5 Minute Perfect Caramelized Nuts

Just 4 simple ingredients are all you need to make these delectable candied nuts!

These Candied Nuts take just 5 minutes to make! Use any nuts you’d like — pecans, walnuts, cashews, you name it. Great for holiday gifting!

Photos updated 11/10/22 – same great recipe!

Caramelized nuts in a pan coated in butter and sugar

Easy Candied Nuts Recipe

You may want to double this “recipe” (quotations because I can barely call it a recipe its so easy!) for these 5-Minute Caramelized Nuts because you won’t be able to resist their caramelized crunch as they beg to be eaten sprawled out unprotected on parchment paper as they cool.  

But if they make it past the tantalizing cooling phase, then these caramelized nuts are the cherry on top of salads (like my Apple Salad with Candied Walnuts), vegetables (like my Dijon Maple Green Beans), popcorn, desserts, and even stir fries (like my Skinny Caramelized Cashew Chicken Stir Fry).  They just make everything better.  And better is always better.

I’ve tried many recipes to caramelize nuts and this is by far the easiest and most delicious, which really makes these nuts, well, perfect!

caramelized nuts for salads in a nonstick pan coating in butter and sugar

Candied Nuts Ingredients

This recipe can be used to make caramelized walnuts, caramelized pecans, caramelized cashews — whatever your heart desires! Here’s what you’ll need to make the candied nuts:

  • Nuts: Use any nuts you like!
  • Granulated sugar: I prefer using granulated sugar because it caramelizes so easily.
  • Cinnamon: Totally optional, but highly recommend.
  • Butter: Salted or unsalted will work. Just be sure to use real butter.

How to Make Candied Nuts

  • Step 1: Combine. Add the nuts, butter and sugar to a nonstick pan.
Showing how to make candied Nuts  (caramelize nuts) by combining pecans, butter and sugar in a nonstick pan
  • Step 2: Cook. Stir constantly as the butter and sugar melt (so it doesn’t burn). At first the sugar with clump, and then turn loose and sandy and then start to cling to the nuts. Finally, the white granules will melt into a caramel-like coating. And you have Perfect Caramelized Nuts in 5 minutes.  Wasn’t that easy?!
Showing how to make candied Nuts (caramelize nuts) in a pan with butter by mixing the butter, nuts and sugar in a pan.
Showing how to make caramelized (candied Nuts) in a pan with butter with mixing the butter and sugar in a pan.
  • Step 3: Cool. Lastly, transfer your nuts to parchment paper to cool and try to resist eating them all — or don’t because you can have another batch in just 5 minutes.
showing how to make caramelized nuts by cooling on parchment paper

Tips for Making Candied Nuts

  • Don’t chop the nuts first because they will burn before the sugar and butter can create the candied coating.
  • Be patient and keep cooking until all of the sugar has melted.
  • I’ve only made this recipe using granulated sugar, but I’ve seen other recipes call for brown sugar so you can likely use either.
  • If your nuts don’t harden fully, that means the sugar wasn’t cooked long enough and didn’t caramelize. Cook the nuts longer next time!

Caramelized Nuts Variations to Try

  • Add some heat: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to add a kick of spicy flavor.
  • Add some salt: Sprinkle a little sea salt or kosher salt over the caramelized nuts to make them salty-sweet.
  • Add different spices: This recipe calls for cinnamon, but I’m sure you could add other warming spices (cardamom, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, etc.).

How Long Do Candied Nuts Last?

If stored at room temperature in an airtight container, these candied nuts should last up to 2 weeks.

How to Serve Candied Nuts

Whether you made caramelized pecans, caramelized walnuts, or another kind of candied nut, there are so many ways you can enjoy them! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

More Easy Nut Recipes:

up close of making caramelized nuts (candied nuts) showing the sugar coating

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5 Minute Perfect Caramelized Nuts

These Candied Nuts take just minutes to make! Use any nuts you'd like — pecans, walnuts, cashews, you name it. Great for holiday gifting!
Total Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole raw nuts
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Instructions

  • Add nuts, sugar, and butter to a large nonstick skillet and heat over medium heat. Stir constantly with a rubber heat-proof spatula until the sugar melts into the butter and completely coats the nuts, turning the heat down as needed, approximately 5-7 minutes. The sugar will look grainy until the melting/liquifying process happens at the very end.
  • Immediately transfer nuts to parchment paper and separate using 2 forks OR let the nuts harden together and break them apart with your fingers once cooled. Before cooling, I like to sprinkle with cracked sea salt. The nuts and coating will harden in 5-7 minutes. Chop the nuts if desired.

Notes

*If using chopped nuts, don’t chop them too small or they will burn.

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55 Comments

  1. Helen Dehner says

    Love, love these candied nuts!! Thank you.

    • Jen says

      I’m so glad, thanks Helen!

  2. Margaret says

    The sugar never melted. This recipe is garbage

    • Jen says

      It’s impossible for it not to melt – you just needed to cook it longer. Next time you can try increasing the heat.

  3. Barbara Roe says

    I made the recipe using almonds and sea salt, no cinnamon. My husband began sampling right away not realizing they were for a gift package. Ha ha.

    • Jen says

      LOL! Sounds delicious! Love when they’re good enough to eat from the counter!

  4. Barb Dodson says

    Excellent recipe!

  5. Sherrie says

    The best and easiest candied pecans ever! I followed your instructions to a tee. Love the apple salad, too! Thanks Jen!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much, Sherrie! I am so happy you are loving my recipes!

  6. make money online says

    Thank you for sharing indeed great looking !

  7. Angela says

    I have an old stove so I just turned up the heat a bit and they turned out great!

    • Jen says

      Happy to hear this recipe was a success! Thanks, Angela!

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