This recipe is a magical blend of sweet and heat for a surprisingly versatile way to can your jalapeños. Different than any other recipe out there, you’ll turn to this one over and over again.
Table of contents
❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe
- It’s delicious! The perfect combination of sweet and spicy, this is a canning recipe that you’ll have no trouble eating, guaranteed.
- Affordable to make. In late summer, jalapenos are super cheap at the farmer’s market, making this recipe a great money saver.
- Versatile. Use these to top nachos, pizza, or sandwiches, or just serve poured on top of a block of warm cheese with crackers on the side.
This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page
You’ll need the following for this delicious spicy treat.
- fresh jalapeno peppers (Look for a mix of red and green! It’s just prettier that way. 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.)
- white vinegar
- granulated sugar
This includes all the equipment needed for canning
- Small mason jars (pint or half-pint) with two-piece lids
- Large boiling water canner and accessories
- Clean dish towel
- Sharp knife
- Large mixing bowl
Step One: Prepare canner and supplies
If you are going to be water bath 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.
Step Two: Prepare your jalapenos
Gather your peppers. If you have a scale, weigh them. You need 3 pounds. This will equal 8 cups of sliced jalapeños.
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. They’re pretty, right? Like little Christmas peppers. You should have about 8 cups of sliced jalapeños. If you don’t have quite that, it’s totally okay.
Step three: Make the syrup
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.
Step Four: cook the jalapenos in the prepared syrup
When it has thickened, add the sliced peppers. Then reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. The sliced jalapeños will change from fresh green to more of a pea green, like pickles. This will take about five more minutes.
Step five: store in fridge or PRocess in boiling water canner
If you want to refrigerate this recipe, pour everything equallly into pint jars or half pint jars and pop in the fridge. They will last for three months refrigerated.
🥫 Canning instructions
If you have never canned anything, 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 water bath 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 release air bubbles. 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 jalapenos are sliced jalapeños that are briefly cooked in syrup made of vinegar, sugar, and seasoning. They can be refrigerated or 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.
There are so many ways!
As the star of an appetizer: pour on top of cream cheese and served as a simple spread with crackers.
In baked goods: Chop up and add to cornbread
Sprinkle on top of anything: Serve on top of chili, tuck into a grilled cheese sandwich, or use to garnish a cocktail.
👩🏻🍳 Expert tips
- 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.
📘 Related Recipes
- If you get interested in canning on a regular basis, I hope you plan for that in your garden and grow fall crops so that you don’t have to do it in the heat of summer.
- Classic apple butter is another canned recipe that everyone loves.
- Beginner food preservers may like oven-dried strawberries, which are simple and don’t require any canning.
- Dill pickle relish is a little more time-consuming but so handy to have on hand.
🍅 make it along with me
Follow along step by step. The slides will turn every 7 seconds, or you can click ahead.
📖 Here’s the recipe
- Water bath canning equipment
- Mason jars
- 3 pounds of jalapeno peppers sliced into 1/4 inch rings (equals 8 cups of sliced jalapeños)
- 1½ cups white vinegar
- 3 cups white sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- Make the syrup. 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.
- Cook the jalapenos in the hot syrup. 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.
- Process jars for 10 minutes. 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.
- Cool and store. Remove from canner and place on a dishtowel to cool at room temperature until lids are sealed. After 24 hours, store in a dark place for up to 1 year.