Sweet Pickled Jalapenos – with recipe

August 20, 2012By

I did not grow up eating spicy food. Truly, anything beyond black pepper was considered spicy, and even black pepper was rare – truth be told, I still don’t like it much. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve tried more spicy food, and have even ramped up my taste for spicy things – somewhat. I’ll still never go hotter than “medium” salsa, I am wary of too much wasabi with my sushi, and I stick to the milder offerings at Indian restaurants.

That said, when I saw this recipe for candied jalapenos from Canning Homemade!, I knew I had to give it a try. I don’t know why. I guess I like the idea of spicy and sweet, plus I knew that Mr. Martini would love them. So I bought a LOT of jalapenos, and made a batch. Here’s how I did it.

FYI - “Real” recipe at the bottom of the post, past the photo-essay.

First, chop up a pound of jalapenos. I picked these up at the farmers market, and couldn’t resist grabbing a quart that had a couple of yellow and red peppers mixed in, too. The farmer assured me that these were milder than the jalapenos, so I wasn’t adding any excessive heat to my recipe. I liked the pop of color.


Please note the rubber gloves in the upper left hand corner of the photo. I highly recommend them. Also, avoid rubbing your brow, eyes, mouth or pets until you’re done chopping and you remove your gloves.

Next, bring vinegar, sugar, and spices to a boil on the stove, then bring this syrup down to a simmer for five minutes. Add your jalapenos.

Peppers in the Syrup

Don’t the peppers look gorgeous? (Sorry for the spoon in the shot.) As I stirred them in, I wondered if I had made enough syrup, but after a 5 minute simmer, the jalapenos cooked down beautifully.

Peppers in the Syrup after Simmering

From here, you’re ready to can. Fill your jars with the jalapenos first (a slotted spoon would have helped me a lot) then fill with the syrup. Then it’s a simple water process, and you’re done!

Candied Peppers

Well, done except for the waiting. It’s suggested to wait at least 4 weeks to let the jalapenos mellow. Which I hope they do, since when I licked my finger at one point during the clean up process, that syrup was SPICY. But I’ve been assured that the heat does indeed mellow with time.

My only disappointment with this recipe was the yield – the original recipe noted a 2-pint yield, but I could have fit this entire batch in 2 half-pint jars. Your mileage may vary, I suppose.

Here’s the recipe, adapted from Canning Homemade! (exclamation point theirs – I love their enthusiasm!)

Sweet Pickled Jalapenos (aka Cowboy Candy)

1 lb fresh jalapenos (sliced in 1/8″ – 1/4″ slices with tops removed)
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


In a large pot, mix sugar, cider vinegar, mustard seed, garlic powder, turmeric, celery seed, and cayenne and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add jalapenos and continue to simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, load sterilized jars with jalapenos.  Then add liquid, filling the jars and leaving a 1/4 headspace. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes. Makes approximately 2 half-pints.

For more information about water bath canning (including safety and precautions), please see the amazing blog Food in Jars or the All About Canning section at PickYourOwn.org or any of the dozens of awesome cookbooks available.

I can’t wait to try these on crackers or sandwiches. Have you ever eaten pickled jalapenos? Got any good ideas for using them in recipes?

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Comments (2)

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  1. Annika says:

    BRB, must make these.

  2. Emily says:

    These are amazing chopped up in a cream cheese ball. Adjust to taste by adding a little or a lot!