Easy Candied Pecans (Oven Recipe) | The Rising Spoon

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Easy Candied Pecans (Oven Recipe)

A simple recipe for the best candied pecans that are crunchy, sweet & fragrant! They're coated in a mixture of brown sugar, maple sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg to create an irresistible craggy texture that will keep you reaching for more & make your kitchen smell amazing! Bake a batch in under an hour for snacks, appetizers, salads, or homemade gifts. (gluten-free, grain-free & dairy-free)

Easy Candied Pecans (Oven Recipe)

I'm excited to finally share my favorite candied pecans recipe with y'all. This has been my go-to for the past 4 years, and it always disappears fast when I give it to family & friends.

Unlike my stovetop candied pecans recipe (made with maple syrup & butter), this version has a crunchy coating and a longer shelf life. It's all thanks to the whisked egg white, which helps coat the pecans in an addicting craggy cinnamon-sugar mixture.

But, it's not your average white sugar + cinnamon coating. It's way better. This has a medley of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, maple & molasses flavors mingling together to create the ultimate candied pecan coating. Eat a few of these (or stand in a kitchen as they're baking) to experience super cozy feel-good vibes

The best part? These pecans keep their crunchy exterior for several weeks, so you can make a batch (or three) ahead of time for last-minute homemade food gifts or impromptu gatherings (they're excellent on a fall charcuterie & cheese board) and gingerbread pancakes.

Ingredients For Making Candied Pecans in the Oven

Candied Pecans Ingredients

  • Light Brown Sugar (or coconut sugar): This adds a lovely sweet molasses flavor to the pecans, which makes them much tastier (in my opinion) than regular cane sugar. For a healthier option, substitute coconut sugar instead (it's lower on the glycemic index). 
  • Maple Sugar: This is granulated maple syrup. It gives a wonderful maple flavor to the candied pecans without adding any stickiness. Maple sugar is becoming more common so many grocery stores (Walmart included) carry it in 8-ounce bags. If you can't find it, substitute unrefined cane sugar or vanilla-infused sugar instead.
  • Ground Cinnamon: This is a key ingredient for making the candied pecans so dang addicting! I like to use Ceylon cinnamon (a.k.a. "true" cinnamon) because it has a softer flavor. I highly recommend it. Once you switch from cassia cinnamon to Ceylon, you may never go back. 
  • Ground Nutmeg: This warm spice pairs perfectly with cinnamon & adds complexity so they taste better than your average candied pecan. I hope you don't skip it! For the strongest scent, grate your own nutmeg (buy them whole & use a microplane) or grab a new jar to ensure it's fresh. 
  • Salt: This makes the sweetness of the sugars pop & adds a mild saltiness. If you are using pre-salted nuts, omit this in the mixture. I typically use fine-grain Celtic sea salt. 
  • Egg White: This acts as a binder for the cinnamon & sugar mixture so it coats the pecans properly.
  • Vanilla Extract: Many traditional recipes call for water to help loosen up the egg whites for coating, but it's way better to use vanilla extract instead. This adds a heavenly scent to the pecans & your kitchen will smell amazing. 
  • Pecan Halves: Look for pecans halves that are raw & unsalted. If you are making several batches of this for food gifts, buy a big bag from Costco or Sam's for the best price per pound. 

How to Make Candied Pecans with Brown Sugar & Maple Sugar

How to Make Candied Pecans

The oven method takes a bit longer, but it's SUPER easy and fast to prep. As long as you set a timer to stir them every 15-20 minutes, you're good to work on other things while they're baking. Here's the basic rundown of how to make them:

  1. Stir Together the Sugars & Spices: Measure your two sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg & salt into a medium-sized bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Whisk the Egg White & Vanilla: In a separate large bowl, add your egg white & vanilla extract and whisk until frothy. 
  3. Toss the Pecans in the Egg White Mixture: Add the pecan halves to the bowl with the egg white mixture and toss until all the nuts are well coated (this ensures the sugar mixture adheres properly).
  4. Coat the Pecans in the Sugar & Spice Mixture: Dump the sugar & spice mixture over the pecans and stir until all the nuts are completely coated.
  5. Bake, Stirring Occasionally: Spread the pecans in a single even layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 15-20 minutes. 
  6. Cool: Remove from the oven and cool on the counter (eat a few while they're still warm for good measure). Serve immediately or (once completely cooled) store in an airtight container to keep fresh.

The Best Candied Pecans Recipe (Easy Homemade Food Gift)

Swaps & Substitutions

  • Instead of pecans (which can be pricey), use other shelled nuts like walnuts, almonds, or peanuts (the latter is technically a legume but whatever). I've made this with walnuts halves before and they were delicious (they're so good for your brain). 
  • Try allspice or pumpkin pie spice instead of nutmeg. I've done an allspice variation twice & love the flavor + fragrance, but it's not for everyone. My beau prefers the original recipe with nutmeg.
  • Add some ground cayenne pepper or ground black pepper for a spicy kick. Start with 1/4 teaspoon so it's not too spicy.
  • Swap half of your sugar mixture with vanilla-infused sugar. This really amps up the vanilla flavor & is SO good! Here's my homemade vanilla-infused sugar recipe if you want to try it. You can make a batch with any granulated sweetener.
  • Add a few teaspoons of freshly grated orange zest to the sugar mixture. This has been on my list for a while now but I haven't tried it yet! 


Ideas For Using Candied Pecans

  • Salad Topping: I love to use these pecans on leafy salads with vinaigrette dressings like my autumn salad or strawberry chicken salad
  • Snack Mix: Add them to your favorite mix of sweet & salty foods to munch on while watching movies, tailgating, traveling, or camping. My sweet & salty popcorn snack mix is easy if you want to try that!
  • Sweet Potatoes or Winter Squash: They're yummy chopped into smaller pieces and sprinkled over mashed sweet potatoes or twice-baked sweet potatoes. You could also add some to butternut squash soup!
  • Oatmeal: Mix it into cooked steel-cut oats along with some maple syrup, cinnamon & butter for a sweet-crunchy texture. 
  • Charcuterie Board: Fix a meat & cheese platter and add these to the board for a sweet + crunchy snack to pair with brie, goat cheese, or cheddar. Check my summer charcuterie board post for lots of tips & tricks for how to choose & pair ingredients. 
  • Milkshakes: Use it as a crunchy topping for any milkshake (or even a smoothie), although my leftover pumpkin pie milkshake would be particularly good!
  • Homemade Gifts: Portion this into containers (like glass jars, plastic bags, metal tins, or paper boxes) to give as a simple food gift. This would work great in a variety of themed gift baskets (like self-care, breakfast, wine & cheese, or hot cocoa). 

Easy Homemade Food Gift: Candied Pecans Recipe

More Homemade Food Gifts You'll Love:


candied pecans, easy, best, brown sugar, oven, how to make
snack
American
Yield: 16 servings
Author: Elaina Newton - The Rising Spoon
Easy Candied Pecans (Oven Recipe)

Easy Candied Pecans (Oven Recipe)

Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 40 MinTotal time: 50 Min
A simple recipe for the best candied pecans that are crunchy, sweet & fragrant! Bake a batch in under an hour for snacks, appetizers, salads, or homemade gifts. (gluten-free, grain-free & dairy-free)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of light brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 1/2 cup of maple sugar*
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon (I recommend Ceylon cinnamon)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 4 cups (1 lb.) of pecan halves, raw & unsalted

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Measure the brown sugar, maple sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg & salt into a bowl and stir to combine.
  3. In a separate large bowl, add the egg white & vanilla extract and whisk until frothy.
  4. Add the pecan halves to the egg white mixture and gently toss until all pecans are completely coated.
  5. Dump the sugar & spice mixture over the pecans and stir until the pecans are evenly coated.
  6. Spread the pecans across the baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 20 minutes. Stir the pecans & spread them out evenly again. Bake another 20 to 25 minutes or until the pecans are very fragrant and the sugar mixture has hardened.
  7. Remove from the oven and let the pecans cool on the baking sheet (they will continue to harden). Once completely cool, transfer to an air-tight container and store at room temperature for 3-4 weeks.

Notes:

*MAPLE SUGAR: This is a granulated form of maple syrup & should be easy to find at big grocery chains in the baking section. If you can't get it, substitute coconut sugar, unrefined cane sugar, or vanilla-infused sugar.

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Adapted from The Life Jolie's Candied Pecans & AllRecipe's Candied Pecans

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A simple recipe for the best candied pecans that are crunchy, sweet & fragrant! They're coated in a mixture of brown sugar, maple sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg to create an irresistible craggy texture that will keep you reaching for more & make your kitchen smell amazing! Bake a batch in under an hour for snacks, appetizers, salads, or homemade gifts. (gluten-free, grain-free & dairy-free)

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