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”

  1. I will make these for my Christmas treats.
    This works well with walnuts too.

    • Yes, totally, feel free to try this recipe with any kind of nuts, or a combination if you like!

  2. I made these last night and they are amazing!

    Thank you for the recipe!

  3. I posted a comment on 12/1/15 about making these as gifts for my family for Christmas gifts. I decided to wait until today to make them because this is my first day of my holiday vacation and I have been calling this day Pecan Day for about two weeks now while planning everything! I am so excited to get to make something for my family. I’ll be making 18 tins of pecans today so wish me luck and peace be with my oven! Haha. Thanks again for the great recipe!

  4. I just made a HUMONGOUS batch of this for my co-workers (recipe x6). I put the pecans and egg whites in my big soup pot. It made it really easy to stir without making a mess. Then I dumped the dry ingredients right into the pot. I used 4 cookie sheets and they came out awesome! Great recipe thank you!

    • That’s so awesome Selina, thanks for sharing (and for giving the recipe a try)! We’re so happy you enjoyed these! :D

  5. Awesome! Saw the extra sugar mixture for topping oatmeal for breakfast! Yummy, good!

  6. Double batch on the oven right now.  The house smells amazing.  Glad I’ll have a fabulous hostess gift for a last minute neighborhood get together this evening.  Thanks for the recipe!  Merry Christmas!

  7. OMG! These are so yummy and super easy to make. I made them to give as gifts but its going to be hard to not eat them all up?

  8. These were so easy to make and they are delicious! I’m making them for a Christmas gift.

  9. This is a great recipe! Super easy and super delicious!

  10. Is there a way yo do these without the egg whites? My hubby loves nuts, pecans especially, but he has to avoid eggs. 

    • Hi there! Yes, you can definitely do these without the egg whites, we hope you enjoy! :)

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  12. Hi there,
    Im crazy about candied pecans as well, but had never done it myself. ?
    How long can it be stored? If I make it without the egg whites, do you think it would last longer?
    Many thanks!!
    Luciana

    • Hi Luciana! They’ll still last just as long with an egg white. You can store them in an airtight container for about a month. We hope you enjoy these! :)

  13. I haven’t even finished eating my salad with your yummy pecans…they are AWESOME! Easy and wonderful recipe. Thank you. 

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  16. Hi so I’m giving these a try but I replaced the cyenne with pumpkin spice hope they turn out good. Thank you for the recipe.

  17. These are addictive for me and there goes my sugar levels so deoicious :)

  18.   These are really good. One family member allergies do not permit cayenne. So I omitted. Used half granulated white sugar, 1/4 maple sugar and 1/4 dark muscovado India brown sugar. Turned out excellent. Thanks for the recipe! 

  19. I have been buying  mesquite  bbq  flavored  candied pecans  at the store and suddenly  they are no longer available .  Do you have any suggestions ? 

  20. I am out of parchment. Can I use silpats or will they get ruined?

    Thank you.

  21. Oh my gosh!! What a great recipe and so simple!! Thank you!! :)

  22. Hello! Of all the recipes of candied pecans I saw on the internet, yours was the most appealing to me.  I can make it in advance, what a charm! Tomorrow is cinnamon day!!! Thanks… :)

  23. I have the same recipe but mine does not call for the pepper. the one I have calls for 1 TBS. of water add to the whites and beat till soft peaks. I have cook them with just whisking the whites but you get better coverage if they are beating to soft peaks.

  24. I have made these pecans the past 2 years and gave them as gifts. Needless to say, they are a hit and are requested now. Do you think they work in a crock pot? Thanks! Great recipe!

    • We’re so glad you enjoy the recipe, Katie! :) We’ve never tried these in a crockpot before, but we’ve seen recipes out there!

  25. Hello again! The pecans were delicious! Easy and very good, a recipe to keep! Thanks again….

  26. Just put mine in the oven, I’m excited to try & gift. Really easy recipe and they smell amazing !!

  27. I’m making these tonight for gift giving for Christmas. I just love these candied pecans.I’m sure I’ll have to make another batch. I’m making them with Splenda and Splenda brown sugar as my husband is diabetic. Also that will cut the calories down a bit. Thank you so much for the recipe. And it was so easy to whip together. Let’s hope my hubby and I don’t eat them all before I package them up for gifts.

  28. I just made these for Christmas and they are terrific.  This recipe is a keeper.  

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  30. This sounds like a great recipe. I can’t wait to try it.

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  32. In the oven now and smelling so good!  My friend gifted me with a huge bag of pecans grown in her yard. 

  33. Do you mean cayenne as in the pepper or if you don’t care for it can it be omitted or replaced with something else

    • Hi Dolores! If you don’t care for cayenne, you can just leave it out. Feel free to replace it with another spice you like, if you prefer!

  34. Delicious! Easy to prepare.  I have made these several times and they are disappear rapidly.  

  35. I wanted to let you know this recipes has become a staple in our household. We use it for gifts, salads, snacks, primavera, and charcuterie.  Everyone raves!  The recipe turns out perfect every time! Thank you so much for sharing. Love your blog!

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  37. 5 stars
    This should be called pecan crack!! So good you can’t leave it alone!! So much better than any store bought!!
    Thanks for this recipe’n

  38. Made these to use as an accent for a 4 tier carrot cake. Incredibly easy to make, plus mouth watering to boot!

    • Thanks for sharing, Valerie — we’re so happy you enjoyed them!

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  42. I made a batch with pecans and a batch with walnuts. I took them to a staff potluck and served them with vanilla ice cream and caramel topping. They loved it!

    Very easy to make…

    • Thanks for sharing, Melody — we’re so glad to hear they were a hit! :)

  43. 5 stars
    Delicious! I can’t stop eating them!!!

  44. 5 stars
    I made these last night to add to my roasted beet, goat cheese and arugula salad. I only had a cup of pecans so I reduced the recipe. I’m heading to the store today to buy pounds more of pecans because I CAN NOT stop eating them!! They are the perfect combination of sweet, spicy, and cinnamony deliciousness!!!

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  48. 5 stars
    Just made these for Thanksgiving snack. Awesome! Used McCormick Chipolte Chili Pepper instead of Cayenne. Smoky, sweet, DELICIOUS! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  49. Oh yeah!!! I went to visit family in Georgia for Thanksgiving and stopped by the Magnolia Plantation ( that place is expensive ) on the way home back to Florida. I got 5 LBs of paper shell (shelled) pecans and shelled 1LB yesterday for your recipe. OH MY!!!! They are amazzzzzing! Just WOW!

  50. 5 stars
    Made a batch of these for the Thanksgiving holiday. So easy to make, definitely made the house smell amazing, and they barely made it two days! Huge hit, will definitely be making these again. Thanks for another killer recipe!