Perfect 5 Minute Glazed 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


 

Irresistible 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 Caramelized 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 Pecans

  • 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.).

Storing Candied Pecans

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

Suggestions for serving 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

More Favorites from Carlsbad Cravings

5 Minute Glazed 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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75 Comments

    • Jen says

      Thanks Sophia, it comes in so handy!

    • Jen says

      Sometimes simple and easy is the best! Thanks Serene!

  1. Jordan@the2seasons says

    This is great and we will be featuring it and your blog tomorrow for our Saturday Selections. Have a great weekend.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Jordan, I really appreciate it!

  2. Lisa says

    The recipe was so easy, but the nuts didn’t harden! The coating stayed gooey and soft. Hmmmm, wonder what I did wrong??

    • Jen says

      Hi Lisa, the nuts should definitely harden. It sounds like you need to cook your nuts a little longer – maybe closer to 7 minutes – in order for the sugars to fully caramelize. When the nuts are done, there should still be some liquid like sugar in the pan, but most of it should be gone. Hope this helps!

  3. Jill says

    Hello. I came across this recipe through Pinterest & made them 2 nights ago. Love love love them. I did add another tablespoon of butter while cooking them as the sugar was not blending/melting. Turned out great & now need to make more. Thank you!

    • Jen says

      Hi Jill, I’m glad your nuts turned out with the addition of more butter! Your pan might have required a little higher heat or more time for them to melt. So glad you enjoyed them!

  4. Ana says

    Can I use brown sugar instead of white? Would it turn out the same?

    • Jen says

      Hi Ana, I haven’t tried it personally myself but have seen recipes using brown sugar so I am sure it would be delicious!

  5. Allie says

    Hi Jen, I will give this a try. I am looking for a glazed walnut. I will compare this recipe with another recipe I have saved using maple syrup and see if I can find what I’m looking for. There is a restaurant here in Redding that does glazed walnuts to perfection…trying to find their secret.

    Thank you for your great recipes!

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome Allie! I hope you can find what you are looking for!

  6. Taty says

    They taste perfect))) Thank you very much. I have also tried many recepies already which were more complicated.
    I just have one question, how did you, guys separate the nuts from each other. I did it with hands, was no fun at all

    • Jen says

      Hi Taty, I separate mine with my hands after they are already dry but if you work very quickly, then you can separate them immediately after you pour them on the wax paper. If you are going to be breaking them anyway, then I will also use a mallet and then just crush them to break them apart – that is definitely the easiest.

  7. J says

    These are delicious! My son eats them as an after dinner snack. I don’t care to separate them, nor do I mind clumps of caramelized sugar on some of them. That is the beauty of home cooking … we devour them regardless.

    • Jen says

      Awesome! I am so happy they are such a hit and even easier without separating!

  8. Mandy says

    Thank you. This recipe worked out perfectly.
    I just kept striing until the sigar became a liquid.
    Poured out onto cookie tray and cooled.
    First time making caramelized nuts and came out 100%

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome Mandy! I’m so pleased your first experience making caramelized nuts was a success!

  9. Christina says

    Hi I have tried this recipe twice now but each time the sugar just makes clumps and does not cover the Brazil nuts. Any idea what I may be doing wrong? Regards Christina

    • Jen says

      Hi Christina, it sounds like you need to cook a littler longer. The sugar clumps first and then it completely melts. Good luck!

  10. Rachel says

    This recipe lives up to the name. Usually when I see caramelized nuts in recipes I skip over it thanks to the hassle of making them, but this was on point. It does require some attention (not a set-it-and-forget-it affair) but not difficult at all. I made a half recipe for the salad I was making as I don’t love a bunch of nuts, but this was very nice. Highly recommend.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Rachel, I’m so pleased you found this recipe easy and delicious. Win-win!

    • Joie says

      I see that you recommend adding cinnamon, but I do not see it listed in the recipe. How much cinnamon do you recommend adding?

      • Jen says

        Hi Joie, it really is personal preference and depends on how you are serving them. I would use anywhere from a pinch to 1/4 teaspoon. Enjoy!

  11. pwwheels says

    I tried the 5 min caramelized pecans. They tasted great, but I measured right but they were more like carmel popcorn, clumped together.

    • Jen says

      To avoid clumping, try and spread the out when you add them to the parchment paper – otherwise they break apart great!

  12. Molly says

    Doubled the recipe like suggested. Used Monk-fruit sweetener to cut down on the calories and glycemic index. I waited until I could almost smell the caramel coming from the sugar. They were quite delicious and I didn’t feel bad about taking them to my mother’s house since she is a diabetic (I was making your green bean recipe).

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for commenting Molly, I’m so pleased it worked with monk-fruit sweetener! I’m sure other readers will find that helpful!

  13. Fahmida says

    Hi Jen. This is Fahmida from India. This is the first time I have tried caramelized nuts. Came out perfect. Thank you. ( I roasted my whole almonds , cashews and pistas for a few minutes and then added them ).

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Fahmida, I’m so pleased these were a winner!

  14. Kimberly says

    Do you use raw nuts or roasted nuts?

  15. Michelle says

    Just wondering if anyone has had luck replacing the nuts with seeds? My mother and I have made the green bean recipe topped with caramelized nuts for several years now and they are always a fan favorite! Unfortunately, my toddler is allergic to tree nuts and we no longer allow nuts in the house (except for peanuts). I know the flavor profile will change, but was curious how others with allergies have tweaked it…thanks in advance!

    • Jen says

      Hi Michelle, I’m guessing it would work well with nuts, but I think they would take less time to get toasty, so I would give the butter/sugar a head start and then add the nuts. Good luck!

  16. Tara says

    I was completely skeptical about these turning out. But I was so wrong to not believe you. I made these for the apple walnut salad and am currently eating all the unused walnuts at 10pm because I can’t stop eating them. Thank you for a great recipe.

    • Jen says

      LOL! They are so easy, it’s hard to believe how incredible they’ll be! I use them for everything! So glad you liked them!

  17. Tanya says

    Exactly as promised! I set a timer for 7 minutes and the sugar liquified right near the end. I cracked some sea salt over it on the parchment. Cooled & hardened in minutes. Perfection.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Tanya, I’m so pleased they were picture perfect!

  18. G says

    I used sorf brown sugar and it worked great, I added maple syrup and a sprinkling of salt once cooked, really yummy

    • Jen says

      Love those additions – yum!

  19. Helen Dehner says

    Love, love these candied nuts!! Thank you.

    • Jen says

      I’m so glad, thanks Helen!

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. Barb Dodson says

    Excellent recipe!

  23. 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!

      • Melva says

        I will try these tomorrow as a tryout for Christmas goodies

        • Jen says

          Hi Melva! What a great idea, I hope the tryout goes well!

  24. make money online says

    Thank you for sharing indeed great looking !

  25. 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!

  26. Bouncedancer says

    I wonder if this would work just mixing the ingredients together without cooking and using it as a topping for a cake that’s baking in the oven — would the topping caramelize? Have you tried it?

    • Jen says

      I haven’t tried it, but it could work! Happy experimenting:)

  27. Heather says

    Are you supposed to melt sugar and butter before you add the nuts? I added them all together, and the sugar stuck in the groove in the nuts and was harder and took longer to melt. Wondering if I did it wrong.

    • Jen says

      You did it right! Just keep cooking until the sugar and butter melt. If it is taking really long, then try turning up the heat.

  28. Bouncedancer says

    Outrageous! I made glazed pumpkin seeds (GoRaw brand, which I keep in my freezer) for a cake topping, and now I’m gonna have to make another batch, because I can’t resist them and there won’t be much left by the time the cake is ready. I used ghee instead of butter; the recipe worked perfectly. The result is outstanding (In case I didn’t make that clear).

    • Jen says

      Haha I am so glad they were so irresistible! I am sure your cake is going to be amazing!!

  29. Debbie says

    These came out perfect! I candied a batch of pecans, then almonds…I’m making a baked Brie with pumpkin butter and candied nuts for a dinner party. Can’t wait to try it all together!

    • Jen says

      I want to be at that dinner party! Sounds delicious!

    • Jen says

      It depends on how “cinnamon-y” you would like them 😉 I would do 1/4-1/2 teaspoon.

      • Connie says

        Awesome. Thx! Making these today for friends, family & office! Will be nice compliment to my mom’s recipe for “peppery pecans”!

        • Jen says

          That is a great duo! I hope they turn out beautifully!

  30. Lola says

    Found a long forgotten unopened kilo bag of pecans in my kitchen when I was hunting for snacks and decided to try this out. Well now it’s near 9:30pm and I have a sugar rush because I haven’t been able to stop eating them

    • Jen says

      They really are irresistible! I’m so glad that you decided to give them a try!

  31. Me says

    Darn. I used brown sugar, but the sugar moved very quickly (within seconds) from the caramelised liquid stage to burnt brown! I used whole walnuts and also some pine nuts, which possibly a little small.

    • Jen says

      I’m sorry! You have to use granulated sugar for this recipe.

  32. Melissa says

    Where do you put in the spice? Is it like when you’re cooking it at the end? I don’t see where the cinnamon added.

    • Jen says

      It’s totally optional, but feel free to add a sprinkle at the beginning with the rest of the ingredients. Hope you enjoy!