Homemade Candied Nuts

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

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.

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?!

Print

Candied Cinnamon-Sugar Nuts

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups
  • Category: Snacks
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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

Instructions

  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.

Notes

  1. Larger Batch: Recipe can easily be halved to keep around the house or doubled to feed a large crowd.
  2. This recipe comes from Sharyn, my mom’s wonderful friend. Thank you Sharyn!

Keywords: candied nuts

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

136 Comments

  1. Could I use a substitute sugar instead of regular sugar ? And I did but they are sticky.  They didn’t get crunchy and crystalized.  What can I do? 

  2. Awesome candied nuts. I did reduce the temperature to 275 and cook for 1 hour. Nice and crispy like our family enjoys. Thanks for this very enjoyable recipe!!

  3. I make this recipe, but put the egg whites on the nuts, mix all dry ingredients together and sprinkle and mix. Cook at 250 for 1 hour stir every 15 minutes. I also add a little nutmeg.

    The comment about the diabetic in family I make the sauce from the check mix and put this on nuts and bake the same way.

  4. Did 3 cups of mixed nuts. 1 cup of dried crans. Substituted cane for brown cut the sugar 1/2 tossed the done nuts in 3 sheets of finely blended gram cracker before they cooled in a large container. Shake it like maraca. Cane gives you that fine white powdered look. Rocomend that for Christmas. Summer strawberry salad use brown. Looks healthier. Looks.

  5. Hi! I have made these nuts in the past and gave as gifts in a glass container and they were nice and crunchy at first, but after a few days they became a little gooey. Do you have a recommendation on how to give as a gift  so they stay nice and crunchy for maybe like a week? I’ve been researching, but haven’t found a great answer. 

    1. Stick them in the freezer when you’re not using them, take them out about 5 minutes before you want to eat them and  they should come out just as crunchy

  6. Love this recipe so much! I ended up switching half of the white sugar for brown and only putting in 4 cups of nuts and it turned out just as yummy, just with a bit more coating on each one. Thanks for sharing your recipe I’m in love with it!

  7. Made these for the tenth time today, putting in only a slight change by baking them in a disposable turkey roasting pan. I’ve done these at least 10 times and get a little slap happy with my stirring. I’ve found a higher lipped baking dish keeps me from making (too much of) a mess. A fantastic recipe that delivers consistent, delicious, I want to eat my kitchen it smells so good results. They’re supposed to be Christmas presents for neighbors, but I might just have to keep ’em and make another batch. Oh, poor me….

    Thank you AGAIN Sally for making me smile!

    1. What a great tip about the roasting pan – I get a little vigorous with the stirring too and the higher sides would be helpful!

  8. Made these nuts this Christmas as gifts for the third year in a row this year – my family calls them “the crack nuts” because they are SO good. I have tossed in any nuts I have laying around that need to be used up (also made caramel cashew clusters this year, so the remaining 1/2 cup or so of cashews went into the crack nuts) but sticking to the recipe as written gets you the best results!

    Good tip from someone else about using a turkey roasting pan because of the higher edges – that would be handy while stirring as I get vigorous with my stirring too!

  9. I have some pecans in the freezer. Can I make this with them right out of the freezer? Or should I let them come to room temp first? Thanks!

  10. Trying these today to have around while my family is in town this weekend. Such a good nosh! Question – should the nuts be raw? Or can they be dry roasted? THANKS!

    1. I’ve made these candied nuts both ways (using either raw and dry roasted) and don’t have a preference. Use what is most convenient for ya.

  11. I just made these, and they are delicious! I used a mix of raw pecans, cashews, almonds, and Brazil nuts. Thanks for a terrific recipe.

  12. I’m finishing up a double batch right now, and they aren’t looking all lovely and golden brown like in the pictures. Will this happen as they cool? Right now they’re whiter and pale. Still smell amazing though, and will no doubt taste amazing too. Just curious.

      1. I did put one pan back in for another 10 minutes as it was a smaller pan and they weren’t spread as thin. They never did darken up, but they taste AH-MAZING. So good. My “doubling” was perhaps slightly off as I was just tossing whatever was in the many bags of nuts I had. I thought I’d had the measurements all correct, or at least closely estimated for the ratio of nuts to coating, but as I mixed it up it seemed I had SO much extra fluff. I added even more nuts to it, and even after baking I still think I could’ve added even more nuts and it would have been good. They’re just *super* coated right now, which is totally fine lol. I basically used a double recipe of the egg white mixture, and had almost 14+ cups of nuts.

        Come to think of it – my finished product doesn’t look like the main images in the post (so beautiful) but they DO look like the little circle thumbnail image above the recipe. So I couldn’t have done anything *too* wrong lol. Regardless of looks, they are scrumptious. Can’t wait to gift them out … and eat what’s left.

  13. Sally! I love these nuts! I have been doing these for 3 yrs and everyone absolutely loves these! They are sweet, crunchy and oh so heavenly! Whenever I bake I usually use your blog as I know you truly only post amazing recipes on your blog! Thanks for doing what you do! Merry Christmas to you and your new addition! 

  14. Sally, I’m a huge fan of your recipes.  With this one, add 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper!  I’m not a heat spice loving person but it’s amazing…just a nice surprising zip.

  15. Have been making a variation on your nuts with my mom for years. It was a recipe from a neighbor, sadly she passed away in 2016, age 94.
    Everyone loves them. Will try this one next year.
    Just finishing up my 12 lbs. for this year.

    Happy Baking, Sue Weiss

  16. Are these easy to bite ? I dont mind alittle crunch. I have bought candied almonds and that were like little rocks. 

  17. These look and sound delicious, Sally!  I’d like to make a batch to give away as holiday treats for neighbors. I’m wondering if brown sugar would work as well here. I love dark brown sugar and try to incorporate it into any baked goods I can, but sometimes the chemistry falls flat. But here, I think it might be a good match with the cinnamon. What do you think?

    1. Hi Sara! Brown sugar has a little too much moisture and the nuts may easily burn, but you can give it a try. You can chop up the candied nuts to use in granola bars or any baking.

  18. I’ve made these several times and they’ve always been a big hit.
    This morning I decided to try a crock pot version of cinnamon sugar pecans, big mistake! They are edible but don’t even compare to your recipe. Lesson learned i will never again sway away from this one.

  19. Sally, these are so delicious! I made them to give out as Christmas gifts but was thrilled to have a mason jar full leftover for myself! Not too sweet, perfectly crunchy, these are a must make!!

  20. hi sally, when adding sugar, cinnamon etc, can it be mixed on low in mixer or does it have to be folded in by hand? thanks 😉

  21. I love ALL your recipes! Every year at Christmas, I like to bake candied nuts, but I want to give them a little twist. I once had a batch of Amaretto pecans that was delicious but I cannot find a recipe for them ANYWHERE! Can I replace the water with Amaretto and a bit of almond extract to give them a different flavor? Or will that mess with the chemistry of the egg whites?

    1. Hi Rhetta! I’m actually unsure about the addition of amaretto, but I know the almond extract won’t be an issue. I’ve done it before– add 1 teaspoon almond extract. Delicious!

  22. Good morning! I have made these nuts every year since you posted this recipe and my family and coworkers look forward to this every year. They are so good and so addicting! YUM!!!! Thank you for sharing such a yummy treat. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  23. I really enjoy your recipes. They are straight forward and delicious. Ok back on point… I found a ‘Holiday Spiced nut’ recipe. It sounds amazing, but the nuts ended up sort of gloppy and didn’t crisp up (the sludge type nuts tasted eh- nothing spectacular.) SOoooo
    Here is what I purpose: instead of just using cinnamon, what if you used ground up mulling spices instead and used a Tablespoon of orange juice instead of water? Hmmmm…. Gonna try it cuz ALL of YOUR recipes turn out SNARFY!

  24. Sally, I’m definitely going to make these around the holidays. Thanks for sharing this recipe and all the others. I haven’t even gone through all of them yet. Have a great weekend.

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