Candied Jalapeños

3 pints
35 min

I love what I like to call “add ons” in cooking. Just an itty bitty little accent to any meal can make all the difference whether it be a sauce, condiment, or any other little accoutrement. While I had them before, it wasn’t until the first time I had the waffle cheese fries at District Donuts in NOLA that I fell deeply in love with these little devils: Candied Jalapeños aka “Cowboy Candy”. They are a perfect side note to just about any dish. They are fantastic on most sandwiches and make a great veggie addition to a charcuterie board.

When handling peppers, most people will recommend wearing gloves. I personally don’t wear them and this isn’t some attempt at being macho. It’s just that years of cooking, riding bikes, and tons of manual labor have rendered a once sensitive pair of hands into a couple of callous claws. I highly suggest, however, that you wear them. If not, after chopping, always scrub very well with hand soap and white vinegar. I find the vinegar helps break down the capsaicin on your hands. Choosing to skip this step is up to you but be forewarned. If you should happen to touch a sensitive part of your anatomy after cooking (e.g. eyes, nose, etc.) you will wish, for several painfully long minutes, that you took the time to use the vinegar.

Now that that’s covered, we can talk slicing size. My preference is for about ¼ inch thick. Mandoline, food processor, or your good old chef’s knife (which is what I always use) all work fine. It’s up to you. Another good safety note is about canning. I typically don’t bother preserving these. I do sterilize the jars but just pop in the fridge after they cool. There are two main reasons I do this. One, this is considered a low acidity food. Without going into too much on that here, it basically means these are not as safe to preserve as say, pickles. Second, I find they taste better after sitting in the fridge for a couple of weeks. If fridge space is an issue for you or you’re planning on giving them away as gifts, there are plenty of resources available to teach you how to preserve correctly. I hope you enjoy and if you ever get the chance, get the waffle cheese fries at District Donuts!

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Recipe details
  • 3  pints
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 35 min
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  • 1 – 1.5 pounds jalapeños sliced
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric

Slice jalapeños to about ¼ inch thick.
Add everything to a large pot except jalapeños. Simmer and whisk until everything is dissolved.
Add jalapeños and stir into syrup. Simmer for two minutes then remove from heat.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer jalapeños to sterilized jars.
Add syrup to jars.
Let come to room temperature and then put in the fridge. These are best after letting the flavors meld for about two weeks.
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