These Candied Pecans are chewy, crisp, salty, not-too-sweet, and highly addictive! A quick and easy recipe that is ready in 6 minutes on the stovetop and makes an excellent Christmas or hostess gift - Perfect for sprinkling on everything from salads to popcorn, yogurt, ice cream and more!
What are candied pecans? They are pecans that have been coated in a sweet sugar mixture and then roasted until the pecans are toasted and fragrant.
The caramelized sugar hardens upon cooling, giving the nuts a crunchy, candy-like exterior with a sweet flavor. They are versatile and can be enjoyed on their own as a snack, used as toppings for salads, desserts, or added into various recipes to add a crunch and sweetness.
Candied pecans can be baked in the oven or cooked on the stovetop. I love the stovetop method because it's the quickest and easiest. Also, there is no egg when cooking in the skillet, making it perfect for vegetarians.
Why you'll love this?
- Made in one skillet and cooks in 6 minutes.
- No eggs, making it perfect for vegetarians.
- Gluten free and can be made vegan by replacing butter with vegan butter or coconut oil.
- Highly addictive.
- Enjoy them as a sweet treat, sprinkle on desserts or other favorite snacks.
- Makes a great homemade food gift.
Scroll down to the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and amounts.
- Pecans - Like for the pecan pie without corn syrup, toasted pecan halves is perfect for this recipe. I like to pick up a big bag of pecan halves at Costco prior to the holidays so I can make my favorite Christmas recipes.
- Sugars - Golden brown sugar adds an instant caramel flavor like in all brown sugar desserts. White sugar is used at the end for a sweet crunch and to keep them seperated and not stick together.
- Butter - A tablespoon of butter adds a rich, buttery flavor and also imparts a nice shine to the finished candied pecans.
- Salt - It helps balance out the sweetness and enhances the flavor.
- Ground cinnamon adds a great flavor and aroma in these candied pecans.
- A dash of vanilla makes everything better!
- Add a pinch of cayenne or coarsely ground black pepper when cooking.
- Experiment with other spices such as pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, clove or ginger.
- Skip the white sugar and drizzle melted dark or white chocolate over the cooled candied pecans, let the chocolate set and then break them into chunks.
How to make?
You can find full printable recipe below, but here is a quick overview of the procedure along with step-by-step photos.
1.Add pecans, brown sugar, water, butter and salt into a medium non-stick.
2. Cook on high heat, stirring occasionally for 3 to 4 minutes.
3 & 4. When most of moisture evaporates, continue cooking on medium high heat, stirring constantly, until all the moisture evaporates and then the nuts turn darker, glossy and begins clumping together.
Tip - As the caramel reaches high temperatures, it's crucial to ensure a safe environment by keeping children and pets away from the stove while preparing these candied pecans.
5. Transfer nuts to a parchment paper and spread around to seperate the nuts. Sprinkle more salt on top and cool completely.
Pro tip: To prevent them from clumping together, ensure you separate the nuts with a spoon as soon as you transfer them from the skillet.
6.Separate the nuts and sprinkle white sugar and cinnamon evenly on top.
7 & 8. Toss with a spoon until evenly coated.
How to use?
I especially love making candied pecans during holiday time. They are great topping for salads, homemade dessert recipes and more! They are crunchy, sweet, and make a great snack. I love eating them by the handful.
- Serve them up in on their own as a sweet treat.
- They make a sweet and crunchy addition to salads.
- I also love sprinkling them on carrot cake oatmeal, Hawaiian roll cinnamon rolls, yogurt or ice cream.
- Add to a cheese or charcuterie board.
- Chop them up and add to instant pot rice pudding or baked peaches.
- Sprinkle on air fryer bread pudding or sweet potato pie.
- Make your healthy apple crumble even better.
- Sprinkle on pumpkin mug cake or pumpkin loaf cake.
- Toss them into homemade popcorn for an extra delicious snack.
- Package them in small mason jars or clear cellophane bags for a homemade gift during the Holidays.
- Top homemade pancakes or waffles, like these healthy pumpkin pancakes or Pumpkin waffles.
How to store?
Store candied pecans in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
If you wish to store longer then arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet, then place it in the freezer for a few hours, to flash freeze. When they're partially or completely frozen, transfer them to zipper bag and freeze for up to a month.
- Use a nonstick pan. It comes handy when working with sticky caramel.
- Use toasted pecans as they won't have sufficient time to toast adequately within the short 6-minute cooking span on the stove.
- Like to make a bigger batch? Double the recipe and cook in a large skillet.
- Use coconut oil isntead of butter to make it vegan.
Ensure thorough cooking until all moisture evaporates and the nuts turn a darker, glossy appearance before removing them from heat. Pecans removed before this time, may lack crispiness and retain a soft texture even at room temperature.
Don’t love pecans? No problem! This recipe would be amazing with whole almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts or your favorite mixed nuts.
While both involve pecans coated with a sweet layer, the specific ingredients and methods can vary, resulting in different textures and flavors.
Praline pecans have a crunchy, candy-like coating with a slightly brittle texture. It is made by coating pecans with a mixture of caramelized sugar, sometimes including butter and often flavored with vanilla or other flavorings.
On the other hand, glazed pecans have a smoother coating compared to praline pecans and can have a crunchy to slightly sticky or chewy texture.
While warm, candied pecans may have a slight stickiness, but upon cooling, the sugar coating will solidify. However, if the pecans remain sticky after cooling, it indicates the sugar mixture didn't reach a sufficient temperature while cooking. To rectify this, return the nuts, before tossing them in white sugar, to the skillet and cook them a bit longer. Make sure to exercise caution to prevent burning by closely monitoring the process.
More Holiday recipes
- Place a piece of parchment on a sheet pan or a large plate.
- Add pecans, brown sugar, water, butter and ⅛ teaspoon salt in a medium (9 to 10 inches) non-stick skillet.
- Place skillet over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally for 3 to 4 minutes or until most of the water evaporates.
- Continue cooking, stirring constantly for additional 1 to 2 minutes, until all the moisture has evaporated and the pecans gets darker in color with a glossy appearance and begin clumping together.
- Immediately transfer nuts, scraping any remaining caramel from the pan, on the prepared parchment.
- Using a spoon, spread the nuts in a single layer, ensuring they are separated. Sprinkle some salt on top and allow them to cool completely.If using for salads or savory recipes, use the candied pecans at this point and skip the next step.
- Break the nuts apart with your fingers. Sprinkle sugar or cinnamon sugar on top and toss them to coat.To make cinnamon sugar, stir together the white sugar and ground cinnamon in a small bowl.
Nutritional information, based on third-party calculations, should be seen as estimates, not guarantees, as various factors like product types, brands, processing methods, and more can alter the nutritional content in recipes.
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