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!

Bowl of 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?

“I made these just as written and they are PERFECT!! I plan to make another batch to take on a car trip next weekend. I’ll need to pack them in the trunk so I don’t eat them all before I get there!”


What You’ll Need To Make Candied Pecans

ingredients for candied pecans
  • Confectioners’ sugar: Combined with water, it creates a syrupy glaze when baked, coating the pecans evenly and caramelizing the exterior.
  • Kosher salt: Adds a savory balance to the sweetness of the sugar.
  • Cayenne pepper: Provides a hint of heat for a flavorful, subtle kick.
  • Water: Mixed with the sugar and seasonings, helps create a syrupy consistency to coat the pecans evenly.
  • Pecans: Serve as the crunchy base of the recipe. Pecans’ crevices absorb the flavorful glaze during baking.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use different nuts in place of the pecans?

Other nuts will definitely work, but pecans are wonderful due to all the crevices they have to collect the glaze. Walnuts work nicely too.

Are candied pecans spicy due to the cayenne pepper?

The nuts have a hint of heat, but they’re not spicy enough that they would put off anyone (unless they’re very sensitive to spice). That said, a number of people have used ground cinnamon in place of the cayenne pepper. Alternatively, if you want to up the heat, you can add a little more cayenne to the glaze mixture.

Can I use granulated sugar instead of confectioners’ sugar for the glaze?

Confectioners’ sugar is preferred for its fine texture, which dissolves quickly, creating a smoother glaze. Granulated sugar may not dissolve as well, affecting the texture of the candied pecans.

Bowl of 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, 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.

See more recipes:


  • This is a family favorite that is a must-have at Thanksgiving and Christmas! It’s so much easier than recipes using egg whites. The cayenne pepper kick is a nice touch!

    • — D Francis on May 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, can I use walnuts instead of pecans?

    • — Lisa C on May 3, 2024
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on May 4, 2024
      • Reply
  • I make these all the time and everyone loves them. Just wondering: can they be made ahead and frozen in an airtight container? Thanks!

    • — Jane on April 6, 2024
    • Reply
    • So glad you like them! Unfortunately, I don’t they’d freeze well, though — sorry!

      • — Jenn on April 8, 2024
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I made these before and they turn out amazing! I have a question. I want to make them for a friend that’s coming over, but don’t have any cayenne powder. Could I use the red chilli flakes, or Aleppo chilli flakes instead? I don’t want to drive to the grocery if I don’t have to!
    Thanks so much

    • — Sandy B on February 21, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Sandy, I’ve never used chili flakes here. While they may work, they may not adhere as well to the nuts — if you try it, I’d love to hear how they come out. Alternatively, you can either omit the cayenne or add another spice in its place – a lot of readers have commented that they’ve replaced the cayenne with cinnamon.

      • — Jenn on February 22, 2024
      • Reply
      • I made these this morning with the chilli flakes and they came out delicious! No problem with them not sticking to the glaze and pecans. I cooked mine for 16 minutes and they were crispy and not sticky at all. I do think for folks that have had issues, perhaps it could be the type of cookie sheet used that made the difference? I used the Nordic Ware aluminum cookie sheet which conducts the heat better and stays hotter. I don’t think the insulated or thicker cookie sheets would work nearly as well for this recipe. Also the Nordic Ware half sheet is larger than some others, so you can spread the pecans around better. Anyway that’s my two cents for what it is worth!
        Thank you for all of your great recipes, and the amount of detail you provide, and how kind you are to respond to questions.

        • — Sandy B on February 22, 2024
        • Reply
        • So glad they came out well with the chili flakes — thanks for reporting back! 😊

          • — Jenn on February 22, 2024
          • Reply
  • I made this several times over the holidays, bringing it to parties, serving on a charcuterie platter, in a bowl for snacking. Everyone loves them! It’s so easy and I can make it in a pinch.

    • — Lisa on February 17, 2024
    • Reply
  • Best candied nut recipe I’ve tried. I love the shine on the nuts instead of a big gloppy mess of dull, gritty sugar. I’ve tried other recipes that turn out at the other end of the spectrum, too, with very little taste or texture. These were the “mama bear” ones….just right!

    • — Beth on January 29, 2024
    • Reply
  • I found these to be amazing and so did the friends I gifted them to. I have never had so many requests for a recipe. I made a few changes that worked for me.
    I often use a more slightly heaping 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and substitute the Cayenne pepper with McCormick’s Chipotle Chile Pepper.
    When they come out of the oven, I pick up the corners of the parchment paper and roll the nuts around in the syrup to get as much on them as possible.
    Have never made a bad batch. Great recipe!

    • — Doris Miller on January 1, 2024
    • Reply
  • Do I use raw pecans?

    • — Bev Lowe on December 29, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yep 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 29, 2023
      • Reply
  • I loved them, but my family didn’t like the spiciness, so I made a second batch substituting 4 tsp. bourbon, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, a pinch of allspice and a dash of cayenne, plus the 3/4 tsp. salt. They were a smashing success. It’s such an easy recipe and easy to tailor to one’s own tastes. Thank you!

    • — Lisa PM on December 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • The flavor of these pecans is outstanding! I made two separate batches. Both required substantially longer time in the oven. Example: I pulled the sheet pan out between 12-14 minutes, slid the parchment onto the granite counter, waited, very sticky, put them back in the oven for another 10 minutes, slid parchment onto the counter again, still sticky, put them back in for another 6 minutes, onto the counter again, and let them sit. Only then were they hardened and crunchy. But then they were perfect. Pretty much the same situation with both batches. Brought them to a dinner and everyone raved about them!

    • — Marcia on December 25, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is my first time making candied pecans. Such a good recipe – easy and quick. I followed your recipe exactly, but added a tablespoon of cinnamon, and an extra 1/2 teaspoon of water. They came out perfectly and taste great! I will be adding these to a holiday salad for a family gathering. Thank you!

    • — Mabel on December 23, 2023
    • Reply
  • Minimum steps and quite the easiest recipe I could find.
    Delicious too !

    • — Sally Lehman on December 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • Oh my goodness, these are dangerous! So easy & easy to adapt to whatever seasoning you like. I added 1/4 tsp cinnamon & cut the cayenne back just a touch as my young granddaughter can’t do much heat. Crazy good! I’ve tried so many candied nut recipes & none came out right, this is super easy & perfect. Thanks!

    • — Kathy H on December 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delicious! These are good for snacking and a few on a salad are wonderful. Super easy to make. I did make a mistake on my first batch because of the stickiness comments. I cooked the first batch too long because they looked wet and well, sticky. The second batch I cooked the recommended time, they look sticky too but I think they are supposed too. After I took them out of the oven, I spread them out so they weren’t touching and the glaze hardens. Not sticky at all and are still delicious over a week later.

    • — Ann on December 20, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’ve made these pecans for years, so easy and so delicious!

    I made my first 2023 holiday batch last week and they were very sticky. I never had that happen before and read several comments about the same dilemma. The only difference was I used a new, heavy Nordic Ware pan. I put them in a Ziploc bag and added a touch of powdered sugar- looked different but still tasted great and took care of the stickiness.

    I made another batch yesterday and used my very old Wilton pan and they turned out perfectly.

    Love your recipes! I’m always hoping I’ll run into you, I also live in the DC area!

    • — SJ on December 9, 2023
    • Reply
    • I had the same problem and used a Silpat as the only difference. Maybe not enough time in the oven?

      • — TerryH on December 15, 2023
      • Reply
  • These were delicious and so easy to prepare. I probably didn’t bake quite long enough because they were a tiny bit sticky. Two days after I made the batch I decided to try baking a couple minutes more and it worked! No more sticking!

    • — Pat Cross on December 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • can’t. stop. eating. these.

    So easy peasy to make and they turned out perfect…. I used a little cinnamon (might use a tad more next time… and some cayenne too) Looking forward to doing another batch with other flavours… 13 minutes was perfect … only burnt a couple on the end but I do love burnt so gobbled those down…

    • — Kimberley on December 1, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made the pecans as planned and — what? Only 5 stars?!!! They rate 20 stars! I used 1/4 tsp cayenne and 1/4 tsp chili powder. The Old Man says we’re having pecans for dinner!!! Another great hit from Once Upon a Chef — many thanks, Jenn!

    • — Frannie in The True North on November 30, 2023
    • Reply
  • Going to make these this evening – can’t wait! Husband is already asking when he’ll be able to dig in! Love your recipes, Jenn – but you won me over when I read that you don’t own an air fryer!!! I swear the odor/aroma from ANYTHING prepared in those ‘contraptions’ just puts me in a mood — and not a good mood! I’m certain that these pecans will earn the 5 Star rating!

    • — Frannie in The True North on November 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • The easiest candied pecan recipe out there. And just enough spice to keep everyone wanting more. Thank you!

    • — Jen on November 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • love, love love these, however I have a small group of friends that don’t like the cayenne pepper, can I eliminate or add salt after they are out of the oven

    • — camile on November 27, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Camile, you can either omit the cayenne or add another spice in its place – a lot of readers have commented that they’ve replaced the cayenne with cinnamon.

      • — Jenn on November 28, 2023
      • Reply
  • What an easy and great recipe. Second time making these and will continue to make. It’s a great addition to a charcuterie board. Thank you !!

    • — Lori on November 25, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Your recipe rocks!
    I have raw pecans, walnuts & almonds…do you think I could successfully combine these or would you suggest just pecans & walnuts together?
    Lori Anne

    • — Lori Anne on November 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • So glad you like them, Lori Anne! I think pecans and walnuts would work best. 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 23, 2023
      • Reply
  • Sorry, Jen. This is not the recipe for me. I wasted two cups of beautiful mammoth pecans, followed the recipe except baked for almost ten minutes longer, and they still came out a sticky mess. I will go back to my old standby which uses one egg white and nuts ever stick together.

    • — Elaine on November 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • I have made these pecans several times and it is always enjoyed as a gift, on salads and just to have as a side with appetizers. Thank you Jenn
    Ann D

    • — Dowling, Ann on November 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • I just made it today. So easy and tasty. Great treat for the holidays or office. I’m bringing my double batch to the office tomorrow.

    • — Theresa Engel on November 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • Can I substitute walnuts or any other nuts ? Thanks.

    • — Susan Kaplan on November 19, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, Technically any nut will work here, but I like pecans the best as the crevices they have trap the glaze really nicely. My second choice would be walnuts – hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 20, 2023
      • Reply
  • Made this a number of times, love it. Mine always end up not quite crunchy, maybe humidity in the south but boy are they good, regardless of my failing. So simple so good.

    • — Harriet Turner on November 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • Jenn – this recipe is so addictive and GOOD! This is the recipe that is a must have at any of our gatherings! Thanks for sharing with us.

    • — Bev on November 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • Absolutely phenomenal! Thanks again for another amazing recipe.

    • — J Floyd on November 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • If after they cool & they are sticky even after 20 minutes of baking and browning- put back in oven 5-20 minutes after oven is off or set at 325 until they harden. A glossy deep brown & hard… They stay nonsticky in an airtight mason jar.

    • — TERESA on October 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • Tried adding 5 minutes at a time after they cooled- still sticky. 12 minutes first time. Taste is great but i hesitate to use them in a jar as a gift cuz even pretty brown the cool sticky

    • — TERESA on October 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Very good! Burned the first patch as 10-12 min in my oven was too much. Maybe start with 8-10 minutes and see how it goes..thank you!

      • — Jennifer Jones on November 8, 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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