Sweet, Spicy, Salty Candied Pecans

Tested & Perfected Recipes Cookbook Recipe

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

candied pecans

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

These candied pecans are madly addictive. They’re perfect to serve with cocktails, toss over salads, or just keep around the house over the holidays. They also make a delicious 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 You’ll Need To Make Candied Pecans

ingredients for candied pecans

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 candied pecans 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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Sweet, Spicy & Salty Candied Pecans

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

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

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 teaspoons water
  • 2 cups pecans

Instructions

  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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Reviews & Comments

  • Made them. LOVED them. Made them again!!! And again!!!

    • — Linda on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • These are spectacular Jenn. I make them regularly to snack on and for gifts. Everyone loves them.

    Thank you so much for sharing your culinary gifts. I use your recipes regularly and are the first cooking site I go to for researching a recipe.

    You are an inspiration to me as my passion is baking and cooking all sorts of ethnic foods.

    • — Paula Siedlaczek on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made these for Christmas gifts and everyone LOVED them, including me!

    • — Becky on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Make sure you have company to share these, or you will eat the whole bowl! The sweet and the heat are a perfect combination.

    • — Joanne Peyton on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Soo addicting! The first time I made them, they were gone while they were still hot. Now I know I need to make a double batch each time! I’ve given them to friends and neighbors in little Mason jars with bows. A yummy and easy homemade gift!

    • — Stephanie C. on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • These nuts are the perfect winter holiday gift for loved ones near and far!! They are quick to make, easy to package and deliciously addictive. These remind me of candied nuts my grandmother used to make, but these are SO MUCH better. You have to try for yourself!

    • — Kristine W on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • We love this recipe and make it on holidays and just for a treat! This was my first recipe from your site and we have really enjoyed it!

    • — Pat Allard on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • These are the perfect snack for any occasion! Lovely blend of sweet, salty, and spicy, they never last long in my house.
    Try them with mixed nuts as well, so delicious!

    • — Caroline on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hard to beat. This simple recipe turns nuts into a delicious snack. It’s a go-to-favorite for sure.

    • — Anik Tabor on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • If I could give these nuts 6 stars, I would. They are super easy, and everyone who tries them loves them. I can’t count the number of times people have asked for the recipe. I usually cut down the cayenne a little, especially if I give them as a gift. They are excellent!

    • — Jill on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is my go to recipe for roasted pecans. So easy, quick and delicious! Perfect for a snack for gatherings (football, holiday, etc. get togethers) and for gift giving. Thanks, Jenn, for sharing!

    • — Glinda on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have made these little gems many times and given out the recipe over and over. How can you help but love perfection!

    • — Beverly Jordan on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • We have tried many recipes to find the best spicy pecans, and we finally hit the jackpot! These are easy to make and so delicious.

    I prefer them on the crispy side, so I cook them a tad longer than recommended. But my husband likes to cook them right at the recommended time. Either way, they’re great.

    • — Shirley on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • These are the best.

    • — Mariken Rattigan on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious! Can’t stop eating them. So easy to make. Thank you.

    • — Diana Scott on January 22, 2021
    • Reply
  • Would this recipe work with Almonds instead of pecans? Your thoughts please.
    Thank You

    • — Nanci on January 14, 2021
    • Reply
    • I like all the crevices that pecans have as the glaze gets into those spaces, but this will work with almonds. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 15, 2021
      • Reply
      • Thank You

        • — nanci on January 18, 2021
        • Reply
  • Simply the best and most delicious treat. Recipe was sent to me by my daughter. She often tries your recipes and all are so delicious all the time. This spiced pecan recipe is so simple and quick to make. I doubled the recipe X 5 times to offer as a Christmas gift to friends and neighbors, attached the recipe to it so they too could try it. Every is so pleased and now they too are hooked to this delicious recipe. Thank you for this amazing recipe!

    — JANE WESBY ON DECEMBER 21, 2020REPLY
    Made a batch and then made 5 more they were so good. Gave them as holiday gifts and they were a hit! Will be/Is my go to!

    • — Micheline Y. Giroux on January 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • Fantastic and so incredibly simple to make. These were a huge hit and quickly went from being a part of a winter salad with apples, red grapes, and a balsamic maple dressing to becoming part of dessert!

    • — Frank Catapano on January 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious! The recipe is a winner. I followed it as written. This was fast, easy and turned out perfect after 12 minutes in the oven. I don’t think this batch will last long enough to find its way into a storage container. Thank you!

    • — Carol S. on December 31, 2020
    • Reply
  • Excellent!! The recipe is so easy and fast to make and they taste delicious. I also love the little bit of cayenne. Thanks for all the great recipes, you are one of the few that I always count on for something fantastic!

    • — D on December 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • Can I add sesame seeds to this recipe? I had a version of glazed pecans with sesame seeds recently and would like to replicate. If yes, how much should I add?
    Thanks!

    • — Barbara on December 30, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Barbara, I think it will work though I’m a little concerned that they may burn. If you want to give it a try, I’d suggest about 2 tablespoons. Please LMK how they turn out if you try them!

      • — Jenn on December 31, 2020
      • Reply
  • Could I use peanuts instead of pecans as I’m allergic to tree nuts…this sounds amazing.

    • — Jackie on December 29, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Jackie, I like pecans for this recipe because they have all the cracks and crevices that the glaze sinks into, but technically, peanuts will work here. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on December 30, 2020
      • Reply
      • The peanuts worked out well, not as pretty as the pecans but they taste so good

        • — Jackie on December 31, 2020
        • Reply
        • Glad they worked out – thanks for reporting back!

          • — Jenn on January 1, 2021
          • Reply
  • Simple and perfect (though I cut down the cayenne). I sometimes add 3/4 tsp. cinnamon for just a hint of warm-spice flavor without changing the incredible balance of tastes. The only way to mess these up is to burn them, so if you have a fast oven, check after 10-11 mins. A favorite crackly holiday treat!

    • — Laurie on December 24, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi, Jenn. The store is out of confectioner’s sugar. Can I use rel maple syrup instead? Do you know how much? I also have some turbinado sugar on hand. Thank you! I made these last year and they were divine!

    • — Bettina Lehovec on December 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Bettina, Unfortunately, it’s the confectioners’ sugar that helps these crisp up. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on December 23, 2020
      • Reply
  • These pecans are the simplest most delicious spiced pecans in the world. My whole extended family is hooked. They don’t last long because they are so good so I am glad that they are quick to make. Thank you for this amazing recipe!

    • — Jane Wesby on December 21, 2020
    • Reply
  • Made a batch and then made 5 more they were so good. Gave them as holiday gifts and they were a hit! Will be/Is my go to!

    • — Meems on December 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • These pecans are divine, and soooo hard to stop eating! Love your recipes Jen. Made several of your cookie recipes today for the holidays. Every recipe you post is wonderful!! Happy Holidays to you and your family!

    • — Cindy J on December 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • Jenn, I have an apartment size oven which only has 4 slots for oven shelves. Would you use the one “middle” closest to the top or bottom? I don’t want to put on the wrong one and risk burning the pecans. Thanks!

    • — Carie on December 12, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Carie, because all ovens are so different it’s hard to say for sure I’d suggest putting the nuts on the lower-middle rack for half the time and then switching to the upper-middle rack for the remainder. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 15, 2020
      • Reply
  • This is one of my “go-to” recipes. I’m low carb (trying to be) and substitute powdered erythritol for the sugar. Every other aspect of the recipe is followed to the letter. Everyone loves these nuts.

    • — Cohoma on December 6, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, these pecans are amazing and yes very simple thx so much! I was wondering if using walnuts with same technique and recipe would have the same delicious results ? Let me know what you think, thx again for all your great recipes 👌🏽 !

    • — Janio Quadra on November 28, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Janio, glad you like them! Yes, you can definitely use walnuts here as well. 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 29, 2020
      • Reply
  • Wonderful quick recipe!
    Make it and share the recipe often

    • — Genia on November 26, 2020
    • Reply
  • Easy, did just what u said, 60 year old pop pop not very good at cookin

    • — Art Shoemaker on November 25, 2020
    • Reply
  • Our family loves these, thanks for sharing!

    • — Johnette on November 22, 2020
    • Reply
  • So, so good! I made a batch this morning to bring to a (socially distant) Halloween driveway party at my neighbor’s house tonight. Then I ate a couple of them, and then a couple more. And then I had to make another batch because one just isn’t enough!

    These are delicious and so easy to make. Your recipes are the best! This one is going in my binder of Keepers. Thank you Jenn!!

    • — Ellen on October 31, 2020
    • Reply
  • I just finished making these and they turned out beautifully! I followed the recipe verbatim (the only tweak was adding a mere sprinkle of hot smoked paprika), baking 12 minutes at 350ºF. The sugar came out nice and brown (not burnt) and the glaze is crackly and not sticky. The only trouble is, I keep having to test one to make sure they’re really okay…and then I have to test another one…and then a couple more! I made these to take as a host gift for a friend, but I’m worried they won’t make it out of the house 🙂

    • — Jessee J. on October 19, 2020
    • Reply
    • LOL – glad they turned out well!

      • — Jenn on October 19, 2020
      • Reply
  • Delicious! Made exactly as written and they came out perfectly crunchy and lightly spiced. Batch 1 never made it off the counter as we couldn’t stop eating them. Added a little pumpkin pie spice (1/2 tsp) to batch 2 and liked the results.

    • — Christina on October 19, 2020
    • Reply
  • I had to bake the pecans about 25 minutes to remove the “stickiness.” Took them over to a friend’s house for a party and as the evening progressed, the pecans became sticky again. We did have humid weather…tasted great though.

    • — Native Texan on September 24, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’ve tried many methods for making spiced nuts using either a sauté pan or the oven and this one is easiest and works exactly as stated. I like adding cinnamon and cumin to the mix. LOVE. Will make again and again.

    • — Mary Toombs on September 22, 2020
    • Reply
  • Just tried this today with almonds! Perfect!

    • — Joan on September 10, 2020
    • Reply
  • Fantastic and soooo simple!

    • — Denise on August 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • I have made this for years as a party snack and everyone loves it. I get nervous about cooking, but Jenn’s instruction style has a way of helping my confidence and making it easier than I think.

    • — Maria R. on August 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • Simple and delicious. I cut the cayenne a little and subbed with a little smoked paprika. Love, love. It’s a keeper!

    • — Wendy on August 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • Love the taste but side down is golden perfect side up is sugary beige looking! Should I be turning over?

    • — Tish on August 4, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Tish, That’s just how they come out so it doesn’t sound like you did anything wrong (and you don’t need to flip them over). Once you crumble them up, you shouldn’t notice the different colorations.

      • — Jenn on August 5, 2020
      • Reply
      • I love how shiny they are in your photo. Is there a trick to making them come out that way? That glaze would suit me better than “sugary-beige”. Thank you.
        I’m sure it’s a 5 star recipe but since I haven’t made them yet I’ll include a rating later.

        • — Bizzybits on March 17, 2021
        • Reply
        • The nuts actually come out relatively shiny (though I do touch up my pictures a bit so the sheen that you see may be a little enhanced by my touching up). Hope you enjoy if you make them!

          • — Jenn on March 17, 2021
          • Reply
    • I’ve made these twice now and, while they are delicious, I have had the problem with them sticking to the parchment and bits of parchment coming off with them😐. Should I spray the parchment before laying them out? I ended up throwing 1/2 away. Ideas?

      • — Bev on December 12, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Bev, What brand of parchment are you using? You shouldn’t need to spray it — are you sure it’s parchment and not wax paper?

        • — Jenn on December 12, 2020
        • Reply
        • Ohhhhh, ok, I thought wax paper was the same as parchment😐

          • — Beverly Lyle Patt on December 13, 2020
          • Reply
  • This has become my go-to recipe for flavored nuts! It is SO easy and good. I’ve made it with pecans, walnuts, and, just now, with cashews. All have been delicious. Thank you for such a useful recipe.

    • — CJ Klein on July 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • Is the cooking time the same if you use raw pecans?

    • — Paige on June 25, 2020
    • Reply
    • Yep – hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 25, 2020
      • Reply
  • We couldn’t gobble these up fast enough…great for gifts too.

    • — Kari P. on May 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • Would this work for cashews as well?

    • — Emma on May 11, 2020
    • Reply
    • I like this with pecans because the glaze gets into the nooks and crannies, but it will work with cashews as well. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 11, 2020
      • Reply
      • Love this recipe! Simple, but so delicious. I added 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, as one reviewer suggested and only used 1/8 tsp of cayenne pepper.
        Thank you, Jenn. These are the absolute best candied pecans.

        • — Ranee on November 24, 2020
        • Reply
  • Jenn, Thank you so much for the pecans. They were
    wonderful and were perfect in my pineapple spinach salad. I couldn’t believe how easy they were.

    • — Mrs. Angela Judy, Gastonia Nc on April 24, 2020
    • Reply
  • Family loved these as is, but I can’t have much real sugar. So lately I’ve been switching it up using 1/2 sugar substitute and 1/2 brown sugar substitute in place of the powdered sugar. I’ve also been using peanuts, cashews and almonds instead of the pecans. Very tasty treat!

    • — Dawn on April 14, 2020
    • Reply
  • These are delicious! (Except, the water ratio listed is incorrect). With additional water this recipe is perfect! Once these cooled, I had nothing but crumbs left. Perfect! Thanks

    • — Carmen on March 8, 2020
    • Reply
    • I love making these. For a crunchie glaze, I skip the water and swap in 2 egg whites whipped until soft peaks. Then I take brown sugar instead of powdered sugar, fold it together with the spices, coat the pecans, and bake as directed.

      • — CeCe on January 31, 2021
      • Reply

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