One of the number one questions I get from friends is how to make candied nuts for salads. I confess that candied nuts are one of the reasons I am the salad lover I am. The sweet, salty crunch of candied nuts is irresistible nestled among leafy greens, and coupled with cheese, fruit, and veggies. Mmm…
The recipe I’ve used for years is from a beloved cookbook that I’m pretty sure your mom has on her shelf. My mom does. You might also. I have several editions of this book on my shelf: the ubiquitous red and white Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. I learned to cook from that book. So many good memories! When I learned how to make candied nuts, it was a very good day. And it’s easier than you might think!
Even though this recipe is incredibly simple, you do have to give it your complete attention. And that means not answering the phone and ignoring any crying children – but only for a few minutes. ;) It really only does take about 10 minutes, tops, from beginning to end.
My default is always pecans because I love their maple flavor and tender texture. Plus they taste fantastic toasted. But I’ve also made this recipe with almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and walnuts. You could even use sliced almonds. (I’m still partial to pecans though. Ha!)
Ice cream topping
Add-in for cookies, brownies, ice cream, cakes, cake filling, or decorating
Mixed Greens Salad with Strawberries and Avocados
Spinach Salad with Creamy Apple Poppyseed Dressing
Spinach Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
Mixed Greens with Poppyseed Dressing
For the holidays, I really love this recipe for Orange Spiced Nuts. It’s a little more involved than these candied nuts, but it’s totally worth it and it makes a ton!Print
How To Make Candied Nuts
The classic, easy recipe for how to make candied nuts from the original Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.
- Total Time: 15 mins
- Yield: 2 cups 1x
- 2 cups whole nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Place a piece of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on a flat surface or baking sheet. (DO NOT USE WAXED PAPER!!! If you don’t have parchment or silicone, you can use a baking sheet coated with non-stick cooking spray.)
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter and add the sugar and nuts.
- Cook while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts and turns a golden brown. (You may still see some sugar crystals that haven’t melted–it’s okay.)
- Remove pan from heat and add vanilla extract. (It will bubble up.) Stir vigorously.
- Turn the hot nuts out onto the prepared surface. Spread nuts out evenly. Cool completely before using or eating.
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Category: Candy
HOW TO PHOTOS + TIPS
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter, then add the sugar and nuts.
Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sugar melts and turns golden brown, or a medium dark amber. You may still see some sugar crystals that haven’t melted – it’s okay.
Remove pan from heat and add vanilla extract. (It will bubble up.) Stir vigorously.
Turn the hot nuts out onto the prepared surface – remember NOT waxed paper. Parchment or silicone baking mats are the preferred choice, but an oiled baking sheet works too.
Spread nuts out evenly. Cool completely before using or eating. Store in an airtight container or zipper lock bag for about 2 weeks.
Pro tip: the best way to chop the nuts is with a serrated knife.
Those look so good! I will have to try them on one of your salads.
Maybe I can do this one. I actually have all the ingred. including the parchment! Amazing. :)
They look absolutely delicious. And I think would be outstanding on a salad!
I love these things!
I make these all the time for salads, snacking, etc. What I really want to be able to make are the nuts like they sell in cones at Central Park. They are candied, but seem to have a thicker coating around the outside. Any ideas?
YUM YUM YUM.
that’s the first thing that came to my mind, ha.
Glad to see I’m not the only one who LOVES these.
Kristin–YES! I do have ideas about those nuts. I have a recipe that mimics them exactly. I made some for that baby shower I catered awhile back. I forgot that I never posted the recipe! I’ll try to get it up soon for you.
Did you ever post the Central Park nut recipe you mentioned? I’d like to have it.
Thanks–I’ve been wanting a recipe for these (oddly enough, I have the checkered cookbook–it’s always been a favorite–and never even thought to look for it there). And I second Kristen’s wish for the other nuts as well. Yum!
Candied nuts are simple and good! They are good as a snack or on salads or desserts etc.
yes! I was so thinking of you and hoping you would do a post like this so I could link to you from the gf blog and have someone else show the people how to do it!
Now you’ve got me excited! I’ll be waiting patiently for you to post that recipe:)
Thank you SO much for this recipe!! It was so incredibly easy and my kitchen smells so good! I am so glad you provided pictures because it made it much easier to follow and I didn’t second guess myself. Thanks again! I will be back for more :)
Alright!!! Thanks for the email & link! It’s helpful to see the photos. I’m making a batch tonight as I wouldn’t let the kids it any of the ones I made the other day for my cake that went wrong! :-(
INgrid, Where can I find the recipe for the the nuts? I would live to have it. THank you in advance, just in case. Jewel
I’m impressed! Easy peasy.
I never realized how easy these would be to make. Thank you for sharing this recipe! Although, I fear that I might eat too many of these now.
I just came back from a BBQ where I brought a salad with mixed greens, strawberries, blueberries, sweet onion, dried apricot, red pepper, feta, and of course some candied nuts (pecans). SO YUMMMMY YUMMY YUMMMY!
Kim–did you save me any of that salad?! Sounds so yummy.
Sorry, none left. When my husband and I came home from the BBQ we porked up the left over salad right away… thanks to your nut recipe.
I’m wondering: have you ever tried adding some spice to this recipe? I’m thinking either cinnamon or maybe something spicy like cayenne. I just thought I’d ask before I try it and ruin a batch.
YES. Do it. You will love them. We make a huge batch of these and usually end up eating them out of hand rather than in salads. They just don’t last long enough to get the salad out of the fridge. :)
I looked at several recipes, and this sounds like the best one. These are to put on top of a maple layer cake – Some will be chopped and added to the batter as well. Fingers crossed!
Wonderful!!! my husband requests them all of the time. I like them in salads; however my husband loves them on his ice cream or by hand. Thank you for posting this recipe :-)
I used this recipe with cannabis butter and made some delicious almonds that were all natural, and even had medicinal benefits as well! But I couldn’t stop eating them, so I don’t know how healthy that was.
Excellent!!’ and so very very easy!! I will do these again and again and again.
So easy and delicious.
I now love candied walnuts!
Thanks, simple but delicious, never made them with vanilla extract before but a nice addition. thanks.
Luv candied nuts on salad. I like to throw a little rosemary and cayenne pepper in at the very end.
Yum! This looks super delicious, I LOVE candied nuts and some time I dip them in chocolate too for an over the top weekend dessert. Also I have a major crush in your blog. Keep up!
Thank you I don’t have the cook book – the recipe was easy and quite tasty!!!
So glad you liked it, Connie! It’s still one of my favorite recipes after all these years. :)
I’m impressed! Easy peasy.