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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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  • These were really good, however, when they came out, the top side had a pale color, the underneath had that golden color that your picture has. Is that normal or is it supposed to be golden all over? What should I do? I followed your instructions exactly.

    • — Andrew on November 25, 2022
    • Reply
    • While there may be some variation in color, they should be golden all over. Did they have a sticky texture? If so, it sounds like they may need an extra minute or two in the oven.

      • — Jenn on November 26, 2022
      • Reply
  • If you love candied pecans this recipe is the easiest and most delicious! Follow the directions exactly and they come out as beautiful little jewels. Great for a house gift in a decorative container or just leave them on a table and watch them disappear. Thank you Jen for another fabulous recipe.

    • — Jan Hahn on November 24, 2022
    • Reply
  • So easy, oh my! Don’t wait until these are cool before you nibble on a few. 🙂

    • — Kathryn on November 23, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made these for a Thanksgiving charcuterie board. I’ve never been able to make candied nuts well as I always winged it using maple syrup or white sugar so when I saw this recipe (while looking at Jenn’s cranberry orange sauce), I figured I’d give it a try.OMG! They turned out perfectly. I almost didn’t make when I saw confectioner’s sugar as I normally think it makes things way too sweet. These were delicious and so easy. My new favorite.

    • — Teresa Hocevar on November 22, 2022
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  • AMAZING!!! I have a “Request List” of friends who are just “addicted” to these pecans!!!

    • — Jeannette on November 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • These candied pecans are the bomb! I have been making as gifts and charcuterie board snacks for the past few years. A “home run” and sooo easy to make.

    • — Maggie on November 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • Make this every year and it is appreciated by many ! Yum!

    • — Vivianne on November 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • I just made these today, instead of 4 tbsp of water,3 tbsp water and 1 tbsp of vanilla. Absolutely delicious!
    Will make for Xmas! Thank you!!

    • — Lucy on November 17, 2022
    • Reply
    • I just made this for Thanksgiving…. Wow they came out great. Never did I think I could make this & taste fantastic….tried other recipes and was left with a pile of mush… This is amazing… Thank you

      • — Theresa on November 23, 2022
      • Reply
  • Absolutely delish and super easy to make! Thank you!

    • — Michelle Pikel on October 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • I add a bit of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg during the holidays. Smells so yummy! I also substitute the confectioner’s sugar for raw sugar I back off of the ingredients to a 1/4 – 1/3 of a cup caramelizes really well. It’s a different twist still yummy. Everyone loves it and tries them. Thank you once upon a chef- love your recipes.

    • — Annemarie on October 17, 2022
    • Reply
  • Worked perfectly! This will be my go to recipe. Does it work with unroasted walnuts?

    • — Karen on October 4, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure – walnuts will work here too!

      • — Jenn on October 5, 2022
      • Reply
  • I used a teaspoon of vanilla extract and 3 teaspoons of water. YUM!

    • — Jean on September 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • Disaster. I think there’s way too much water in this recipe. I had to double the bake time to cook off the liquid and by that time the nuts were burnt. Very disappointed 🙁

    • — RB on August 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • These are marvelous. I make regularly, exactly as recipe specifies. Not sickly sweet and fun to watch the reaction from first-time tasters as the heat sneaks up a little… most smile with delight. I do warn folks ahead of time.

    • — Ginger on July 21, 2022
    • Reply
  • I replaced pecans with walnuts, excluded the cayenne pepper and made everything else the same. It was so simple to make, delicious, and amazing !!!!

    • — Helen H on July 16, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made these just as written and they are PERFECT!! Excellent balance of sweet and spicy. Super quick and easy. I made them this morning and 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! I am in love with both of your cookbooks and the blog!

    • — Liz on July 3, 2022
    • Reply
    • 💗

      • — Jenn on July 5, 2022
      • Reply
  • I made this as written and wow was it delicious. It ships well, too. I vacuum packed it and sent it to my father for Father’s Day during very hot weather. It arrived just fine and he loved it!

    Thank you for a simple and wonderful tasting recipe. 🥰

    • — Jeannie Rivera on June 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • Do you use raw or roasted pecans? Thanks!!

    • — Lisa on June 2, 2022
    • Reply
    • Either one is fine. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 2, 2022
      • Reply
  • Delicious and easy! You are the best, Jenn!

    • — Sara on April 5, 2022
    • Reply
  • These were exceptionally delicious! I paused when I saw confectioners sugar but they came out perfectly. Only thing I would change (allergy season/scratchy throat) is use half the cayenne. Wonderful!

    • — MLee on April 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • It’s truly hard to believe how delicious these are being so simple to make.
    Hard to stop eating! I can’t test them when I take them out of the oven because the next thing I know, I only have 1 cup of nuts. BTW, used walnuts because that’s what I had in the house.

    • — Vicki Villarreal on February 7, 2022
    • Reply
  • I tried this recipe this morning exactly as its written, regrettably I didn’t get the desired results. It lacked flavor, and it came out a little too pasty. The second batch I tried with an additional 1/4 c of pecans to soak up the extra sugar mixture but still lacked flavor. I prefer the egg white alternative to just using water to give it a nice crunchy coat, and allows the flavors to come through.

    • — Stormy on February 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • These are the best pecans, better than the store bought and so easy to make. I put them in salads and on cheese boards to rave reviews. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    • — Wendy on January 22, 2022
    • Reply
    • The BEST candied nuts ever!! I am munching on them now. Such an easy recipe to make and the end product looks and tastes impressive. Please, make the recipe as written and refrain from modifying and then commenting negatives.

      • — Jessica on May 17, 2022
      • Reply
  • I’ve made these pecans every Christmas for the last 5 years. My family requests them every year. I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit, using 2/3 cup Powdered sugar and a tsp cayenne pepper.

    I used to make one batch for all, but now I make a batch for each family. So simple but soooo good!

    • — Elaine from Austin TX on January 5, 2022
    • Reply
  • Perfect New Year’s Eve snack – easy to make, and a great result – yum!

    • — Peggy on December 31, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have made many times but misread the recipe this time and added 4T of water instead of 4t, to try and salvage the pecans I added additional sugar and nuts, I also baked longer (20-25 min)and they did not burn, so for those who have indicated they baked longer but nuts did not burn, it could be excess water? I was trying to see if I could find a solution for my error, they still turned out but had a little bit of stickiness.They taste fine and did not want to throw out!

    • — Stefanie on December 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • I am always amazed at how quickly these disappear when guests are over, they just vanish by the time you return to the platter for more! Perfect blend of slightly burnt toffee with spice and crunch, and such a quick and easy recipe to make. Thanks again Jenn, best cooking blog ever!

    • — Melissa on December 27, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is by far the best and easiest recipe ever! If you’re looking for a quick last minute gift (it’s the night before Christmas Eve and I’m too tired to make cookies) make these!
    I’ve made this recipe 3 times and they are delicious! They’re so quick and easy I started experimenting with different spices- I used a tiny bit of cayenne and added nutmeg, cinnamon and rum extract for an eggnog flavored pecan. Then I added orange extract, orange zest and vanilla. These are amazing!

    • — Shannon B on December 24, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! I’m making snack boards for Xmas this year and was planning on making these pecans, your roasted chickpeas, maple sesame kale and the bacon recipe. I will be bringing them to Christmas and to a party the following day. How far in advance can I make everything? Thanks for all!

    • — Kara on December 22, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Kara, the pecans will keep nicely for a week, the kale chips for 2 to 3 days in an airtight container (make sure they’re totally cooled before you put them in a container), the bacon can be made up to a day ahead and refrigerate, but they will lose their crispy texture, and the chickpeas can be made up to 10 days ahead (see the make-ahead instructions for reheating them). Hope that helps and that everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on December 22, 2021
      • Reply
  • I decided to try these after all the good reviews, they looked easy enough. They came out sticky, so I put them back in the oven, for a total of 20 minutues! Never burned nor did they get hard. I left them out all night to see if they would harden, never did, so I’m gonna turn my oven up to 400 and try it again. Maybe my oven is not reaching the correct temputure? Pecans aren’t cheap so if this doesn’t work it was a total waste of money.

    • — cynthia adams on December 21, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Cynthia, Sorry you had a problem with these! I suspect there’s a problem with your oven temperature because these definitely should have gotten burnt if they were in your oven for 20 minutes. Here are some tips for checking to see if your oven temp is accurate.

      • — Jenn on December 22, 2021
      • Reply
      • I found when baking bread/pizza that temp was so important. I invested in an oven thermometer and found that it takes a good 30 minutes for my oven to truly get to temp. If I just went by the oven display/alert it was consistently 50-75 degrees cooler than expected when the alert signaled ready. Make sure you are at the right temp before the food goes in.

        • — Bruce on November 22, 2022
        • Reply
    • Something must be wrong with your oven!
      20 extra minutes at 350’? Cookies would burn!

      • — Shannon on December 24, 2021
      • Reply
    • Try putting them in the fridge. It worked for me when my first batch was a little sticky. Hardened the pecans right up.

      • — Bootsc_916@hotmail.com on January 11, 2022
      • Reply
  • These are so easy we love them, I make these for my husbands coworkers and they request every year. I put them on a simple salad field greens, apple a little red onion blue cheese and a simple dressing.

    • — Annie on December 19, 2021
    • Reply
  • Jenn, about how long do you let these cool for before removing from the parchment paper?

    • — Ms. Liz on December 17, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Liz, I’d let them cool completely. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 19, 2021
      • Reply
      • Pecans were AWESOME✨‼ Packed ’em up & shared at a post-hike tailgate with about 15 friends where I heard “who made these; they’re amazing!” Between Candied Pecans & Matzo Crack (which I also brought along) – wow, soooo many compliments! Thanks Jenn! 👏

        • — Ms. Liz on December 22, 2021
        • Reply
  • Absolutely wonderful. Adjust the heat for those with a sensitive palate or use cinnamon as an alternative. Easy and delicious!

    • — Kalebandit on December 17, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made these today and they turned out perfect, my hubby said they were moorish( English saying🇬🇧 Which means you can’t stop eating them).
    Tried to post a photo, but they look just like your picture.

    • — Celia Lockwood on December 16, 2021
    • Reply
    • I have been looking for a recipe that gave you a nice glossy look and not the one of crystallized sugar. I was hoping they would turn out as pictured and they did. Absolutely the best. Quick and so tasty. This recipe is a definite 5 star keeper.

      • — Heidi on January 18, 2022
      • Reply

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