Candied pecans take only 5 minutes to make on the stovetop. With a light sugary coating, they’re great in spinach salads, on top of non-dairy ice cream, or eaten as a snack on their own. Or put them in a jar with a ribbon for an easy homemade gift. Vegan and gluten-free.
Some things are more impressive than they have any right to be – like candied pecans.
When you pull out homemade glazed pecans for a salad topper, snack, or homemade gift, they always elicit some oohs and aahs.
But truth be known, they are incredibly simple to make. They require just five minutes of hands-on work, and a few simple ingredients.
Candied pecans have a lightly crisp & sugary shell. They add sweetness to a fall salad with apples. They’re a fun snack right out of the container, sprinkled on pumpkin waffles, or added to a vegan cheeseboard.
Having a bowl of non-dairy ice cream? Add a handful of candied pecans as a delectable topper. (If you’re using them as an ice cream topper, I highly recommend adding vanilla & cinnamon, as mentioned in the variations. They smell like the candied pecans sold at the mall.)
Many glazed pecan recipes call for gobs of brown sugar or heaps of maple syrup. This recipe uses just two Tablespoons of sugar for the entire cup of pecans. (I use evaporated cane juice for the sugar.)
For me personally, I don’t need glazed pecans to be a full-on confection. I want a delicate sugary shell on the outside, while still being able to taste the nuttiness of the pecan underneath.
How to make candied pecans on the stovetop
Bring a non-stick skillet to a medium heat. Add pecan halves to the dry skillet. Let them toast for a couple of minutes.
Add sugar and water to the skillet. (If you’re adding vanilla, cayenne, or smoked paprika, is the time to add it.)
The sugar will melt into the water almost immediately, creating a syrup. Use a spatula to combine the pecans fully with the syrup. Turn off the heat.
Move the pecans onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Sprinkle them with salt. If you like, add a couple dashes of cinnamon as well.
Allow them to cool before moving them to a covered container.
(Once they’re cool enough to touch, though, I highly recommend sampling a few while they’re still warm – especially pressed into any lingering salt on the parchment paper.)
Make them your own
You can make these candied pecans your own by adding these flavorings:
For a dessert-y vibe, add vanilla and cinnamon. When you add the water and sugar to the skillet, add 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla. Then after you move the pecans to a parchment paper covered baking sheet, add a dash of cinnamon at the same time as the salt. (Great on vegan ice cream!)
For a spicy edge, add a pinch of cayenne at the same time as the water and sugar.
For a smoky treat, add a pinch of smoked paprika at the same time as the water and sugar.
Why are my candied pecans sticky?
At first, the candied pecans will still be a little sticky. As they dry that will subside.
Once they have cooled, you can still move them to a covered container. Any remaining stickiness will go away over the next few hours.
How to store them
Candied pecans can be stored in a covered container on the counter or in your cupboard. They don’t need to be refrigerated.
They will keep for at least two weeks. Although, I’ve never managed to keep a batch around for that long. Usually after just a few days, they are a very nice memory.
If you’re planning on keeping them a long while, they can be stored in the refrigerator for several months, or in the freezer for about a year. Once you are ready to thaw them, move them to the refrigerator.
Can you buy candied pecans?
If you don’t have the inclination to make your own glazed pecans, you can buy them in grocery stores instead. They’re usually sold with the other nuts. When I don’t have time for DIY, I buy them at Trader Joe’s.
5-minute candied pecans
- 1 cup raw pecan halves
- 2 Tablespoons sugar I use evaporated cane juice
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla optional
- Pinch salt
- Dash cinnamon optional
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside. You will use it to dry your pecans on later in the recipe.
- Bring a non-stick skillet to a medium heat. Pour the pecan halves into the dry skillet and toast them for a couple of minutes.
- Add the sugar and water to the skillet. If using, add the optional vanilla as well. The sugar will melt into the water almost immediately, quickly creating a syrup. Use a spatula to make sure all of the pecans are evenly covered in syrup. Turn off the heat for the skillet.
- Pour the glazed pecans across the parchment paper lined baking sheet and sprinkle them with a pinch of salt. If using, sprinkle with a couple dashes of the optional cinnamon, as well. Allow the pecans to fully cool before storing them in a covered container.
- Salad topping
- Non-dairy ice cream topping
- Homemade gift
- Add to a vegan cheeseboard