Candied Jalapenos

This post was originally published on May 23rd, 2010. It remains one of the most popular recipes from Foodie with Family. Try it out and find out why.

Candied Jalapeños. Ah. There’s a story here. Once upon a time, my friend Katie casually mentioned eating a sandwich made with Candied Jalapeños. She was singing the praises of what she described as an addictive jar of goodies. Then she said the magic words, “I wish I could figure out how to make these at home.” By this point, you know me enough to know what affect that statement has on me, right?  I quizzed her on the texture, flavor, and appearance of the jalapeno rings. I begged for photographs. I had her send me a picture of the ingredient list on the label. I asked her to describe the flavor to the very best of her food blogging abilities. She was game. She provided all the information.

Easy canning project Candied Jalapenos from

After carefully examining close to thirty recipes on Candied Jalapeños, also known as cowboy candy (who KNEW there were so many people candying jalapenos?) I called my local Cooperative Extension office to pick the brain of their home food preservation specialists. Since jalapeños are a low-acid food, some precautions need to be taken when canning them. You have two choices for safely canning peppers of any kind; you can pressure can them or you can acidify (i.e. add vinegar, lemon juice, etc…) the liquid in which you pack the peck of pickled peppers.

Candied Jalapenos on cream cheese and crackers from

I opted for acidifying the pepper liquid because I wanted to maintain some of the texture of the peppers through the process because pressure canning Candied Jalapeños would turn them to flavorful mush.  The result was gobsmackingly, head-spinningly, brain-addlingly delicious.  Sweet, spicy and savory, Candied Jalapeño rings are way too easy to eat on just about everything.  I’ve stashed them in sandwiches, chopped them up on baked beans, tucked them into tacos, used the syrup to brush meat on the grill, perched a couple rings on top of a cream cheese laden cracker and all sorts of other evil things.

Candied Jalapenos on cream cheese and crackers from

For such a simple thing to can, these pack tons of flavor.  You’re going to want to make as many of these as you possibly can simultaneously, because once that first jar is cracked open you’re not going to be able to stop eating them.  And I mean it. I am not kidding with you when I say that I barter with jars of these for valuable goods. Candied Jalapeños have fed my fine pottery addiction because my favourite local potter is as Candied Jalapeño fixated as I am with her pottery.

Like cowboy candy, Candied Jalapenos are sweet, spicy, and crunchy from

Cook’s Notes:

  • Hate canning? Afraid of canning? For those of you who may be freaking out slightly or massively over the idea of canning, rest easy. You can follow all of the instructions up to the actually canning portion, then stash the jars in the refrigerator for up to three months. You get a year out of canning, but if an alternative is all that stands between you and making them, use your chill chest!
  • Wear gloves when working with the peppers. Not a wimp? Neither am I… but jalapeños have a notoriously wide range of heat on the Scoville scale.
  • Let’s address slicing the peppers, because we’re going to be going through 3 pounds, folks. The quickest, easiest way to do so is with a slicing blade on a food processor, standing the peppers on their ends in the feed chute. No food processor? Use a mandolin! No mandolin? Just take your time and slice by hand with a very sharp knife and gloved hands.
  • I’ve been asked many times whether you should discard the seeds. I don’t because we like them. Contrary to the old wives’ tales, seeds do not contain the heat of a pepper. The membrane inside the pepper packs the most punch. Since you’re not removing that, don’t sweat the seeds. Heh. Pepper humour.
  • Quite a few folks have asked WHEN exactly to start timing the boiling of the peppers. You begin timing them once the liquid has returned to a full rolling boil. As soon as it reaches a full rolling boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and let it simmer gently (gentle bubbles that blub up) for 4 minutes. To clarify further, you will not be boiling them HARD for 4 minutes, you will bring them to a boil then drop the heat and simmer.
  • Many, many people have asked me whether they messed up the recipe because their peppers look all shriveled after simmering them in the syrup, packing them in jars, and canning them. The short answer is no. The long answer is that you’re fine and they WILL look shriveled when you jar them up if you’ve simmered them properly. They will re-plump as they spend those 4 weeks of rest time in the jar between processing and opening.
  • Yes, I said 4 weeks. My husband has been known to crack a jar at the two week mark out of desperation for candied jalapenos, but he will absolutely agree with me that they improve immensely in flavour and texture when left to mellow for at least 4 weeks after processing. Try to be patient. You’ll be rewarded.
  • How to serve them? On cream cheese and crackers, obviously… On sandwiches, on salads, chopped up in dips, on taco soup, on tortilla soup, on tacos, on pizza… The sky is the limit. I kind of suspect my husband would eat them on breakfast cereal if he didn’t know I’d wonder about his sanity.

3 pounds of jalapenos sliced for Candied Jalapenos from

4.9 from 36 reviews
Candied Jalapenos
Recipe type: Canning, Condiment, Ingredient
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 32
There aren't words that exist to describe how addictive these little savoury, sweet, spicy, crunchy, garlicky pickled jalapeno rounds are. Put them on sandwiches, tacos, rice or bake them into cornbread. You'll need more and more!
  • 3 pounds fresh, firm, jalapeno peppers, washed
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 6 cups white granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • 3 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  1. Wearing gloves, remove the stems from all of the jalapeno peppers. The easiest way to do this is to slice a small disc off of the stem-end along with the stem. Discard the stems.
  2. Slice the peppers into uniform ⅛-1/4 inch rounds. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot, bring cider vinegar, white sugar, turmeric, celery seed, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pepper slices and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers, loading into clean, sterile canning jars to within ¼ inch of the upper rim of the jar. Turn heat up under the pot with the syrup and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes.
  4. Use a ladle to pour the boiling syrup into the jars over the jalapeno slices. Insert a cooking chopstick to the bottom of the jar two or three times to release any trapped pockets of air. Adjust the level of the syrup if necessary. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp paper towel and fix on new, two-piece lids to finger-tip tightness.
  5. *If you have leftover syrup, and it is likely that you will, you may can it in half-pint or pint jars, too. It’s wonderful brushed on meat on the grill or added to potato salad or, or, or… In short, don’t toss it out!
  6. Place jars in a canner, cover with water by 2-inches. Bring the water to a full rolling boil. When it reaches a full rolling boil, set the timer for 10 minutes for half-pints or 15 minutes for pints. When timer goes off, use canning tongs to transfer the jars to a cooling rack. Leave them to cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. When fully cooled, wipe them with a clean, damp washcloth then label.
  7. Allow to mellow for at least two weeks, but preferably a month before eating. Or don’t. I won’t tell!
I know this sounds crazy, but double this recipe. People will beg you for jars of this and get surly if you say no. Just. Trust. Me.

 Originally posted May 23, 2010.


  1. Mary R. says

    Couldn’t wait to make this and our jalapeno plants were bountiful this year. We waited 4 weeks to open our first jar and they were wonderful. I found them to be hot, but not unbearable. I canned a second batch and one of the jars didn’t seal so I refrigerated it and opened the jar a couple of days later. Those jalapenos were extremely hot. Great recipe!

  2. Chris Hale says

    I just wanted you to know that I love this recipe. I am just getting my feet wet with the jalapenos and so I seeded the peppers but they are still spicy and flavorful. I have been making these for a while and everyone loves them. I never actually preserved them but made them more of a refrigerator pickle and they were wonderful. Thank you for this family favorite.

  3. Deb says

    Just want to let you know how much we are enjoying this recipe. Everything you said about it is true. People just LOVE them! The only part we had a little trouble with was whether to let the liquid return to a boil or not before beginning the “exactly 4 minutes of simmering”. We are on our third year of making them now and we don’t let the liquid return to a boil. We begin the 4 minutes as soon as we add the peppers. Thank-you so much for sharing!!

    • says

      I do return them to a simmer before timing, but if it works well for you this way, that’s good information for me to have! Thank you! I’m awfully glad you like them!

      • TONYK says




    • says

      I will do what Deb did next time. I waited to see the simmer before counting 4 minutes and my peppers are decidedly overcooked (compared to your photos). I’m sure they’ll be delicious anyway…

  4. Terry Cooley says

    I would like to try this recipe. Just finishing a jar of store-bought candied jalapenos, and I have a bountiful crop in the garden just waiting to be canned. I have a question about the ratio of sugar to vinegar. 6 cups sugar to 2 cups vinegar. Is this the correct proportion?


  5. Myrna says

    Have just finished making 1/3 of a batch as per instructions and they are delicious but screaming hot! Will definitely make a full batch next time minus the seeds. Thank you for a fun recipe. By the way, 1/3 of a batch of peppers and a half batch of syrup yielded 3 jars of peppers and 1 jar of syrup.

  6. Clayton says

    I was curious as to whether you refrigerate your jalapenos after they are done, or if they are ok to sit out at room temp? Absolutely love the celery seed with the jalapenos, but I have also been on a celery seed kick lately =)

  7. Rootwolf says

    Just finished canning them. Look forward to eating them. Will be good sitting atop a piece of Lox sitting atop a smear of cream cheese on a toasted mini bagel.

  8. Gmama says

    Made these today with seranos and red jalapeños for Christmas gifts! Didn’t have celery seed…so I used celery salt instead. Sweet, salty, hot perfection!! The jars look amazing.

  9. Angelina says

    Hi! Just made this recipe tonight and, being totally impatient, I just had to try one (after they’d cooled down in the fridge a few hours). So…I love hot things and all but this was the most painful taste test of all time!! Does waiting the 2 weeks mellow them significantly (hoping!!)? Thanks!

    • says

      They really do mellow significantly in that two week time. I promise! Now, how mellow the final product will be depends greatly on how hot the peppers were to begin with. Did you nibble one of the fresh peppers before cooking them? They’ll be about that mild when done.

      • Angelina says

        Oh good! I made a jar for my friend and warned her NOT to eat them!!! But now I will retract my warning and spend the next two weeks working up my courage to taste them again. :) Or maybe I’ll get my husband to do it… We love jalapenos around here so I’m sure they’ll be wonderful!

  10. Brittney says

    Canned for the first time with this recipe because I heard it was to die for! Though I used fresh jalapeños and only those that were crisp and crunchy…mine turned out very shriveled with barely any crunch. Any ideas as to why or what I could do to prevent this?

    • susan says

      I had this same experience. I was wondering if there was a response? Mine were not crunchy at all. My peppers were known “HOT” so I seeded them, maybe that was one reason for being shriveled. I also thought the syrup was extremely thick…I can see that in the half pints. It is very, very thick, almost like jelly? ideas?? suggestion on what went wrong?

      • says

        It sounds like you overboiled your syrup if you started with the correct measurements and it reduced down to a jelly like consistency. It should still taste good, but next time, I think perhaps you need to drop your heat even more for a simmer. How long have they been in the jars? Because they always look shrivelly for a bit then seem to replump in the syrup after a week or so.

        • susan says

          Thanks for the feedback. I too suspected I had a little too much heat when it thickened up so. They were only made three days ago so I will wait a few weeks and see how they are. The good news is we have plenty of peppers for a second try!!!

        • says

          Why is it important to cook the peppers for four minutes? Mine were shriveled last year when I started the cooking time after the liquid returned to a simmer, so this time I started the cooking time when I added the peppers. They still looked a little shriveled so I made a batch or two using a 3-minute cooking time. I’m too nervous, though, to change your recipe too much since I’m not a preserving pro. But I’m wondering — why couldn’t we cook them for an even shorter time, or pour the hot syrup into the jars over raw jalapeños like is done for picked peppers? With a 15-minute boil in the canner (for pints), it seems like they’d be cooked enough. Am I missing some science here?

  11. Kathy Marlow says

    I have always made jalapeno jelly….they is almost the same, maybe even better. I have not tried this recipe. I bought a jar locally and fell in love.

  12. deedee says

    Hi – I have made 2 batches so far. The first time I did not have cayenne pepper, so I used 1/2 paprika and 1/2 chili powder. I tasted the sauce and loved it. Both times I have tons of sauce left, could I use 4 lbs of jalapenos instead of 3? Is it ok to double this recipe, or do I need to do it in batches?

    Thanks so much for the recipe, lots of requests for it.

    • says

      I not only double the recipe, but sometimes quadruple it! Have at it! I honestly can’t tell you whether it will effect the acidity negatively to do 4 pounds instead of 3. I know that part of the reason so much liquid is left over is because the jalapenos give off liquid as they cook, so you’ll probably still end up with loads extra!

      • Deedee says

        Thanks so much! I will definitely being doubling the recipe from now on. I will prepare a couple of extra jars for the marinade, I know people will love that as well.

    • says

      I’d say wash and sterilize about a dozen half pint or pint jars and you’ll have more than enough. It’s always better to have jars you don’t use that you’ve prepped than to have to put the canning project on hold to prep more jars.

    • says

      I’m sure they can be, but I just haven’t done them that way… I’d be guessing about processing time if I gave you a time, unfortunately.

  13. Christie says

    This is my 3rd season making this incredible recipe. Everytime I make it I am asked to share the recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  14. TONYK says






    • says

      Cider vinegar has a milder, gentler tang than white vinegar and is my pickling liquid of choice, but there will not be any safety reason to avoid swapping in white for cider… They’re about equal in acidity.

      If you cook them longer they may become mushy and lose structural integrity. If that’s what you’re going for, it should be okay!

  15. Eric says

    This is my 2nd year making these with my home grown jalapenos and cayenne peppers and they’re a huge hit with everyone who has tried them. Last year I followed your recipe exactly. This year I followed the recipe – just made more of it. I *may* have been a bit overzealous with my pepper crop. I ended up using about 12lbs of jalapenos fresh off the plants. I quadrupled this recipe and noticed that I probably could have gotten away with using about 1/2 to 2/3 of what I ended up using for ingredients. After filling up 10, 1-pint jars with jalapenos, I topped them off with the sauce. Then I filled up a 1 qt jar with just the sauce. I still have probably half a gallon of sauce remaining. I also noticed that I needed to boil it for longer on its own after I scooped the peppers into their jars. With the water from the peppers it was too thin after 6 mins.

    Anyway, anyone have any idea what I can do with 1/2 gallon of extra sauce? It’s delicious, but I’m not sure what to do with it. I imagine it would store in the fridge for a good long while (due to the acidity and sugar).

  16. Lucky says

    I make a much easier recipe using jarred pickled jalapenos. I don’t bother with pickling mine – as I don’t have the equipment or time to master a good pickling effort.

  17. says

    I have made this receipe about 4 times. LOVE IT!!. I am making them now for gifts this holiday season. I usually half the receipe so I’m not in the kitchen all night. I find about 10 jalapenos per 1 little jelly jar (50 jalapenos of average size) and 1/2 the receipe makes 5 jars. I’m looking forward to trying some of your other receipies. Thank you for sharing.

  18. Michelle says

    This recipe looks amazing! I have never done any canning but would love to make these for Christmas gifts. Is there a lot of equipment I need to get started since I don’t have any of the proper canning tools?

  19. colleen shore says

    Do you have to use a canner or can you just boil your lids and put them on the jars…I’ve done this with jalapeno jellie?

  20. Brenda says

    Would you happen to have nutritional information for this recipe? I’m curious to know what the sugar content is in each serving. Thanks!!

    • says

      Hi Brenda- I do not do the nutritional number crunching on my recipes. There are a number of good nutritional calculators online that could help you if you enter the ingredients.

  21. Robby says

    I have been intrigued by this recipe for a while. Alas, I live at about 5500′ altitude which raises a question or two. Is the simmering for four minutes about texture or food safety? I will caveat that by saying I would put them in my fridge for the shorter duration, not canning to sit on the shelf. I will likely make a fraction of a batch to see how they turn out since timing is somewhat unreliable here, but your answer will help guide my own tweaking for our conditions. They look like the perfect ‘game day’ something special and look forward to trying them.

    • says

      I am terribly sorry to say I have zero canning experience at higher altitudes. I would highly recommend bouncing your ideas off of a local cooperative extension representative. My guess is that if it’s going in the fridge you could probably halve that simmering time, but I’d feel better if you check with them! (The time is about reaching a particular temperature and holding it there for a certain amount of time, so it’s more of a safety issue than anything.)

  22. Cathy o says

    I have used your recipe for 3 years using jalapeños from my garden. Sometime I mix red and green jalapeños together for fun. I have even used extra syrup as a chicken marinade and as a start for making pickled eggs. Yum! Thank you so much for making me look like a good cook.

  23. says

    I will for sure be making these! They sound wonderful! I use the non canning method when I do pepper, I think I just get burnt out on boiling method after the tomatoes :) Can’t wait to try this! Pinning it now :)


  1. […] CANDIED JALAPENOS – Holy moly, these little thinks are unbelievable.  I rad across the recipe on Pinterest several weeks ago and have had them in the back of my mind ever since.  Why?  For the past two holiday seasons Jeff’s Aunt Robbin, who always prepares the most amazing meals, has made this unforgettable appetizer using these three items: corn chips, cream cheese, and candied jalapenos.  So simple – so addictive!  I know that every Fall she makes a special trip to attend a festival just outside of the city she lives in so that she can buy a jar of these things.  This year I thought it might be fun to surprise her with a jar made by us.  Now, if only we can resist eating them all by the time Thanksgiving rolls around… – Recipe comes from one of my favorite food bloggers, Rebecca at Foodie with Family. ( […]

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