Cowboy Candy Recipe For Canning

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Cowboy candy is just another name for candied jalapenos. These spicy peppers are candied in sugar and vinegar and create the perfect hot pepper preserve to add to sandwiches, bread, casseroles, and so on. Cowboy candy is a simple way to preserve peppers.


To be honest, I am not a huge fan of spicy peppers. It’s funny, really, since my roots are Moroccan and my mother cooks a lot of delicious spicy food. But even though my tolerance to spicy food is really low, I still grow hot peppers in my garden every summer. 

I do like to add them to different dishes like shakshuka or my fermented cucumbers, for example. I like fermenting some of my jalapenos, and I also grow them for the farmer’s market. Most people seem to love hot peppers.

Cowboy Candy Recipe, a.k.a Candied Jalapeños…

Cowboy candy is just another name for candied jalapenos. These spicy peppers are candied in sugar and vinegar and create the perfect hot pepper preserve to add to sandwiches, bread, casseroles, and so on. Cowboy candy is a simple way to preserve peppers.

A couple of years ago, I simply had too many jalapenos in the garden. I only planted a few plants but they took off and produced a million beautiful peppers. I took some to the market but I had a hard time getting rid of all of them (I live in a very small town).

I also sell jams and other preserves and that year, maybe because there were so many jalapenos on my table, people kept asking if I had cowboy candy for sale. I was thinking to myself… What in the world is cowboy candy??

A short Google search revealed that cowboy candy is just another name for candied jalapenos! Basically, jalapenos (or another kind of hot pepper) cooked in a syrup of apple cider vinegar, sugar, and spices.

I knew immediately that the people of this small Southern town were going to love it. It is rather simple to make, and since I already had a bazillion jalapenos that I didn’t know what to do with, I decided to give it a try.

I changed the original recipe a bit, added garlic (of course) and mustard seeds and it turned out amazing. The jars flew off my table like hot cakes!

Ingredients You’ll Need…

You’ll need 2 pounds of jalapeno peppers. Again, feel free to use other kinds of hot peppers or just mix in other kinds with the jalapenos. I usually start with a little bit more, like 2.3 pounds so that after I cut off the stem I am left with about 2 pounds. You’ll also need 7 garlic cloves

For the syrup, you’ll need 4 cups of sugar, 2 cups of apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons of turmeric, 2 teaspoons of mustard seeds, and 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes.

This amount makes about 6 half pint jars or three pint jars.

Tools You’ll Need…

You’ll need a cutting board and a knife to chop your jalapenos. I really recommend that you use gloves for this task to protect your skin from the spicy peppers. You’ll also need measuring spoons and cups and a pot or deep pan. I like using my deep and wide pan for this dish. You’ll also need a wooden spoon for stirring.

You can definitely keep your cowboy candy in the fridge if you’d like, it will last a very long time, however, if you’re going to can your candied jalapenos, make sure that you have all the canning equipment that you’ll need. I like using half-pint jars for these but you can also use pint jars. You’ll need new lids but you can reuse bands.

You’ll need a large spoon to fill the jars with peppers and syrup, a paper towel to clean the rim of the jar before closing it, all of the canning utensils, and a water bath canner to process the jars in.

Watch Me Make Cowboy Candy…

How to Make Cowboy Candy…

Jalapeños peppers in a bowl.

Step 1 – start by washing your peppers well…

Sliced jalapeños and garlic.

Then, remove the stem and slice the jalapeno peppers. You can choose to leave the seeds or get rid of them. The seeds add a lot of heat and since cooking the peppers tamps down their spiciness a bit I usually leave the seeds to add a little more heat.

Adding all the ingredients of the syrup to a pot before coking.

Step 2 –  to the pan, add the sugar, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, chili flakes, sliced garlic cloves, and mustard seeds. Place the pan on the stovetop and turn the heat to medium-high. Bring this mixture to a boil, lower the heat and let boil gently for 10 minutes or so until the syrup reduces and thickens just a bit.

Adding the sliced jalapeños.

Step 3 – add the sliced jalapenos and stir to coat them with the syrup.

Cooking the peppers in the syrup.

Cook for 5-10 minutes until the peppers change their color to dark green. 

How to Can Cowboy Candy…

Step 4 – while the syrup and peppers are cooking, fill your water bath canner with enough water to cover the jars by at least an inch. Set it on the stovetop and turn the heat to high. Bring the water in the canner to a simmer (180 degrees F).

Wash the jars, lids, and rings well with hot water and soap. Since we are going to process the candied jalapenos in the canner for more than ten minutes, there is no need to sanitize the jars.

Adding the peppers and syrup to the jars before canning.

Step 5 – use a ladle and canning funnel to fill the jars with the jalapenos and syrup leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use the bubble remover to remove bubbles by scraping it along the inside of the jar. Then, use a clean, damp paper towel to clean the rim of the jar before centering the lid and closing the jar with the ring finger tight.

Placing the cowboy candy jars on the rack of the water bath canner.

Step 6 – set the jars on the rack of the water bath canner and lower the rack into the simmering water. Process half pint jars for 10 minutes and pint jars for 15 minutes. 

Water bath canning adjustment table.

Remember to adjust processing time according to the table above if you live in altitudes above 1,000 feet in elevation.

Cowboy candy cooling on the counter.

Step 7 – once processing time is over, turn the heat off and uncover the canner. Let the jars stay in the hot water for 5 minutes before using the jar lifter to remove them. Set the jars on a kitchen towel on the counter to cool completely, undisturbed, overnight.

Storing Homemade Canned Cowboy Candy…

Before you store your cowboy candy, make sure that the jars have sealed by pressing on the center of each lid. If there is no movement there, the jar has sealed. If you find that you have a jar that didn’t seal, you can store it in the fridge to use first or you can try to process it again.

Remove the bands from your jars (because they rust and stick), wipe the jars and store in the pantry or a kitchen cabinet for up to 18 months.

Canned cowboy candy jars ready for storage.

Serving Cowboy Candy…

Before I give you some ideas on how to serve cowboy candy, I have to say that many people report that these are highly addictive and that once they open the jar they just eat the whole thing with a fork.

If you have a little bit more self control you can add these candied peppers to so many dishes. First, of course, any sandwich. My little girl who actually loves spicy food adds them on top of toast with butter or cream cheese (or add them on top of crackers with cream cheese).

They will be a great addition to any sort of meat sandwich like a burger, pulled meat wrap, or a BBQ sandwich.

I think that they would also be a great addition in a bread, I would try to add them to this no-knead bread dough before baking or to any cornbread recipe. They’ll also be a great addition to casseroles like this Mediterranean zucchini casserole or others. The options are truly unlimited!


This is one of those must-have-on-hand canning recipes in my opinion since it’s a great, simple way to candy any type of hot pepper and the result is delicious! I hope that you’ll give it a try and I hope that you’ll like it.

Other Ways to Preserve Peppers…

If you find yourself with a whole lot of peppers in your garden or if you happen to pass by gorgeous peppers at the farmer’s market and couldn’t resist (no one blames you!), here are a few other ways to preserve peppers…

Try making this amazing red pepper paste that is a great spread or can make an amazing pasta sauce. You can also can roasted peppers or you can can hot peppers without vinegar or any sugar.

If you happen to come by red bell peppers, try making these delicious and healthy Mediterranean stuffed peppers. If you have any leftovers, they freeze very well.

And last but not least, try fermenting your peppers. I grow Lunchbox peppers in my garden. They are small and colorful and make a beautiful jar or fermented peppers.

Cowboy Candy Recipe For Canning

Cowboy Candy Recipe For Canning

Yield: 6 half-pint jars
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Processing Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Sweet and spicy cowboy candy recipe for canning (basically candied Jalapenos). This is a great way to preserve Jalapenos or any other kind of hot pepper.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of sliced jalapenos, stems removed (see notes)
  • 7 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds

Instructions

  1. To the pan, add the sugar, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, chili flakes, sliced garlic cloves, and mustard seeds. Place the pan on the stovetop and turn the heat to medium-high. Bring this mixture to a boil, lower the heat and let boil gently for 10 minutes or so until the syrup reduces and thickens just a bit. 
  2. Add the sliced jalapenos and stir to coat them with the syrup. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the peppers change their color to dark green.
  3. While the syrup and peppers are cooking, fill your water bath canner with enough water to cover the jars by at least an inch. Set it on the stovetop and turn the heat to high. Bring the water in the canner to a simmer (180 degrees F).
  4. Wash the jars, lids, and rings well with hot water and soap. Since we are going to process the candied jalapenos in the canner for more than ten minutes, there is no need to sanitize the jars.
  5. Use a ladle and canning funnel to fill the jars with the peppers and syrup leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use the bubble remover to remove bubbles by scraping it along the inside of the jar. Then, use a clean, damp paper towel to clean the rim of the jar before centering the lid and closing the jar with the ring finger tight.
  6. Set the jars on the rack of the water bath canner and lower the rack into the simmering water. Process half pint jars for 10 minutes and pint jars for 15 minutes. 
  7. Remember to adjust processing time according to the table below if you live in altitudes above 1,000 feet in elevation.
  8. Once processing time is over, turn the heat off and uncover the canner. Let the jars stay in the hot water for 5 minutes before using the jar lifter to remove them. Set the jars on a kitchen towel on the counter to cool completely, undisturbed, overnight.
  9. Before you store your hot peppers, make sure that the jars have sealed by pressing on the center of each lid. If there is no movement there, the jar has sealed. If you find that you have a jar that didn’t seal, you can store it in the fridge to use first or you can try to process it again. 
  10. Remove the bands from your jars (because they rust and stick), wipe the jars, and store them in the pantry or a kitchen cabinet for up to 18 months.

Notes

Feel free to use other kinds of hot peppers or just mix in other kinds with the jalapenos. I usually start with a little bit more, like 2.3 pounds so that after I cut off the stem I am left with about 2 pounds.

You can choose to leave the seeds or get rid of them. The seeds add a lot of heat and since cooking the peppers temps down their spiciness a bit I usually leave the seeds to add a little more heat.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 592Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 21mgCarbohydrates: 147gFiber: 5gSugar: 140gProtein: 2g

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