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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228 comments on “Candied Pecans”

  1. 2nd batch in the oven. These are deliciously addictive. I love the hint of cayman. Perfect candied pecans! Will be making this for upcoming holiday season.

  2. Best ever! Went thru 4 pounds of pecans!

  3. Absolutely loved it. Easy but very rewarding. I added more cayenne in some batches that were being consumed by adults needing more of a kick. Love Love LoveLove Love!!!!!!

  4. I make these too. Except with the egg whites, I make meringue, add TOASTED (and cooled) pecans then I sprinkle the same ingredients mixed together like you do and make sure they’re well coated. Slo bake them. You’re so right, people go NUTS over them. Sometimes instead of cayenne, I’ll use fresh ground nutmeg.

    • Lynn – I don’t understand your adaptation. Do you mean that – rather than whisking the egg whites – you beat until peaks form? I really like your idea of toasting the nuts first. 👍

  5. I made these for Christmas gifts but ended up eating the ENTIRE batch myself and wouldn’t share. Seriously addicting!

  6. I’ve made these before and we absolutely LOVE them. . question. I only have dark brown sugar right now. Do you think that will work. It looks like you have light brown sugar which is what I think I may have used before.

  7. Hi Ali,

    Do you think this recipe will work with almonds?

    Kristen

  8. Added some vanilla flavoring to my egg white and only 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Absolutely love these.

  9. Delicious

  10. One star each for simple, quick, easy, delicious and adaptable! I used a couple of tablespoons of a mulled spice mix whick included orange and cloves.

  11. I made these last year for Christmas baskets…everyone loved them, including me!
    I’m making them again this year and plan on making this “my” new tradition.
    Thank you so much! Merry Christmas!

  12. Do you allow, using one photo from your site in a round up post–with links back and credit to your site only–only the photo will appear on the site with credit and links to your recipe.

  13. You say egg whites, have only one in directions. Is it just one or two whites?

  14. I would really like to try these , but can you suggest another season besides cinnamon?

    • I make a similar recipe but I use white sugar whipped into the eggs whites and then add the nuts and bake, stirring every 10 minutes until brown. I dont use Cinnamon and they are amazing. I think I will try this recipe and have 2 different kinds to give away as Christmas gifts.

  15. These are so easy to make and also are delicious! I gave as small tokens for appreciation and everyone thought they were outstanding.

  16. Just made a batch…..these are friggin’ amazing!! Don’t think they’re gonna make it to my salad tonight since my husband and I are eating them right out of the sheet pan!

  17. I have never made these myself. But I have had them before as gifts. So I am trying your Recipe First of all. Will let you know how they turn out. Susie W

  18. About how long do these stay fresh? We are going camping and I’m thinking about making these to take with us. Thanks!

  19. Please help me. I can’t stop eating these roasted nuts!
    Awesome recipe. I took your advice and upped the brown sugar to a half cup. I used pecans and walnuts.
    Excellent!!! You get A++😁

  20. How necessary is the salt in this recipe. I have to do a low salt diet, but these sound wonderful.

  21. So delicious and super easy to make!

  22. It’s easy…quick for to take to an event!

  23. This recipe is BOMB 💣 😋! So Glad I tried it! I paired it with Brioche French Toast and the combination took me to another level. I did not change the recipe itself, but I decided to add my own spin to it. I pre baked my pecans just to get the oils released. While they were cooking I mixed the other ingredients minus the cayenne. Instead I decided to use smoke paprika to still get the sweet and savory taste, but not so much the heat since my household have baby tongues, lol. This is now my go to recipe especially since the weather is cooler. Candied Pecans don’t get much simple, while still having a delightful flavor, than this. As long as you follow the directions you should be gold!!!

  24. I have a friend who is diabetic. Do you think these would be Ok? I would like to make these as gifts over the holidays. If not, suggestions/changes would be greatly appreciated. Thank You!

  25. Love that you added a little spice to make it nice. ;) I make rosemary cranberry pecans every year. And you’re right – they make great little gifts!

  26. Just made these and they are delicious! I was halfway thru making the recipe and realized I had no cayenne pepper for the heat so I whisked in some Tabasco sauce, always in abundance here in New Orleans. After whisking it into the egg whites, combining the rest of the stuff, and spreading it all out on the baking sheet, I sprinkled some more Tabasco sauce all over the pecans and finished according to the directions. Talk about fantastic! Your mouth hits the sweet sugars together with the bite from the Tabasco sauce…mouth heaven!

  27. Sounds delicious. Can the pecans be substituted with walnuts. I live in Pakistan and Pecans are not available here.

  28. Yummy, yummy, yummy! Definitely adding more cayenne next time.

  29. These little morsels of heaven are super dangerous but so worth whatever calories are involved in eating them. Super easy to make! I’m thinking Christmas gifts!

  30. So easy and delicious !!

  31. Not an exaggeration – this was everyone’s absolute favorite ‘dish’ for Thanksgiving this year.

    (So simple, so easy to make… and the one that left the best impression with the entire family.)