This spicy jalapeno simple syrup is so easy to make and to customize to your liking! I’ll show you how to make an easy spicy jalapeno syrup that is packed with incredible flavor that you didn’t even know was possible! A deliciously spicy syrup to make amazing cocktails like this spicy margarita.
I’ll show you how to make the best jalapeno syrup. And pro tips on how to adjust the spice level while infusing the most flavor to make this spicy simple syrup.
- Why I love this recipe
- Ingredients to make jalapeno simple syrup recipe
- Ingredient substitutions
- A note about chili and spice levels
- How to make jalapeno simple syrup
- FAQs and Pro Tips for perfecting this spicy simple syrup recipe
- How to use this simple syrup
- Other flavor variations for the jalapeno simple syrup
- Other soda syrup or simple syrup recipes
Why I love this recipe
- It’s very easy to make and a very forgiving recipe. You can easily adjust the amounts and vary the flavor to your liking.
- You will learn how to get the MOST flavor from the jalapenos (or other types of chili) that you’ll be using.
- You don’t have to use jalapenos to make this syrup either. You can use serrano peppers, or any other kind of green chili, OR even red chili peppers.
- It’s so easy to infuse even more flavor into this syrup, so you can make ever more interesting drinks! Herbs like basil and cilantro go well with this syrup.
- The jalapenos and other chili that are used to make this syrup can be used for other things too. I.e. no food wastage.
- I show you how to make a green chili and a red chili spicy simple syrup, and explain the differences, so you can adapt your spicy syrup however you like.
In this recipe, I make a green jalapeno infused simple syrup with the addition of spicier chili peppers to make a simple syrup that is spicy enough for my husband and myself. I also make a red chili infused simple syrup that is just as spicy but has a different flavor profile than the green jalapeno simple syrup.
Ingredients to make jalapeno simple syrup recipe
I use granulated white sugar for this recipe. Caster sugar or regular granulated sugar is fine for this.
Water and sugar are mixed in equal amounts (1:1) to make a simple syrup. Sugar and water are mixed at a 2:1 ratio for a rich simple syrup. You can adjust the amount of water for the type of simple syrup you prefer. Since I’m simmering the syrup for a little longer than regular simple syrup here, this syrup is a little richer than regular simple syrup, but not as thick as a rich syrup.
Please note that the sugar to water ratio is calculated by weight. Not by volume. Volume measurements will not result in accurate simple syrups.
You can use green or red jalapeno peppers for this recipe. For the jalapeno flavor that we are familiar with, use green jalapenos for an earthy, vegetal flavor. You can also use red jalapenos for a sweeter, fruitier taste.
Other chili peppers
This is completely optional.
If you’d like to add more heat to your syrup, add 1 – 2 extra spicy chili peppers. This will depend on your spice tolerance of course, so be mindful.
You can use habanero or scotch bonnet peppers or thai chili peppers.
Instead of white sugar, you can also use brown sugar. Brown sugar has molasses that will add a layer of extra flavor to the simple syrup. That molassey depth of flavor is absolutely delicious! But if you want to keep the flavor of the jalapeno more prominent, then I recommend using white sugar.
Unfortunately, I have not made this recipe with sugar-free substitutes, so I cannot recommend a sugar-free substitute for this simple syrup recipe.
You would think there is no substitute for water. But there is! You can add a little bit of lime juice or lemon juice to add more flavor to the simple syrup. Just for a pop of acidity and brightness, you can add just a few tablespoons of lime juice or lemon juice.
For a stronger citrus flavor with jalapeno simple syrup, like a lime jalapeno simple syrup, you can substitute up to 1/2 the amount of water with lime/lemon juice.
A note about chili and spice levels
Scoville units and capsaicin
As you know, there are many types of chili pepper available all around the world. Jalapeno peppers are one of the more well-known widely used chili peppers in North and South America, as they are very popular in Mexican and Latin American cuisines.
The heat from chili peppers comes from a chemical called capsaicin that is present in all chili peppers. Most notably, it’s present in the seeds and the white “pith” inside the pepper. The more spicy the pepper, the higher the level of capsaicin in the pepper. Another rule of thumb that people follow (with some exceptions) is that the bigger the chili pepper, the milder it is, while smaller chili peppers tend to be spicier.
Scoville units are a scale that is used to determine the spice level of chili peppers, from 0 (bell peppers) to over 2 million (Carolina reaper).
Jalapeno peppers tend to be on the milder side, with about 2000 – 10,000 scoville units.
Green chili and red chili
Chili peppers also come in green and red colors. There is a difference between green and red chilies that is more than just in the color.
The longer a chili is left on the tree, it’ll go from green to red in color. Kind of like the ripening of a fruit.
Green chili tends to be more crunchy, and has a more earthy, vegetal taste. Some have bitter notes as well.
Because my husband and I love spicy food, we chose the following combination of chili peppers to make our chili simple syrup.
- Jalapeno + Thai green chili or green habenero peppers (for extra spice)
- Red jalapeno or long red chili (like Espanola or Coronado) + Thai red chili or red habanero peppers (for extra spice)
But you can adjust the amount to your liking.
How to make jalapeno simple syrup
First, slice up the jalapeno. If you want your simple syrup to be extra spicy, add additional chilies. This can include serrano peppers, thai green chili, or green habanero peppers.
This goes without saying, but when cutting chili, please be careful not to touch your eyes afterwards. The capsaicin will burn your eyes. If you’re sensitive to chili, make sure to wear gloves. Please know your tolerance level so that you can adjust the spice and heat level to your taste.
Place the sugar, sliced chilies, and water in a saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat and cook the syrup while stirring to dissolve the sugar. When the syrup has come to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer.
If you want more jalapeno and chili flavor, use a cocktail muddle and gently crush a few slices of the jalapenos. This is optional. Let the syrup simmer on low heat for about 10 – 15 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Taste the syrup at intervals to check the spice level. If at any point the syrup is too spicy, remove some of the chilies in the syrup, starting from the spiciest chili peppers (such as habanero).
After the jalapeno syrup has simmered, turn off the heat and remove the pot from the stove. If the syrup has enough flavor (to your taste), strain the syrup and let it cool down to room temperature.
For a stronger infusion, let the jalapeno slices (and other chilis) infuse the syrup as it cools down. Since I do like an extra spicy sugar syrup, I allow the chili to infuse overnight.
Strain the syrup and store it in a clean container or bottle with an air-tight lid. The remaining chili peppers might have candied if you left them overnight in the syrup. You can use the candied jalapeno as a garnish, OR dehydrate them to use them later too.
Store the syrup in the fridge for about 2 weeks. It’ll last 6 months in the freezer.
FAQs and Pro Tips for perfecting this spicy simple syrup recipe
Jalapeno peppers are fairly mild, but still can be spicy for some people. To reduce the spice level even further, you can remove the jalapeno seeds and the white pith inside these chili peppers. The seeds and white part contain more capsaicin.
By muddling the jalapeno slices (without the seeds) in the syrup, you can add more flavor with less heat as well.
You can add spicy green chili along with the jalapeno! Make sure to taste the syrup as you make it to evaluate the spiciness. Remove the chili peppers at any point you like, or let it infuse for as long as you like for extra spiciness.
I personally love extra spicy jalapeno simple syrup, so I add 2 – 3 habanero peppers to the simple syrup along with the jalapenos.
If you already made your syrup, but it’s too spicy, you can quickly make a small batch of regular simple syrup (1:1 water and sugar mix), and add it to the syrup until the spice level has mellowed out to your taste.
If you muddled the jalapeno in the syrup, it may make it slightly bitter. This is especially true for green chilies. The bitter notes are not noticeable when I make drinks, and actually imparts a lovely flavor. However, if you don’t like the bitterness, then you can skip the step of muddling the jalapeno chili slices in the syrup.
Absolutely! I quite like red jalapeno simple syrup. It has a fruitier flavor than the green version.
If you simmered the simple syrup for a long time, and ended up with a very thick and rich simple syrup – you run the risk of the sugar crystallizing in the syrup. The higher the sugar concentration in the syrup, the higher the risk of sugar crystals forming. A rich simple syrup may crystallize more than a simple syrup.
You can add additives such as corn syrup or cream of tartar to prevent crystallization. But making sure not to let the simple syrup simmer for too long, and letting it cool completely will also prevent this from happening.
PLEASE NOTE that the spice level of jalapeno simple syrup will be mellow in drinks, since you’ll be diluting the syrup with other ingredients. If you want to taste a little heat in your drinks and cocktails, make sure to make the syrup a little spicier than you’d prefer. Otherwise, you will not feel the heat once the syrup is diluted.
When it doubt, go milder. The flavor of the jalapeno will shine through regardless!
How to use this simple syrup
This spicy jalapeno syrup is perfect for your cocktails and mocktails! Here are some of my favorite ways to use this syrup.
- Spicy margaritas! – This is hands down my favorite way to use jalapeno simple syrup. Jalapeno pairs so well with tequila too. You can also make other variations.
- Spicy mango margaritas
- Jalapeno pineapple margaritas
- Spicy lemonade or spicy limeade – Instead of adding sugar to your lime or lemon juice, add this syrup along with water or soda. I love the spicy kick in a refreshing summer drink.
- Fruit salad – Add a splash of this spicy simple syrup to fresh fruits. Especially mango, pineapple, watermelon, and other tropical fruits. The sweetness and spicy kick are perfect with fresh fruits!
Other flavor variations for the jalapeno simple syrup
Jalapeno lime syrup – Add lime zest or substitute some of the water with lime juice to make a lime and jalapeno syrup.
Cilantro and jalapeno syrup – Add some cilantro stems and roots to the syrup mixture to allow the cilantro to infuse with the syrup.
Basil and chili syrup – Add some basil stems and your choice of chili to make a basil infused spicy syrup.
Spice chili syrup – Add spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, or nutmeg to a red chili syrup to make a lovely spiced red chili syrup. The fruity sweetness of red chili pairs very well with these spices.
Serrano simple syrup – Instead of jalapeno, use serrano peppers. This will be spicier than the jalapeno version.
Spicy Jalapeno Simple Syrup Recipe + Variations!
- 300 g white sugar 1.5 cups
- 300 mL water 1¼ cup (see recipe notes)
- 4 – 5 jalapenos about 100 – 125 g (see recipe notes for alternatives)
- 1 habanero or scotch bonnet pepper OPTIONAL – if you want the syrup to be extra spicy
Prepare the peppers
- Use gloves when handling chili peppers if you're not experienced or sensitive to chili. And please do not touch your eyes when handling peppers!
- First, decide how spicy you want your syrup to be.
- For a mild syrup – Cut the jalapeno peppers length-wise and remove the seeds and white pith inside. Then, slice the pepper into thick slices, and set aside.4 – 5 jalapenos
- For a spicier syrup – Cut the jalepeno peppers into thick, round slices and set aside. You can use the seeds and the stem as well.4 – 5 jalapenos
- For an even spicier syrup – Add 1 or 2 habanero peppers to the syrup. Place the habanero pepper on a cutting board and then starting half-way down the pepper in the middle, make a cut towards the bottom of the pepper. Then turn the pepper 90 degrees, and make another similar cut on the other side. This way you should have a pepper that has an “X” cut on the bottom half of it, but the whole pepper should be intact. This is done so that the inside of the pepper is exposed when it's in the syrup, but the whole pepper can be fished out intact when needed.1 habanero or scotch bonnet pepper
Making the syrup
- Place the sugar, water, and sliced chilies in a medium-sized saucepan.300 g white sugar, 300 mL water
- Heat over medium-high heat, while frequently stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring the syrup to a boil.
- When the syrup is boiling, lower the heat so that the syrup reaches gentle simmer.
- OPTIONAL – Using a cocktail muddler, muddle some of the jalapeno pepper slices in the syrup to release more flavors of the jalapeno. But don't muddle the habanero pepper.
- Let it simmer (without the lid), for about 10 – 15 minutes. Occasionally stir and keep an eye on the syrup. Do not let the syrup thicken too much, as it might start crystallizing then.
- While the syrup is simmering, feel free to taste the syrup to check the spice level. If the syrup is spicy enough, you can remove some of the peppers. Especially if you use habanero, this can be removed at any time you like.
- Make sure the syrup is a little more spicy than you like, since the syrup will mellow out in drinks that you'll be making when mixed with other ingredients.
- When the syrup has simmered, taste it. You can strain the syrup if you like at this stage and let the syrup cool without any jalapeno or chilies in it.
- For best results and a stronger flavor, allow the syrup to cool down in the pan WITH the sliced chili. You can let the jalapenos infuse the syrup overnight at room temperature if you prefer.
- When the syrup has cooled, strain to remove the jalapeno (and habanero – if using). The jalapeno slices will have candied at this point. You could dehydrate them and use them as garnishes, or discard them at this point.
- Pour the syrup into a bottle or container with an air-tight lid. Use this syrup to sweeten any type of drink you like. I have provided several suggestions in the post.
Tips & Tricks
- Room temperature – This syrup will last a week at room temperature, with proper food handling practices.
- Fridge – This syrup will last 3 – 4 weeks in the fridge, with proper food handling practices.
- Freezer – This syrup will last up to 6 months in the freezer. This may not freeze solid in the freezer, but will thicken a lot. Thaw out in the fridge before using.
Note about waterThis syrup is a little richer than a regular simple syrup. The ratio of water to sugar is 1:1 (weight, not volume), which makes this a simple syrup. However, since I am simmering the syrup for a few minutes, some of the water evaporates, concentrating the sugar in the liquid. You can also simmer the syrup with the lid on to lower water evaporation, if you prefer. To make a rich syrup, Decrease the amount of water to ⅔ cup, or 155 mL. Then simmer the syrup for about 10 – 15 minutes on low heat WITH THE LID ON, to prevent water evaporation. To prevent re-crystallization, DO NOT stir the simple syrup after it comes to a boil, during the simmering stage. You can gently swirl the pot, but be careful not to re-introduce the sugar crystals on the side of the pot. This can lead to re-crystallization of the rich syrup as it cools down.
Jalapeno pepper alternatives and notesYou can use serrano peppers if you cannot find jalapeno peppers. However, since serrano peppers have a higher Scoville rating, you may want to remove seeds from half of the peppers that you use. I would use about 6 – 8 serrano peppers, depending on the size, as they are smaller than jalapeno peppers. If you live outside of the Americas, it might be harder to find jalapeno peppers or serrano peppers. You can use any green chili peppers. Bear in mind though that generally larger peppers tend to be milder in heat than smaller chili peppers. So, opt for the long green chili peppers. To get more flavor and less heat, add extra chili peppers, but remove the seeds and the white pith.
To make red chili pepper simple syrupYou can also use red chili peppers for this simple syrup. Red chili tends to be a little fruitier and sweeter than green chili peppers (but can also be spicier). Larger, longer red chili are milder. Red jalapeno peppers or Espanola or Coronado chilies are perfect for this.
To make the syrup spicierGreen jalapeno simple syrup – Add thai green chili or green habanero / scotch bonnet peppers to add more spice. Red jalapeno simple syrup – Add thai red chili or red habanero / scotch bonnet peppers to add more spice. You can also use a mixture of red and green chili to make this spicy simple syrup.
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