The Intense Snack The Pioneer Woman Calls 'Cowboy Candy'

Food Network star Ree Drummond, a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman, is known for her Southern home-style cooking and her wholesome-yet-glamorous ranch lifestyle. Her 'frontier' is easy-to-make recipes that are sure to please even the pickiest of eaters in the family. Some can't get enough of her famous creamy mashed potatoes and chocolate pie, while others rave about the flavorful simplicity of Drummond's Mini Hawaiian Chicken Skewers.

On brand with Drummond's M.O., the Pioneer Woman Magazine posted a recipe for Cowboy Candy on Instagram that uses just four ingredients, involves minimal prep, and is sure to add an intense zing to any dish. If you grew up in the South, chances are you've heard of Cowboy Candy. And no, it's not the same thing as Cowboy Caviar, the Southern dip created sometime around the 1950s that recently took TikTok by storm. Deceivingly, Cowboy Candy isn't candy at all. Well, not technically. It's candied jalapeños — a spicy, sweet, juicy, and sour condiment that might just replace your favorite hot sauce.

What is Cowboy Candy?

This classic southern recipe is a versatile condiment that can be enjoyed on anything from burgers to Bloody Marys — or if you're daring, you can snack on them straight out of the jar.

Cowboy Candy originated in Texas 100 years ago, and though it appears in many classic Southern cookbooks, it is said to be created by 7-year-old Mindie Heironimus at WHH Ranch in St. Augustine, Texas in 1922. Mindie worked on her family ranch from a young age and one of her chores was to make and can the bread and butter pickles. One summer day, she used this same technique to pickle the jalapeños that were overflowing their garden, placing the spicy peppers in containers with sugar and spices. It was a hit, and the Heironimus family gave their creation the name it still has today: Cowboy Candy.

The Pioneer Woman Mag's recipe for Cowboy Candy uses a technique that is similar to quick pickling, except that it uses a higher concentration of sugar. Instead of pouring brine over the jalapeños just as it comes to a boil as you would for pickled jalapeños, it calls for reducing the pickling liquid further so it thickens and reduces into a sweet, flavorful syrup. This low-effort, high-reward recipe is sure to be in constant rotation in your home — spice-lovers rejoice!