Crunchy, buttery, and full of caramel flavor, these sweet and salty candied pecans are the perfect snack or dessert topping. They’re rich, nutty, and only take 20 minutes to make.
Easy Candied Pecans Recipe
These candied pecans are one of those foods that I always have in my house. The praline is packed with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and forms a crispy and brittle coating on the rich and earthy nuts. Candy pecans are both sweet and salty, so you can put them on pretty much anything. Or you can eat them by themselves as an addicting caramel snack.
These crunchy and sugary nuts are surprisingly easy to make, and only take about 20 minutes from start to finish. The only downside is you’ll have to make this recipe all the time, because these salty brown sugar candied pecans disappear in a hurry!
Why Make Homemade Candy Pecans?
You can always find crispy and buttery homemade candied pecans in my kitchen. Here are a few of the reasons why I love these decadent candy nuts.
- Easy to make. This is such a simple and straightforward recipe. You only need a handful of pantry staples, and the entire recipe takes just 20 minutes to make. In fact, it’s probably easier for you to make a batch of candied pecans than it is to go to the store and buy them!
- Better than store-bought. I love candied nuts, and there are tons of good options if you want to buy them at the store. But I’ve found that homemade candy pecans are so much better than anything you can buy. The butter and caramel flavors are stronger, the crispy texture is better, and the sugar and salt are much more balanced.
- Cheaper. Not only do homemade candied pecans taste better than what you’d buy at the store, but they’re also much cheaper. Candied nuts are usually really expensive, but this is a very affordable recipe that only requires common household ingredients.
- Put them on everything. This is such a versatile recipe. Candied pecans are the ultimate garnish for everything from ice cream and brownies to salads and chicken. And you don’t even need to put them on other foods, because they’re a perfect sweet and salty snack all on their own.
What You’ll Need
Here are all the ingredients that you’ll need to make these crispy and hearty candied pecans. Make sure to check out the recipe card at the end of the article for the exact amounts of each ingredient.
- Salted butter – If you only have unsalted butter, just add a little extra salt to the recipe.
- Brown sugar – I prefer this recipe with light brown sugar.
- Kosher salt – You can also use sea salt.
- Vanilla extract – Make sure to use 100% pure extract.
How to Make Candied Pecans
These crunchy and buttery candy pecans couldn’t be easier to make. Here’s how to make this 20-minute recipe.
- Prep. Preheat your oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toast the nuts. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, then add the pecans. Cook while stirring until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes.
- Sweeten. Add the brown sugar and cook while stirring until it melts, about 2 minutes.
- Season. Add the cinnamon, salt, and water, and stir to combine.
- Cook. Keep stirring the caramel, and cook until all the water has evaporated, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add vanilla. Pour the vanilla into the skillet and stir to combine.
- Spread on the baking sheet. Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the pecans onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread the nuts evenly over the parchment paper.
- Bake. Put the candied pecans in the oven until they are lightly crispy and fragrant, which should take 5-7 minutes.
- Cool. Remove the pecans from the oven and let them cool completely before eating.
Tips for Success
Here are a few tricks, tips, and variations to try when making these easy sweet and salty pecans.
- Don’t overcook. A common mistake to make when cooking candied pecans is to cook them for too long. The nuts won’t get super crunchy until they’ve cooled, so don’t wait for them to turn into brittle in the oven. If you do that, they’ll burn and become bitter. Instead, remove the nuts once they’re lightly crispy. By the time they’re done cooling, they’ll be perfectly crispy and crunchy.
- Add other flavors. You can play around with this recipe to add more flavors to the candy pecans if you want. If you’re using the nuts on top of savory foods, you can add a little smoked paprika or chili powder to the caramel. If you’re putting the nuts on top of a fall dessert, you can add some pumpkin pie spice.
- Adjust the salt. Kosher salt is not as dense as table salt, so if you use table salt in this recipe you’ll need to adjust the sodium level. This recipe calls for a teaspoon of kosher salt, but if you’re using table salt you should only use ¾ teaspoon.
- Use other nuts. This recipe works with any kind of nuts, and you can even mix the type of nuts you use. So if you don’t like pecans or you just don’t have any in your pantry, you can use whatever nuts you want.
Ways to Use Candied Pecans
These versatile salty and sugary candied pecans can be used as a garnish or topping for almost anything. I love to put them on top of hearty and decadent desserts, like Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake, Coconut Brownies, and Carrot Cake Earthquake Cake. But candied pecans are also a great addition to a lot of savory foods, such as Melt In Your Mouth Chicken, Crunchy Autumn Chicken Salad, and Rainbow Crunch Salad.
You can also use candied pecans in place of plain pecans in any recipe, or chop them up and add them to your favorite cookie dough or ice cream.
How to Store Them
All you have to do to store these decadent caramel candied pecans is place them in an airtight container. They’ll last at room temperature for at least a week.
Can I Freeze Candied Pecans?
If you need to store candied nuts for more than a week, just put the nuts in an airtight container and store them in the freezer. They’ll last in the freezer for up to 6 months, and you can thaw them overnight in the fridge anytime you need them.
More Pecan Recipes to Try
Pecans are one of my favorite ingredients. They’re rich, buttery, and just a little bit bitter, and they’re a staple of fall and winter baking. Here are a few of my other favorite recipes starring pecans.
- Easy Pecan Pie
- Pecan Sour Cream Coffee Cake
- Pecan Pie Bars
- Maple Pecan Tart
- Chewy Pecan Supreme Cookies
- Chocolate Pecan Pie
Candied pecans are buttery, packed with brown sugar and cinnamon, and perfect on top of desserts or savory foods. These sweet and salty nuts are also a great snack!
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 3 cups pecan halves
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the pecans and stir continuously for 3 minutes, until the pecans are lightly toasted.
- Add in the brown sugar, and stir for an additional 2 minutes, until the sugar is melted.
- Stir in the cinnamon and salt, then add the water.
- Cook, while stirring continuously, until the water is evaporated, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add in the vanilla and stir until combined.
- Remove the nuts from the heat and spread them evenly on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 5-7 minutes, until the candied pecans are fragrant and lightly crisp.
- Remove the nuts from oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.
- Store candied pecans in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week, or in the freezer for 6 months.
- You can use other types of nuts if you prefer, or use a mixture of different nuts.
- Serving Size: 1/4 cup
- Calories: 212
- Sugar: 6.9 g
- Sodium: 17.1 mg
- Fat: 19.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 9.5 g
- Protein: 2.3 g
- Cholesterol: 5.1 mg
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