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Candied Pecans

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These candied pecans are perfect to serve with cocktails or toss over salads, and the best part is they take just 15 minutes to make!

candied pecans

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

These sweet, spicy, and salty candied pecans are madly delicious. They’re perfect to serve with cocktails, toss over salads, or just keep around the house over the holidays. They also make a fabulous homemade gift. The best part? You only need four simple ingredients to make them — and if you start right now, you’ll be done in 15 minutes. What are you waiting for?

What You’ll Need To Make Candied Pecans

ingredients for candied pecans

  • Pecans
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Salt
  • Cayenne pepper

Step-by-Step instructions

Begin by combining the Confectioners sugar, kosher salt, cayenne pepper and 4 teaspoons of water in a medium bowl.

confectioners' sugar, salt, cayenne and water in bowl

Whisk until combined.

whisked sugar and spice mixture

Add the pecans to the sugar mixture and stir until evenly coated.

mixing the pecans with the sugar mixture

Place the nuts on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer.

pecans on baking sheet

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the nuts are crusty on top and caramelized on the bottom.

baked candied pecans

Slide the parchment off of the baking sheet onto a countertop; this stops the nuts from overcooking on the hot baking sheet.

nuts cooling on countertop

When the nuts are completely cool, use your hands to break them apart.

candied pecans broken apart

Transfer the nuts to a bowl and serve, or store in a covered container for up to a few weeks.

candied pecans

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

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Candied Pecans

These candied pecans are perfect to serve with cocktails or toss over salads, and the best part is they take just 15 minutes to make!

Servings: Makes 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 15 Minutes


  • ½ cup Confectioners' sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 teaspoons water
  • 2 cups pecans


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the Confectioners' sugar, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, and water.  
  3. Add the pecans to the sugar mixture and stir until the nuts are evenly coated.
  4. Transfer the pecans to the prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Do your best to make sure the nuts are evenly spread out (if they are clumped together, they won't cook evenly). Scrape out every last bit of glaze from the bowl and drizzle over the nuts. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the pecans are caramelized and the caramel on the baking sheet is a rich brown color but not burnt. (The nuts around the edges will darken first; watch closely so they don't burn.)
  5. Immediately slide the parchment off of the hot baking sheet and allow the pecans to cool completely on the countertop (this stops the cooking process and prevents the nuts from burning). Once cool, remove the pecans from the parchment, breaking apart any clusters if necessary, and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
  6. Note: If the nuts are sticky after cooling, that means they are a bit undercooked. Pop them back in the oven for a few minutes and let cool again.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Serving size: 1/4 cup
  • Calories: 217
  • Fat: 20 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 11 g
  • Sugar: 8 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Sodium: 178 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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  • Tasty and easy recipe. I make this in the regular and it never disappoints.

    • — Reese on September 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • Reading there were issues with stickiness, I baked them in a regular vs. air bake baking sheet. It worked much better with the regular baking sheet. I also added couple of drops of canola oil.

    • — Cindy on August 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • I have made these several times and always turn out great. Wondering if this would work in an air fryer. I realize it would be smaller amounts at a time, but didn’t know if it would work.


    • — Kaye on August 7, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Kaye, so glad you like them! I don’t own an air fryer so unfortunately, I can’t tell you confidently whether or not these would work in one. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on August 8, 2023
      • Reply
  • These were perfect! Hard to stop eating them. I added a slight smoke flavour by using smoked paprika with the cayenne. I’m also going to try it with ground chipotle pepper next time.

    • — Suzanne on July 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • And makes great thank you gifts

    • — Mike Geddes on July 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • Simply easy to make and better than Alton Brown’s recipe. Make a double batch as everyone loves them and they go quickly

    • — Mike Geddes on July 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • All of your recipes are so well instructed. These pecans are great in salad or just eating them. My family loves them!

    • — ReneeK on June 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • Absolutely, the best candied nuts! Thank you for the recipe!

    • — Maureen on June 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delicious. They were quick, easy to make and a perfect topping for our chicken salad. Good crunch. Just sweet enough. Stored in a canning jar with a top and they are still fresh and delicious! Thank you.

    • — D barber on April 12, 2023
    • Reply
  • Tasty recipe! I will do this process every time. I used raw cashews, just for a different taste. Very delicious!

    • — Renee Kraemer on April 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • Thanks for this recipe, they turned out sooo good and made the kitchen smell amazing! Now I can recreate that Wendys salad with the apples and candied pecans at home for like a fraction of the cost 🤤

    • — Cat on March 25, 2023
    • Reply
  • These are delicious and so easy. My family likes spice, so I doubled the amount of cayenne. Were still mild, but so good.

    • — Elizabeth on March 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • Fantastic recipe. I made these at Christmas and everyone loved them. I’m not even a good cook, but I nailed these. Even my 5-yr-old granddaughter liked them. We got together again today for dinner and my daughter ask to make them again. Finally a recipe my daughter wants me to share. I will check out your other recipes. Thank you!

    • — Marianne on February 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • Right before Christmas,I had some leftover pecans and made this recipe and gave them to my sister. I asked what I could bring to her house for Christmas, she said I could bring more of these pecans 😁.

    Easy and delicious!

    • — Renee B on February 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Can I use regular table salt instead of kosher salt? Would it be the same amount? Love your recipes!

    • — Scott Smith on February 3, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Scott, Using table instead of kosher salt doesn’t make a big difference, but feel free to cut back on the salt by just a pinch. Enjoy the nuts!

      • — Jenn on February 4, 2023
      • Reply
  • easy and soooooo good

    • — Mary on February 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • Mine didn’t turn out anything like the photos in this recipe. They aren’t golden and glistening. Mine are whitish on the parts that didn’t get burned. Yup, 12’ and mine burned. I had to throw away quite a bit of it. I was really hoping that this would be a good recipe because my more labor-intensive recipe is in storage, but I wouldn’t recommend this one at all. Maybe it would have been better if I had a gas oven?

    • — stacy wilson on January 26, 2023
    • Reply
    • What temp? I couldn’t find it in the recipe.

      • — Suz on August 15, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Suz, the oven temp is 350°F/175°C. Enjoy!

        • — Jenn on August 15, 2023
        • Reply

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