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Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts

5 stars based on 19 votes

Versions of the famous Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts appear in many cookbooks. Since I love them, I thought it only fitting to include my own adaptation here. Sweet, salty, spicy, and rosemary-infused, they are the perfect nibbling food. And they’re so easy to make! Serve them with cocktails, enjoy them as a snack or give them as a gift. But don’t say I didn’t warn you: they are crazy addictive!

Note:  I like this recipe best with cashews and pecans, but you can use any nuts that you like. If you use raw nuts, be sure to toast them a bit longer, about 10 minutes, or until lightly golden.

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Union Square Café Bar Nuts

Servings: 2-1/2 cups
Total Time: 15 Minutes


  • 2-1/2 cups unsalted mixed nuts (any combination of cashews, whole unpeeled almonds, peeled peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts...whatever suits your taste)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Combine nuts on baking sheet and toast in oven until warm, fragrant and lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine rosemary, cayenne pepper, brown sugar and butter. Add the warm, toasted nuts to the spiced butter and toss well. Add kosher salt and toss to coat thoroughly. Serve warm.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Spiced nuts
    Can they be made a few days in advance and serve at room temperature?

    - christine on December 8, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Christine, they’d be fine to make a day or two ahead. While these are best warm, it’s fine to serve them at room temperature. Here’s another option that’s great at room temperature in case you want to take a peek.

      - Jenn on December 8, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have made these nuts multiple times for taking to parties or giving as gifts in a nice jar. I actually start with mixed nuts that are lightly salted. I also use all dried spices as these work very well. These make a great gift for someone and are excellent as an appetizer, or just a game day nibble. Love it and it’s also very easy and quick to whip up. Always have the ingredients on hand for last minute needs.

    - Karen T on December 5, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    We love this recipe! It’s so easy and people love to nibble on it with drinks before dinner. I have used Kirkland Signature (Costco) Extra Fancy Mixed Nuts. They’re salted, so I cut the salt to just a bit, about 1/8 teaspoon. Because my husband has a sensitivity to cane sugar, I use maple sugar and it works great! Thanks so much for the recipe.

    - Kath Dedon on November 30, 2017 Reply
  • As a party favor, I would like to fill personalized wine glasses with these along with a bottle of wine. Do they do as well at room temperature?) (I live by your website for all my entertaining! THANK YOU SO MUCH)!!

    - alicyn kozlowski on September 4, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Alicyn, so glad you enjoy the recipes and use them for entertaining! While these are best warm, it’s totally fine to serve them at room temperature. Here’s another option that’s great at room temperature in case you want to take a peek.

      - Jenn on September 5, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made these a for a cocktail party some friends were having. They almost didn’t make it over because I wanted to keep them to myself. They smell and taste amazing.

    - Nicole Rowland on May 3, 2017 Reply
  • 4 stars

    A small thing, a simple thing you might think – nuts – but people go .. well … nuts for these. For a drinks party always make twice as much as you think you might need.

    - Margot C on March 6, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenny!
    I am a big fan of your website and these bar nuts. Do you think I can add dried cranberries and not have it taste like granola? Should I toss the cranberries at the end or include them in the oven when heating the nuts?

    - Myra on January 11, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Myra, glad you like the website (and the nuts)! I think you could get away with adding dried cranberries here. It will obviously add some more sweetness, but I don’t think it’ll taste like granola. (I’d toss them in at the end.) I’d love to hear how they are with this addition!

      - Jenn on January 12, 2017 Reply
  • can these be put in a nice jar and stored for gift giving.
    Marjory in Toronto

    - marjory ross on November 23, 2016 Reply
    • Definitely– Hope your recipients enjoy them!

      - Jenn on November 23, 2016 Reply
  • I look forward to making these ov r r the next few weeks, but I really want to tell you how much I likè your site. Also, you have always been very prompt responding to my questions, giving me very good advice. Happy Thanksgiving!

    - cindy on November 22, 2016 Reply
    • Thank you, Cindy! Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

      - Jenn on November 23, 2016 Reply
  • What would happen if I used the salted version of nuts? I know I would not add the tsp. Of kosher salt, but would it still work?

    - Deidree whitworth on November 22, 2016 Reply
    • Yes, Deidree, I think that will work. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on November 22, 2016 Reply
  • Hi! I melted everything together in advance but now it looks as though the brown sugar has clumped, almost candied?.it looks separated. which is what I was trying to avoid based on other reviewers warnings. I’m not roasting my nuts until I figure this out.. maybe UNmelted sugar is what’s important?
    Please advise?

    - Donna on October 22, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Donna, I would make the coating for the nuts while they are toasting in the oven (as opposed to in advance like you specified). I that that’s probably what caused the problem for you.

      - Jenn on October 23, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These are a favorite and a staple at my happy hours which I love to host often.

    Great holiday gift idea as well

    - Val on October 6, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These are perfect in every way! Can’t get enough.

    - Carrie on June 26, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I love this recipes, and so do my guests! It has been a hit with every type of nut I’ve tried, even peanuts!

    - Tierney on December 20, 2015 Reply
  • are the silicone pan liners ever used instead of parchment paper? I never see anyone on websites suggesting the use of them.. Love your recipes

    - Jane Newman on December 12, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Jane, While I think you could use silicone pan liners in many recipes that call for parchment paper, I don’t often suggest them because most people don’t have them.

      - Jenn on December 13, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Absolutely love this recipe. These nuts are an expected gift by many friends and relatives at Christmas. Cook’s treat-toss in a few handfuls of macadamia nuts.

    - Debra Bourke on December 9, 2015 Reply
  • Can you freeze these? Also, if I’m making ahead for holiday gifts and do not freeze, how long will they keep for? Thanks 🙂

    - Mary on December 3, 2015 Reply
    • Yes Mary, I think it would be just fine to freeze them!

      - Jenn on December 4, 2015 Reply
  • Hi Jenn. I was just about to make this for a party and realize I only have light brown sugar 🙁 Will it taste okay with the light brown sugar? Thanks!

    - Valerie on November 27, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Valerie, Yes, it will still be delicious. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on November 27, 2015 Reply
  • Hi!

    Thanks so much for the recipe. I’m hoping to make them for Thanksgiving tomorrow and trying to do as much prep today. Can I make these today and serve tomorrow or would you suggest doing them right before you serve so they’re still warm?

    Thanks so much!


    - Dawn Duff on November 25, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Dawn, Perfectly fine to make ahead. Happy Thanksgiving!

      - Jenn on November 25, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Very tasty add hazel nuts

    - Gordon on November 10, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Great party snack and app with pre dinner drinks. People were so impressed with them.

    - Elana on August 28, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These are amazing! I often eat way too many, be careful once you start it’s hard to stop eating them. I make several batches over the holiday season. I often reduce the cayenne pepper, if you aren’t a big fan of spicy food you may want to consider that as well.

    - Amanda on August 28, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These are a hit every time I make them. They really pack a punch with only a few ingredients. One of my all time favorite snack recipes!

    - Mindy on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I believe you when you say that they are addictive, they certainly look it! I would love to make some for gifts this Christmas. Was just wondering how long they would keep. How soon in advance I could make and store them prior to gifting. Thanks for another awesome recipe!

    - Robin W on May 15, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Robin, I’d say they keep well for about a week.

      - Jenn on May 18, 2015 Reply
  • Can you use dried rosemary instead of fresh? I only have fresh thyme & parsley on hand.

    - Jen on March 27, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Jen, Unfortunately, dried rosemary won’t work. But you can use fresh thyme instead 🙂

      - Jenn on March 27, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These are addictive! Seriously! I’ve made them twice already. They are soooo good when you eat them right away while still warm. First time I used unsalted roasted nuts and the dark brown sugar as listed. The second time I used raw nuts and only used coconut Palm sugar to make it a little more healthy since I planned on eating must if it 🙂 Both were delicious, but it was way more delicious the first time when I followed the recipe verbatim. Goes great with a dark beer! Yum!

    - Christy on March 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn, I’d like to know how i will be able to store the nuts in order to have a longer shelf life. Thank you.

    - Mary Ann G. Concepcion on January 12, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Mary Ann, They will keep well at room temperature in an airtight container.

      - Jenn on January 12, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These nuts are fantastic, but it looks like a lot of the spices and rosemary do not adhere to the nuts, and are left on the sheet. Any suggestions?

    - Karen on December 22, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Karen, Yes, some of the spices don’t stick; that’s just the nature of it. I just pour them over the nuts in the bowl. Next time try making these with mostly pecans — the spices stick in all the crevices.

      - Jenn on December 23, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Jen–your website is FABULOUS! So glad I happened upon it–I have a question about how to prepare this–do you chop up the rosemary leaves or what? Thanks!

    - Carolyn on November 23, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Carolyn, Thank you! Yes, you chop them up. Hope you enjoy 🙂

      - Jenn on November 24, 2014 Reply
  • Hi Jen – I have a huge container of salted mixed nuts from Sam’s Club. Could I use those in the recipe and just omit the salt? I have to tell you that this year I have been agonizing over recipes to use that will make my Thanksgiving preparation easier. I opened your email this morning and lo and behold my delimma is solved. Thanks!

    - Donna Bechold on November 20, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Donna, Yes, that should work just fine. Hope you have an easy and happy Thanksgiving 🙂

      - Jenn on November 20, 2014 Reply
  • Do you use raw or roasted nuts for this recipe?

    - Karen on November 20, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Karen, I use roasted nuts. They’re only in the oven for 5 minutes so they’re really just getting warmed through.

      - Jenn on November 20, 2014 Reply
  • Hi Jen; I’d love to make these nuts to give at Christmas. Any ideas?

    - Heather Lampman on September 20, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Heather, These nuts make perfect holiday gifts! Are you interested in different variations or on how to package them?

      - Jenn on September 21, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These nuts are well balanced a real tasty treat! I have taken them to Thanksgiving dinner! I also added them to holiday gift baskets for friends!

    - Cathy on July 2, 2014 Reply
  • I made these for Thanksgiving. My family loved the perfect combination of flavors and spices – all perfectly balanced. I will definitely make them again very soon!

    - Liz on December 12, 2013 Reply
  • I cannot wait to make these! My husband and I met in SF and ate this many times.

    - Donna on May 16, 2012 Reply
  • These are amazing and addicting. I have made these nuts several times and given them as gifts. Absolutely divine. You have to try them as they are easy and a very gift worthy concoction. Also good to give to someone who is not eating sweets. It just seems healthier. the nuts make an attractive gift in a nice small glass jar. Great party food too.The nuts can be varied too, to make it more customized. Delicious!

    - Karen on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • Love the complex flavors of salty, sweet, spicy, & earthy! Makes for a great party snack!

    - Lisa on March 3, 2012 Reply
  • nvr been to union sq. but these nuts are good!!!

    - Tia @ ButtercreamBarbie on May 19, 2010 Reply
  • Very yummy, but if you tend to like things less spicy, I would only use 1/2 the cayenne pepper. Even those friends who “claim” to love the spicy stuff said Oh my when they got some rosemary and spice together…..great [email protected]!

    - Tammy Bane on April 19, 2010 Reply
  • I loved these! Made them for a Halloween party today and added Kraft caramel bits to the mix in honor of Halloween. Delicious!

    - Julie on October 31, 2009 Reply
  • Simply delicious. I can’t stop eating them!

    - Kelly on October 2, 2009 Reply

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