Candied Jalapeño BBQ Sauce

Candied jalapeños (a.k.a. cowboy candy) are a spicy food secret weapon. They are so unassuming in looks – just glistening jalapeño pepper slices – but their sweet and spicy quotient is off the charts. In fact, they make for one amazing secret ingredient in BBQ sauce. This candied jalapeño BBQ sauce layers in that sweet heat with the earthy sweetness of molasses and the fresh tang of apple.

But truly, any BBQ sauce can be made better (and hotter) with the inclusion of cowboy candy. Chop them up or mash them down and try them added to your favorite sauce. Try it as a marinade, as a pulled pork sauce, or simply as a dipper.

For any candied jalapeño BBQ sauce recipe, you can pick up cowboy candy online pretty easily. But, if you want them from scratch, check out our homemade cowboy candy recipe as well. It’s pretty simple to make, and it’s an excellent way to use up all those extra jalapeños you may have sitting around at season’s end.

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Candied jalapeño BBQ sauce

Candied Jalapeño BBQ Sauce

Deliciously sweet and tangy
4.20 from 15 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Course Sauce
Servings 32 servings
Calories 71 kcal


  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper chopped (approximately 1/2 of medium-sized pepper)
  • 1 onion chopped (small-sized)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper chopped
  • 3 red apples chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup candied jalapeños include some sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup mustard
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • In a high-sided saucepan over medium heat, saute the onion and bell pepper in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the raw jalapeño pepper and continue to saute, stirring often, for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the apple and brown sugar to the saucepan and continue to saute, stirring often, until the apple is softened (approximately 3 to 5 minutes).
  • Add the apple cider, apple cider vinegar, tomato puree, candied jalapeños, water, mustard, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Continue cooking the sauce until it slightly thickens (remember it will get thicker with sitting, so judge accordingly).
  • Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to sit for 20 minutes or until room temperature.
  • Transfer the sauce to a blender and blend all ingredients until smooth.
  • Use immediately, or for best flavor allow the sauce to chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours, allowing the flavors to meld.


If the sauce is too thin after blending, you can add it back to the pot and bring it to a simmer to reduce the amount of liquid in the sauce. Remember, it will become thicker, particularly if it’s allowed to chill while setting.
Please see our recipe for homemade candied jalapeños (a.k.a. cowboy candy).


Calories: 71kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 306mgPotassium: 218mgFiber: 1gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 185IUVitamin C: 6.3mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 0.9mg
Keyword Jalapeno Pepper
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UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on February 17, 2024 to include new content.
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Julie L Evans

Can I can this bbq sauce?