Cowboy Candy (Sweet & Hot) Pickled Peppers

Sweet & Hot Pickled Jalapenos - easy and no processing needed!

I love summer when the living is easy…gardening, grilling and maybe even a little light canning. I’m not about putting up quarts of tomatoes (although you should see how many plants we put in, lol!) but I do tinker with small batches of something special. Cowboy Candy (Sweet & Hot) Jalapenos fit the bill & bonus…they go right in the fridge and don’t have to be “processed.”

Candied or Sweet & Hot Pickled Jalapenos
Candied or Sweet & Hot Pickled Jalapenos

When we ran out of pickled jalapenos, I thought I’d make my own. See, I’d just been to Aldi where they sell a dozen jalapenos in a package. I needed two – and I was going to do what I usually do – roast and freeze the rest for salsa later – and that was when I had my “aha” moment.

Pickle those suckahs!! Why not? Well, I didn’t have a recipe, that’s why. In my search for pickled jalapenos, I came across “Cowboy Candy” or Sweet & Hot Jalapenos.

And so again, my food ADD (make this, no make that, well, maybe I’ll pin it and three hours later…I have no food for dinner but pinned like 7 gazillion recipes) came out and before you know it, I was venturing into uncharted territory with this “Cowboy Candy.”

Candied or Sweet & Hot Pickled Jalapenos
Candied or Sweet & Hot Pickled Jalapenos

Cowboy Candy – who knew, lol! These sweet, hot peppers are insanely good, especially on crackers with a little cream cheese to tame the heat. I’m sure they’ll be just as good used any way you’d plain old pickled jalapenos. (And someday I’ll make them.) If you’re wondering if they’re worth making – take a gander at the prices on Amazon.

Because I just used 10 jalapenos, but wanted them submerged in the liquid while they simmered, I ended up with about 1/2 cup or so of the liquid that didn’t fit in the 12 ounce jar. I had a thought I might add it to the popsicles I was making (is that crazy?) but the liquid was blow your mind hot hot hot…I put it in a little bottle & plan on using it like hot sauce.

There seems to be some question on whether to keep the seeds in or take them out – I found most of the seeds fell out and sunk to the bottom of the liquid. If you don’t want the seeds, just strain them out after the peppers are boiled. Easy peasy.

So how about you? Are you familiar Cowboy Candy? What do you put yours on?

Candied or Sweet & Hot Pickled Jalapenos
Candied or Sweet & Hot Pickled Jalapenos

Cowboy Candy

  • Servings: 12 oz jar
  • Difficulty: easy
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Notes: This is a “refrigerator” not a “canned” Candied Jalapeno, and hasn’t been tested for canning. The longer these sit (a week is good, longer is better) the better it gets.

  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 pounds fresh green jalapeños, washed and sliced into 1/4 to 3/8th inch rings
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into a small dice

In a small, deep saucepan, add sugar and vinegar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

Standing back (so as not to inhale the fumes) add the peppers and bring back to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and stir now and then, cooking for about 4 minutes, or until peppers have lost their bright green color.

Remove from heat and with a slotted spoon, place the peppers in a very clean 12 ounce jar.

If desired, strain the seeds from the syrup and discard. Return the syrup to the heat and bring back to a boil for five minutes. Pour hot liquid over the jalapenos. The jalapenos will float at first, but after a few hours will distribute throughout the jar.

Let cool to room temperature, cover and store in the refrigerator. Any leftover syrup (and there will be some) can be saved for another use.


I’ll be bringing this recipe to Fiesta Friday, hosted this week by Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.