Homemade Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts

Once you pop, you can’t stop. These homemade cinnamon sugar candied nuts are addictive, crowd-pleasing, and dangerously simple!

Photos updated in 2016.

How to make cinnamon sugar candied pecans and candied nuts! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Candied nuts swimming in a thick cinnamon-sugar crusted shell, the sweetly spiced aroma dancing around the house as you make them, and their bite-size addictive crunchiness… I just love everything about today’s treat. This classic is and has always been one of my very favorites around the holidays.

The recipe is from my mom’s dear friend Sharyn. My mom had one taste and has been making them for my family for years. When I went home over Thanksgiving, the first thing I needed… before any turkey or pumpkin pie… was this candied nut recipe.

I had NO IDEA candied nuts were so easy to make. It’s a dangerous, yet amazing thing.

How to make cinnamon sugar candied pecans and candied nuts! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Only about 10 minutes of prep work, 30 minutes of wait time, and about 5 minutes to sit on your tush and eat an entire bowl of them. I’m not kidding.  As I sat on the couch watching How I Met Your Mother, a huge bowl of the nuts in hand, I realized that… ooops… I ate them all.  Time to grab more from the batch, don’t mind if I do!

Thank goodness they are typically only made around the holidays. But I don’t think that is going to stop me from making a batch of this notoriously addictive snack in July.

This candied nut recipe will work for any kind of nuts, but I prefer using pecans because  the cinnamon sugar goo gets stuck in the pecan’s little crevices.  All of the pecan’s crinkles are enveloped with a thick layer of the sweet stuff. I also used almonds in today’s batch as well – I wanted a second nut in the batch for a variety of texture. The sugared coating works well on almonds, but a smooth nut does not “catch” as much coating as a pecan. Peanuts, cashews, macadamias – whatever you’d like to use up in your pantry – would also work as the second nut in this recipe, but make sure you use pecans as the primary base.

If you’re anything like me, you want a heavily coated nut and pecans will get ya there.

Candied Nuts

So what’s in this magical candied coating? Glad you asked. An easy 5 ingredient mixture.

First, you’ll beat two egg whites and 2 tablespoons of water to a frothy, fluffy, cloud-like consistency with very stiff peaks. It took me about 4 minutes, beaten on medium-high, to get the egg whites and water to that point. You want this mixture to be as voluminous as possible because the sugar will weigh it down. Next, add the sugar. Two cups of the sweet stuff.  You’re making candied nuts, not diet food.

Finally, mix in cinnamon and salt. I adore cinnamon in my recipes and, more often than not, have quite the heavy hand when pouring it. Cut down to 2 teaspoons at the minimum if you aren’t a cinnamon lover freak like I am. The salt in this mixture cuts down on the sweetness and each bite is partly salty/partly sweet/partly spiced. A plethora of pleasant taste profiles on your itty bitty tastebuds.

Homemade Candied Nuts

Once the sugar coating is ready, toss in the nuts and mix everything up well to cover every last morsel. Trust me, you want every inch of the nuts coated with a heavy blanket of the cinnamon/sugar/egg-whites, so make sure you do a job here.

Line a baking sheet with heavy duty parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  You’ll be thankful you did – I certainly don’t want burnt cinnamon sugar glaze stuck to my baking sheet. Spread the coated nuts over the lined sheet and bake for 45 minutes at 300F, stirring every 15 minutes to avoid burning.  Warning: you’ll be so mesmerized by the glorious scent of the candied nuts roasting away in the kitchen, that you may just forget about anything else important in life.  Like laundry in the dryer or a voicemail from your boss… just be aware of that in advance. (oops)

As the nuts cool, you’ll find little crunchy sugared coating bits that didn’t quite make it onto the nuts scattered around. Those may just be my favorite little bites. I could eat a bowl of just the crispy sugar coating! Package them up in little treat bags for your friends or set them out at a holiday get-together, perhaps along with some sprinkle-loaded chocolate covered pretzels?

How to make cinnamon sugar candied pecans and candied nuts! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I have zero self control around these sugar bombs. Hey, egg whites and nuts are good for you, though… right?!

Candied Cinnamon-Sugar Nuts

That addicting and delicious holiday snack found at the mall can be made at home. And will have your house smelling like the holidays in no time! Makes a wonderful holiday gift.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups pecan halves, unsalted
  • 1 cup whole almonds, unsalted
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (149°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray; or use a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  2. Mix pecans and almonds in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and water on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 4-5 minutes. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and salt, gently folding until combined.
  4. Pour/spoon sugar mixture over nuts and stir to coat completely. Spread nuts over the baking sheets and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15. Allow to cool completely and enjoy.
  5. Store nuts at room temperature for a few weeks, covered.

This recipe comes from Sharyn, my mom's wonderful friend. Thank you Sharyn!

Recipe Notes:

*Recipe can easily be halved to keep around the house or doubled to feed a large crowd.

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How to make cinnamon sugar candied pecans and candied nuts! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

128 comments

  1. I made these last years but they weren’t candied just a bit coated. I’m getting a head start and making these tonight to give in little holiday decorated favor bags with the gifts I give out tomorrow. Can’t wait to taste them (hopefully I don’t eat most of them lol). Thanks for sharing!

  2. My family and I love to buy these when we go to fairs, and I’ve been looking for a recipe for a long time. I finally made these for Christmas, and they were a hit! I’ll definitely be making them again. Thanks!

  3. THESE WERE SOOOOO GOOD!!! I used only almonds instead of pecans and a reduced amount of sea salt instead of regular salt (cause thats what I had on hand). Im so happy I halved the recipe because I would have eaten way too many if I made the whole thing!!!!

  4. So you know how you said you didn’t think you could resist making these in July? How does June work for you 🙂 Just popped a batch in the oven and I’m super excited to see how they turn out!

    Also – thanks for the tips (in your other posts) about starting up a blog. I’ve unsuccessfully started a few in the past….working on a mommy blog now and using your posts for inspiration!

  5. Wow, I am definitely making these TONIGHT! I can wait to feature this recipe on my new blog! I might need addiction counseling after eating these too!

    • I finally got the chance to try these, and I loved them! I made a few changes to the recipe, just to make a smaller batch, but I left a very sweet message to my blog readers about you! Thanks Sally for the wonderful recipe!

  6. Oh my gooooodddnesss! This page should be illegal! LOL! I am drooling all over myself! All of these recipes sound amazing!!! My pregnant brain can’t decide which one to make first!!! I came here craving the nuts.. Now I can’t decide! I may make it all and gain 200lbs by my next DRs visit!! Lol

    • I love these cinnamon sugar nuts, Leah! In fact, I just made some this week to bring on a road trip this weekend. We are obsessed!

  7. I absolutely LOVE cinnamon sugar candied nuts, and i tried them this summer and fell in love! I am actually trying this recipe out right now and I can smell the goodness! thanks for the recipe! Now I can actually make them and they are great for lunch or a snack, and now that im in High school, these will come in handy for a great snack!

  8. Wow! Thank you so much, I pay I fortune for these when I can find them but I made my 1st batch tonight and they are a piece of heaven

  9. These are fantastic! I added a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne and it was FABULOUS. The slight touch of heat was incredibly good 🙂 Thanks for an awesome recipe 🙂

  10. I just made these and they r delious. I made them before from another recipe and they were good but these r great. I almost ate a whole batch but finally put them in a air tight container and will get a few at a time. Love.

  11. I made these today and they are SO good! And the fact that they were easy to make was a plus! Love your site and I am looking forward to trying many other things especially the funfetti cupcakes 😀

  12. I burned them slightly 🙁 but still ate them. I could still taste what they might have been! I stirred every 15 min, but left them in the oven and stirred with a long spoon. Maybe this had something to do with it and I should have taken them out. I also made half a recipe, and used a TEENY bit less sugar. Next time (there has to be a next time I really want to get these right!) I will follow the recipe exactly, and maybe turn my oven down a few degrees…

    • Hey Carrie! So happy you tried these candied nuts. One of my favorite holiday treats – no questions asked. All ovens are different and I definitely suggest lowering your temperature down. Thanks for reporting back!

  13. These look great! Gonna have a holiday party this weekend and gonna make them! How long do they store on the counters for (even though they prolly wont last long lol)

  14. I’m going to make these nuts for Christmas gifts. In the instructions you mention spraying the parchment paper with cooking spray. Is that necessary.

  15. In the instructions you mention lining the baking sheet with parchment paper. Then it says to spray the parchment with cooking spray. Is spraying the parchment paper necessary?

  16. Thanks Sally, I have enjoyed reading your recipes and tried some of them, they are all very thoroughly refined recipes which helps a lot for busy people like me. This recipe is like a Gem ! I am going to make it for this Christmas !

  17. Just made these today and they turned out perfectly! The only change I made was to bake them at 275 degrees for one hour instead of 300 degrees for 45 minutes, since I have burnt pecans in the past. Also did add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, which gave just a hint of heat. I have tried candied pecans before, without much success. This was going to be the last time I tried–if they weren’t good, I was going to give up! But they are so good, I highly recommend your recipe.

    • Pat, that’s fantastic. I’m so glad this recipe is a winner for you. I actually plan to make a batch this week. And I’m thinking of adding cayenne. Thanks so much!

  18. I had never made candied nuts before and thought I needed to try your recipe. These are SIMPLY AMAZING! I was a little scared, when is first saw the goopy mess on my cookie sheets, but as they cooked and I stirred them, they separated and cooked up ‘just like yours’ …I was soooo proud of myself! Thank you for keeping your recipes simple and amazing 🙂

    Side note…my father is diabetic, but loves nuts. So, I decided to try your recipe with salt, pepper and garlic powder for him….they weren’t quite as ‘coated’ with the mixture, but turned out great! Thanks again!

    • Sonja, love the salt & pepper version you made! My fiancé would love them that way. I am very proud the cinnamon sugar version came out just as planned and like my photos. It will definitely be a big mess on your cookie sheets. That’s normal. Thanks for reporting back – I’ll be trying that savory version next!

  19. These are so addictive and delish!! I have made over batches this season alone, I always thought it would be way more difficult to make candied nuts until you posted this recipe 🙂 Thank you Sally!!

  20. These nuts are so addicting! I made them last year as part of my Christmas gifts for family & friends, and I’ve been getting requests for them again this year! Thanks, Sally 🙂

  21. I’ve made these several times using different recipes, but this one is the best! It definitely coated the nuts (I used only almonds) better than any other recipe. The only change I made was to add a little vanilla to the egg white mixture. They turned out amazing! I just wish I had used your parchment paper trick on the spiced nuts I made earlier. My pan is ruined! Thanks for another winner, Sally!

  22. Hi Sally

    Can i use the brown sugar instead of white sugar when i am making this Candied cinnamon Sugar Nuts? Can i add 1 table spoon of butter too?

    Thank you

  23. Hello Sally-my-baking-hero!! So I make everything you post lol and I did these because they are my absolute favorites ever and I too run to the nearest stand at any event and buy several….so anyway my question…I made thrm….very good..but were more like meringue coated nut (very good just not what I was expecting) did I just over beat my white? (Also…they are white not a hint of brown and cooked for 45 min?)thanks! !

    • Sounds like you overheat the egg white. Which is easily fixable! I’m glad you’re still enjoying them. A little less time for the egg white beating. Enjoy, Rebekah!

  24. I did not see the amount of nuts to add either.

  25. Hi Sally, First off, let me say that reading your instructions and commentary for this recipe was very entertaining. You have an amazing sense of humor (re: the great ‘How I Met Your Mother’ nut incident, haha) as well as humility and you should write a gathering of recipes with your humorous twists. I know I’d buy several – Of course one for me, and then several for gifts, etc 🙂
    The recipe is the best I have found AND tasted so it will be a Party/Holiday staple. And I dedicate my first 10 pounds of added weight from these sweet gems, to you 🙂 hahaaa… Thanks for sharing and ‘keep on keepin’ on’ 🙂

    • Pam, thanks for the sweet comment! And thank you for crediting me for your future additional 10 lbs haha. Have a great holiday season!

  26. WOW! This is a discovery for me because I never eating candied pecans ,I make candied almonds which also addictive hahaha. This will definitely try. Great idea as a cute little gift for the upcoming Christmas. It troubles me one thing and that is salt, my question is whether the amount of salt can be reduced. Of course in the egg whites are always adds a certain amount of salt but two teaspoons seems somehow much salt … or maybe I’m wrong…Thanks for simply and magnificent recipe!

  27. Oh my lands! HOLY GRAIL!!! Just made these for my bunco holiday treat exchange! THE BOMB! Thank you for this pure awesome recipe Sally! 🙂

  28. Just made these for a party I’m having tonight. They are delicious and I can’t stop eating them! I wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe.

  29. Wow. I have these in the oven right now> The house smells AMAZING!!

  30. I want to make these and put in mason jars as gifts this year. How long before i give the gift can i make them & them still be fresh enough for them to enjoy for a week or so?

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