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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
More delicious vegan recipes to try
Watch how to make it
Candied Pecan Recipe
- 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.
- 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.
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