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

129 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. This recipe looks amazing and I am making it today!! My question is how well do they keep? Do you need to be refigerated or can they keep in a sealed container ?

    1. Hi Kim– Store nuts at room temperature for a few weeks, covered.

  2. I didn’t see exactly how much salt is supposed to be in this recipe. Could you help me with that?

    1. Hi Darla, it is the last ingredient listed– 2 teaspoons salt

  3. Hi Sally! Im making christmas boxes with a bunch of baked goods in them and i thought that these would go nicely in them, but can i use walnuts instead of almonds? thanks
    -lex xo

    1. Walnut should be just fine! Enjoy.

  4. Hi Sally, I’m here in Scotland eating a batch of sweet nuts from my local supermarket and they’re delicious but not cheap!
    They are:
    Cinnamon coated almonds
    Honey coated hazelnuts
    Maple coated pecans
    I went online to see how easy it would be to make them and youve definitely inspired me to try ☺️

  5. I made these for a Christmas Open House the they were a huge hit. I had some left and took them to work and they disappeared. We are fortunate that a friend gives us halved pecans every Christmas so today I am making my second batch. I have never made candied nuts before and these are really easy and absolutely delicious. I will be making these more often for sure! Thank you and by the way, I have never seen that spelling of Sharyn except for my eldest sister, whose name is also Sharyn!
    Pam

  6. Made these to go along with my Christmas cookies (ok, so I’m a little behind in adding a comment, don’t judge – lol)…anyway, they are ABSURDLY delicious! I coudn’t stop eating them.. Definetely be making them again & agian. Thanks for a great recipe!

  7. Hi there,
    thank you for the glorious recipe, these are in the oven right now and the smell is heavenly!! One question, when I stirred them after the first 15 min it kind of broke up the cool looking coating process it had going on, it was all smooth and golden and then when I stirred it it lost all smoothness and now the nuts are not completely covered – is that supposed to happen or did I do something weird when beating the egg whites?
    thanks so much, I know the’ll taste delicious anyway 🙂

    1. Hi Emily. The coating melts down a little in the oven. But as the nuts cool, they should look how they do in the photos you see here.

  8. 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.

      1. That’s great! Thank you! I’ll have to definitely make this!

  9. My husband and I visit a tea and spice shop in Lemoyne, PA called Kauffman’s. It’s owned and run by a dear, sweet woman in her 80s named Betty. A friend of Betty’s makes candied nuts that are sold in the shop – delicious, salty, sweet gems of pure “I’ve died and gone to heaven.” The recipe is a guarded secret which I’ve not been able to get; no matter how many times I ask. Now I can stop asking (and bugging poor Betty). Sally, these are nearly identical and even… better! Thank you!!!

  10. Would Splenda work in place of regular sugar? 

  11. 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.

  12. I made these nuts last year as gifts.  I had to be careful to not ear to many because they are so delicious.  I am now getting ready to make this years batch.  Thank you for the recipe.

  13. 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.

  14. Grace O'Flynn says:

    Hi Sally – I came across this recipe and was so excited to try it. I read all the wonderful comments and, since I wanted to make these to go with some Christmas gifts I was giving, I doubled the recipe. I followed the recipe and put the pans into a 300 degree oven, set the timer for 15 minutes so I would remember to stir them, but they burned within a few minutes. I removed the pans from the oven and picked out the burned ones and tried again. Again they burned within a few minutes. I turned the oven to 200 degrees and still they burned. I didn’t see in the comments that anyone else really had this problem. I’d like to try them again but can’t afford to waste 11 cups of nuts. Do you have any suggestions for me. ps – I ate some of the burnt ones and they were delicious so I can only imagine how awesome these must taste when baked correctly. Thanks!!

    1. Grace, I have no clue how they could burn in only 10 minutes in the oven set at such a low temp. It’s an oven issue for sure. You are setting it to Fahrenheit, correct?

      1. Hi again Sally – I tried these again and this time they turned out perfect!! I have a really good quality oven so I’m not sure what happened. Could the fact I doubled the recipe and perhaps overcrowded the baking sheets had an impact? Oh well, thanks for a fabulous recipe, and like others have said, these are very dangerous for one’s
        waistline!! 🙂

  15. These look exactly like the ones my dear sweet Mom used to make, and I’ve lost her recipe, so am excited to find this and try them. I’ve noticed other recipes use vanilla and she did too…how much should be substituted? 1 tsp? (half of the water?). Also, would it be best to make 3 separate batches to get the right consistency rather than doubling or tripling the recipe? Thanks! Will be looking at your other recipes too!

    1. I would make 2 or 3 separate batches rather than doubling or tripling. Safest bet that way! Don’t leave out any water. You can add 1/2 tsp of vanilla though.

      1. Thanks so much for your quick response! I bought everything yesterday and have it all out on the counter to bake right now. I appreciate the details about using the same amount of water and simply add the vanilla to it. I likely would have substituted half the water with vanilla, which is why I look to foodies like you and follow recipes instead of going off on my own! Also appreciate the tip to bake in single batches for best outcome. I purchased 2/3 halved pecans and 1/3 halved walnuts. Can’t wait to try them in an hour or so!

  16. 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? 

  17. 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!!

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  21. 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!

  22. 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!

  23. 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!

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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 wonder if they need to be baked longer? How do they taste now that they are done?

      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.

  28. 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! 

  29. 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.

    1. Yes! Other readers have suggested I try it!

  30. 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

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