Candied Pecans are deliciously sweet, crunchy, and highly addictive pecans that smell so heavenly and ridiculously good done in TWO ways – in the oven and the stovetop method. You’ll love it with notes of bourbon, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. These easy and tasty candied nuts are perfect for dessert and salad toppings, for snacking, and they make delectable edible holiday gifts, too.
What are Candied Pecans?
Let me brag about how crunchy these candied pecans are, which makes them perfect for snacking or a salad topper. And the smell! Mmmm! It may bring your neighbors knocking at your front door with its magically delicious smell. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya. This recipe comes complete with sweet cinnamon, vanilla extract, and bourbon aroma. How’s that for a candied pecan recipe?
What are Candied Pecans?
Candied pecans are delicious nuts smothered in a sugary cinnamon vanilla coating and baked until crunchy. They’re perfectly sweet and highly addictive – that’s the best way to describe these candied nuts here. I love eating them as on-the-go snacks or adding them to my favorite salads and desserts like Sweet Potato Salad, Texas Sheet Cake, and Chocolate Pecan Pie.
Candied pecans usually have sugar, cinnamon, salt, egg white, and water. But in this recipe here, I decided to swap the water with bourbon or rum to add a more delectable aroma and robust flavor.
I also like adding nutmeg and cayenne pepper to create a wonderful blend of contrasting flavors of heat and sweetness to our spiced pecans. And oh boy, it works like magic!
Candied Pecan Ingredients
These flavorful, crunchy, and fragrant sugar-coated pecans are beyond ready to entertain your palate! So you see, our pecan recipe is quite remarkable, especially with the extra spices. Highly addictive, indeed!
Below is the complete list of ingredients we need for both the oven and stove methods.
- Granulated and Brown Sugar – We need the sugar to create our pecans’ sweet and crunchy coating. If using the stove method, we’ll be needing brown sugar to mix with granulated sugar to give it a bit of a chewy texture.
- Vanilla Extract – The hint of Homemade Vanilla flavor in the background is simply sensational.
- Egg White – The egg white fulfills a vital role in our baked candied pecans recipe. It binds together all the spices and sugars so they’ll stick to our pecans and hold their shape. However, we won’t need the egg whites with the stovetop method since the direct heat may only cause the egg to curdle. Instead, we’ll be adding water and brown sugar to hold all the flavors together.
- Bourbon or Rum – Adding a bit of liquor definitely adds a wow factor to our candied pecans. However, it is optional, and you can easily replace it with water. And don’t worry about the kids because the alcohol will be long gone by serving time.
- Cinnamon and Nutmeg – You can never be wrong with adding sprinkles of holiday spices to our delightful pecans.
- Whole Pecans – Halved pecans and large pieces also work well with this recipe. Not only are pecans naturally delicious, but they are also an excellent source of protein, fiber, and calcium. Thus, giving us tasty treats while offering all of their health benefits as well.
- Cayenne Pepper – Surprisingly, adding a kick of heat compliments and somehow balances the sweetness of our yummy candied pecans.
- Creole Seasoning – Adding a touch of Creole flavors to our pecans? Why not! The exciting twist will surely amaze you. 😉 (See my homemade Creole Seasoning HERE.)
- More Nut Options – This recipe works well with other nuts, like peanuts, almonds, walnuts, and cashews. Or try them all at once and make some candied mixed nuts instead. Yum!
- Paleo Version – But of course, we have them in a healthy version, too. So, instead of regular sugar, we’ll use paleo-approved sugars such as maple sugar, coconut sugar, or date sugar to sweeten our pecans. Yaaay!
- Low-Carb and Keto-Friendly – Just swap the granulated sugar with sugar-free substitutes like stevia or erythritol, and that should do the trick. 👌
- Spice Swap – Complete the holiday flavors with the addition of ground cloves, ginger, allspice, and cardamom. Try adding a pinch of smoked salt for a spice level-up. Or better yet, try it with Pumpkin Spice to add more phenomenal flavors.
- Salted Caramel Pecan – Enjoy caramelly goodness by adding a little butter to our candied nuts recipe, and you’re all set. And, oh, don’t forget a sprinkle of salt for extra flavor. 😋
- Chocolate Covered Pecans – Well, this one is something you can make in an instant. Just dip your candied pecans in melted chocolate of your choice, let them cool, and serve. I love to make them with dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate because they’re extremely rich and decadent but not too sweet. Oh yes!
Tips and Tricks
- Chopped or halved pecans are the perfect choice for this recipe, or you can go with the bigger ones if it satisfies you.
- Place the pecans in a lined baking sheet to cool. Remember to separate the pecans so they won’t clump together. However, serving them in big chunk servings may be a good idea, too. What do you think? 😉
- You can place them in a mason glass jar and tie a lovely ribbon around the lid with your personalized tag if you intend to give them as gifts.
Serving and Storage Instructions
I always double the batch every time I make these candied nuts because it seems like there are never enough. 😂 Anyway, here’s how to handle leftovers (if there are any.😉)
- Storage – Let the candied pecans cool completely. Any sealed container will do, whether it is plastic or glass. However, airtight containers work best and preserve the crunchiness of pecans better.
- Room Temperature – They’ll stay fresh for up to a week at room temperature.
- Refrigerated – Make sure to store them in the fridge if you intend to keep them for a longer time. Candied pecans can last for up to three weeks, refrigerated.
- Frozen – Yes, you can freeze them without worrying about the quality of these pecans after freezing. Although, the quality will start to change if you freeze them longer than two months. So, make sure to consume them within two months.
Pro Tip: If you want to enjoy your candied pecans warm, just pop them in a microwave and heat them for 2-3 minutes. Or place them in a lined baking sheet and heat for about 7 minutes at 250°F in a conventional oven.
Although both of these recipes are basically sugar-coated pecans, they are different, especially the ingredients. Candied pecans are made with egg whites, white sugar, and spices, while glazed pecans are made with butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar.
They may have too much liquid, which creates humidity, making your candied pecans soft. Another culprit is storing them right away without cooling them first. The steam gets trapped inside the container, making the candied nuts soft, sticky, and gooey. And, of course, a humid climate can be to blame as well. So make sure to store your candied nuts in a cool and dry place.
Our candied pecans can stay fresh for up to seven days at room temperature, three weeks if refrigerated, and up to two months frozen. Just remember to let them cool completely before storing them in a glass jar or any sealed container.
Yes, you can! And you don’t have to worry because their texture won’t change unless you keep them in the freezer for more than two months. You probably think they’d be hard as a rock when frozen, but the truth is they won’t. So, you don’t even need to thaw them. You can enjoy them straight from the freezer. Oh yes!
Ways to Serve Your Candied Pecans
Aside from enjoying these lovely candied pecans on their own, I love adding them to my favorite snacks and desserts, just like these crave-worthy recipes below.
More Holiday Food Giveaway Ideas
How to Make Candied Pecans
- Preheat oven to 300°F/149°C. Then line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and spray with non-stick spray. Then set aside.
- Whisk the Wet Ingredients – In a small mixing bowl, vigorously whisk egg white with bourbon and vanilla until very frothy. Set aside. (Photos 1-2)
- Combine Dry Ingredients – Using another bowl, combine sugar, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg and set aside. (Photos 3-4)
Coat the Pecans
- Stir and Coat – Add pecans into a large bowl, then add egg white mixture first, followed by sugar mixture. Stir pecans to coat completely. (Photos 5-7)
- Spread Pecans over the prepared baking sheet. (Photo 8)
- Bake and Cool – Bake for about 30-35 minutes, stirring the pecans every 10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Store – After pecans cool, store them in an airtight container.
Cook the Sugar Mixture and Coat the Pecans
- Roast – Bake pecans in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the oven at 325℉/163℃ for about 10-15 minutes. Stir the pecans and rotate the tray to ensure even roasting. Remove and set aside.
- Boil the Candy – Heat water in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and seasonings, then bring to a boil. (Photo 1)
- Add the Pecans – Add the pecans, then turn the heat to medium-high, stirring the pecans occasionally, until sugar melts and crystallizes, about 7-10 minutes. (Photos 2-3)
- Cool and Serve – Remove from heat, spread it out on a cookie sheet or tray. Let the candied pecans cool and serve. (Photo 4)
Watch How To Make It
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- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (4.2 mL) vanilla extract
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) Bourbon or Rum
- 2 teaspoons (5.2 g) cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon (2 g) nutmeg spice
- 2 cups (280g) whole pecans
- ½ -1 teaspoon (1-2 g) cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven to 300°F (149°C). Then line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and spray with non-stick spray. Then set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, vigorously whisk egg white with bourbon and vanilla until very frothy. Set aside.
- Using another bowl, combine sugar, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg spice and set aside.
- Add pecans into a large bowl, then add egg white mixture first, followed by sugar mixture. Stir pecans to coat completely.
- Spread pecans over the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for about 30- 35 minutes, stirring the pecans every 10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving.
- After pecans have cooled, store it in an airtight container.
- Bake pecans in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the oven at 325℉/163℃ for about 10-15 minutes. Stir the pecans and rotate the tray to ensure even roasting. Remove and set aside.
- Heat water in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and seasonings, then bring to a boil.
- Add the pecans, then turn the heat to medium-high, stirring the pecans occasionally, until sugar melts and crystallizes, about 7-10 minutes.
- Remove from heat, spread it out on a cookie sheet or tray. Let the candied pecans cool and serve.
Tips & Notes:
- Chopped or halved pecans are the perfect choice for this recipe or you can go with the bigger ones if it satisfies you.
- Place the pecans in a lined baking sheet to cool. Remember to separate the pecans so they won’t clump together. However, serving them in big chunk servings may be a good idea, too. What do you think?
- Let them cool completely before serving or storing.
- You can place them in a mason glass jar and tie a nice ribbon around the lid with your personalized tag if you intend to give them as gifts.
- Please keep in mind that the nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used in the recipe.