Submit your best potluck recipe! Get votes! Win some fresh gear from Le Creuset! →

Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapeños)

A little spicy, a little sweet, and SO delicious.

Cowboy Candy has a little spice, a little sweetness, a little tang, and is such an easy and delicious treat that there’s no reason you shouldn’t have a jar of them on hand all the time. In simplified terms, it’s candied jalapeño, which you might not want to eat exactly like candy, but you will want to eat on top of everything you can. Pair it with cream cheese for a sweet and spicy dip, top your burger with it, tuck it into egg salad… the options are endless. And incredibly delicious.

The beauty of Cowboy Candy is that the process tames the heat of the jalapeño a bit while bringing in some sweetness, which I think makes them an even more versatile addition to recipes. And it only takes a few ingredients!

You just bring sugar, vinegar, salt, and celery seeds to a boil and let it turn syrupy, and then stir in some sliced jalapeños. You can remove the seeds to remove some heat or leave them in – totally up to you.

Let them simmer in the syrupy mixture until the jalapeños have darkened and transformed into candied little beauties.

These will keep in a jar in the fridge for up to three months, so you should have plenty of opportunity to try them out with a variety of dishes, assuming you don’t eat them all before you get the chance. Some ideas: use them as a hot dog topping, stir them into Thousand Island dressing, spice up your tuna salad, sprinkle them over tacos. I promise they’re good on almost everything!

Serves 12

5m prep time

10m cook time

Rated 4.9 out of 5
Rated by 17 reviewers
  • 1/2 lb jalapeño peppers, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  1. In a saucepan or high-sided pan, stir together the sugar, vinegar, salt, and celery seeds and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to low and let simmer 5 minutes. Stir in jalapeños, return to a simmer and let cook 4 minutes more.
  3. Transfer jalapeños to clean jars, top with any remaining syrup, and enjoy! These will keep in refrigerator up to 3 months.

Recipe adapted from Chili Pepper Madness.