinite period of time. Indefinite because they’ve never lasted very long here.
For this recipe you’ll need: fresh jalapenos, onions, cider vinegar, sugar, and tequila. An instant read thermometer is nice to have.
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Cowboy Candy: The Condiment You Didn’t Know You Needed
Candied jalapenos, cowboy candy, or whatever you call them are an absolute necessity that you didn’t know you needed. They add a kick of flavor to so many different foods that you’ll probably be making them often. They are fantastic Christmas gifts, too, especially if you use half red and half green jalapenos!
If that isn’t enough reason to make them then consider this – they are an absolute necessity in these shrimp po’ boy sandwiches. You don’t want to mess up an awesome recipe with inferior candied jalapenos, right?
I developed this recipe because the commercial candied jalapenos just never taste right to me and the other recipes that I’ve tried just weren’t what I was looking for.
The Secret Ingredient
After a couple of (thousand) experiments I ended up with a crunchy, crispy, sweet, tangy candied jalapeno with a ton of flavor. The secret?
I don’t know why but it adds something to the flavor. The alcohol is pretty much cooked off, and these jalapenos don’t taste like tequila. They taste like the best cowboy candy you’ve ever had.
Tips for Working with Jalapenos
This is truly one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever make but, having made candied jalapenos for decades, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve – and I’m sharing.
- Wear food safe gloves to protect your hands!
- Choose fresh, firm jalapenos with no bruising or soft spots.
- Although some people can theirs I prefer to make them and keep them in the refrigerator. If you want to can them be sure to read this info on processing times by the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
- Some recipes use just jalapenos, sugar, and water. I don’t care for those because the flavor is too flat. The vinegar and onion add a nice contrast of flavors that keeps them from being weirdly sweet.
- I add onions because I like the color contrast, for Christmas I’ll add slices of the small red sweet peppers. That adds both a taste and a color contrast.
- You can control the spicy heat to some extent by removing the seeds and membrane before you begin for milder peppers. Leave the seeds in and it’s going to be infused with the fires from hell. It’s your call.
- Save any leftover syrup to use in cocktails and sauces. Ok. Mostly cocktails. 🙂 I love a good pineapple margarita made with a splash of this syrup. I also like it on biscuits but that’s another story.
- Use gloves! I don’t use gloves when I’m working with jalapenos but don’t do as I do, do as I say and wear gloves. This is especially important if you have sensitive skin. Don’t rub your nose or eyes, and for goodness sake don’t go to the bathroom without washing your hands really well beforehand — and after, of course. Trust me on this.
More Recipes You’ll Love
- Fig and Chipotle Jam is so easy! It’s made with dried figs so it thickens up all by itself. Sweet and hot, it’s delicious on a charcuterie board, roast chicken sandwiches, or just about anything else.
- Onion and Bacon Jam will make your burgers the talk of the town!
- Spiced Apple Rings are one of my favorite things to put on a ham sandwich. They make a gorgeous addition to any holiday table, too.
- Strawberry Jam with tequila and lime? It’s out of this word good, y’all.
- Jezebel Sauce is a southern classic. Sweet, spicy, savory goodness.
Spicy Pickled Pineapple from Running to the Kitchen has got my full attention currently. I’m dying to try it…soon.
You May Need
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I like to use canning jars for storage of foods like this. The 8-ounce jelly jars are just right for giving as gifts or storing in the fridge.
Food safe disposable gloves are exactly what you need to keep from burning your hands when working with hot peppers like jalapenos.
Homemade Candied Jalapenos Recipe
I think people call it cowboy candy because some of us will sit and eat it right out of the jar until our inside boil and we’re breathing fire. For normal people with most of their sanity intact these candied jalapenos are so good on burgers and sandwiches of all kinds. Make them soon!
If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars!
Candied Jalapenos: Best Recipe EverPrint Add to Collection Go to Collections
- 8 ounces fresh jalapenos
- About 5 thin rings of a fresh onion
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup tequila, used 1800 Gold Reposado
- Cut the stems off the jalapenos, remove seeds (for milder jalapenos), and slice.
- Cut the onion rings in half or fourths depending on the size.
- Set aside.
- Add the sugar and vinegar to a heavy saucepan.
- Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved.
- Turn the heat down and simmer the mixture for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it reduced by about half.
- Continue to simmer until the temperature reaches about 225F or the syrup thickens when dropped on a cold plate.
- Remove from heat.
- Carefully add the tequila, jalapenos, and onion.
- Return to heat.
- Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring once in awhile to make sure the syrup isn’t scorching. If it seems too thick add a tablespoon or two of water.
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- With a slotted spoon add the jalapenos to a clean jar.
- Carefully ladle in the syrup to cover the jalapenos.
- Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before using.
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