Candied Jalapeños for Canning

Candied jalapeños are sweet, hot, and delicious.  Pour on top of cream cheese as an appetizer or use as a condiment for almost anything.
5 from 7 votes

This recipe is a magical blend of sweet and heat for a surprisingly versatile way to can your jalapeños.

can of red and green sliced jalapeños in half pint mason jar with fresh jalapeños next to jar

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So what exactly are candied jalapeños?

It’s sliced jalapeños that are briefly cooked in a vinegar and sugar syrup and then canned. Sounds weird, but it’s delicious. The end result is sweet at first but still retains a lot of heat.

Some versions of candied jalapeños are decidedly savory, and add garlic, onion salt, and things like that. Mine goes more into the sweet side, with cinnamon and ginger, which pair amazingly well with the jalapenos.

And how are you supposed to eat them?

There are so many ways. The most traditional use for them would be poured on top of cream cheese and served as a simple spread with crackers. They are also good chopped up and added to cornbread, served on top of chili, tucked into a grilled cheese sandwich, or used to garnish a cocktail. (This pineapple jalapeno drink looks amazing.)

Tips for working with fresh jalapeños:

  • WEAR GLOVES! Oh my goodness, please just do it. When you are slicing this quantity of peppers, you will get the hot oils all over your hands and spread them everywhere.
  • If you want to decrease the spiciness of the peppers, you can try removing the seeds, but it is very tedious, and a lot of the heat is in the “membrane” of the pepper. In this recipe, the sugar tones down the heat of the peppers and they will continue to mellow over time.
  • Red jalapeños tend to be milder than the green ones. You can’t always find them at the grocery store, but if you grow them in your garden, any jalapeno variety will turn red a week or two after it has grown to its full size. I like to mix red and green when I make cowboy candy for canning, just because I think it is pretty.

Step by step cowboy candy making

If you are going to be waterbath canning these, go ahead and prepare your canner and jars. Wash the jars and put them in the oven or hot water to keep them warm. Get the water boiling in your canner and boil a small pan of water for the lids and rings. Make sure you have all the tools you need ready to go before you start making the cowboy candy.

Gather your peppers. If you have a scale, weigh them. You need 3 pounds. This will equal 8 cups of sliced jalapeños.

red and green jalapeños on cutting board

Put your gloves on, and get to slicing. I always do this by hand and it doesn’t take that long. Put some music and just do it.

sliced fresh jalapenos in bowl

They’re pretty, right? Like little Christmas peppers. You should have about 8 cups of sliced jalapeños. If you don’t have quite that, its totally okay.

Next, we pour the vinegar, sugar, and seasoning into a stock pot or deep sauté pan. You want a wide surface area so that the liquid can reduce and form a syrup. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. It will take a while for the liquid to reduce to a syrup, around 5 to 7 minutes. Keep your eye on it so it doesn’t scorch or bubble over.

syrup for cowboy can in shallow pan
bring to a boil
thickened sugar syrup for jalapenos
then reduce to a simmer

When it has thickened, add the sliced peppers. Then reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. The sliced jalapeños will change from a fresh green to more of a pea green, like pickles. This will take about five more minutes.

sliced peppers being poured into pan with  syrup
the peppers go in bright green
slightly darkened jalapenos
and change color as they cook

And that’s it! If you don’t want to can them, they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three months.

To can your candied jalapeños:

If you have never canned anything before, you will want to carefully read this article on home canned food safety.

Now if you want to can them so they are shelf stable, there are a few more steps. Don’t be scared. We are just boiling them in a huge pot of boiling water to kill anything that could spoil them and seal up the jars. No big deal, right?

You can technically use any large pot to waterbacth can, but I like to have one of the classic canners because they are lightweight and fit your rack just right. You can get a pot and accessory set without spending a lot of money.

It is best to have everything ready to go for the canning portion before you start making the actual recipe. So before you chop the peppers, get set up. Make sure your jars and clean, and heat them up, either in the oven on 200 or in a pot of hot water. They don’t need to be sterilized, just hot so that the hot peppers don’t crack them.

In a smaller pan of water, heat the rings and lids. Get your canner out, fill it with water, and start boiling. Then begin the recipe.

After you’ve made the cowboy candy, use a funnel to help you ladle the peppers into the hot jars.

You want to leave a 1/4 inch of headspace, which just means don’t fill them up to the very top, leave a 1/4 inch of room in case they expand in the canner. Use your little tool to push down the peppers and get air bubbles out. Wipe the rims so they are very clean and the lid can seal to them properly.

Remove your lids and rings from the hot water and screw them on “fingertip tight”, which means tightened until you feel a little resistance, but not too much. You could still twist it on or off with just your fingertips.

Then lower the jars into boiling water, cover the pot with the lid, and process for 10 minutes for half pints or 15 minutes for pints. Remove them carefully and set them on a towel to cool. Don’t disturb them while they are cooling, as they need to seal. You will hear a popping sound and the lid will be totally flat.

Store them in a cool dark place. They will keep at least a year.

candied jalapeños in sealed jars on marble counter

More gardening and canning:

Here’s the recipe and the video

canned cowboy candy in mason jars in marble counter
5 from 7 votes

Candied Jalapenos

Print Recipe
Candied jalapeños are sweet, hot, and delicious.  Pour on top of cream cheese as an appetizer or use as a condiment for almost anything.
Prep Time:50 mins
Cook Time:10 mins
process time:15 mins
Total Time:1 hr 15 mins
Click here to grab a free mini-cookbook with my best seasonal recipes


  • Water bath canning equipment
  • Mason jars


  • 3 pounds of jalapeno peppers sliced into 1/4 inch rings (equals 8 cups of sliced jalapeños)
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ginger


  • Combine vinegar, sugar, and spices in a large stockpot or high sided sauté pan.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Reduce to low and simmer until the liquid reduces into a sticky syrup, about 5 to 7 minutes.  
  • Add the sliced jalapeños.  Increase heat to medium high until mixture boils, then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for five minutes.  Jalapeños will change color and seem less bright green.
  • Ladle into hot, clean half pint jars with the help of a funnel.  Clean the rims of the jars before putting the lids on, and turn them to fingertip tight,  Lower into boiling water in a water bath canner and process for ten minutes.  
  •  Remove from canner and place on a dish towel to cool at room temperature until lids are sealed.  After 24 hours, store in a dark place for up to 1 year.  


If you don’t want to can:   Simply ladle the cowboy candy into clean jars, twist lids on, and allow to cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate for up to 3 months.


Calories: 161kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 171mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 733IU | Vitamin C: 81mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: preserving
Cuisine: American
Keyword: candied jalapenos, canning recipe for jalapenos, cowboy candy, sweet and spicy jalapenos
Servings: 20 servings
Calories: 161kcal
Author: Katie Shaw
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @heartscontentfarmhouse so I can see!

Happy canning!

Click here to subscribe By on October 5th, 2019

15 thoughts on “Candied Jalapeños for Canning”

  1. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe! I made a small batch the first time with my home grown jalapeños because I didn’t quite have 3lbs. I’ve been putting it on everything. Made another batch today for holiday gifts for friends. Thank-You!

  2. So I only had about half of the jalapeños for the amount your recipe requested so I halved everything. However, once I Canned them the syrup was more soupy like. Should I let the juice boil longer? And would I even be able to since I already canned them or should I just give it until 24 hours to see.

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve made this with sliced jalapeño in 1 gal jars. Add 4# sugar sliced and quartered onion and banana peppers. Add 1:4 cup of water and slows bring to boil then simmer on low about 2 hrs. Absolutely divine. Be sure to leave our the vinegar bc the jalapeños were already in vinegar.

  4. I boiled the syrup mixture the required time. However it didn’t appear very think after adding and cooking the jalapeños. Is something wrong with the times given?

    • The times are right for me, but of course your stove might be a bit different. 🙂 If it thickened up to a syrup, you did it right. There is moisture in the peppers so that may have thinned it out a tad.

  5. 5 stars
    Recipe is easy to follow. Made tonight using a mix of jalapeno, banana, and red chili peppers. Tasted a little while still very warm after filling all canning jars. Absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to taste it after the flavors have developed more. This will be wonderful Christmas gifts for my husband’s co-workers with some goat or cream cheese and nice crackers. Thank you for sharing the recipe

      • 5 stars
        Katie, we have shared a few jars of this amazing recipe with friends. The result, they are begging that we make more and put it in larger jars!!! This is absolutely divine on top of pizza. I imagine it’s perfect as a topping for anything. We are going to the market today to buy a large wuantiof peppers (out garden is slowing for the season) to make more. Thank you for the best recipe I’ve tried all year!!!!

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