Candied pecans taste like little bites of pecan pie. The vanilla and spices add depth, and the nuts get toasted and aromatic under the crispy sugar shell. They have the perfect amount of spice and warmth for nearly any use you could imagine.
While they taste like you took hours to prepare them, candied pecans are simple to make. The crunchy outer shell of sugar and spices hardens after baking to create the perfect flavor of fall. And you won’t need to mess with fancy candy equipment, despite the name.
Learn how to make candied pecans, and discover your new go-to dessert for last-minute holiday gifts, parties, snack boards, and more.
Are candied pecans the same as glazed pecans?
They’re very nearly the same thing. Glazed pecans are usually made with a glaze; honey or corn syrup features heavily in the glaze, along with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. The final product is sometimes a little sticky, or perhaps tacky, but rarely hard. Candied pecans, on the other hand, have a harder finish and are more crispy because of the sugar coating.
Ingredients for Candied Pecans
As long as you have fresh, whole pecan halves, odds are everything else you need for this candied pecans recipe is in your pantry or fridge already. Here’s what you should grab:
- Granulated sugar: Plain white sugar will both add sweetness and form the bulk of the candy coating.
- Ground cinnamon: The perfect warming spice for adding some toasty depth to this recipe.
- Ground nutmeg: For earthy, nutty flavor to enhance the pecan’s natural nuttiness.
- Kosher salt: A little salt balances the dish’s flavor. If you use table salt, cut the amount in half.
- Egg white: This is used to coat the pecans with the sugar-spice mixture.
- Vanilla extract: The perfect warming note to bring together the candied mixture. Also pulls double duty and thins out the egg whites (while adding flavor) so it’s easier to coat the pecans.
- Pecan halves: Pecans halves work better (and look better), but if you’re also trying to use up some chopped pecans, this recipe can work with those.
How To Make Candied Pecans
Grab your whisk, and turn on the oven. Candied pecans are easy and quick to make, which means you can turn out tray after tray and delight all your friends and family with this treat. Here’s a brief outline of the process; the full recipe is further below.
- Step 1: Combine sugar, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a small bowl, and set aside.
- Step 2: Combine the egg white and vanilla. A lot of candied nut recipes will have you whisk the egg white with water, but why not take that opportunity to add some flavor? Whisking with vanilla instead adds another layer of flavor, and because these are being baked you don’t need to worry about any alcohol content.
- Step 3: Add the pecan halves to the egg white mixture. Toss or stir (gently) to coat. Try not to break up the pecans.
- Step 4: Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the pecans in batches, tossing between each addition to fully coat the pecans.
- Step 5: Spread the pecans on a large, rimmed baking sheet. (For easy clean up, you can line the pan with parchment paper.) Move the pecans around to be in an even layer.
- Step 6: Bake pecans until the sugar coating has dried out and is golden brown. Remove from oven, and let cool completely.
This recipe is so simple that you should feel free to have a little fun with it. Here are a few of our best ideas:
- The sugared coating could be used on any nut, though you might need to change the cook time to avoid burning smaller nuts like pistachios and peanuts.
- Sprinkle in some oats for an easy candied pecan granola clusters.
- Change the spices up to match whatever you’re serving. Cinnamon and nutmeg are great, but consider too allspice, cardamom, even a chai-inspired mixture. Pumpkin pie spice is a fun option for fall.
How To Use Candied Pecans
Candied pecans are fun for a charcuterie board or appetizer spread, the perfect accompaniment for creamy cheeses and savory meats. This Christmas Charcuterie Board is begging for some candied pecans.
Chop up some candied pecans, and toss them into any baked good, like sour cream pound cake, or use as a decoration on a layer cake, like Pumpkin Bundt Cake. Use in pecan scones, browned butter blondies with candied pecans, and more! Or use as an ice cream topping.
For an excellent, homemade holiday gift, whip up a batch of candied pecans, and store in a large mason jar. Tie a ribbon around the jar lid, and your friend or loved one will have a classic sweet ready to serve or enjoy on their own.
We’ll also not stop you if you plan to eat them plain, as a snack, while watching TV, wrapping presents, or cleaning the house. They’re perfect for that.
How Long Do Candied Pecans Last?
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. In the fridge, they’ll last up to 3 weeks, but some of the humidity could make the candied coating sticky.
Can You Freeze Candied Pecans?
Yes, candied pecans freeze beautifully up to 1 month. Once cooled, move the pecans to a baking sheet, and freeze several hours. Then, transfer the pecans to a ziplock bag, and push to remove as much air as possible. Thaw overnight in the fridge. If they’re a little soft after thawing, you can reheat them in the oven until warmed through and crisped up.