Candied Pecans

Learn how to make candied pecans with this easy recipe! Ready in 10 minutes, they're a great gift or delicious topping for salads and more.

Candied pecans

Candied pecans are a wonderful topping for salads, side dishes, and desserts…but in our house, they rarely make it that far. These sweet, crunchy, cinnamon-spiced nuts are SO tasty that Jack, the kiddo, and I usually polish them off as a snack. It’s very easy to think you’re going to have just one, maybe two, and then eat half a batch. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Luckily, if you accidentally eat all the nuts you were supposed to put on a salad, it’s quick and easy to make more. This candied pecans recipe calls for 5 ingredients and comes together in less than 10 minutes!

As we get into the holiday season, this recipe is a great one to have in your back pocket. The candied pecans would be a lovely homemade gift, and they’re a delicious addition to festive recipes and holiday cheese boards. Keep reading to learn how to make them!

Candied pecans recipe ingredients

How to Make Candied Pecans

This candied pecans recipe starts with 5 simple ingredients:

  • Pecans, of course! Raw pecan halves, to be exact.
  • Brown sugar and water – They create a sweet glaze that coats the pecans. Light brown sugar and dark brown sugar both work well here.
  • Ground cinnamon – For warm depth of flavor. For a fun variation, experiment with other spices like ground ginger or cayenne pepper.
  • And sea salt – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Brown sugar mixture bubbling in saucepan

When you’re ready to cook, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You’ll candy the pecans on the stove, not in the oven, but keep this baking sheet handy! After you coat the pecans in the cinnamon sugar mixture, you’ll spread them on this pan to crisp up.

Next, make the brown sugar glaze. In a medium skillet over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, water, cinnamon, and salt. Cook until the sugar dissolves and bubbles, about 1 minute.

Stirring to coat nuts in brown sugar glaze

Then, add the pecans. Cook, stirring, until they’re evenly coated in the glaze, another 1 to 2 minutes.

Mixing pecans with sticky brown sugar mixture in saucepan

When the pecans are well coated, remove them from the heat. Spread them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Set them aside for 10 to 15 minutes to cool and crisp up. So easy!

Candied pecans on a baking sheet

Recipe Tips

  • Use a nonstick pan. It’s not necessarily a requirement for this recipe, but it makes for easy cleanup. You’ll end up with more cinnamon sugar goodness on the pecans and less on the pan!
  • Wait for the sugar to bubble before you add the pecans. If it doesn’t, the pecans’ sugar coating won’t crisp up as it cools. The sugar has to reach a high temperature in order to become crisp.
  • Try another nut. This technique doesn’t just work with pecans! Use it to make candied walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and more.

Storage

Store homemade candied pecans in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Can you freeze candied pecans?

Yes! If you’d like to keep the candied nuts around for longer, pop them in the freezer. They freeze well for up to 3 months. Allow frozen nuts to thaw at room temperature before using.

Candied pecans recipe

How to Use Candied Pecans

There are SO many delicious ways to use these easy candied pecans! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

How do you like to use candied pecans? Let me know in the comments!

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Candied Pecans

rate this recipe:
4.85 from 13 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves 6
These easy candied pecans have a delicious brown sugar-cinnamon coating. Sweet, crunchy, and full of nutty flavor, they're a lovely gift, tasty snack, or great topping for salads, desserts, and more.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • cups raw pecan halves

Instructions

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium skillet over medium heat, stir together the brown sugar, water, cinnamon, and salt. Cook until the sugar dissolves and bubbles, about 1 minute. Add the pecans and cook, stirring, until coated, another 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Spread the pecans in a single layer on the baking sheet and set aside to cool and crisp up.
  • Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, candied pecans keep well for up to a week. Freeze them for longer storage.

 

10 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Anne
    12.31.2023

    3 stars
    I don’t know what I did wrong: my pecans are very sticky. Can I rescue them in any way? Thanks.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.01.2024

      Hi Anne, they should be sticky but harden once they fully cool on the baking sheet.

  2. MaryAnn Coy
    11.22.2023

    Might be a good idea to line the baking sheet with foil, before spreading the nuts on it. Or use one of those silicone pan liner. The parchment might tear or the hot sticky sugar syrup. might leak through., or the stick to the parchment.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.23.2023

      It worked great with parchment for me – once they’re cooled they don’t stick and it doesn’t leak. A silicone liner would work great too.

  3. Barb
    11.17.2023

    5 stars
    Could a little butter be added to the recipe? If so how would you incorporate it?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      11.17.2023

      Hi Barb, I have never made these with butter, so I can’t guarantee the results, but it might work to add some to the pan with the sugar and water at the beginning of the recipe.

  4. Justine S
    11.17.2023

    5 stars
    I used Maple syrup some oil and some salt and cinnamon with walnuts instead. So easy and really good.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      11.17.2023

      Hi Justine, so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

    • Lydia McKee
      12.07.2023

      5 stars
      Did you use sea salt or table salt? I’m curious because I don’t have sea salt, only table and Kosher.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.