My favorite classic candied pecans recipe is easy to make with 7 ingredients. Perfect for gifting or sprinkling on everything from salads to yogurt, casseroles, ice cream and more!
Raise your hand if you love candied pecans as much as I do! ♡
These sweet treats have always been a favorite of mine, especially around the holidays, and this is is the old-fashioned candied pecans recipe that I fell in love with years ago and have made since more times than I can count. By contrast to my recipe for naturally-sweetened maple candied pecans, this retro recipe unapologetically features a thick and crunchy cinnamon sugar coating made with two kinds of sugar, plus the perfect hint of sea salt and cayenne to balance out the sweetness. And when baked up until perfectly toasty and crunchy in the oven, I’m telling you, these candied pecans are absolutely irresistible.
I always love baking up a few batches at the end of the year to pass out as fun holiday gifts. But they taste great anytime of the year as a sweet snack, or sprinkled on everything from salads to yogurt, casseroles, baked sweet potatoes, ice cream and more. They are also incredibly easy to make with just 7 simple ingredients, the recipe is naturally gluten-free, and these candied pecans have the added bonus of making your home smell absolutely heavenly as they bake in the oven.
I’m warning you now — one you start snacking on these little guys, it’s hard to stop. ♡ You’re going to love them!
Candied Pecans Recipe | 1-Minute Video
Candied Pecans Ingredients:
Before we get to the full recipe below, here is the list of ingredients that you will need to make these easy candied pecans:
Pecans: Candied pecans are traditionally made with raw pecan halves, but you could also sub in coarsely-chopped pecans if you prefer.
Sugars: A combination of both granulated (white) sugar and light brown sugar.
Spices: A simple mix of ground cinnamon and ground cayenne.
Salt: I originally wrote this recipe using one teaspoon of table salt. But if you are using fine sea salt instead, I recommend using a heaping teaspoon.
Egg white: And finally, we will use a whisked egg white to bind the cinnamon sugar mixture to the pecans.
How To Make Candied Pecans:
Full instructions how to candy pecans are detailed in the recipe below, but in a nutshell (sorry, I couldn’t resist)…here is the process for how to make candied pecans:
Mix the cinnamon sugar mixture. First, we will whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, salt and cayenne until combined.
Toss the pecans. Then in a separate bowl, we will toss the the pecans and whisked egg white until the pecans are evenly coated. And then add in the cinnamon sugar mixture, and toss once more.
Bake. When baking candied nuts, it’s important that they be spread out in an even layer on the baking sheet. (So if your sheet isn’t large enough, you may need to do this in two batches.) Bake the pecans for 40 minutes, stirring briefly at the halfway point, until they are fragrant and the sugar coating is cooked.
Cool. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire cooling rack and use all of your willpower to wait until the pecans have cooled to room temperature. (They will continue to dry and harden as they cool.) Then serve and enjoy!!
Possible Recipe Variations:
Want to customize this candied pecans recipe? Feel free to…
Use different nuts: If pecans aren’t your favorite, you could also use this recipe to make candied walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, or whatever other candied nuts sound good. Just be sure to always begin with raw nuts and adjust the cooking time as needed depending on the size/type of nuts.
Use less sugar: If you would like to reduce the amount of sugar in this recipe, feel free to use 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1/3 cup packed brown sugar.
Add more heat: I almost always double the amount of cayenne in this recipe to make slightly more spicy candied pecans, which I recommend if you would like the nuts to have a more noticeable kick!
Add different herbs or spices: Feel free to also add any other warming spices (such as cardamom, ginger, nutmeg or cloves) or some pumpkin pie spice if you would like. Or some finely chopped fresh rosemary or sage would also be delicious in there too!
Ways To Serve Candied Pecans:
Looking for ways to put a big batch of candied pecans to use? Here are some of our favorite ways that we like to enjoy this recipe in our home:
On their own: Serve them up in on their own as a sweet treat, or combine them with some of your other favorite snack-y ingredients to make a sweet and savory snack mix.
In salads: These candied pecans also make an amazing sweet and crunchy addition to salads.
In yogurt or ice cream: We also love sprinkling them on yogurt for breakfast and ice cream for dessert.
Sprinkled on potatoes or casseroles: They also make a great topping for baked sweet potatoes or retro sweet potato casserole.
Mix the cinnamon sugar mixture. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, salt and cayenne to a small mixing bowl and whisk until evenly combined.
Toss the pecans. In a separate large mixing bowl, add the pecans and whisked egg white and gently toss until the pecans are evenly coated. Add in the sugar mixture and gently toss until the pecans are evenly coated.
Bake. Spread the pecans out in a single even layer on the baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, then remove the nuts and give them a brief stir. Bake for 20 minutes more or until the pecans are fragrant and the sugar coating is cooked. (Note that the sugar coating will continue to harden and dry once the pecans are out of the oven.)
Cool. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire cooling rack and let the pecans cool to room temperature. Serve and enjoy immediately, or transfer the pecans to a sealed container to store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
These are so easy to keep eating!! The only part I did differently was add 1 tsp vanilla to the egg white (tip from a baker friend). I was gifted a giant bag of fresh pecans from a family farm (so sweet!) and am so glad this is the recipe I followed! Thank you for these! I can’t wait to share them with my family! (It’s 6am and I’m up baking and drinking coffee ?)
These are my favorite candied pecans! I couldnt find the recipe the last time I made them and I was so disappointed because they definitely did not live up to this delicious recipe! Thank you for sharing!
Great recipe!!! We absolutely love it!!!
Excellent and easy.
Yummy! So delicious! I love the hint of heat from the cayenne. It’s become a Christmas season favorite. It is great to give in a festive tin for a gift.
I made some for my dads birthday and they were finished the following day. If you cover them correctly they are amazing will definitly make again!
So good! I omitted the sugar and instead used brown sugar and maple syrup. It makes a wonderful, crunchy candied pecan, a perfect blend of sweet and spice!
Simple and Fabulous. Thanks!
Absolutely love this recipe! Perfect as is! I use as written for gifts and add a little extra cayenne and some other holiday spices for our personal batch. You will not regret trying this recipe. And the bonus cooked spiced sugar that falls off the finished nuts is to die for! Sprinkle a little over your French toast in the morning and you’ll be in heaven. Thanks for sharing!
Easy and delicious! I made the recipe exactly as directed for one of my many toppings for an ice cream sundae bar. My friends loved it, and I had to share the recipe with them!
I just made this! It was a different recipe. The other I made on stovetop. This was yummy!!
I made this as part of a spread with fruit and cheeses, and they went over extremely well! I added just a pinch of nutmeg and clove for a sort of pumpkin spice effect. Lovely recipe! I have a feeling I’ll be making these again for the holidays.
My sister introduced this recipe to me a couple of years ago and I make them every year! The packages I use as a Christmas gift has a recipe card (including the website) attached so they can enjoy them all year. These are a huge and yummy favorite!
I made these for a baby shower I hosted and they disappeared immediately. Fabulous recipe. I’m making another batch right now to satisfy all the requests I had for more. People raved about your recipe.
Been making this recipe for a few years and we all love it! My daughter is a freshman at college and coming home in a few days, she asked me last night if I could make these for Thanksgiving…it was her only food request for the long weekend, now that’s a compliment!!!
The lowest-effort, highest-reward recipe ever! I made a batch of these for our Thanksgiving salad (greens, pears, goat cheese, pomegranate, balsamic), and my mother insisted I make several more batches the next day (mix of pecans and walnuts) for her holiday gifting needs. They are certainly very sweet, but most people really enjoyed that, and they are easy to make less sweet if you want. The crunch is PERFECT. Thanks, Ali!
I’ve been making this at Christmas for several years now. Unfortunately, I JUST CAN’T STOP popping them in my mouth! Most of my holiday weight gain is directly attributable to this recipe.
Do you toss the pecans in sugar mixture then egg mixture then back in sugar mixture?
Whip egg white, put the pecans in that and stir to coat. Then add the sugar/spice mix and stir to coat. When I first made this, I messed up and mixed the egg white and sugar/spice mixture together then added the pecans. It looked different but tasted fine.
Awesome. Made for gifts.
These are a must to try. Delicious!! Thank you
Would really love the nutritional information on these , love them so much
I love this recepie! The extra cayenne pepper is what I prefer (up to 1/2 tsp).
Thank you for sharing this!
I’ve been coming back to this recipe for the past 4 years now it is that good. I give them as gifts, use them in salads and we all snack on them. So good!
This is the 3rd recipe I have tried for candied Pecans and it is perfect!! I omitted the cayenne pepper and used 1/4 C sugars instead of 1/2 cup. They are crunchy, sweet, and delicious!!
I made these diabetic friendly by whisking 1/2 cup of agave nectar instead of the sugars (a little goes a long way with agave nectar) Spices stay the same. Baking is same temp but time is about 25 or 30 minutes to get it to set up enough to harden as the nuts cool. Great recipe.
I love this recipe, have made it several times & given as gifts, delicious! Can this recipe be frozen after cooking the nuts?
Have made several times, the initial batch the egg whites mix a little too much and the 20 minute baking time needed to be shortened. The next time briefly whisked the eggs whites and added a half more of 1/8 teaspoon of Cayenne pepper. Bake 15 minutes , then stirred and baked 15 minutes again. It was great! The third time followed the same method again, but this time added a teaspoon of emulsion almond flavoring (texture similar to the egg whites). Great, also!
Can’t stop eating these! They’re so good!
I give these out every year as a small gift to my neighbors. They are always a hit. I decrease the salt to 1/2 teaspoon and add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla. I also place the dry ingredients into a gallon zip lock back after coating the pecans with the egg white, then shack. It gives a more even coating to the pecans before placing onto parchment paper I use.
I’ve made these the last couple years and always get compliments. Super easy, and delicious! I’ve passed the recipe on a couple times now!
Lawdy Lawdy! I wish I never saw this recipe!
These are sinful with how darn good they are.
I followed the recipe exactly with the exception of a tad more cayenne and I had a handful of slivered almonds that I threw in.
This is a keeper!!