HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Just have to share this recipe for Cowboy Candy...

I was told about Cowboy Candy by my nephew who is in the Air Force in Del Rio, TX. They buy it there and love it. It is candied jalapenos and they chop it up into a relish and use it on everything! Over cream cheese for an app, on tacos, eggs, burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, quesadillas, ect...I couldn't wait to get some (they are going to send me a jar) so looked it up on the web, found a recipe and made it today. It is the best! Sweet, with a nice spicy back burn. We just made carne asada and put it on that.

http://www.recipezaar.com/101698 (sorry not sure how to make it a hyperlink


I used 3 cups of sliced jalapeno, 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 3/4 cup of sugar. Put everything into a sauce pan, brought to a boil, reduced heat to low and simmered 20 minutes. I did not use the food coloring and it still looked good.

This is definitely going to be a staple in our home from now on! Hope some of you try it!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Thanks for posting this! A restaurant down the street from us serves these with cream cheese on a meet and cheese plate, and we love them! I tried to duplicate them without a recipe, and they were way too spicy. I think my mistake might of been trying to take a shortcut and using the jarred jalapenos. I'm sure I'll try your recipe soon!

    1. I can't wait to make these jalapenos. My stepmom makes pickled watermelon rind which is also sweet and spicy and our family loves it. I'm sure these jalapenos will be a hit to.


      1. jodymaryk - did you mean 1 1/2 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Cookiefiend

          Yep. Sorry about that!! It is correct on the recipe

        2. This is so-o-o good, s-o-o-o easy! Thanks for the recipe; I made it this morning and it's nearly gone; we'll need more cream cheese! Thanks, again!

          3 Replies
          1. re: Cynsa

            Glad you liked it! I stopped by the store today on the way home from work and bought a couple of pounds of jalapeno to make more as the first batch I made on Monday was gone! This time I did 8 cups of sliced jalapeno, two whole habaneros, 5 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water. Brought to boil, simmered uncovered 20 mins then cooled. Seemed like more liquid then I wanted so I drained the jalapeno, returned the liquid to a boil for about 15 minutes. It made a nice thick syrup and everything is now packed up into containers to share with my friends. The whole habaneros gave it a little more heat.

            1. re: jodymaryk

              I just had to try a bit of the new batch so was looking in the fridge and ended up mixing it into some plain unsweetened yogurt. Had a few crackers with it and ate the last few bites with a spoon. It was good! Funny the combos you can come up with!

              1. re: jodymaryk

                ymmm...yogurt! When that's gone, I'll mix it with cottage cheese and dried apricot.

          2. Oh my. I was wondering what to do with all my jalapenos and serranos. Now I know.
            Can't wait to experiment with this one.

            1. This sounds wonderful , thank you so much - this is right up my alley!

              4 Replies
              1. re: lexpatti

                I made my second batch last weekend using 8 cups of sliced jalapeno, 4 cups sugar and 2 cups water plus I threw in two whole habeneros to try and bring the heat up a little more. After bringing to boil then simmering 20 minutes I strained it, brought the syrup back up to a boil for 10-15 minutes to reduce it then after it had cooled put the chilies back in. I just had an idea today to add a bit of the syrup to lemonaide to give it a bit of a kick. Any other ideas for the syrup that is leftover? I hate to throw it out.

                1. re: jodymaryk

                  Any other ideas for the syrup that is leftover? I hate to throw it out.

                  How about lollipops?

                  1. re: jodymaryk

                    As a fellow addict, I have eaten the syrup drizzled over chocolate ice cream...yes, really!! It's fabulous!!

                    1. re: jodymaryk

                      I think the leftover syrup would store very well in a jar in the fridge, and I was thinking, after making these candies jalapenos, how nice the syrup might be brushed on chicken or pork, at the very end of grilling?

                  2. This brings back some memories. I have never tried making my own candied jalapenos, but used the "store-bought" ones to make this appetizer. It consists of a slice of Gouda cheese (smoked or regular), a smoked oyster, topped with the candied jalapeno, on whatever kind of mild cracker you like. It was always a huge hit, and it sounds like it's time to make some more, but this time with my home-made cowboy candy!

                    1. You say 3/4 cup water, the recipe said 1/4 cup, did you find you had to add additional water? Do you let it set for a while or do you eat it as soon as it is cooled? TIA

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: paprkutr

                        Sorry. Follow the recipe. I made a triple batch the third time and even more my second time. It seems to be about 2 parts sugar to 1 part water and then the syrup still seemed a little thin so that is why I strained it and reduced the syrup a little more. The original recipe size won't last you very long so I recommend making a bigger batch although it is so easy to do you can whip up another batch anytime.

                        You can eat it whenever! We were picking it out hot and eating it, but then just keep it in the fridge in a jar or container along with our other condiments.

                        1. re: jodymaryk

                          What is the consistency of the finished product? I made some last week - it was thick and syrupy, but the next day all of the syrup was crystallized. Did I overcook it or is this the correct consistency?


                          1. re: jencounter

                            So far on my batches, when the syrup cools it is thick, close to a maple syrup consistency and has not crystalized (although that doesn't sound bad). I have kept it in a jar in the fridge and in leftover plastic deli containers. Maybe you did overcook it. I bring mine to a boil then immediately turn the heat down to low, set the time for 20 minutes, then pull it off the heat and let cool (unless I strain it and reduce the syrup some more for thickness). It does thicken up a bit upon cooling.

                            1. re: jodymaryk

                              It's definitely delicious!

                              I'll try it again - I didn't time the simmer, I just simmered until it was thick.

                              Although...you sometimes keep cooking the syrup if it's not thick enough, so that makes me wonder if it *is* an overcooking issue. Hmmmmmmmmmm.

                              1. re: jodymaryk

                                I cooked it to 220, and it does thicken a bit upon cooling in the fridge. Great recipe!

                              2. re: jencounter

                                I had that prob also, I used cider vinegar in the jar to 'recover' the recipe. My recipe calls for vinegar in it, however.

                          2. I am making this with habaneros today !

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: sarahbd

                              sarahbd, how did it turn out? I threw 2 whole habaneros into my second batch with 8 c. jalapeno. It did make it a little hotter but no uneatable. Did you do both or just habaneros (I bow down to you if it was just habaneros!)?

                              1. re: jodymaryk

                                Do I really need gloves or can I be careful? I don't have any gloves and have everything to do this tomorrow morning - but I wear contacts and a little concerned.

                                1. re: lexpatti

                                  Wear gloves. Years ago I did a lot of hot peppers without gloves and really suffered from it. I don't wear gloves when doing just 1 or 2 peppers, but you'll need quite a few for this. Better safe than sorry!

                                  1. re: jackie de

                                    Cover bith your hands in sandwich bags, if nothing else, in a pinch. Awkward, but it'll do.

                                2. What about mixing in little thai peppers? Is this going to be too hot?? Simmering as we speak.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: lexpatti

                                    I was thinking the same thing. for my family, the jalepenos just weren't hot enough.

                                  2. I made this last night, following the recipe in the original posting. I quartered the peppers, kind of seeded them but left most of the ribs in, and sliced them into strips.

                                    I did let the mix simmer for an additional fifteen minutes or so. For ha-has, I stuck my candy thermometer in the mix, and registered right about 220F before pulling it.

                                    After cooling overnight in the fridge, the liquid had a consistency somewhere water and maple syrup.

                                    The end result was a very sweet taste upfront, with a spicy kick in the back.

                                    I got peppers from a local farm, and I suspect they're a bit hotter than what I usually get in the store -- my hands are still burning today! Looking forward to playing with them.

                                    Oh, and what to do with the syrup? I'm thinking margaritas...


                                    1. Did you slice the jalapenos or chop them? I'm thinking if you chop them it makes more of a relish. Easier to spread.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ajs228

                                        My nephew that originally told me about Cowboy Candy (they buy it in Texas already made) chop it up (after cooked) then put it back into the jar.

                                      2. Ok I haven't made this yet but need to know is this like a brittle or a relish. the candy label has me confused. Looking for a new appetizer for my collection.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: dawoodard

                                          my question too! sounds like a sweet relish. i like the jalapeno jelly i make -- and it too is easy. it is also sweet with a kick. this just seems like it is more jalapeno than jelly/candy/sugar.

                                          anyone, how does this compare with jalapeno jelly, please?

                                          1. re: dawoodard

                                            Mine was not at all like a brittle--wish it had been, actually. We just had lots of circles of peppers with goopy sugar syrup. I was thinking it might go like candied citrus peel but it was much goopier.

                                            For us, it was more a dessert than an appetizer---too sweet and sugary for an appetizer in our house but then if you just chopped it up and sprinkled it on cream cheese, that might work.

                                            1. re: jenn

                                              jenn, I did try it with a thin cream cheese swipe on a Wasa Crisp...packed with flavor from the peppers while the cream cheese calmed the bite! For me, this is a perfect snack!

                                                1. re: Havnagudtim

                                                  I added a splash of vinegar based on your post and it's perfect - Thanks!

                                            2. How long a shelf life does this have in the fridge? Also, anyone try freezing it?

                                              I have a ton of jalapenos I want to use for this, but am thinking of either making and freezing or freezing the jalapenos so I can make a batch closer to when I have a christmas party, etc...to go to...thanks

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: geminigirl

                                                Hi Gem,
                                                Well they go fast but since we made a ton last time and its been a couple of weeks, so far no problems!

                                                1. re: geminigirl

                                                  just put some into my scrambled eggs this morning,delicious! and they are lasting extremly well in the fridge!

                                                2. Hello, jodymaryk!
                                                  I made the original recipe with jalapenos as posted on "recipezaar" (as you cited it) and it is delicious...HOT, but amazing on everything! I was even thinking I might place some in my water bottle that I take to the gym for an added kick!
                                                  I think it also might be great on ice cream, in a salad, on a sandwich, in scrambled eggs, in cottage cheese, on a cracker and on a pizza; it enhances everything sweet and savory!
                                                  Thanks for posting!

                                                  7 Replies
                                                  1. re: liu

                                                    Ice cream! you are a genius! a little french vanilla... Hmmmmm

                                                    1. re: jodymaryk

                                                      Please do report back on the ice cream -- and I will report back on my water bottle!

                                                      Confession: my jar is finished...in three days!!! We have had an abundant crop of peppers in our garden this year (I am in Southern Cal) and the plants are still producing; they love our heat! So, I will make another batch this weekend...thanks to you, jodymaryk!

                                                      1. re: liu

                                                        Went with the vanilla ice cream, not too much syrup just enough to coat, ended up with a rosy glow. DW went with both the syrup and the jalepenos and siad it was pretty hot but good. She thinks that maybe a pineapple or mango sorbe might be better to offset the sweetness of the syrup
                                                        How did the water turn out?

                                                        1. re: jodymaryk

                                                          I finally opened this thread- thinking it was for fancy haystack cookies....YAHOOOOOO for this recipe. I found at Smart and Final- 1 1/2 lb bags of the largest and firmest jalapenos- and today I thick sliced 12 cups and made this on my outdoor burner- FANTASTIC! On my roast beef sandwich- perfect! I feel a mango salsa on fish with these little devils chopped in the salsa would be perfect!

                                                          AS far as the juice- in lemonaide it would be great- in the blender along with watermelon and lime juice for margaritas (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), and how about for marinades?

                                                          Thank you for posting this, jodymaryk!!

                                                          1. re: JalamaMama

                                                            Just have fun with it and let me know if you come up with anything good,Jmama

                                                            1. re: jodymaryk

                                                              We camped at the beach this past weekend- and besides the perfect weather (Central Coast California)- I was the hit of the party with the cowboy candy! I come from a family that loves the heat- and with some great stone ground crackers- whipped cream cheese and the jalapenos- delicious!

                                                          2. re: jodymaryk

                                                            I'm laughing at you, jodymaryk! In the interest of science, of course, you dived right in with your ice cream experiment! Truly, I think this amazing brew would improve everything!

                                                            I haven't tried it in my water yet...because my jar is empty! I will prepare a new batch and try it next week!

                                                            Thanks, yet again, to you!

                                                    2. I've never heard of "Cowboy Candy" (maybe I live in the wrong part of Texas), but jalapeno jelly is really really good. Comes in green (mild) or red, and both are great on an English muffin with cream cheese and a frothy hot cup of espresso for breakfast. Here's a website where you can order one brand: http://tinyurl.com/56wtlo There are lots of p laces you can order all sorts of jalapeno jellies and blends from, but I used this site because the page also includes their raspberry jalapeno sauce which is fabulous on a charcoal broiled steak! Among a gazillion other things. It is truly addictive. These guys claim they invented it, but I use "Dan-T's Inferno" brand.

                                                      1. I made this recipe for a party last night and it was a big hit. I just ladled the peppers over a log of goat cheese and served with some crackers. Thanks for the recommendation!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: shannoninstlouis

                                                          I'd like to try this with whole chillis but slightly smaller (about the size of my pinkie). How thick is the coating?

                                                        2. This was just a great little recipe - and EASY. I used 2 cups sugar, 1 cup water, and a splash of white vinegar. I did use 3 drops yellow and 1 drop blue food color, because after cooking, the color was pretty drab - the food color really perked it up.

                                                          My fresh Jalapenos were so mild, without heat, that on the 2nd batch, I added a very well seeded (and ribs completely removed) small red Habenero, diced small, well soaked and then drained, to add a little red color and some heat. Don't add too much Habenero - taste wile adding. (Absolutely wear gloves to handle Habanero. If you're cutting a lot of mild Jalapenos, you could end up with still-burning hands, even the next day - quite unpleasant, ask me how I know...).

                                                          I found with this recipe, that my Jalapenos, sliced whole (seeds ribs and all) about 1/8-1/4" thick worked out perfect, and the circles held their shape, somewhat.

                                                          Served this over a ball of cream cheese with wheat crackers at a get-together last night - not the most original appetizer, but it was a big hit, none was left.

                                                          This is the kind of dish that just does not move at a party, if it's made too hot. Too hot, people have one bite, that's it. When the mild heat is balanced, with the sweetness, it's practically addictive.

                                                          Great simple economical recipe, thanks ChowHounds!

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: DpBluSea

                                                            Recently chopped up some habaneros with bare hands. They were killing me afterwards. Nothing seemed to neutralise the burn. Googled, and lemon juice is the answer. Grabbed a lemon, squeezed onto my hands and rubbed the flesh against mine. Goodbye killer burning sensation.

                                                            1. re: haiku.

                                                              Really? Fresh lemon worked?FANTASTIC! Everyone making this recipe should take note! I tried everything else the time I burnt my hands with the Habaneros - even soaking in cold milk! Nothing worked! Thanks for the great tip!

                                                              1. re: haiku.

                                                                My disaster wit the Habaneros was I was prepping lovely colorful Habanero "Flowers" (cutting, soaking in ice water, for them to open" for garnish/display on a party buffet. Also making green onion garnish for the centers, carrot curls, etc. Everything went fine, in the ice water, but when I dunked my bare hands in the bowl to retrieve the garnishes, a surface film of invisible Habenero oil must have been floating all on the top of the water. Not immediately hot, but after a few minutes... heat escalation...It was like having gloves of Habeneo oil on. No amount of washing, soaking, etc....quite uncomfortable the whole evening and part of the next day. Very glad for your tip about the fresh lemon.