Candied Jalapeños: Jewels of Sweet Heat

By America’s Test Kitchen | February 22nd, 2023

You’ll want these gems on everything you eat

Making candied jalapeños is as easy as heating sliced fresh chiles in a seasoned simple syrup and letting them cool for a versatile topping. The balance of flavors and texture add versatility to these magnificent morsels.

Making these candied jalapeños is as easy as heating the sliced fresh chiles in a seasoned simple syrup and then letting them cool. Yet for such a seemingly basic recipe with so few ingredients and steps, the end product is extraordinarily versatile. The key to the versatility of these magnificent morsels (and to the success of this recipe) proved to be in the balance of flavors and textures.

Ample sweetness – from 3/4 cup of sugar – helped keep the potent heat of the chiles in check. Fruity, tart cider vinegar complemented the vegetal flavor of the fresh chiles and balanced the sugar’s sweetness, and a generous amount of salt accentuated all the flavors.

Whole coriander seeds contributed vibrant pops of complexity and a welcome textural contrast. Finally, using both red and green jalapeños not only provided a pretty contrast between emerald green and ruby red but also ensured a balanced, assertive level of heat, since the ripened red variety tends to be spicier than the green.

Candied Jalapeños

Serves 12; makes about 1 cup


  • 4 green jalapeño chiles, stemmed and sliced ¼ inch thick (about 1 cup)
  • 4 red jalapeño chiles, stemmed and sliced ¼ inch thick (about 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)


  1. Combine all ingredients (including turmeric, if using) in a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until jalapeños just soften, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
  2. Using a fork or tongs, transfer jalapeños to an 8-ounce jar. Pour syrup over jalapeños to fill the jar, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Affix jar lid and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Note: Candied jalapeños can be refrigerated for up to one month.

Is pumpkin good for you?

Easy, savory pumpkin recipes from Seniors Guide

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