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Candied Pecans

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This recipe for homemade Candied Pecans has a sweet maple cinnamon flavor that is perfect for the holidays. Make this sweet and crunchy treat in just 30 minutes or less using 5 simple ingredients! 

One of our favorite things to make during the holidays is a batch of sweet candied pecans. These nuts have such a great flavor on their own offering a natural warming flavor with a slight hint of caramel. They are even better when mixed with spices and the rich flavor of maple syrup!

For this recipe, you’ll mix pecans with maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon and saute them in a pan until the pecans are toasty and fragrant. Let them cool on a sheet pan for a perfectly crunchy candied pecan that is made without egg whites and without an oven!

You can eat them as a snack, or enjoy them as a dessert. They also make a great gift because they store well and freeze well. 

Another reason we love this recipe is that candied pecans are not just for a snack or dessert! You can add this sweet treat to add flavor to salads, pasta dishes, or even as a topping for oatmeal or pancakes.

White dish with maple cinnamon pecans.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • The entire recipe is made up of just 5 simple ingredients you can find at any grocery store. 
  • They make a wonderful homemade gift for family, friends, or teachers for the holidays. 
  • You can customize the type of seasonings or add any you enjoy making them your own. 
  • This crunchy and sweet dessert takes just 30 minutes or less to make from start to finish. 

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Pecan Halves – This crunchy nut has a natural caramel-like flavor that pairs well with warming flavors. 
  • Maple Syrup – Adds a rich maple flavor that compliments the pecans well. 
  • Vanilla Extract – Infuses the pecans with a light vanilla flavor. 
  • Salt – Helps to balance the sweetness in the maple syrup. 
  • Ground Cinnamon – Adds a warm comforting flavor to the candied pecans.
Ingredients needed to make candied pecans.

How To Make Homemade Candied Pecans

  1. Prepare the tools: Add a layer of parchment paper to a large sheet pan that’s big enough to keep all the pecans in a single layer. Set aside. 
  2. Caramelize the pecans: Add the pecans, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon to a large skillet and toss using a spatula to combine. Turn the heat to medium, then cook for 8-10 minutes making sure you are continuously stirring. They are ready when the maple syrup begins to thicken and caramelize and the pecans are toasted. 
  3. Cool and serve: Remove the caramelized pecans from the heat and transfer them to the parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Allow them to cool completely before serving and storing.
Collage showing how to make candied pecans.

Recipe Tips

  1. Be sure to use parchment paper when lining the baking sheet as the heat of the pecans may melt the wax paper. Using no lining will cause the sugar to stick making it difficult to clean the baking sheet. 
  2. Choose pecans that are fresh and have no visible bruising or browning. Fresh pecans will be slightly tender on the inside and have a nutty flavor. 
  3. Choose a consistent medium heat for the skillet to ensure the sugars in the maple syrup don’t burn too quickly. 
  4. Make sure to cook the pecans long enough in the skillet; otherwise, the maple syrup won’t cook down and will be sticky and gooey instead of candied.

Flavor Variations

  • Spiced candied pecans are the perfect sweet and spicy treat for a little twist on candied pecans. Add a pinch of cayenne to the dry ingredients to give them a little spice. 
  • Using pumpkin pie spice adds even more warming flavor to the candied pecans making them a perfect treat for fall. Additionally, you can also use gingerbread spice to flavor the pecans. 
  • If you don’t enjoy pecans, try making this recipe with walnut halves or cashews. Or, use a mix of nuts for a variety of nutty flavors. 
  • Instead of vanilla extract, you can use your favorite flavor extract to add a different twist. Try almond extract, maple, or a citrus extract like lemon, lime, or orange.
White bowl filled with candied pecans.

How To Store Candied Pecans

Countertop Storing: Cooked and cooled candied pecans can be poured into a jar or sturdy sealed bag for up to 2 weeks. 

Fridge Storing: If you’d like to store your pecans in the fridge, add them to an airtight container or jar with as much air removed as possible and store them for up to 1 month. 

Freezing: If you’d like to store any leftover candied pecans, make sure they are completely cooled. Add them to a freezer-safe storage bag or vacuum sealed bag and remove as much air as possible. Store flat in the freezer for 2-3 months. Thaw on the countertop before serving.

Are glazed pecans and candied pecans the same?

While there are many ways to make a candied or glazed pecan recipe, generally a candied pecan is made with egg whites though this recipe does not contain egg whites and works well! Glazed pecans are usually made with a mixture of butter or corn syrup.

Are candied pecans healthy?

Health is personal to everyone, but these candied pecans are made from scratch without any refined sugar and offer fiber and healthy fats which makes them a much healthier option than other dessert choices during the holidays!

How do you keep candied pecans from sticking together?

You’ll first want to make sure the pecans have cooked long enough in the maple syrup. The maple syrup should be cooked down, so when the pecans dry they aren’t sticky.

Next, make sure the pecans are in an even single layer on the baking sheet and not touching others if possible. Then, you’ll need to make sure they cool completely in order to form their candied “shell” that keeps them separate from the other pecans.

Can candied pecans be used on salad?

Maple glazed pecans would be a great addition to a Fall salad. Add a few as a crunchy, sweet garnish to an apple walnut salad or a farro salad for some added texture and taste.

Candied pecans in a serving dish.

Candied Pecans

Yield: About 4 Cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Cool Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This recipe for homemade Candied Pecans has a sweet maple cinnamon flavor that is perfect for the holidays. Make this sweet and crunchy treat in just 30 minutes or less using 5 simple ingredients! 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups pecans, halved
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, combine the pecans, syrup, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring continuously, until the maple syrup begins to caramelize and the pecans are toasted.
  3. Transfer the hot pecans to the prepared baking sheet and arrange in an even layer. Allow them to cool completely before serving.
  4. See post for storage options.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of ¼ cup of pecans. Actual calories will vary.

*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.

*Make sure to cook the pecans long enough; otherwise, the maple syrup won’t cook down and will be sticky and gooey instead of candied.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 220Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 35mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 3gSugar: 10gProtein: 2g

*The calories are an estimate and are based on the ingredients and serving size listed. The calories can vary depending on the brand of product purchased.

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