Holiday Spiced Candied Pecans

These candied pecans have a kick of heat from cayenne pepper, a touch of holiday spice from cinnamon, and a crunchy-sweet coating. Make a big batch for your holiday party, package them up for gifts, or keep them all to yourself to snack on throughout the holiday season.

a spoonful of nuts.

If it’s Christmastime, it’s time for candied nuts, and these sweet and spicy pecans are a great recipe to try. They have the best crispy coating with a mix of sweet and spicy flavors that make them irresistible. I like pecans for this recipe, but you can use other kinds of nuts or try mixed candied nuts. There are a few options with this one, friends.

a bowl of spiced pecans.

How to Make Them

Candied pecans are so easy to make – the prep is pretty quick, and it’s primarily hands-off time while the pecans bake and then cool before you store them. Yes, you can buy them around every corner this time of year, but if you’ve never tried making candied nuts from scratch, I think you’ll love how easy they are.

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Sweet and Spicy Pecans

sweet and spicy pecans in a bowl.

Holiday spiced candied pecans are a fun holiday recipe! They have a wonderfully crispy coating and sweet and spicy flavor – they’re perfect for sharing or to have on hand as a festive crunchy snack.

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 16 (1-ounce) servings 1x
  • Category: Appetizers
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon table salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 pound pecan halves

Instructions

  1. Position an oven rack in the top one-third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F and line a 10×15″ baking sheet with foil.
  2. Whisk the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk the egg white and water in another large bowl for about a minute or so until the mixture is foamy and frothy.
  4. Add the pecans to the egg white mixture and toss them so they are coated evenly. Transfer the pecans to the bowl with the sugar and spices and toss to coat them evenly.
  5. Spread the coated pecans in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the pecans for 15 minutes.
  6. Stir the pecans and leave them on the pan for 20 to 30 minutes. Stir them every five minutes or so until they are cool.
  7. Store the cooled pecans in an airtight container. They will keep at room temperature for a week.

Notes

You can reduce or omit the cayenne pepper if you prefer things less spicy.

The egg white in this recipe is very important. Nuts coated in whisked egg whites end up with the best crispy coating after they’re baked – it’s what makes this recipe so good. If you’ve ever had a baked meringue, it’s the same concept. The whisked egg white coating dries out in the oven and turns crispy. The sugar and spices also dissolve into the coating, creating a caramelized sweet and spicy flavor.

You don’t have to use pecans in this recipe – you can use your favorite kind or use a mix of nuts. Walnuts, almonds, and cashews will all work well. Or make candied mix nuts with a few of your favorites.

Be sure the pecans are cooled to room temperature before you store them. If they are still warm, moisture will get trapped in the container and they won’t be as crispy and will spoil faster. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 ounce
  • Calories: 246
  • Sugar: 13.6g
  • Sodium: 112.6mg
  • Fat: 20.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.8g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 17.7g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 16.5g
  • Fiber: 2.8g
  • Protein: 2.8g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: sweet and spicy pecans with egg white, roasted pecans, holiday pecans recipe

Do you love this recipe? Don’t forget to leave a comment and your recipe star rating!

The nutrition is an estimate only. It was calculated using Nutrifox, an online nutrition calculator.

Recipe Tips

Once you know how to make candied nuts, it’s easy to switch them up. I love the cinnamon, cayenne, and sugar combo, but you can swap the cinnamon for other holiday spices (nutmeg, cloves, etc) and switch out the cayenne for other spices like chili powder. Or, try the same spice mix with other kinds of nuts – so many possibilities.

ingredients for spiced nuts.

Candied nuts will keep for up to a week, so if you are gifting them, I recommend making them a day ahead and noting on the tag or container when they should be enjoyed by.

If you’re not planning to gift them, serve them in a bowl for some Christmas snacking, add them to a cheese board, or toss them in a holiday salad that needs a little extra crunch.

sweet and spicy pecans on a sheet pan with a wooden spoon.

I hope you give these easy sweet and spicy pecans a try this holiday season – I think they’ll be a hit!

Happy baking,

April

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