Candied Pecans

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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!

Candied Pecans in Mason Jar

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

Prepping candied pecans for baking

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.

Candied Pecans on Baking Sheet

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:

  1. Mix the cinnamon sugar mixture. First, we will whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, salt and cayenne until combined.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!!

Candied Pecans in Mason Jar for Gifting with Kraft Label

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 maple syrup: To make more naturally-sweetened candied pecans, check out my maple candied pecans recipe.
  • 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!

Candied pecans recipe close-up

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.
  • As a gift: Wrap these candied pecans up in mason jars or treat boxes with some cute kraft gift tags if you would like to give them as gifts!
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Candied Pecans on Baking Sheet

Candied Pecans

  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x

Description

My favorite classic candied pecans recipe — easy to make with 7 ingredients and always irresistibly delicious!


Scale

Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Prep oven and baking sheet. Heat oven to 300°F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.


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229 comments on “Candied Pecans”

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  1. I’m so surprised that it’s this easy to make candied pecans.
    It looks pretty fantastic! Thanks.

  2. I agree – candied nuts should replace candles! Love this recipe, Ali! The cayenne has me intrigued – need to try it! Pinned!

  3. I can’t get enough candied pecans. They’re good on everything!!

  4. I can smell those babies a million miles a way, they’re just so..intoxicating! In a good way. Yours look just perfect!

  5. THAT SMELL. It gets me every time. Love that you add cayenne too!

  6. So I usually just drizzle nuts with honey and bake them to candy them…but this looks way better!

  7. You are always inspiring me with such yummy spice recipes! I am slightly obsessed with your chai. Can’t wait to try this!

  8. These look wonderful! Do the egg whites need to be whisked until foamy or just a little bit?

  9. These look so crunchy and I can just imagine how good they must have smelled!! Yum!

  10. I love nuts! What a fantastic snack!

  11. Easy and so beautiful. These would be great Christmas gifts.

  12. After a recent banana-bread-baking binge, I would throw that out as another good replacement for scented candles … but not *nearly* as good as candied nuts! What a great recipe to share.

  13. You are probably right but if forewent candles and just baked candied pecans all the time, I would be 500 pounds!!! I cannot resist a candied pecan. I will order a salad just because it is topped with them. Must make asap! I’ll tell myself it’s all for the scent… ;-)

  14. I love everything about these pecans! I want to make them now!

  15. I can only imagine how amazing these must smell!

  16. Fantastic recipe! I just love pecans, these look absolutely amazing! So crisp and crunchy!

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  18. These nuts are amazing! I’ve been making them exactly like this for years, but I do a mix of pecans, cashews and peanuts. So yummy! I package them up and give them as Christmas gifts to my coworkers and they’re always a hit!

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  20. These look amazing and I’m sure they smell and taste that way! Will have to try your recipe, since I’ve made them before, but never with egg whites. Pinned.

  21. I love candied pecans, especially on my salads!

  22. Ali awesome recipe will definitely try it. Are you ever going to release a cookbook ???

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  25. I just made these. OMG!  They are delicious. I can 
    see them being a delightful and economical Christmas
    Gift or party favor or a quick but amazing dish for
    a party. They taste as good as any I have purchased
    in Charleston, SC, and I live in Charleston!!  Yummy
    and cheap. Can you tell I am excited?  Kudos to you!!

  26. Just made these for your copycat Panera Fuji Apple chicken salad recipe and they are AMAZING! I’m glad I made extra to munch on because otherwise I probably wouldn’t have had enough for my salad… 

  27. First time making candied pecans & this recipe was a big hit with the family on Thanksgiving day! I did not add the cayenne. Served on a salad & also topped them on a cranberry congealed salad. Everyone raved! A recipe I will definitely use again!

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  29. 40 minutes was too long!  Mine burned :(  I think next time will take them out at 30 mins.

  30. made 500g worth last week. Making more for Christmas gifts. Delicious!!

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  34. I’ve done this recipe a few times now and it comes out amazing each time. For Christmas I subbed out 2 cups of pecans for almonds and sent them out to family and friends. They Loved the mix and have even started calling them – D’s Nuts – 

    -dMP

  35. Pecans are my favorite…will try this for sure! Also very classy site, so professional.
    Will take the day to browse…love browsing!!

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  37. My husband requested candied pecans. With his first bite I wasn’t sure if I had made a horrible mistake or just pulled the most amazing thing out of my oven. Turns out it was just because his face didn’t know what to do. He was expecting it to be good but he wasn’t expecting the flavor to have saturated the pecan nor for the pecan to be so nicely roasted.

    I’d tell you what I think but I can’t stand pecans!

    It’s a winner and he’s already requesting a second batch. This time with cashews.

    This recipe was so so so easy and came out looking fantastic!

  38. Ive made candied pecans using other recipes, but this one surpasses all the others! Made it just like the recipe directed–including the pepper–and the taste was exactly what I was
    searching for. Great recipe!

    • Thanks Betsy, that’s such a nice compliment! We’re happy you enjoyed these. :D

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  40. These are wonderful! I chose to omit the cayenne. I used just under a T of cinnamon. I added about 1/2tsp vanilla to egg white then whisked until frothy. Using a gallon ziplock bag was a great idea! I only baked them for about 15 mins, stirring them around with spatula every 5 mins. (Baked until could smell a pleasant nutty/sweet smell.) Parchment made clean up a breeze! I will definitely make again and again!

    • Thanks Katie, we’re so glad you liked these, and thanks for sharing your tips!

  41. I like this recipe for candied pecans.  I have been looking for a great recipe.  Now, I will thank your for it.  I want to make them for Christmas gifts to place in the baskets.  Thank yoiu

    Question: Can I use coconut sugar instead of granulated sugar?

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  44. I have these in the oven right now, and they smell amazing! May have to whip up some french toast and out them on top :) 

  45. We have had home made bacon curing all week and just finished smoking it !  A bit of salt to go with the sweet!  Thanks for sharing the recipe ! 

  46. Hey Ali! Is there a variation for making this egg free? 

    • Hi Sara! You could still make this as is (just minus the egg) – it just works as a binder to make everything else coat to the pecans better, but these will still be candied and yummy without it. :)

  47. Hi
    I can hardly wait to try these. One question  the cayenne  pepper will it make them spicy to for kids?  
    Thanks 

    • Hi Lana! It’s such a small amount of cayenne, but if you’re concerned you can leave it out! :) We hope you enjoy these!

  48. These are AMAZING in some buttermilk pancakes (i also add chocolate chips) you dont need syrup so its great for easy quick breakfast when you make a batch and put extras away in fridge.

    • Thanks Kaienah, we’re glad you like them, and we bet they would be amazing in pancakes – great idea! :)

  49. Hey there!! I made these pecans about a month ago and my family went nuts for them. Haha, pun intended! This gave me the idea to make a bunch of them to give out as Christmas gifts. Now the problem is when to make them. I’m wondering if you have any idea how long they’ll stay fresh? I’m thinking of making them and dividing them into airtight bags and then putting those bags into airtight containers and starting to make them this weekend. Think they will be good still by the weekend before Christmas?? 

    Thanks, Nikki

    • Hi Nikki, we’re happy these were a hit! :D We think those will keep that way if you make them this weekend, but we’re not 100% sure, as we haven’t tried making them that far in advance. You might be safer to make them a week or two prior to gifting them (we’re not sure how well they’d hold up/taste after a month). We hope this is helpful!

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