Candied Pecan Recipe


5 from 199 votes
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Hands down, these are the BEST vegan candied pecans that happen to be gluten free! Made with just 3 main ingredients, they are crispy, sweet, and PERFECT for the holiday season!

Easy candied pecans made in a skillet and completely refined sugar free and dairy free. Simple, delicious, and ready in 10 minutes.

vegan candied pecans

Candied Pecans

When it comes to edible holiday gifts, I love making peppermint bark, English toffee, and these simple candied pecans. 

If I had a choice between buying my friends and family physical gifts or making something edible for them, I’d always go with the latter. Although with that said, I’m already pawning off many of my desserts and baked goods to them, so I’d probably still have to get them a non-edible gift, or else they will think I am cheap! While I do the usual cookies and tarts, I’ve started also making candied pecans! 

Now, these candied pecans aren’t like your traditional candied nuts! They are made in a skillet instead of the oven and they also contain NO egg to bind it. This is perfect as many of my friends follow a vegan and gluten free diet, and this ticks both those boxes.

These candied pecans are crispy, crunchy, and with an almost toffee-like texture. They are sweet, a little salty, and have notes of vanilla throughout. 

I have already made a few sample batches and I cannot stop eating them- They are SO addictive that you’ll definitely need to share them around or they won’t even make it to Christmas!

How to make candied pecans

The Ingredients

  • Pecans– Use a mix of whole and halved pecans. Be sure to use unsalted and unsweetened pecans. 
  • Sugar of choice– White sugar works best, but brown sugar and coconut sugar can also be used. 
  • Water– Replaces the need for any egg white or similar, by creating a mock syrup with the sugar. In turn, this crystalizes over the nuts. 
  • Vanilla extract– Gives a light vanilla flavor.
  • Salt– Perfect to balance out the sweetness, and fabulous if you love the sweet and salty combination. 
  • Cinnamon– Optional, but gives some lovely spice. 

The Instructions

Start by heating up a large non-stick pan or skillet on medium heat. When hot, add the sugar, water, and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Allow it all to heat up, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pecans and stir regularly, and ensure all the pecans are coated in it. Continue stirring regularly, until the sugar mixture begins to crystalize onto the nuts. 

Remove from the heat and let the pecans cool in the pan for 3-4 minutes. After that, use a rubber spatula to break them all apart, before transferring to a lined baking sheet to cool completely.

gluten free candied pecans

Can I bake these in the oven? 

If you’d like to bake these instead of pan fry them, you CAN do that, with just a few tweakls.

Whisk all the ingredients together, before adding in the pecans. Place in a single layer on a lined baking sheet and bake at 120/250F for around an hour, stirring the pecans every 15 minutes. 

Tips to make the best stovetop candied pecans

  • Be patient when simmering the pecans with the sugar mixture. It takes time for it to begin to crystalize. Be sure to be stirring regularly throughout.
  • If you find your sugar isn’t sticking to the pecans, re-dip them in some sugar once you’ve removed them from the heat. 
  • Feel free to change up the flavors by adding some pumpkin pie spice or gingerbread spice to it. 
  • These pecans would make a fabulous addition to some homemade trail mix

Can I make this sugar free? 

For this recipe, I recommend not using a sugar free alternative.

If you’d like sugar free pecans, try these keto candied pecans

Storing and freezing skillet candied pecans

  • To store: Candied pecans can be stored at room temperature, in a sealed container, for up to 4 weeks. You can refrigerate them if you’d like them to keep longer. 
  • To freeze: Place pecans in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. 
candied pecans recipe

More delicious vegan recipes to try

Watch how to make it

skillet pecans

Candied Pecan Recipe

5 from 199 votes
Easy stovetop candied pecans made with just 4 simple ingredients! Crispy, crunchy, and perfectly sweet, they make a fabulous vegan and gluten free snack!
Servings: 16 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 10 minutes


  • 3 cups pecans unsalted pecan halves
  • 1 cup sugar white, brown, or coconut
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon optional


  • Heat a large frying pan or skillet pan on medium heat. When hot, add the sugar, water, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon, if using it, and mix until fully combined. Allow to heat up, stirring occasionally.
  • When the sugar has completely dissolved, add the raw, unsalted pecans. Watch over the pan and continue stirring often until most of the sugar mixture has been coated and beginning to crystallize.
  • Remove pan from the heat and allow to sit for 1-2 minutes, before using a wooden spoon to stir almonds together to avoid immediate, overlarge clusters forming. Allow to cool completely before breaking up properly.

Oven option

  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Follow directions as above then spread out pecan halves on a single flat layer. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once pecans have just begun to crystallize, remove and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, before stirring once again to avoid immediate overlarge clusters forming. Allow to cool completely, before coating in an extra tablespoon or two of sugar.


TO STORE: Candied pecans can be stored at room temperature, in a sealed container, for up to 4 weeks. You can refrigerate them if you’d like them to keep longer. 
TO FREEZE: Place pecans in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. 


Serving: 1servingCalories: 178kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 2gFat: 13gSodium: 19mgPotassium: 76mgFiber: 2gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 10IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 15mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 13g
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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5 from 199 votes (194 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    I found this recipe a couple of years ago while searching the world wide web for a candied pecan recipe that was vegan. Since then, I make them every year for holiday treat boxes I make and they are by far the most popular & requested item every year. I have several people that I make them for throughout the year because the request them.

  2. 5 stars
    We tried this with mixed nuts, with pecans, with cashews, and all turned out great! We DID add the cinnamon to all, and I’m glad we did. This seemed much easier – and great for our vegan friends! – than the normal egg wash/oven method, so thanks for posting. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I found this recipe a couple of years ago when looking for ideas for holiday treat boxes I make for about 40-45 coworkers, friends, and clients of my job. This is the number one requested recipe. Since the first year these are now a staple in the boxes and will remain that way for many years to come.

  4. 5 stars
    My son who is vegan does not like ot eat a lot of sweets. These are the only ones he regularly asks me to make for him. Thanks for giving ma a treat to give him!

  5. Thanks so much. I thought so but needed the reassurance. Again, thank you for the quick reply. Can’t wait to make this. looks so Good.

  6. I’ve made other holiday pecan recipes. It’s always a disaster. they burn quickly. so I’m excited to try this recipe. Which method is the preferred in your opinion. Stove top or oven. I couldn’t bear another waste of good pecans. Thank you