Small Batch Cowboy Candy

Small Batch Cowboy Candy

Learn how to make cowboy candied jalapenos with this simple small batch recipe that’s perfect for anything from a weekend brunch side to an ideal garnish for your next BBQ platter.

Move over candied bacon with bourbon, there’s a new sheriff in town. Cowboy candy is taking over!

I love cowboy candy. I mean, who doesn’t? It’s sweet, it’s salty, it’s crunchy . . . what’s not to love?

The only downside is that you usually end up with a lot of candied jalapenos, and unless you have a really big family (or really good friends), there’s bound to be a lot of leftover.

But what if I told you there was a way to make cowboy candy in small batches? It’s absolutely doable!

This recipe for a small batch of sweet and spicy jalapeño peppers is the perfect way to satisfy your cravings without filling up your entire pantry with jars full of candied jalapeno peppers.

Small Batch Cowboy Candy  in a pot

Learn everything you need to know about whipping up this quick and easy side below and how you can incorporate it into everything from cornbread, salads, or to deck out your next BBQ platter.

“School” Supplies:

  • Large pot
  • Knife and Cutting Board
  • Measuring Cups
  • Gloves
  • Canning Jar
  • Slotted Spoon

“Class” Notes:

Use the guided culinary notes below to help answer frequently asked questions and provide you with additional information to help you prepare this recipe.

Did you make it? Leave a comment and review below to share your experience or tag me in your photos or videos over on Instagram @bonappeteach.

What Is Cowboy Candy?

Cowboy candy is a fun way to say “candied jalapenos”. Just like you can candy a variety of other fruits and vegetables, you can do the same with jalapenos.

All that’s needed is to thinly slice your jalapenos and combine all the ingredients to create a spicy simple syrup.

What makes this especially delicious is the sweet and spicy flavor combination that elevates a lot of other recipes.

A small batch version of this recipe is ideal when you have some leftover jalapenos to use up in the fridge or maybe you have a smaller harvest of peppers if you grow them in your garden.

Candied Jalapeño Ingredients:

The ingredients mostly consist of pantry staple items. See the notes below to determine potential substitutions for this recipe:

  • Fresh Jalapenos: Small batch calls for 4-6 jalapenos. Slice your jalapenos in 1/4 inch pieces (seeds included).
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: You can also substitute with white vinegar if you prefer.
  • Granulated White Sugar (or sweetener of choice): Swap out classic sugar for brown sugar, honey, or a low carb sweetener alternative (like allulose).
  • Spices (Bay leaves, salt, paprika)
  • Water
Small Batch Cowboy Candy  ingredients

How To Make Candied Jalapenos:

This recipe truly can’t be simpler but it is important to make note and follow a few very important steps to get this right!

Here is what you need to do:

  • First, cut you jalapeno slices (leaving the seeds intact) into thin rounds. Too thick and they will be too under cooked, too thin and they tend to shrivel and become a little mushy. Be sure to wear gloves to prevent the oils from burning your skin!
  • In a large pot, start by creating you simple syrup mixture. Over medium high heat, combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and spices. Bring to a full rolling boil.
Slicing raw jalapenos
  • After the boiling begins, add the pepper slices and then immediately turn off the heat and move to a cooler burner.
  • The pot should sit in the hot syrup mixture for 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers into the canning jar. Then add the syrup and pour just to the top rim of the jar.
  • Cool the jalapenos faster by making an ice water bath if desired and then store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Simmering the jalapenos for small batch candied peppers

What Do I Eat It On?

While you can snack on these just as they are, here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy these peppers:

Smoked Cream Cheese

Feel free to have fun and enjoy these with eggs, on avocado toast, on your favorite sandwiches or even mixed up in a tuna salad for a kick!

If you find yourself with leftover syrup as well, mix it with your favorite tequila, some citrus juice, and a little triple sec for a quick and easy spicy margarita as well!

How Long Will Candied Jalapenos Last?

If you’d like to make these shelf stable and store them for a longer period of time, you can properly can them follow this method.

I prefer small batch versions of this recipe to be simply prepped and stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.

The longer the mixture sits, the less spicy it becomes as well. So if you prefer these on the sweeter side, let them sit at least a week before enjoying.

Small Batch Cowboy Candy

Can I freeze them?

Freezing is an option here if you still find yourself with extra peppers. Simply place the jar sealed tightly into your freezer for up to 3 months.

Defrost only in the fridge or in a sink filled with cooler water. Be cautious when freezing glass!

Small Batch Cowboy Candy

Cowboy candied jalapenos are a fun and easy way to add a little heat to your next party or get together.

If you’re looking for something different to bring to the table, this recipe is definitely worth trying out.

And if you do give it a go, be sure to share photos of your finished product in the comments below – we love seeing them!

Small Batch Cowboy Candy

Small Batch Cowboy Candy

Learn how to make cowboy candied jalapenos with this simple small batch recipe that's perfect for anything from a weekend brunch side to an ideal garnish for your next BBQ platter.
4.80 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: candied jalapeno recipe, how to make candied jalapenos, Small Batch Cowboy Candy
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 75kcal
Author: Bon Appeteach


  • 4-6 Jalapenos
  • 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar low carb sweetener if preferred
  • 2 small Bay Leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Smoky Paprika


  • Wearing gloves to protect your hands, remove the stems off your jalapenos and then slice each jalapeno into 1/4 inch rounds.
  • In a pot, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and spices. Bring it to a boil on high heat.
  • Transfer the sliced peppers to the pot and immediately turn off the heat. Let the peppers sit for 15 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, place all the peppers in an 8 oz. jar. Then pour the syrup mixture over all the peppers until you meet the rim of the glass and they are fully covered.
  • Seal tightly with a lid and place it into the fridge and use on your favorite foods, with BBQ, on smoked cream cheese and more!


If you have extra syrup that doesn’t fit into your jar, save it and use it as the base in cocktails and margaritas! 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 75kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 74mg | Potassium: 15mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 54IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg

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    1. I like to let them sit until they hit room temperature, which usually takes a few hours and allows the syrup to take on more flavor. You can eat them immediately after this but they will continue to taste better as time goes on. Hope that helps!

  1. Do you transfer the bay leaves into the individual jars as well or remove before adding the syrup? Thank you!