Sweet and Spicy Candied Pecans

Making candied pecans
Photo by Cathy Scola / Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
232 Calories
21g Fat
12g Carbs
3g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 232
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 438mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Protein 3g
Calcium 30mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sweet and spicy candied pecans are delicious and this is a wonderful all-purpose candied nut recipe for you to make at home. Adapted from David Lebovitz's Pretzel & Nut Mix, the pecans have a crunchy mahogany coating of sugar and spice.

You can use the pecans in candies and desserts and they are equally good when topping salads or savory dishes. They're also perfect on their own when enjoyed as a snack or served as at a party.


  • 2 cups pecans (pieces or halves)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar (dark)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (ground)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (ground)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt (kosher)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

  3. Spread the pecans on the baking sheet and toast them in the oven until dark and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir every 3 or 4 minutes.

  4. While the pecans are toasting, prepare the coating mixture. Microwave the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl until melted. Stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne.

  5. Once the pecans are fragrant, remove them from the oven and pour the hot nuts into the coating mixture. Be careful as it might splutter and hiss. Stir until the nuts are evenly coated, and pour them back onto the foil-lined baking sheet, spreading them out into an even layer.

  6. Bake for another 10 minutes, stirring after every 3 to 4 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the nuts from the oven and allow them to cool and crisp up on the baking sheet.

  7. Once cool, break the nuts apart or chop them coarsely.

  8. Use them in your favorite recipe or simply serve and enjoy!


  • If you are very sensitive to spices, you might want to reduce the cayenne. On the other hand, if you’re a pepper enthusiast, feel free to increase it. The amount as written gives the nuts a subtle but noticeable “kick."

  • If you don't have a microwave, you can melt the butter in a saucepan on the stove. Remove it from the heat before adding and stirring in the brown sugar and spices.

  • You can use other nuts in place of the pecans. Yet, pecans are preferred because their sweet taste goes perfectly with this slightly spicy, slightly savory preparation.

  • Store the sweet and spicy pecans in an airtight container at room temperature. They will retain their flavor and stay good up to a week.


  • Looking for just a candied pecan? Forget the spices and make your own candied nuts. The recipe adds corn syrup, baking soda, and vanilla to the butter and brown sugar.

  • Swedish nuts are another fun alternative that kids love. This sweet, crunchy recipe coats pecans with a mixture of egg whites, cinnamon, vanilla, butter, and sugar.

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