Easy Candied Pecans (Just 5 Minutes and 4 Ingredients!)

~ These deliciously easy candied pecans are so lightning-fast! You’ll be making them all the time … for snacks, on salads … even as last-minute gifts! ~

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Make Ahead    Vegan (and Vegetarian)    Gluten Free  

Easy Candied Pecans Recipe (Just 5 Minutes and 4 Ingredients!) {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

We’re going nuts here today, friends! Wanna join us!?!?!

Nuts for salads, nut for snacks, nuts nuts nuts …

(Well … pecans, to be exact. But “we’re going pecans” just doesn’t sound the same.)

Easy Candied Pecans Recipe (Just 5 Minutes and 4 Ingredients!) {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

Nuts are loaded with protein and healthy fats, and they have tons of great crunch and flavor!

A handful of nuts is a stellar snack to help curb your hunger on a busy afternoon. And nuts are a fantastic salad topper, without the nutritional pitfalls of things like fakey-bacon bits, partially hydrogenated chow mein noodles, and white-carb (sneakily artificial) flavored croutons.

Nuts are just … better!

Easy Candied Pecans Recipe (Just 5 Minutes and 4 Ingredients!) {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

Want to pump up nuts’ yumminess quotient even more?

How about … candied nuts?!? (Well … candied pecans, to be exact!)

Unfortunately, store-bought versions of glazed, candied pecans often include additional, less-healthy ingredients. And homemade candied pecan recipes don’t always solve the problem – so many of those recipes involve loads of butter and added fats, and sometimes also loads of sugar or corn syrup. *SIGH*

Easy Candied Pecans Recipe (Just 5 Minutes and 4 Ingredients!) {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

Does it feel like you just can’t win?!?!?

Oh, but you can!

We’ve got an outstanding glazed, candied pecan recipe you’ll love!

You don’t even have to fire up your oven with this one … and we’re gonna get it done with just 4 ingredients (not including the water … ‘cuz who counts that?!?!)! Whoop! Whoop!

Easy Candied Pecans Recipe (Just 5 Minutes and 4 Ingredients!) {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

Too good to be true? Nope! But it is waaaaaaaaay too good! So, so good!

These pecans are quickly toasted to bring out a little extra flavor, and then tossed with just enough sweet-salty candy coating!

Easy Candied Pecans Recipe (Just 5 Minutes and 4 Ingredients!) {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

They’re deeee-lish as a salad topper, with just the right amount of sweetness to compliment other salad ingredients without being overpowering. We actually specifically developed this candied pecan recipe as a perfect, crunchy topping for our Salad with Goat Cheese, Pears, Candied Pecans and Maple-Balsamic Dressing.

They’re also are a fantastic snack, and perfect when you’re on the go! Our kiddos love ’em (when they can grab a handful before we eat them all ourselves)! And we love knowing that it’s a snack loaded with protein … and only a teensy bit of added sugar.

And pssssssst … if you’re ever in a jam, realizing you forgot to carefully select the most fan-tab-u-lastic hostess gift for a dinner party … know what you can do? Uh-huh … you guessed it! With just 5 minutes and a quick tango with a pretty jar and some ribbon, you’ll be granted most favored houseguest status! Yay, you (you savvy problem-solver)!

Easy Candied Pecans Recipe (Just 5 Minutes and 4 Ingredients!) {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

So while you’re at it … you just might wanna make two batches! These go fast!

THK Signature Gretchen & Shelley cropped

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Love Adding the Crunch of Nuts to Salads? We Do, Too! Try Our Recipes for:

Easy Candied Pecans (Just 5 Minutes and 4 Ingredients!)

Preparation 2 min. 2017-04-27T00:02:00+00:00 Cook Time 3 min. (plus cooling) 2017-04-27T00:00:00+00:00
Serves About 1 cup     adjust servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons water
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup pecan halves

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, water, vanilla, and kosher salt, stirring to combine (don't worry that the sugar and salt won't all be dissolved). Set this at-the-ready, next to your stove, as this recipe goes really quickly.
  2. In a medium-large saucepan over medium heat, toast pecans for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When you begin to smell a lovely, nutty aroma, they're done.
  3. Quickly drizzle the sugar mixture into the pan, on top of the pecans, stirring the nuts as you drizzle. Stir constantly for about 15 seconds, until the pecans are thoroughly coated in the sugar mixture. Immediately remove from heat so they don't burn.
  4. Spread the pecans on a piece of parchment to cool. Once cooled, you can break the nuts apart, if needed.
  5. Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container. The pecans will be slightly sticky at first, but the coating hardens further within a few hours.

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Easy Candied Pecans Recipe (Just 5 Minutes and 4 Ingredients!) {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}
Easy Candied Pecans Recipe (Just 5 Minutes and 4 Ingredients!) {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}
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Comments

Easy Candied Pecans (Just 5 Minutes and 4 Ingredients!) — 86 Comments

  1. These turned out fantastic! I added a good amount of cayenne pepper to add a sweet and spicy flavor profile. I read some peoples comments about the nuts being sticky so I baked it on the parchment paper for an additional 5 mins at 350 degrees in the oven. The nuts were toasted perfectly and the glaze had a snappy, crunchy finish.

    • Oh Nancy, I’m so delighted that you loved these candied pecans! That sweet-spicy flavor combo sounds fabulous – what a great idea! Thank you so much for suggesting it, so our other readers might try that twist, too! And actually – I’m thinking how much my spice-loving hubby and son would probably go bonkers for your idea! Yum! And thanks for letting us know that you used and liked the oven-finishing technique. It’s similar to the method we use for our Pumpkin Pie Spiced Candied Pecans, and works great, too! It not only makes my day to read such a wonderful and helpful comment, but it’s so useful for other readers to see your ideas, too – thanks a million for taking the time! 😀 ~Shelley

  2. This is the recipe I’ve been looking for! No egg whites, nuts don’t get rock hard, perfect! The only thing I added was a dash of cinnamon to the sugar mixture. Tastes like the top of a sticky buns. Delicious!!! Thank you 😊

    • Hi Laura! Mmmmmm … cinnamon sticky buns … that description just about has me drooling! Thank you for taking a moment to pop back to let me know how much you liked these (which always makes me so, so happy – I really appreciate it!) and also to offer the great suggestion of adding cinnamon to the candied pecan mixture, which is really helpful for other readers who might like to try a different twist on the recipe. And I have to say, I loved your specific comment about the egg whites. I’ve been considering creating a different candied nut recipe that DOES include egg whites – which does offer that harder coating and possibly the ability for the nuts to be more clumped (glued – lol!) together. This specific candied pecan recipe was designed to be a little different (obviously – since it skips the egg whites! 😀 ), and it’s become really popular – so I think it’s particularly interesting that one thing you loved about it was the fact that it wasn’t so hard from including the eggs! Now you’ve got me thinking … Our recipe for Pumpkin Pie Spiced Candied Pecans also skips the egg whites (although it showcases a slightly different method for cooking), so now I’m wondering if maybe the egg-free method is really what’s most popular with our readers, or if my next recipe should include the egg whites, just to offer yet another method. Hmmmmm … Thanks for the terrific input! ~Shelley

  3. I’d love to make these Friday as a last minute Christmas gift. Question – you mention they dry out in a few hours and lose stickiness. So should I leave them on the parchment til that happens?

      • Thank you! I noticed your newer recipe for pumpkin spice pecans has a different amount if sugar and water and adds in the oven time. Maybe I should try that one? Sounds like you can play around with the spices.

        • You’re so welcome, Natalia! And you’re right – the Pumpkin Spiced Pecans use an extra step with the oven, while this recipe doesn’t – just showing two different approaches to making candied pecans. I’d say the oven method is great for getting the nuts dry faster, but I love the speedy easy of this stovetop-only technique. There are lots of different methods to try, and with this recipe, we were just showcasing the uber-fast technique with only the stovetop. I certainly think you’l love the pumpkin-spice recipe, though, too! And definitely – feel free to play around with all sorts of different spices! I’ve seriously kept meaning to post some more candied nut recipes with different spice combinations (and maybe even some other cooking/baking technique options), because my family and I love snacking on healthy nuts! If you try out other spice combinations, I’ll be so interested to hear what you like best! Have fun!! 😀 ~Shelley

  4. Serious problem, not sure what I did wrong, they are really sticky,what can I do to correct it?..bake them? I saw someone tossed with sugar,..thank you for your help,

    • Hi Jamie! Thanks so much for the question and the opportunity to try to help you! I know some readers have commented that they accidentally used too much water in these candied pecans, which would definitely make them stickier. Although I hate to advocate using a lot of sugar, that’s definitely something to try to salvage a batch that’s too sticky – just to bind with a bit of the excess moisture. And yes – as you suggested, you could also try baking the pecans gently and at a very low temperature to help them dry more thoroughly. Just watch them CAREFULLY to be sure they don’t burn! Good luck – I hope these ideas help! ~Shelley

      • Loved your pecans. Used them on spring greens, pear, craisons and stilton salad with a mustard vinegrette dressing and it was delicious too.

        • Hi Patricia! I’m so delighted that you love these! And my oh my – that salad with stilton and mustard vinaigrette sounds amazing! I’m absolutely craving it now that I’ve read your comment! 😀 So happy these candied pecans worked perfectly in that fabulous salad – and I really appreciate that you took a moment to pop back and let me know (that truly does mean so much!). Have a wonderful week! ~Shelley

      • It took me twice to get them toasted just right and I enlisted my husband to stir while I drizzled. Turned out great and is a great treat for my gluten-free, egg-free granddaughter.

  5. I just made a cup of these and they turned out good. If I wanted to double the batch and make more just double the ingredients, right?

    • Hi Glenda! I’m so glad these pecans turned out great for you! We love them! And yes – you should be able to just double the ingredients. But, depending on the sizes you used for one batch, you might need to use a larger bowl and pan – and possibly also a larger piece of parchment – to avoid crowding and make sure the nuts toast evenly, are coated evenly in the candied coating, and have plenty of space to air dry and cool. Enjoy! ~Shelley

  6. Great and quick recipe just what I needed for my salad. I doubled the recipe and did not use the amount of salt the recipe called for I used just 1 pinch of salt. I thought they weren’t crunchy, but next time I’ll toast them just a bit more.

    • So glad you liked these, Yvonne! And thanks for sharing your experiences and suggestions, too! We love these candied pecans on salads, like the Salad with Goat Cheese we mentioned (we call it “Thanksgiving Salad”), but also just love them for snacking. In fact, sometimes the hard part is NOT nibbling on too many as snacks … before they make it to the top of a salad platter! 😉 ~Shelley

  7. Loved !!!!!!!! Your recipe for the candied pecans and salad . I am still looking for the maple balsimic vi nigeitte salad dressing. Do you use maple syrup in with your vinaigrette. I have made different vinaigrette’s over the years this sounds yummy! Can’t find it.

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  9. I needed some candied pecans fast for a salad. These worked beautifully! I agree with other reviewers that they aren’t overly sweet which I enjoy. A bit sticky though; next time I will cook a bit longer.

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  14. Just made 2 batches for the first time tonight, and these are delicious! I do have 2 questions:

    1. Do you have nutrition facts for these?
    2. How should these be stored (have them in an airtight container), and how long are they good for?

    Thank you!

    • Calories 749
      Total Fat 71 g
      Saturated fat 6 g
      Polyunsaturated fat 21 g
      Monounsaturated fat 40 g
      Cholesterol 0 mg
      Sodium 401 mg
      Potassium 418 mg
      Total Carbohydrate 28 g
      Dietary fiber 10 g
      Sugar 21 g
      Protein 9 g

  15. OK, I did also the TBSP water mistake…lol…I did cook tad longer to flash it off and get things gelling, it wasn’t going to burn for sure. Cooled and was sticky, still my fault, but tossed them with about 2 tbsp. powdered sugar then shake off the excess…no sticking and not too sweet. DEF make these again!

  16. just moved to a home that has a HUGE pecan tree that was loaded with pecans this fall. Going to try this recipe for sure!!

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  18. I made candied pecans from several recipes to compare. Yours are the best! Easy, quick and the coating does not overpower the pecans. This recipe is a keeper.

  19. I just made a triple batch of these. OMG, delicious! Now overpowering and too sweet, like some praline pecans. These are perfect, and I just bookmarked the recipe.

  20. These were okay, but not extraordinary. I think I just prefer the crispness of the roasted candied pecan recipes. Also, while this is quick for small quantities, it isn’t if you’re makng lots to give as gifts. Can I make a pound (about 4 cups of pecans) by mixing the appropriate amount of sugar coating with the pecans and slow baking, stirring as in the more traditional 20recipes? Or, does that require egg white to bind? Thanks

  21. Kyle may have made the same mistake I did; using a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon to measure the water. I noticed it before I used the mixture, so I added more sugar and cooked it longer. It came out fine, but it could be why Kyle’s were sticky. Hard to stop eating them! In fact, I made another batch immediately so there would be plenty for my husband. Glad it was so easy!

  22. If I wanted to give these as Christmas gifts, how long would they keep? Actually, how long would they keep if I had some self control?

    • I just made these and they are delicious. I made several batches and some came out a bit sticky if I did not keep them on the heat long enough but, I used my toaster oven to reheat them a bit on level 1. I waited to see some bubbles and pulled them out. Leaving them in a little longer dried them out more thus that batch was crunchy. I also decided to try walnuts – they came out sticky and needed extra toasting. Then I tried the raw almonds but, I added a little cinnamon less than an 1/8 ts. and about 1/4 ts. vanilla and a tad more sugar. It worked and there are visible sugar crystals on the outside of each almond. The almonds are not crunchy on the inside since they are so thick and do not cook through. I like that they are not cooked inside and the outside has a hint of sweetness. I did leave the heat on longer as I stirred the sugar mixture in – more like 45-60 seconds to help reduce the stickiness. I think these are nice as snacks.

  23. literally no idea what happened to that one person because i’m an AWFUL cook and this recipe was amaazing and i had no problems whatsoever.
    THANK YOU!!!

  24. Just wanted to pipe in that I’m currently living in Italy, and was recently sent some pecans since they sadly don’t really exist in Italy. Brown sugar is also really hard to come by in Italy, so I used white sugar, but also added a touch of honey and cinnamon because I knew that without the brown sugar, this recipe would lack some flavor. I also added a tiny bit of butter during the first toasting stage to help compensate for the lack of brown sugar flavor as well. Once I added the sugar mixture, I cooked it for a bit longer than 15 seconds (more like 30 or 45) because I had added the honey and knew it would be a bit stickier, and the pecans have turned out perfectly! Thank you!

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  27. This recipe is complete garbage I just wasted $6 of pecans, pecans are completely sticky and no where near Candide the recipe could have called for probably twice as much sugar whatever you do please look up other recipes before even remotely trying this one out.

    • Hi Kyle – I’m so sorry to hear that you had trouble with this recipe. We’ve had so many great reviews on it – both here on the blog and directly, and have made them so many times personally, but we’re always disappointed to hear that a reader had trouble with a recipe. We’re happy to help you troubleshoot, if you’d like! ~Shelley

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  29. Instead of vanilla, I’ve substituted kahlua, baileys, ameretto, or chambord in my whipped cream that makes it taste a little more sophisticated – do you think it would work with pecans/walnuts?

  30. First time making these. Yummy! I think this is would be great for Diabetics a handful of these is better than a candy bar.
    I’ll keep on making and sharing.

    • Hi Debbie! Thanks so much for your sweet comment! So happy you’re enjoying these pecans! They are a snap to make – and so yummy! And you are absolutely correct – these Candied Pecans are so much healthier than a candy bar! ~Gretchen

      PS – These make a great gift, too! A cute little mason jar and a ribbon … you’ve got an instant (and delicious!) gift!!

    • instead of sugar, we use wheylow D. My wife can’t eat sugar but this for diabetics and she has no problem. We also use it in making our jellies and jams

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  32. OK I have a serious problem with this recipe… I wanted some candied nuts for a salad I’m making tonight. I made the nuts as directed, and poured the nuts out onto my silpat to cool them. I noticed they got cool quickly, so one popped into my mouth. Before I knew it, one after the other had found their way into my mouth and I only had a few left. I honestly had no idea how this happened. They were just destined to be eaten immediately. 😉

  33. You weren’t kidding! Pretty sure I will never slow bake nuts again… unless it’s just to remind myself not to. These are so yummy. I just barely made a quadruple batch – because of course a double batch is never enough – for the first time and tasted them and felt the need to run back to my computer and comment. Thank you thank you. The vanilla is the perfect touch to make this more like caramel with nuts inside, than a slightly sweetened nut. Thank you thank you 🙂 I will be returning for future recipes thanks to this gem.

    • Hi Julie! Great question! My first suggestion would be to simply substitute white sugar in equal proportions (so, for this recipe, 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar). Although I haven’t tried that with this specific recipe, it technically should work just fine. The white sugar will lack some of the warm, caramel-y notes that brown sugar would offer, though, but you’ll still get the sweetness, and I think it’s definitely worth a try.

      Also, I did some quick research for you on the correct proportions for how to make your own brown sugar substitute (which basically involves adding in some molasses to white sugar in order to bring in those deeper caramel flavors. If you’re interested, here are a couple of sites you might enjoying taking a look at: Better Homes and Gardens has a brief article on how to make homemade brown sugar and suggests brown sugar substitutions here, and I found a five-star rated Homemade Brown Sugar recipe on Food.com here.

      Hope all of this helps you! Good luck! And thanks so much for reaching out to us with your question!

      😀 ~Shelley

    • Sub the water with whipping cream or half & half. When you add the sugar and liquid, stir constantly until the mixture is caramelized – it will begin to foam before it caramelizes. Just watch it closely to prevent burning. Move to the parchment to cool. With the caramel goodness you won’t miss the brown sugar. An added bonus is that you’ll be bringing the sugar temp up high enough to get a nice crisp coating and minimizing the potential for goo.

  34. Oh my gawd are they delicious! I just made them to jazz up the lunch I am packing my daughter for work. Can’t wait for the text when she tastes them! She’s going off to college in the fall so I can see sending lots of these to surprise her from time to time.

    • Oh Michelle! I actually laughed out loud when I read this!! I just love your enthusiasm!!

      Aren’t these just the best little (and totally easy!) addition to any meal?! And they make the perfect snack, too! 🙂 What an awesome mama to send delicious little care packages to you girl!! She’ll be so excited!! 😀 Have a awesome day!! ~Gretchen

  35. Just tried this and YAY!!! YUM!! So easy, quick and yummy. I wanted some nuts for a baby spinach/strawberry salad and these worked perfectly! Thanks!

    • Hi Stephanie!! We’re SO happy you loved these pecans!! We LOVE them on salads – they add that perfect touch of sweetness and just the right crunch! Hint – you might want to make a double batch next time! We always munch on them while prepping the rest of the meal! They’re just so yummy! 🙂
      Mmmm … now about that spinach and strawberry salad! ~G&S

  36. I wanted to make a nice salad last minute. I was looking for a glazed pecan recipe and kept finding candied pecans that took at least a half hour to bake. Then I found this recipe – it was perfect! Came together just like in the directions and tasted great on the salad I made. Thanks!

  37. i didnt have high expectations and thought they were going to be soggy…i was deliciously surprised..and they were even better after they hardened! thanks!

    • Hi there, Maureen! So glad you stopped by – and thanks for the great question. I think I can help!

      There are a couple factors at work here, although the bottom line comes down to sugar, sugar and more sugar!

      But let’s back up for a sec. To begin with, pecans aren’t a super-crispy nut. I’ve actually seen them lumped into a grouping of “semi-soft” nuts, along with walnuts. So they’re not inherently uber-crunchy.

      But I’ll bet you’re envisioning those candy-coated nuts you buy in packets at the grocery store, or toasty-warm at carnivals and street fairs. They have that thick layer of … well … sugar. That’s why they’re so crunchy – a thick exterior coating of sugar. Bummer, huh? They’re really more of a dessert than a nutritious snack or salad topper (guess that’s how they got the name “candied” nuts!). You’ll see recipes and product ingredient lists with brown sugar, white sugar, confection’s sugar, corn syrup … and often more than one of those … in large quantities. 🙁 That’s exactly what we wanted to avoid with this recipe.

      Sometimes you’ll also see recipes that call for including egg whites and using looooong, slow bake times. Both of those can help a bit, too. But we wanted these nuts to be quick-quick, so long bake times requiring you to hover near the oven for periodic stirring just wasn’t an option. And, even so, those recipes also use … yeah … you know … LOTS of sugar in order to achieve that thick candy coating.

      Now, having said all of that, I can also help you make the most of this much-healthier recipe. First, just head into it realizing that it won’t have that super-thick coating of crunchy sugar because this recipe is so much healthier and uses much, much less sugar. Then, to maximize the nuts’ crunch, be sure that you give them plenty of room to breathe as they cool – that’s why we have you spread them out on parchment during cooling – and plenty of time. The coating will tend to continue hardening a bit more over time (although, admittedly, they usually don’t last long enough to find out – lol! 😀 ). When using these candied nuts in a recipe (such as for a salad topping in our Salad with Goat Cheese, Pears, Candied Pecans and Maple-Balsamic Dressing), I usually don’t wait long at all before using these, but if you want them as a snack, you can try letting them air-dry on the parchment even longer.

      I sure hope all of this helps you a bit! 😀 ~Shelley

      • Delicious! I made these on Sunday to go with the dessert for my dinner party (along with Edy’s 1/2 fat vanilla ice cream & homemade lemon bars w/caramel sauce) . Everyone loved them so much that I had to give away most of what I made : (But sooo easy I plan to make more next weekend.) Thanks for this great recipe!

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  39. At the top of Pikes Peak mountain there is a little gift shop that makes these candied nuts and it makes the whole place smell so wonderful. I have a hard time passing them up! I love how easy these are to make and they are healthier.

  40. Hi Gretchen and Shelley,

    These look amazing and so easy to make! Love how you didn’t use any butter to make these. I’ll have to make a batch. I love putting nuts of any kind on my salad but these will probably transform my usually boring salad into an incredible one! Great recipe! Pinning 🙂

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