Cowboy candy refers to candied jalapeño peppers. If consists of sliced jalapeños preserved in a syrup made with sugar, vinegar, and spices like turmeric, garlic powder, and cayenne. Think of it as being like a pepper jam but with larger pieces of pepper. The recipes’ sweetness cuts the heat enough to make it enjoyable for those who have limited tolerance for spicy foods. Want to know how to make it? Check out our cowboy candy recipe that’ll lead you through making this spicy treat. Then enjoy these eight delicious cowboy candy uses that’ll show you how versatile candied jalapeños can be.
The traditional green relish made with cucumbers is one of the most popular toppings for hot dogs. Cowboy candy is like relish plus heat. Not only will it go well with the hotdog itself, but it also pairs well with other hotdog toppings like mustard and onions. Use it alongside similarly sweet add-ons like ketchup and the aforementioned relish, or in place of them if don’t you want too much stuff on your hotdog. If cowboy candy is too chunky for you, blend it to get something more spreadable and relish-like.
On pulled pork
Here’s one of our favorite cowboy candy uses. Pulled pork is typically pretty sweet even without any other ingredients. If you want it even sweeter or you want some heat added to the flavor profile, cowboy candy can be the perfect condiment. Not only will the jalapeño heat cut through the fattiness, but it enhances the texture as well.
If you are the kind of person who likes pineapple on pizza, you might also be the kind of person who would like cowboy candy on your pizza. Cowboy candy will bring the same kind of juicy sweetness that you get from pieces of pineapple. It may also do a better job of pairing with the salty smoky flavors of ham, especially since it brings a spicy jalapeño kick to go with the sugar.
Think of cowboy candy as being similar to pickled jalapeños. You can find them on tables at many taquerias because the tartness and heat can balance the flavors in tacos and other Mexican dishes. Cowboy candy works the same way as pickled jalapeños except you get a lot of sweetness to go with the acidity and heat.
With cream cheese
Many people enjoy combinations of sweet and savory flavors. The contrasting flavor profiles are even more enjoyable with the addition of a little heat, which is what cowboy candy will bring. The mix of savory cream cheese with the sweet jam-like flavor profile of cowboy candy is similar to the mix of flavors from pepper jam and cream cheese, which is a popular pairing. Serve cowboy candy and cream cheese on toast, pitas, or crackers.
Jalapeño peppers and cornbread go together. If you like a sweeter cornbread or like to spread jam or honey on your cornbread, candied jalapeños might be for you.
In barbecue sauce
Want something to add to the sweetness of a homemade barbecue sauce while also making it a little hotter? Cowboy candy can give your barbecue sauce the spicy edge it needs to avoid blandness. We also have a delicious candied jalapeño barbecue sauce recipe that’ll get you started.
On (or in) burgers
Both relish and ketchup are popular in burgers for the sweetness, acidity and moisture they provide. The downside of those condiments is that they offer no heat. Cowboy candy solves that problem. It gives your burger everything that you would get from ketchup and relish in addition to a manageable level of spiciness.