How To Make Candied Nuts

One of the number one questions I get from friends is how to make candied nuts for salads, etc.

I use a basic recipe that I found in the red and white Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook–the one like your mom and my mom have.

This recipe is really easy–but you have to make sure you can give it your complete attention. And that means not answering the phone and ignoring any crying children–but only for a few minutes.

Candied Nutsfrom the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

2 cups whole nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. 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.


Salad topping–
Mixed Greens Salad with Strawberries and Avocados
Spinach Salad with Creamy Apple Poppyseed Dressing
Spinach Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Ice cream topping
Addition to cookies

The best way to chop the nuts is with a serrated knife.

Store in an airtight container or zipper lock bag for about 2 weeks.

30 Responses to “How To Make Candied Nuts”

  1. Jenn March 24, 2008 at 3:12 pm #

    Those look so good! I will have to try them on one of your salads.

  2. love.boxes March 24, 2008 at 3:35 pm #

    Maybe I can do this one. I actually have all the ingred. including the parchment! Amazing. :)

  3. Jessica March 24, 2008 at 4:00 pm #

    I love these things!

  4. Kristin March 24, 2008 at 6:24 pm #

    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?

  5. Steph March 24, 2008 at 6:52 pm #


    that’s the first thing that came to my mind, ha.

  6. Cafe Johnsonia March 24, 2008 at 7:16 pm #

    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.

  7. compulsive writer March 25, 2008 at 12:37 am #

    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!

  8. Kevin March 25, 2008 at 1:52 am #

    Candied nuts are simple and good! They are good as a snack or on salads or desserts etc.

  9. liz March 25, 2008 at 4:45 am #

    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!

  10. Kristin March 25, 2008 at 6:16 pm #

    Now you’ve got me excited! I’ll be waiting patiently for you to post that recipe:)

  11. rachel trigueiro September 21, 2008 at 12:16 am #

    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 :)

  12. Ingrid February 4, 2009 at 7:01 pm #

    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! :-(

    Thanks, again!

  13. Anonymous August 9, 2009 at 4:56 am #

    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!

    Thanks :)


  14. Cafe Johnsonia August 9, 2009 at 2:15 pm #

    Kim–did you save me any of that salad?! Sounds so yummy.

  15. Anonymous August 9, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    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.

  16. Cafe Johnsonia August 9, 2009 at 6:44 pm #

    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. :)

  17. Kathleen August 21, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    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!

  18. Anonymous January 12, 2012 at 2:18 am #

    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 :-)

  19. Anonymous March 25, 2012 at 12:25 am #

    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.

  20. Anonymous July 28, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    Excellent!!’ and so very very easy!! I will do these again and again and again.

  21. Mit April 7, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    So easy and delicious.
    I now love candied walnuts!

  22. Anonymous April 25, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    Thanks, simple but delicious, never made them with vanilla extract before but a nice addition. thanks.

  23. MyKidsEatSquid September 17, 2013 at 12:52 am #

    Luv candied nuts on salad. I like to throw a little rosemary and cayenne pepper in at the very end.

  24. Ana Fernandez October 8, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    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!

  25. Connie March 10, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    Thank you I don’t have the cook book – the recipe was easy and quite tasty!!!

    • Lindsey Johnson March 10, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

      So glad you liked it, Connie! It’s still one of my favorite recipes after all these years. :)


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