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Candied Pecans (Spicy & Sweet)

These homemade spicy and sweet candied pecans are irresistible and addictive! They’re tossed in frothy egg whites and roasted with brown sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne. The sugar breaks down as they cook to form a crispy, crunchy, caramelized sweet and spicy shell. Candied pecans are perfect for gifts, party snacks, and crunchy salad toppings!

Homemade candied pecans with brown sugar, cayenne, and egg white.

I’ve been making these candied pecans for years. They’re so good on salads and perfect for snacking! You can include them in a cocktail or finger food spread or sit down with a drink (like some boozy hot cocoa) and munch on them. Candied pecans are irresistible. 

I make 5 or 6 batches of these every Christmas to give as gifts. You can package them in a jar or make little baggies to add to your candy or cookie boxes. I love that they happen to be gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian. It makes them a versatile gift for folks with dietary restrictions! 

My entire family would revolt if I didn’t make these at Christmas. My sister-in-law once requested a batch of these candied pecans as payment for dog sitting. They’re that good.

I make them in the spring to go on strawberry salads and often whip them up when I need cocktail nuts. 

I’ve made this candied pecan recipe dozens of times. This is the best way to make sweet and spicy pecans! By the way, you can use this method to make sweet and spicy candied walnuts!

Ingredients

Pecan halves, an egg, vanilla, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, salt, and brown sugar on a butcher block.
  • Raw, shelled pecan halves are the base of these candied pecans.
  • Toss the pecans in egg white & vanilla extract to coat them. This helps the cinnamon sugar bind to the pecans and makes a crispy exterior shell on the pecans. The vanilla adds a flavor boost and a little more complexity.
  • Brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt combine for the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. I like to use all brown sugar. I’ve played around with the sugar and spice blend for years. I’ve tested these pecans in many ways. I’ve made these pecans with a mix of granulated & brown sugar. I did blind taste tests with my trusty volunteers. The all-brown sugar version is the clear winner!
  • A teaspoon of salt makes the flavors pop without making these pecans taste salty. The cinnamon and cayenne make these spicy but not hot. If you want them to be hot and spicy, add more cayenne. 

Substitutions

  • Use walnuts in place of the pecans.
  • Use 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to make these hot & spicy.
  • Make them less sweet by using only ½ cup of brown sugar.

Making Candied Pecans

Whisk the egg white and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl until its frothy. Then, toss the pecans in the egg white mixture to coat them.

In a separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne,

Pour the sugar and spice mixture into the bowl of pecans and stir them until they are evenly coated.

Spread the coated pecans evenly onto a parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes at 300℉. Stir them halfway through.

Pro-tip:  You can lift the parchment paper and gently pull it toward the center of the sheet pan to help mix the pecans. Carefully lift it toward the center and repeat on all 4 sides of the pan. 

Remove them from the oven and let the sweet and spicy pecans cool completely. They will get crisp as they cool.

Holding a homemade roasted cinnamon sugar pecan.

Packaging and Storing Sweet & Spicy Candied Pecans

  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature. These stay crunchy for at least a couple weeks.
  • Package them in airtight (Ziplock) bags to give as gifts.
  • If you want to make them the centerpiece of a gift, try filling a mason jar with them and tying a pretty ribbon around it.
A jar of spicy candied pecans in a jar with a ribbon to give as Christmas gift or thank you idea.

What to do with candied pecans

  • Give them as gifts. I always make a few batches to give as Christmas gifts. Pack them in mason jars and add a pretty ribbon. Or, package them in sealed zipper bags and add them to your cookie and candy boxes. 
  • They make an excellent thank you or hostess gift in a jar.
  • Add them to salads. You can use them instead of the toasted pecans in this strawberry spinach salad or add them to a simple arugula salad.
  • Arrange them in small dishes and serve them as party appetizers or snacks. 

Pro-tip: It’s good manners to return jars if someone gives you home canned goods, especially in the South. It’s even better to fill them with something when you return them! A mason jar filled with candied pecans is an excellent way to say thank you! 

More recipes with pecans

Did you try these spicy candied pecans? Use the stars in the recipe card to leave a 5-star review, or let me know in the comments at the end!

Print

Candied Pecans (Spicy & Sweet)

Sweet and spicy candied pecans with brown sugar.

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 1 review

These pecans are roasted with brown sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne for party appetizers, salads, and Christmas gifts.

  • Author: Mandi
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: about 4 cups 1x
  • Category: Candy
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound pecan halves (4 cups)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 300℉ and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Store in an airtight container for up to a month.

Notes

Variations

  • Use walnuts in place of the pecans.
  • Use 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to make these hot & spicy.
  • Make them less sweet by using only ½ cup of brown sugar.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: about 19 pecan halves
  • Calories: 231
  • Sugar: 9.3 g
  • Sodium: 83.3 mg
  • Fat: 20.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 12.6 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 2.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @mandiofthemountains on Instagram – I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze candied pecans?

I do not recommend freezing them. They have a long shelf life. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature.

What’s the shelf life of candied pecans?

If properly stored, these will stay crispy for up to a month. Store candied pecans in a tightly sealed container at room temperature. 

Can I use other nuts instead of pecans?

Yes, try using walnut halves instead of pecans.

Can I make these pecans less spicy?

You can decrease the cayenne and cinnamon to make them less spicy. Try cutting the spices in half.

Do I need a candy thermometer to make these roasted candied pecans?

No. These do not need a candy thermometer. 

Are candied pecans gluten-free?

This candied pecan recipe is gluten-free.

A jar of sweet and spicy candied pecans with a ribbon to give as a Christmas gift, a thank you, or a hostess gift.

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2 Comments

  1. Love these! I substituted with walnuts. They turned out great! I absolutely love the cooking mode. I hate it when my hands are all sticky and my phone goes black. 😠Thanks mandiofthemountains your stuff is awesome 😋






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