Homemade Candied Nuts

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

candied nuts on a baking sheet lined with a silpat baking mat with a serving spoon

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.

overhead image of 2 bowls of candied nuts

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.

2 images of egg whites with peaks in a pink bowl with one hand mixer beater

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.

pecans with cinnamon sugar coating in a red bowl with a spatula

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?

candied nuts with a serving spoon

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

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candied nuts with a serving spoon

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

39 Comments

  1. 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!!!!

  2. 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.

    1. Yes. The nuts will stick to anything and everything if you do not spray the sheet.

  3. 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 🙂

  4. 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.

  5. Looks so yummy! Have salted pistachio that needs to be used so wondering if using salted nuts instead of unsalted nuts would also work for this recipe? Thank you!

    1. Absolutely. Especially if you love salty/sweet! Maybe cut back ever so slightly on the salt in the coating.

  6. Hi, I am looking forward to making these soon for the fast approaching Silly Season. Just wondering if the nuts should be raw and still have their skins on- I guess blanched almonds wouldn’t hold the coating very well?

    1. I haven’t had any issue using blanched almonds, actually.

  7. Pamela Penman says:

    Hi Sally, these look LUSH and I will be making them for teacher gifts this year!  How do you think they would be dipped in chocolate?  Would the chocolate make the coating icky?  Or do you think it would hold up and remain crunchy?  Thinking of doing a little experiment 🙂  thanks for a brilliant recipe.  Pamela

    1. They’d be amazing dipped in chocolate! Still crunchy, yes.

  8. 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!

  9. Tricia Seymour says:

    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!

    1. I suggest letting them come to room temperature first.

  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 you.

  11. Melissa Novotny says:

    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. Angela Weigand says:

    Could these be frozen?

    1. I’m not sure how well they would freeze but you can store nuts at room temperature for a few weeks, covered.

  13. 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 😉

    1. Hi Sonny! Do that step by hand. You don’t want to deflate the beaten egg whites.

  14. 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!

  15. Sally, I have made these as per your recipe. For a great kick throw in some Cayenne pepper to taste
    WOW!

  16. 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!

  17. These are amazing! Thank you for sharing! Can the pecans be made in advance and froze? Do you think they will store in the freezer for a month?
    10 stars (out of 5)

    1. Hi Jack, you can freeze and thaw these– but they taste best when they haven’t been frozen/thawed. They keep nicely for a couple weeks at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

  18. Hi Sally:
    I have some walnuts that need to be used. Can I use walnuts in this recipe instead of pecans and almonds?
    Thanks and Happy Holidays to you and your family

    1. Yes you sure can. Enjoy, Bessie!

  19. Hi I made these like 5 years ago for co-workers. Bought little Christmas wine glasses at the dollar store, filled with nuts, and put on each desk. Huge hit! Everyone LOVED them. I thought I lost the recipe and was so sad but found I had pinned it! I used a T vanilla and T water and am using the roasting pan for easier stir. I wish I could share the smell in my kitchen it is amazing! I hope they turn out delicious as last time :-).

  20. Just made these. I halved the recipe since it’s my first time to make any sort of candied nuts. I used almonds and cashews and this is THE BEST snack ever! I will be making more for the holidays. What a perfect gift and economical as well.

  21. I’m looking to make some candied nuts as a strawberry spinach salad topping. Can these nuts be chopped up after baking or will all the cinnamon-y goodness crack off? Should I maybe chop the nuts before mixing into the egg whites, or will that ruin the balance of the nut surface area to sugar coating?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      That sounds delicious, Steff! You can roughly chop the nuts before coating them if you wish. Enjoy!

  22. Is it possible to halve this recipe. Almonds are quite expensive up here and if so what are the appropriate measurements.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, you can simply cut the amount of each ingredient in half. Enjoy!

  23. Burnt 6 cups of nuts in the trash..about 37 minutes into the baking…beyond bummed

  24. Can you use Splenda instead of sugar?

  25. Tamar Knochel says:

    Sooooo….. I had this CRAZY idea to use this recipe for pumpkin seeds instead of nuts and OH MY GOODNESS!!! IT TURNED OUT AMAZING!!! I only had 4 cups of pumpkin seeds so I raided the pantry and came up with 1c almonds and about 3c corn chex and VOILA a new kind of cinnamon pumpkin seed chex mix! I used the same temperature and baking times with zero problems!
    Sally, when I was looking for a recipe for these amazing nuts and I saw your name pop up in the search results I didn’t even bother to look anywhere else because I knew yours would be the BEST! ❤ I have used so many of your recipes over the years and they are consistently amazing! Thank you for being here for my baking needs! ❤

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We’re thrilled you enjoyed this recipe, Tamar!

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