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!
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:
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.
How To Make Candied Walnuts:
To make this candied walnuts recipe, simply…
Mix together the candy coating. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and cayenne until combined.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
Heat oven to 300°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, sea salt, cinnamon and cayenne until combined.
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.
Spread the walnuts 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 5 more minutes. Remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
Serve immediately, or store in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
Baking time: After a few readers reported that the initial cooking time (40 minutes total) resulted in overcooked walnuts, we have retested and reduced the cooing time to 25 minutes total.
Looking forward to trying this – never done walnuts before. Also never done the candied nuts with brown sugar. Sounds yummier than white.
Is the cinnamon taste very strong in these nuts?
It’s fairly prominent, but feel free to decrease the amount of cinnamon if you would like. :)
Have you ever used a liquid sweetener like maple syrup?
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.
It doesn’t say what to bake them at 350°?
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
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.
I can’t wait to try your recipe Ali..
My mouth is actually watering right now!!
Very good I. Also try pecans they were good.
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!
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!
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…
That’s such an easy awesome recipe! I just have one question. Some of us at my home won’t tolerate egg white. Is there any other binding agent that I can use?
So simple and delicious! Perfect nuts every time. Works with pumpkin or sunflower seeds too
Hi, I tried this recipe but my walnuts tasted burnt. I followed the instructions according to the recipe. Is 40 minutes too long for roasting? Where did I go wrong?
It would help if you proofread your receipe…
.you say bake the pecans for 20 minutes then remove the walnuts stir and put back in oven for 20 minutes. Smh
I make a small portion to see if I liked them and they were delicious!
This was great made 4 batches with some walnuts I did not know what to do with. You can only make so many pies.
Just made these for a test batch for this coming Christmas. It is fab! You get the roasted and crunchy walnut flavor and texture, hint of sweet and heat. I roasted mine with convection at 295° with a quick stir at 10 min, then at 20 min, and then turned off oven but kept them in it for a bit more. (I like walnuts with more of a roasty texture). These would great for all the above recipes and on a charcuterie board!!
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!
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.
These were so good!!!!! I made them but doubled the candied walnut mixture.
I made it. Make this often in my household to go with steak pear Gorgonzola salad. Easy to make and delicious
These nuts were delish! My kiddos loved them as well – I really liked the lower amount of sugar. The nuts still had plenty of sweetness but were not so caked with sugar as some other candied nuts are. I used these on an apple/pear salad and we ate the remainder as a snack!! Thanks!
Mine also had a burnt taste. Lowered temp and time but husband said it on the first taste.
Unfortunately, they had a slightly burnt flavor and smell to them. The brown sugar sounds creative but does not taste good for candied walnuts. Stick to white sugar! I left out the cayenne because they were for a sweet salad. Overall, this wasn’t a very good candied walnut recipe.
Very good I. Also try pecans they were good.
Absolutely LOVE this recipe! Great every time!!!
Roasted at 300 for 20 minutes and came close to burning nuts; suspect this should be 200 degrees instead.
20 minutes on one side was fine but then when I turn them over only 10 minutes in, they were burnt had to throw them out.
So easy and simple and they came out SO GOOD! ☺️
So good! Only mine turned too dark; almost burnt since I toasted the pecans before doing the recipe. Do you suggest to skip the roasting part? Thank you!
Was awesome, just the right spice and sweetness.
We get walnuts at a Chinese tea shop that we love – they make the best snack. Very lightly sweetened with a very light coating. These are pretty much them, so we are happy to have found this recipe! Thank you!
Easy to make, not overly sweet. Delicious and perfect.
Easy to make and not overly sweet. Delicious. Perfect recipe except I did not bake as long as the recipe said to.
I turned after 10 minutes and saw that I would be taking them out a few minutes after that. So that’s 15 minutes total.
Absolutely delicious! After reading a few of the comments on this recipe, I did switch up a few things. I added about a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne to 1/4 plus 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and I baked them for 20 minutes at 200, stirred, and then baked for another 20 minutes at 300 degrees. I then sprinkled a little of the leftover brown sugar mixture to stop from sticking. They came out so beautifully browned with such an amazing depth of flavor to them that I could barely keep them in the house for more than a few days! Will definitely be making this again!
Yum, yum, YUM!!
The flavor is great. I am constantly cutting the sugar, especially in American recipes, and I love finding one that does it for me. I would note, start taking a look at maybe 35 minutes total, because I left them in for 40 and they were close to burnt. I know everyone’s oven is different! Love this recipe, it’s a keeper.
Delicious and sooo easy!!
These were such a hit in the pear gorgonzola salad and snacking! They were gone in a week! I’m doubling the recipe this next time around!
I did these yesterday and they were really good, especially for my first attempt ever! I used 1 cup of white sugar (because I didn’t have brown sugar), 1 cup of almonds and 3 of walnuts, and didn’t add the cayenne. To me they could’ve been maybe a touch sweeter, but that’s just me lol The oven time worked perfectly and definitely do these if you have parchment paper because I didn’t have any so I went with a greased cookie sheet and even though they still turned out great, it took a little elbow grease to get them unstuck from the pan.
My Gas Oven Heats up pretty Hot, so I baked my Candied Walnut Trays for 15 minutes, Took out and stirred. I baked the trays another 15 minutes and let them cool. The flavor was Awesome, next time I’ll adjust the Cinnamon to 1 1/2 Teaspoons. This was an Easy and Tasty Recipe. ?
Super easy to fix and taste is great.
Hi I loved the egg white part of the recipe and the low sugar but like a few others the temperature is way too high and the duration is too long. Mine burned as well maybe 300 degrees for the first 20 min and 5 or 10 minutes after you turn them. I love the recipe but I had to throw away lots of nuts. It may be my newer oven gets really hot fast. I really don’t understand how other people didn’t get burned nuts. The recipe is fabulous the time just needs to be adjusted.
This is my go to candied walnut recipe. Love it! As a Type 2 diabetic with a salt restriction, I made several changes to suit my needs. The walnuts I buy weigh 20 ounces per bag. I still use 1/4 C brown sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1 egg white. The salt is left out. The vanilla is increased to 1.5 tsp.
I usually make a double batch , storing them in pint size freezer bags. They are then stored in the freezer, taking out a bag a needed. This supplies my snack needs for 6 to 8 weeks. Can be eaten right out of the freezer!
How much sugar?????
I was gifted 10lbs if shelled walnuts. I gave your recipe a try. This is so easy and turns out perfectly!! Will be giving the nuts w/your recipe as gifts for Christmas!
So simply and yet fantastic! I increased the brown sugar to 1/2 cup.
I made this recipe but I used 5 Spice instead of cinnamon
Turned out very yummy
Really delicious and easy to make! My walnuts were frozen and they didn’t get as crunchy when cooled but still a winner. Great snack