Pecans are a treat on their own, but when you slow-roast the nuts with butter and kosher or sea salt, they go from tasty to heavenly. Although this recipe calls for the nuts to roast for an hour, the majority of the time is completely hands-off — meaning you can get other tasks done while it cooks.
Slow-roasted buttered pecans make for a great snack, but they're also useful in other recipes. For example, you can add the roasted nuts to your morning oatmeal, stir them into a rice pilaf, or bake them into brownies. The roasting gives the pecans a deep, complex flavor that can't be replicated.
- 1 pound pecan halves, or about 3 to 4 cups
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- Kosher or sea salt to taste
Heat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and place pan on center rack of the oven. Roast in the preheated oven, stirring and occasionally turning until the pecans are lightly browned and aromatic, or about 60 minutes.
Stir in the butter until pecans are coated and all of the butter has melted. Return the pan to the oven and roast for about 10 minutes longer.
Salt lightly to taste while pecans are still hot. Serve warm or cooled. Store roasted pecans in a tightly sealed container.
- Season with a light sprinkling of cinnamon-sugar, a seasoned salt blend, or Cajun or Creole seasoning to taste.
- If you're using the pecans as a snack, you can toss them in a small amount of neutral-tasting oil, such as grapeseed oil, before roasting. This increases the crunch factor of the nuts. However, if you plan to use the roasted nuts in an application such as baking, cook the nuts without any oil — using them in baking will increase the oiliness of the recipe and ruin the final product.
- The more nuts you have on the pan, the longer they will take to roast. Consider that when loading up the baking sheet.
- You can use this same technique with almond, Brazil nuts, and other types of nuts. Smaller nuts, such as hazelnuts, will roast faster than bigger nuts, like Brazil nuts, so keep an eye on how quickly they're browning to avoid burning the nuts.
- To make inexpensive but delicious holiday gifts, scoop 3/4 cup of the slow-roasted buttered nuts into a festive gift bag and tie it up with ribbon. Hand them out to neighbors, teachers, mailmen, and others. Double-check that there are no nut allergies in the family before giving them a bag.
- Microwave-roasted pecans: Put the pecans in a microwave-safe baking dish with the butter and microwave on high for about 3 minutes. Turn and stir them occasionally.
- Skillet-toasted pecans: If you only need a small batch of nuts, add a cup to a skillet that's been preheated over high heat. Toast the nuts in the pan, stirring frequently to avoid burned spots. Remove from heat and add the butter, letting it melt and tossing to coat the nuts, and the salt.
- High-heat variation: Roast the nuts in a 350 degree F oven for a speedier preparation. The flavor won't be as complex, but they will still be tasty.