These candied pecans are crunchy, sweet, and totally addictive, with just a few simple ingredients! They’re perfect on salads, soups or served with your favorite cheese (especially melted brie). You can also add a bit of cayenne if you like some spice!
In my opinion, candied nuts are one of those truly multipurpose kitchen staples, and everyone should have a solid, go-to recipe for them. They instantly add crunch, subtle sweetness, and extra flavor to many dishes. Also, they’re inexpensive to prepare at home compared with what you’ll pay at the grocery store.
This is a well-loved recipe that I’ve used countless times over the past several years. These pecans first showed up on the blog years ago in my Cream of Winter Squash Soup with Spicy Candied Pecans. They also appear multiple times in my cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen. A modified version appears in my Cardamom Ice Cream with Spiced Candied Pistachios. Yes, it works with other nuts!
- Either light or dark brown sugar will work in this recipe; there’s no reason to make an extra trip to the store. Use what you have. I’ve been enjoying using dark brown sugar in general recently, as I think it adds an extra touch of richness and depth. However, I’ve made these candied pecans many times using both, and you’ll be happy either way.
- I love when a dish is both sweet and spicy, so I often add ground cayenne pepper to the mix. It’s entirely optional. If you want to experiment but have a lower tolerance for heat, start with 1/4 teaspoon (maybe even 1/8 teaspoon). I’ve taken it up to 3/4 teaspoon and in my opinion, the heat level still isn’t overpowering.
- Use pure maple syrup. I used Grade A Amber (what you’ll find at most grocery stores), but Grade A Dark will also work.
Enjoy! I’ve love to hear about the creative ways you use these. I’m always looking for new ideas.
Candied pecans are easy and addictive! They’re great on salads, soups or served with your favorite cheese (especially melted brie). For a bit of heat, add some cayenne pepper.
- 2 cups raw pecans (whole, pieces or halves will work)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar (dark or light will work, see notes)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Optional: 1/4-3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.
Place the pecans on the sheet pan and toast in the oven until fragrant, approximately 10 minutes. Gently flip every 3 to 4 minutes to toast evenly on both sides.
While the pecans are toasting, prepare the candy coating. Microwave the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl until melted, about 20 seconds. Stir in the maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne, if using.
Remove the pecans from the oven and pour them into the mixture. Be careful as it might splutter. Stir until the pecans are evenly coated, then pour back onto the sheet pan and spread in an even layer.
Bake for additional 10 minutes, stirring after every 3-4 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool and firm up on the sheet pan.
Once cool, break the nuts apart. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. They're best enjoyed within one week.
You can use either light or dark brown sugar. Dark brown sugar results in a deeper flavor, but both taste great.