Candied Walnuts

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This candied walnuts recipe is lightly sweetened, easy to make, and so irresistibly delicious.  Perfect for snacking, adding to salads, giving as gifts — you name it!

Candied Walnuts

Friends, I have a new candied walnuts recipe for us this season!

And I have to say, I’m loving this one because it is refreshingly not too sweet. 

I’ve reduced the amount of sugar in traditional candied nuts by 75% in this recipe.  But guess what — they still taste delightfully sweet!  And as it turns out, the lighter “candy” coating in this recipe has the added bonus of allowing you to better taste the toasted walnuts themselves, as well as the vanilla, cinnamon and tiny hint of cayenne mixed in there too.  It’s the perfect balance of flavors in my opinion, and my husband and I found these walnuts to be 100% irresistible.  (Lol, like seriously, our first batch didn’t even last for two days!)

I’m also happy to report that this particular candied walnuts recipe is a breeze to make in the oven (only one stir necessary partway through).  And they taste absolutely amazing sprinkled on salads, stirred into trail mixes, sprinkled on sweet potatoes, or — my favorite — popped plain as a sweet snack.  Bonus, they also freeze well and make for great gifts, if you’re looking to give away some DIY treats this holiday season.

Anyway, I’m a big fan.  So if you’re in the market for a lighter candied walnuts recipe, bring home some nuts and let’s make a quick batch together!

Candied Walnuts Ingredients

Candied Walnuts Ingredients:

To make this candied walnuts recipe, you will need:

  • Walnuts: About 4 cups raw walnut halves (or chopped walnuts).
  • Egg white: To bind the candy coating to the walnuts.
  • Vanilla extract: Just a little for flavor!
  • Brown sugar: I used packed brown sugar, but you could also sub in white (granulated) sugar or coconut sugar instead.
  • Spices: Ground cinnamon plus a hint of cayenne.
  • Fine sea salt: My preferred salt for this recipe. (Note that if you choose to use table salt instead, you will need to use less salt.)

Full ingredient amounts/directions included in the recipe below.

Candied Walnuts Recipe

How To Make Candied Walnuts:

To make this candied walnuts recipe, simply…

  1. Mix together the candy coating.  In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and cayenne until combined.
  2. Prep the walnuts.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg white and vanilla.  Then add the walnuts and toss until they are evenly coated.  Add the brown sugar mixture and toss again until the walnuts are evenly coated.
  3. Bake.  Spread the walnuts out on a parchment-covered baking sheet in a single layer (try to avoid much overlapping) and bake for 40 minutes, removing the baking sheet halfway through to give the walnuts a brief stir.  Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes or so.
  4. Serve.  These candied walnuts are best served fresh while they are perfectly warm and crispy!  That said, they can also be stored in a sealed container for up to two weeks, or frozen for up to 2 months.

Candied Nuts Recipe

Possible Variations:

Want to customize this candied nuts recipe a bit?  Feel free to…

  • Adjust the sweetness.  If you would like sweeter (more traditional) candied walnuts, you can increase the amount of brown sugar from 1/4 cup up to 1 cup.
  • Use pecans instead.  Walnuts and pecans are interchangeable here.  So feel free to use pecans instead, or a 50/50 mix!
  • Use different seasonings.  Feel free to sub in pumpkin pie spice or chai spice in place of the ground cinnamon.
  • Use different sugar.  As mentioned above, feel free to use white granulated sugar or coconut sugar instead of brown sugar if you prefer.
  • Omit (or increase) the cayenne.  If you prefer your candied walnuts not to have any extra kick, you’re welcome to omit the cayenne.  Or if you would like them to be extra spicy, you can double it (to 1/2 teaspoon total).

DIY Edible Gift -- Candied Nuts (Walnuts or Pecans)

How To Serve Candied Walnuts:

Some of my favorite ways to serve candied walnuts include…

  • Plain: This is admittedly my favorite way to eat candied nuts — just popping a few plain as a sweet snack!
  • Salads: These candied walnuts would be a delicious addition to salads of all kinds.
  • Sweet potatoes: Candied walnuts also taste delicious sprinkled on baked sweet potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, or sweet potato casserole.
  • Snack mix: Stir them into Chex Mix or your favorite trail mixes for an extra a pop of sweetness.
Candied Walnuts

Candied Walnuts

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x


This candied walnuts recipe is lightly sweetened, easy to make, and so irresistibly delicious.  See notes above for possible ingredient variations.



  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups (12 ounces) raw walnut halves


  1. Heat oven to 300°F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, sea salt, cinnamon and cayenne until combined.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg white and vanilla until combined.  Add the walnuts and toss until they are evenly coated with the egg white mixture.  Add the brown sugar mixture and toss until the walnuts are evenly coated.
  4. Spread the pecans out in an even layer on the baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove baking sheet from the oven, and give the walnuts a brief stir.  Return to the oven and bake for 20 more minutes.  Remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately, or store in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.

Candied Walnuts

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16 comments on “Candied Walnuts”

  1. Looking forward to trying this – never done walnuts before. Also never done the candied nuts with brown sugar. Sounds yummier than white.

  2. Is the cinnamon taste very strong in these nuts?

  3. Have you ever used a liquid sweetener like maple syrup?

  4. There’s a typo in step 4: Spread the pecans out in an even layer on the baking sheet.

    This recipe is for walnuts. I’m sure it’s as tasty with pecans though, if not better man.

  5. My guest loved having a spicy lightly tasty treat on their plate and this hit the spot! I did increase the cayenne to 2 teas. Wasn’t too hot even the kids were enjoying them. Thanks for the recipe! Cathy

  6. I made these exactly as directed. They were DELICIOUS! I wanted a little more cayenne and salt for the next batch. This gives you exact directions to customize to your taste. Easy-Peasy too.

  7. I can’t wait to try your recipe Ali..
    My mouth is actually watering right now!!

  8. I have a recipe for candied walnuts that I really like. Decided to try these….followed exactly. Distint burnt flavor. Not enough seasoning. Didn’t like at all.

    • I have never made candied walnuts before and decided to use this recipe because it seemed a little more healthy compared to traditional candied walnuts. I used coconut sugar instead of brown sugar & nixed the cayenne. They came out SO delicious. I added the nuts to a mixed greens salad with craisins, green apples, & bleu cheese. My family loved the salad combo, but honestly these walnuts are yummy enough all on their own!

  9. Yummy! These walnuts are absolutely delicious! Toasty, crunchy and cinnamon…you’re going to love snacking on them. We made a salad with curly green lettuce, crisp apples, blue cheese and topped with these walnuts; it was perfect. The only thing I did differently from the recipe is shave off 10 minutes of baking time. I’m already planning to make more!

  10. thanks for recipe. I used to make them with sugar and butter.. not low cal. This is better and only a bit more time… And you can modify the spice profile to you liking…

  11. This was great made 4 batches with some walnuts I did not know what to do with. You can only make so many pies.

  12. Holy perfect snack! I made these to put in a salad tonight and they might not last that long! I used pecans bc that’s what I had and only made a half recipe. These are FANTASTIC! I would eat them all day everyday if my waist line allowed it. Addictive for sure!

  13. I just made these to add to some chocolate chipless cookies that I want to make when my butter softens, and I don’t think that they’re going to last to put into the cookies. SO YUMMY.