Hot and Sweet | Cowboy Candy

I have been making cowboy candy for a number of years now and it is by far one of my most requested items that I make! This whole idea started when I had an abundance of jalapenos from my garden. I was getting sick of all the salsa, pickling, poppers, and grilling. I wasn’t always a huge fan of spice – so all of these jalapenos were becoming a little too much for me to handle. But my jalapenos were pumping out about four pounds of produce every two weeks. So then I began researching other recipes to try and cowboy candy became the new rage in my household. 


Cowboy candy is a sweet pickle for the jalapeno. This is a super popular item in Texas and other regions in the south and southwest. It can be used in a variety of ways – on sandwiches, mexican food, salads, cornbread, and even ice cream. Not only does it bring a lot of flavor to any dish, but the brine used is great for adding flavor to any slow-roasted dish – especially pork. We use this a lot in my home and it has become a staple item for many of my friends’ and family’s households. Listed below you will find the recipe and instructions for making your own cowboy candy. 


Cowboy Candy

Serving: 2.5 quarts
Prep Time – 15 min
Cook Time – 10-15 min


  • 4 pounds jalapenos
  • 4 cups of apple cider vinegar 
  • 5 cups of sugar
  • 2 Tbsp mustard seed
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked chipotle or cayenne 
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Glass canning jars



  1. Sanitize jars – I use my dishwasher or in the boiling pot of water
  2. Wash and slice jalapenos. (I highly recommend a mandolin!) Remove seeds for less spice. 
  3. In a pot on medium-high heat, melt the sugar into the apple cider vinegar until it dissolves. Bring to a low boil, about 5-10 minutes. **The steam from the vinegar can be really intense – please use caution putting your face over the pot and breathing in the fumes.**
  4.  Add Mustard seed, garlic powder, chipotle, and tumeric. Simmer for 5 minutes. **Optional** For less heat then add jalapenos and cook for 5 minutes 
  5. Place jalapenos in a jar until about a half inch from the top. Make sure to pack in as many as possible. 
  6. Add the brine and fill until about a half inch from the top. 
  7. Remove air bubbles by placing a long stick/knife (I use a chopstick) in the jar to make sure all the space is full. Once there are no more air bubbles than screws on the lids. 
  8. Continue by using your canning bath/machine to finish the canning process. If you do not have one – like me – I place my cans in boiling water for 5-10 min. After they have finished processing then i place on the counter until all the lids have “popped”.
  9. You cowboy candy is finished. I suggest opening the container in 1-2 weeks to get maximum flavor. 

As you can see, cowboy candy is quick and easy to make. It is extremely versatile for so many recipes – and sure to be a crowd favorite. I have tried so many different ways of creating this recipe and this one is by far my favorite. So I hope you enjoy it as much as my loved ones do!

Lauren Cop is a part-time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she teaches at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Goods | Create Your Happy is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved. Lauren is the owner and artist behind The Olive Shoe Paperie and Goods. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Please subscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

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