How to Candied Pecans- A Complete Guide to Pecans

Pecan Recipes Blog

Pecans

Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to which nuts are healthiest, many people think all nuts are equal. However, there is a hierarchy to consider. Not all nuts offer the same amount of nutrients. Did you know, at the top of the list for healthiest nuts is the pecan nut? Pecans reign supreme on these nutritional lists because pecans offer the most antioxidants of any other nut. Pecans contain 19 vitamins and minerals and are a great source of fiber, natural fats, and proteins. You might think, pecans are a great snack when you’re in-between meals. Of course, you would be right, but don’t forget about all the breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert recipes. Whether you want something sweet, spicy, tangy, or salty, pecans can be used to enrich all of your meals. 

Pecans are perfect for adding a buttery, soft crunch to your salad or parfait, but many fans tend to associate the pecan nut with desserts and candy. This is because the pecan has been used in delicious pies for over a century, with the pecan pie being a staple of southern baking. Since the pecan has a slightly buttery, nutty flavor, it pairs well with any type of dessert, even simple ones like topping for ice cream or cake. Today, there are so many varieties of pecan recipes, it can be tough to choose just one. If you have plenty of fresh pecans stored in your pantry, it’s time to explore the many ways you can prepare pecans. 

Candied Pecan

Sometimes, it’s tricky to remember what the difference is between candied pecans and pecan candy. For example, a commonly asked question is are praline pecans the same as pecan pralines? The short answer is no. Praline pecans are usually made with brown sugar and nuts. They are pecans covered in a sweet praline-flavored mix. Pecan pralines, however, are a confectionary dessert of patty-shaped pecan candies. A candied pecan is similar to praline pecans in that they are nuts glazed or covered in a candy coating. 

You might think, candied pecans are seasonal or only made for special occasions. Then again, cookies, cakes, chocolates, and ice cream desserts are enjoyed year-round. You can do the same with pecans. Candied pecans don’t have to be just one flavor either. Sure, praline pecans are always delicious, but why not mix it up? Candied pecans can have just as many flavors as cookies. It all depends on the ingredients you want to integrate and the taste you’re going for. From sweet and spicy to semi-sweet and tangy, there’s so much you can do to create delicious morsels the whole household can enjoy. 

How to make candy pecans

Making candied pecans requires two main ingredients: pecan nuts and sugar. Many recipes call for using brown sugar, but if all you have is granulated sugar, don’t worry. There might be a slight difference in taste, but they will be equally delightful and sweet. 

To begin, it’s always recommended to use roasted pecans. When you toast the pecans in the oven, it brings out more of that pecan flavoring. This is because pecans are rich in natural fats and those oils are drawn to the surface during the roasting process. Thus, your pecans will have a deeper flavor, adding another layer of savory goodness to your candied treats. You will notice, it’s also easier to coat your pecans after they’ve been toasted because those drawn-out oils make it easier for your coating ingredients to stick. 

Mix your wet ingredients well, such as the water, egg, and vanilla. This differs based on the recipe. Toss the pecans in the mixture until each one is fully coated. Mix your dry ingredients before adding them to the pecans. It’s usually a mixture of sugar, spices, and salt, but also varies based on the recipe you’re following. Once the pecans are coated, place them on a parchment-lined baking tray and bake them in the oven. Use the recommended oven temperature from your recipe and let them bake for roughly 20-45 minutes. Be sure to toss the pecans 1-2 times while baking. Allow them to completely cool before serving. Candied pecans can last for 3 weeks to 1 month when stored in an airtight container.

Don’t forget, it’s always better to have a few extra ingredients than too little. Make sure you stock your pantry with enough whole or halved pecans. You never know when the baking mood will strike. Whether you’re making desserts or a quick snack, having pecans handy is a time-saver and will benefit your health. 

Candy Pecans Recipe

The following recipes are simple to follow and they are sure to satisfy everyone’s tastebuds. 

Candy Nuts

Ingredients: 

 3 cups of toasted pecan halves

½ cup of granulated sugar

⅓ cup of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of nutmeg

½ teaspoon of salt

1 large egg white

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

 

Directions: 

 Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

 

  1. Use a large bowl and combine the egg white and vanilla. Whisk until the mixture has a foamy texture. Add the pecans to the foam, tossing and stirring until each one is fully coated.  
  2. Combine the dry ingredients, sugars, salt, and spices in a separate bowl. Add it to the coated pecans and toss until the nuts are fully coated in the sugar mixture. 
  3. Spread the pecans out on the parchment-lined tray and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, check the pecans and toss them. 
  4. When they’re done, remove them from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack. 

Sugar-coated Pecans

This recipe is perfect for folks wanting to make candied pecans on their stovetop. 

 

Ingredients: 

 2 cups of whole pecans

⅓ cup of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of cinnamon

2 tablespoons of water

1 tablespoon of honey

 

Directions: 

 

  1. To roast pecans on the stovetop, use a skillet over medium-to-high heat. For around 2-3 minutes, toss the pecans and allow them to roast evenly on both sides. 
  2. Use a separate, heavy-bottomed skillet and mix all your ingredients. Allow it to cook over medium heat, mixing it well. Cook until the mixture begins to bubble and boil. 
  3. Pour pecans into the sugar mixture and continuously stir until every pecan is coated. This process should take around 3-4 minutes. 
  4. Once each pecan looks well-coated, place them on a parchment-lined tray and allow them to completely cool down. 

 

If you don’t have the time to bake candied pecans, you’re in luck. You can order a variety of ready-to-eat candied pecans, like cinnamon candied pecans, honey roasted pecans, or plantation praline pecans

Recipe for Candied Nuts

If you want to try candied mixed nuts, you can use equal parts walnuts and pecans for this recipe. Technically you can use walnuts or pecans, and other nut varieties for it as well. However, when it comes to baking, pecans usually take the lead for being used in baked goods while walnuts come in next. Either way, the candied nuts will be delicious. 

 

Ingredients: 

 3 cups of pecans or pecan halves (toasted)

2 tablespoons of cinnamon

1 cup of granulated sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon of vanilla

2 tablespoons of water

 

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a parchment-lined baking sheet. 

 

  1. Combine egg, vanilla, and water in a large mixing bowl. Mix until the egg is fully beaten and everything is well-mixed. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl. 
  2. Toss the pecans into the wet mixture and mix until nuts are well-coated. Add the sugar mixture and stir until the pecans are fully coated. 
  3. Spread coated pecans out on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes, flipping the pecans at the 15-20 minute mark. Remove from oven and allow them to completely cool before serving or storing. 

 

Why not add a twist with this? When the candied nuts are fully cooled, sprinkle them with some powdered sugar. It adds an extra layer of confection and can be tried with any candied pecan recipe. 

Pecan Candies Recipes

These recipes are a little different than the candied pecan choices. For example, pecan pralines have often been referred to as pecan candies while praline pecans are considered candied pecans. The main difference is pecan candy, like pecan praline, will have a patty shape to it whereas candied pecans are individually candy-coated nuts. 

 

Before beginning, make sure you have your candy thermometer handy. The temperature to indicate the candy is ready is approximately 240 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, learn about the cold water method. This means taking a spoonful of your candy mixture and dropping it into cold water. If a ball begins to form, it’s at the correct temperature. 

Pecan candy with brown sugar

Ingredients: 

 

2 cups of toasted pecan halves

1 cup of granulated sugar

1 ¾ cups of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of corn syrup

1 cup of half and half

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

½ teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of vanilla 

 

Directions: 

Line a baking tray with parchment paper or you can use non-stick cooking spray. 

 

  1. Use a heavy-bottomed saucepan and combine the sugars and syrup, stirring over medium-to-low heat. When it’s well-mixed, stir in half and half, continuously mixing until all the sugars have dissolved.
  2. Let the mixture come to a boil, consistently stirring it. It should take around 4-5 minutes. 
  3. Once it’s at the right candy temperature, remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, toasted pecans, vanilla, and salt. Continuously stir the mixture for 2-3 minutes until everything thickens.
  4. Scoop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the tray. Allow the patties to completely cool before serving or storing. 

Cinnamon Pecans

Did you know, cinnamon can help break down glucose levels in the blood? This means, in just one or two teaspoons a day, you can help boost your body's ability to break down the sugars in your blood, thus lowering blood sugar levels. This cinnamon pecan candy recipe is perfect for folks looking to spice up their pecan treats while feeling less guilty about indulging. After all, cinnamon and pecans have health benefits and can offer an antioxidant boost to your immune system. 

Cinnamon Pecan Candy

 

Ingredients: 

 2 cups of toasted pecan halves

3 teaspoons of cinnamon

½ teaspoon of salt

1 cup of granulated sugar

½ cup of brown sugar

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 cup of heavy whipping cream

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

 

Sprinkle bonus: 

 

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of granulated sugar

 

Directions: 

 

Line your baking tray with parchment paper, use non-stick cooking spray, or grease the pan to prevent the cinnamon pecan candies from sticking. 

 

  1. Using a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-to-low heat, combine the sugars, butter, cream, and cinnamon. 
  2. Stir until the mixture begins to boil. The candy-like consistency is achieved when the temperature hits 240 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the pecans, salt, and vanilla. 
  4. Once it’s well-mixed, scoop spoonfuls and drop them on your baking tray. 
  5. In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle the mixture over the patties, while they’re still warm. 
  6. Give it time to completely cool before taking a taste test or storing them for later. 

Recipes with Pecans

Have you ever tried candied pecans or glazed pecans with your breakfast, lunch, or dinner meal? These recipes are perfect for a quick snack or to sprinkle over your morning parfait, lunch-time salad, or roasted chicken dinner. It’s also a great way to use up all the candied pecans and glazed nuts you’ve been storing. 

Spicy and sweet pecans

The combination of sweet and spicy foods has continued to remain popular and for good reason. Who wouldn’t enjoy a slight kick with their sweet treats? Sweet and spicy pecans are a prime example of just how good this flavor combination can get. This sweet and spicy candied pecan recipe is sure to make it on your list of memorable recipes. 

 

Ingredients: 

 

2 cups of toasted pecan halves

4 tablespoons of brown sugar

½ a teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 tablespoon of maple syrup

 

Directions: 

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with non-stick cooking spray. 

 

  1. Using a heavy-duty saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and mix in the sugar, syrup, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Stir until sugar is dissolved and everything is well-combined. 
  2. Remove from heat and fold the pecans into the mixture. Toss well until the pecan nuts are fully-coated. 
  3. Spread the coated pecans onto the baking sheet and place them on the center rack in the oven. Bake them for around 10-15 minutes, making sure to flip the pecans around the 6-7 minute mark. 
  4. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool before tasting, serving, or storing. 

 

This recipe is great for eating as is, sprinkling over a salad, and adding them to your mixed-nut and dry fruit recipes. To add a sweet and spicy twist, try chopping them up and adding them to your pecan chicken recipes. You can also chop them up and add them to your breading recipes.

Sweet nuts

For simple, sweet mixed nuts, consider the healthiest nut combinations: pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts. If a friend told you to start eating nuts, take that advice. Nuts offer a plethora of health benefits and are appetizing in any recipe.   

 

Ingredients: 

 

1 cup of pecan halves

1 cup of walnuts

½ cup of macadamia nuts

1 cup of granulated sugar

½ cup of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of honey

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

 

Directions: 

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray or grease the foil. 

 

  1. Mix and spread around the nuts on the baking sheet. Toast them in the oven for 7-8 minutes. Make sure to flip them around at the 4-minute mark. 
  2. While the nuts are toasting, use a large saucepan and melt the butter over low heat. Add the sugars, salt, cinnamon, and honey, stirring until the sugars dissolve. Let it come to a boil.
  3. Remove the nuts from the oven once they’re done toasting. Once the sugar mixture is boiling, remove it from the heat and add in the toasted nuts. Stir until all the nuts are evenly coated.
  4. Spread the nuts back out on the baking sheet and place them in the oven for another 7-8 minutes, flipping and mixing them at 4 minutes. 
  5. Remove them from the oven and allow them to completely cool before placing them in a storage container or serving bowl. 

 

To make a mixed-nut and fruit bowl, use these sweet nuts. Just add a cup to a bowl of fresh fruit, such as blueberries, blackberries, and diced strawberries. You can even use sweet nuts to make trail mix. Just add raisins, craisins, or your choice of dried fruit. For an extra layer of sweetness, add some chocolate chips.  Pecan trail mix recipes are another great choice for an afternoon pick-me-up. 

Glazed Nuts Recipes

There are many ways you can glaze pecans and other nuts. Are you interested in a sweet, spicy, tangy, or mixed glaze? Glazing nuts is easy and doesn’t require very much time. If you’re looking to prepare glazed pecans in advance, these recipes are quick, simple, and mouth-watering.

Pecan glaze

When creating a pecan glaze, it’s best to use toasted pecans because the glaze is likelier to stick due to the pecans' natural oils. The easy thing about creating a glaze is you can make it sweet, salty, spicy, or any combination of those flavors. Flavored pecans don’t always have to be sweet. There are hot and spicy pecans, garlic parmesan pecans, and even cappuccino pecans you can try. 

Sweet and Buttery

Ingredients: 

 

2 cups of toasted halved pecans

½ cup of unsalted butter

⅓ cup of granulated sugar

1 tablespoon of maple syrup

1 tablespoon of water

 

Directions: 

 

Line a baking tray with parchment paper or use non-stick cooking spray.

 

  1. Using a saucepan over medium-to-low heat, melt the butter. Add the sugar, syrup, and water, stirring until the sugar fully dissolves. Let it come to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat and toss the pecans in, stirring and coating each one. 
  3. Place them on the baking sheet and allow them to cool before serving or storing. 

Sweet and Spicy

Ingredients: 

 

2 cups of toasted halved pecans

¼ cup of granulated sugar

½ cup of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon of paprika 

2 tablespoons of water

2 tablespoons of butter

 

Directions: 

 

Line a baking tray with parchment paper or use non-stick cooking spray.

 

  1. Combine sugars and butter in a saucepan over medium-to-low heat. Mix everything until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Add the water and spices, mixing until everything is well combined.
  2. Allow the mixture to bubble before turning the heat off and adding the pecans.  Quickly stir before any mixture hardens. Make sure to get all the pecans evenly coated. 
  3. Pour the mixture onto a baking sheet, spreading everything out. If some pieces stick together, use a spoon to break them apart. Let it cool before serving or storing. 

Garlic and Butter

Ingredients: 

 

2 cups of toasted pecans

½ cup of unsalted butter

2 teaspoons of garlic 

2 tablespoons of water

½ teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of onion powder

 

Directions: 

Line baking sheet with parchment paper or use non-stick cooking spray.

 

  1. Place the pecans in a saucepan with butter, over low heat. Allow the butter to melt over the pecans, mixing until the pecans are coated in butter. Add the garlic, salt, onion powder, and water. Stir until the water evaporates. 
  2. Remove from the heat and keep mixing until the pecans are well coated in the seasoning. 
  3. Spread the pecans out on the baking sheet and let them cool before serving. 

 

To liven up the taste buds, you can add finely diced or shredded garlic to the pecans. Toss it over your salad or top your dinner with it. 

The great thing about pecans is the list of recipes seems endless. Be sure to try different pecan recipes as often as you can. Enjoy that buttery flavor and soft crunch you’ve been craving all while getting the nutritional benefits of pecans.