Candied Jalapeños for Canning {Recipe + Video}

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.

3 half pint mason jars of canned cowboy candy

❤️ 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
  • cinnamon
  • turmeric
  • ginger

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
  • Gloves
  • 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

sliced fresh jalapenos in bowl

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

saucepan with boiling syrup
bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer

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

red and green jalapeno slices in stockpot

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.

cowboy candy in glass jars

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.

steaming waterbath canner at rolling boil

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.

tongs removing can of candied jalapenos

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

🔍 FAQs

So what are candied jalapeños?

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.

How do you use cowboy candy?

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.
candied jalapeños in sealed jars on marble counter

📘 Related Recipes

🍅 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

canned cowboy candy in mason jars in marble counter

Candied Jalapenos

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 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
process time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Serving Size 20 servings


  • Water bath canning equipment
  • Mason jars


  • 3 pounds of jalapeno peppers sliced into 1/4 inch rings (equals 8 cups of sliced jalapeños)
  • 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.  


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.
Wear gloves while handling such a large amount of fresh jalapenos. 
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
Candied Jalapeños for Canning {Recipe + Video}Candied Jalapeños for Canning {Recipe + Video}

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Recipe Rating


  1. Well, dang! I just canned 15 pints of pickled peppers. Now I’ll need to come up with more peppers to try this. I guess I missed this recipe when you’d shared it before because I’ve never heard of candied jalepenos. I’ve GOT to try this.
    And don’t forget to change the amount of canning time if you live at a high altitude

  2. 5 stars
    I gave these to a few people as Christmas gifts and everyone loved them. They pair beautifully with Brie cheese, and they are great in a Caesar cocktail.

  3. 5 stars
    I made this recipe today using Fresno chilis, jalapeños, sweet heats and a bell pepper from my garden. The mixture was a bit spicy but absolutely divine. Can’t wait to share a few jars tomorrow ❤️

  4. I want to make today, but use pint jars. Would I process them they same? How much headspace? I have a Nesco Smart canner that I will be using it has a w/b mode so hope it works for me. Fingers crossed.

  5. 4 stars
    I made this and canned it yesterday and it didn’t thicken. I did exactly like the recipe said but its watery and all the spices are all on the bottom of the jars. Flavor was excellent. Please advise. Thanks

    1. hi tori- sometimes this can happen if the peppers release a lot of water. I’ve had it happen with some batches and not others. next time, just boil longer at a higher temp and in a shallow wide pan. it WILL thicken eventually. you can mix it with instant clear jell before serving (meaning the ones you’ve already canned).

  6. I planted five jalapeño plants in my garden this year mainly because two of my three children and their family enjoy eating them. I’ve had an abundance of peppers and have been looking for a recipe to use them for. I’m looking forward to making this recipe and canning some cowboy candy to share with others. Thank you for sharing your easy recipe!😁

  7. 2 questions, how many pint jars will I need for this recipe, and would it be safe to add the raw chopped peppers directly into the jars and pour the hot syrup on top? I would then place the jars into a water bath for 10 mins. We don’t cook our sliced cukes when canning our pickles. Thanks

  8. Is this a tested canning recipe? The Ball website is very strict on acid level and that all recipes should be professionally tested. They are absolutely delicious and I did can them but I am now nervous after learning more about canning.

    1. Hi Nicky! I get why you’re saying and to answer your question no I have had it professionally tested. I will say that the levels of vinegar and sugar are both quite high and so I am very comfortable making these and sharing the recipe. You can always keep your jars in the fridge if you are more comfortable with that. 🙂

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

    1. 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.

  13. 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

      1. 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!!!!