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.