Candied Nuts

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5 from 85 votes
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These caramelized nuts are sweet, crunchy, and most importantly, guilt-free. They are made in a few minutes with only 5 ingredients. 

caramelized nuts.

Candied nuts are a sweet and crunchy snack that everyone loves. We grew up having tubs of this around the house and we’d often sneak a handful between meals or after dinner for that satisfyingly sweet crunch (much to my mom’s dismay!).

Now, as much as I love the packaged kind, it is loaded with corn syrup, multiple kinds of sugar, and random additives. My candied almonds and pecans are proof that making them at home is easy, so why not make a batch using all kinds of nuts? Oh, and you can also make it without the sugar. 

Table of Contents
  1.  Recipe highlights 
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make candied nuts
  4. Can I bake these?
  5. Tips to make the best caramelized nuts
  6. Storage instructions
  7. More simple snack recipes to try
  8. Frequently asked questions
  9. Candied Nuts (Stovetop or Oven) Recipe

 Recipe highlights 

My mom’s classic recipe with a healthier twist. Come the holiday season, we’d make big batches of them for edible gifts. They also make a fabulous addition in a homemade trail mix.

  • You can make it sugar-free and low-carb. The sugar-free version of these candied nuts is low-carb and perfect for people on a keto diet. 
  • Works for the stove and the oven. This recipe will give your perfectly caramelized nuts whether you use the oven method or in a skillet pan. 
  • You can use any nuts you like. This is a universal recipe that can be used for any nuts of your choice.

Ingredients needed

This recipe calls for a handful of ingredients that are pretty much pantry staples. Here is everything you will need: 

  • Nuts. You can use mixed nuts of your choice. I like using a combination of almonds, cashews, and Brazil nuts. 
  • Allulose or sugar. If you want to keep this recipe sugar-free, use allulose to caramelize the nuts. It provides crispy results without any weird aftertaste. If you don’t mind sugar, use white or brown sugar instead. 
  • Cinnamon. This warm and woody spice is a perfect addition to candied nuts. You can skip it if you want to though I highly recommend that you don’t. 
  • Vanilla extract. Another flavoring agent that provides a richer flavor for the caramelized nuts. 
  • Sea salt. Helps balance the sweetness of the candied nuts.

which sweetener is best?

For glazed nuts, using a sugar substitute that dissolves like sugar is key. While monk fruit sweetener and erythritol are both good in other recipes, they aren’t great for this recipe. Choose allulose, as it dissolves exactly like what sugar.

How to make candied nuts

Caramelizing nuts on the stove is easier and quicker than doing it in the oven. 

Start by placing a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the allulose or sugar along with the cinnamon, sea salt, and water. Mix using a wooden or silicone spatula. Keep stirring until the sweetener melts. 

Once melted, add the nuts and mix until they are fully coated in the sweet mixture. Remove the pan from the heat when the sugar starts to crystalize. 

Now, let the nuts sit for a couple of minutes and give them a stir to get rid of any large clusters. 

glazed nuts.

Can I bake these?

Yes, you can bake these nuts. But you will need to use egg whites to make the nuts caramelize in the oven whether you are using allulose or sugar. Here’s how to candy nuts in the oven. 

  1. Preheat the oven to 250F degrees. 
  2. Whip an egg white with water and add the nuts. Mix to coat the nuts in the egg white mixture. 
  3. Next, toss the nuts in a mixture of allulose (or sugar), salt, and cinnamon. 
  4. Add the nuts to a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for an hour or until they are nicely caramelized. Stir the nuts one 1-2 times while they bake. 

Tips to make the best caramelized nuts

  • Cinnamon is not the only spice you can use for glazed nuts. You can also use ground nutmeg, cardamon, and pumpkin spice. If you like candied nuts with a spicy kick, add a pinch of cayenne pepper. 
  • Swap the vanilla extract with maple extract if you enjoy the maple flavor paired with nuts. 
  • Add a splash of bourbon. The alcohol will cook off leaving behind sweet notes of caramel and vanilla. 
  • Wait for the nuts to cool before you break them up and store them away. 

Storage instructions

To store. Place candied nuts in an airtight container for 2 weeks and longer. Keep them in a cool and dry place to prevent the nuts from getting sticky. 

To freeze. Caramelized nuts also freeze well. Put them in a freezer bag, push out the excess air, and freeze for up to 2 months. 

candied nuts.

More simple snack recipes to try

Nuts are super moreish and make a fabulous snack. Here are some other ideas to add to your snack rotation!

Frequently asked questions

Are candied nuts good for you?

Nuts are a source of healthy fats. They are also low in carbs and high in minerals and vitamins. Candied nuts are unhealthy if they are loaded with lots of processed sugar. 
Sugar-free or naturally sweetened candied nuts can be a part of a healthy diet. As overeating candied nuts are easy, keep track of how much you eat. 

Why are my caramelized nuts sticky?

Candied nuts made with sugar remain sticky if you haven’t cooked them long enough. If you are using a sugar-free sweetener, you may need to leave the nuts out to dry for a few hours until they fully harden. 

Should glazed nuts be refrigerated?

You don’t have to refrigerate candied nuts. But if it’s too hot where you live and the caramelized nuts get sticky when left at room temperature, transfer them to an airtight container or bag and store them in the fridge. 

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candied nuts recipe.

Candied Nuts (Stovetop or Oven)

5 from 85 votes
These candied nuts can be made stovetop or in the oven, and come together in minutes! You can easily make it sugar free, too!
Servings: 16 servings
Prep: 1 min
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 6 mins

Ingredients  

  • 3 cups nuts I used cashews, almonds and Brazil nuts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar or allulose * see notes
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions 

  • Heat a large frying pan or deep pot on medium heat. When hot, add the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and water and mix until fully combined. Allow to heat up, stirring occasionally.
  • When the sugar (or sweetener) has completely melted, add the nuts and mix until fully incorporated. Watch over the pan and continue stirring often until most of the sugar has been coated and beginning to crystallize.
  • Remove pan from the heat and allow to sit for 1-2 minutes. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir the nuts once more to avoid overly large clusters and set on a plate or chopping board to cool completely.

Notes

For more cluster-sized portions, allow to sit for 10 minutes.
TO STORE: Place candied nuts in an airtight container for 2 weeks or longer. Keep them in a cool and dry place to prevent the nuts from getting sticky. 
TO FREEZE: Caramelized nuts also freeze well. Put them in a freezer bag, push out the excess air, and freeze for up to 2 months. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 210kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 5gFat: 14gSodium: 149mgPotassium: 164mgFiber: 3gVitamin A: 6IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 24mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 17g
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

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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Comments

  1. This is amazing, Arman! I have to try it with the sweetener that I have. It’s erythritol and a very powder. But since it’s melted first anyway I don’t think it will be a problem. I use it rarely in yogurt when I don’t have fruit with it (which is my preferred way of sweetening whenever possible). I haven’t baked with it yet though.
    I made caramelised nuts last for Christmas gifts, a sweet and a spicy version. They were a hit! I like homemade gifts, especially when they’re edible too 😉

  2. I try to avoid sweeteners as most of them irritate my tummy! Particularly sugar alcohols. 🙁

    On the other hand, normal sugar is fine for me! But I obviously try and avoid it where I can as it just makes me want more sugar. It is ridiculously addictive.

    My favourite sweetener is probably mashed banana 😉

  3. We don’t do a lot of sweets. I don’t use protein powder all that often either but if I do then I guess there might be some artificial sweetner in there. Not sure. I use honey a few times a week. I gotta say, those nuts look awesome. That means a lot coming from someone who lacks a sweet tooth 🙂

      1. Oooh yes! Make a sweet & salty mix! Do you think doing this recipe to salted nuts would work? I may try it before you get back to me.?

  4. Sometimes I forget whose blog I’m reading and take things very literally.

    Example: “For some, splenda makes them turn instantly pregnant.”

    Enter: panic.
    Then Enter “Oh yeah, Arman’s blog…bloating…got it”.

  5. I do use sweeteners in my life–both in regular stuff as well as in baking. But there are some that I really don’t care for, and that mess with my stomach. There used to be this amazing brown sugar xylitol (I think) blend that I swore by, but I can’t find it anywhere now. Usually in batch (rather than single serving) recipes, I will do my own blend of sweeteners and sugar (so that the right chemical reactions will occur). .

  6. I have a coke zero every now and then when we are out for a restaurant, but prefer to use all “real” sugar sweeteners when cooking– occasionally I’ll throw in liquid stevia into a recipe.. but not often.

  7. Caramelized nuts! Yes! This is the perfect recipe for that big bin of mixed nuts that shows up in the grocery stores here in the States during the holidays. It’s like a seriously huge box of nuts, and you just pay by the pound. Sit around the fire and crack ’em open…and then caramelize ’em up! I just used palm sugar for the first time the other day…pretty cool stuff. And now I have leftovers–to make caramelized nuts apparently! 🙂

    1. Dude, coconut palm sugar is my go to sweetener now- it works so well with recipes! I kinda want a camp fire now but may actually melt.

  8. The topic of sweeteners is so controversial, you really can’t please everyone. I love how you addressed it and this line “or how white sugar is made by the devil” had me laughing out loud! Your recipe looks delicious and these really would be great holiday gift!

  9. Artificial sweeteners & stevia make me pukey. I just can’t tolerate the flavour/after taste. My go-tos for baking are coconut sugar or maple syrup!

    Sometimes I just like to drink maple syrup. It’s a Canadian thing.

  10. I think it is important to try and not get hung up on things like this. At the end of the day, I think there is probably “research” saying everything is bad for you in some way.
    I try to stay away from aspartame just because it makes me so bloated.

  11. Staying away from splenda as instant pregnancy is not on my to do list for 2014. Thanks for the tip.
    In other news, I recognised your fingers on pinterest the other day. It was weird.
    Pinning and stumbling 😀

  12. Arman thIs is the perfect gift idea! My step father is diabetic and I bet he would love these! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Liquid sweeteners like honey and maple syrup are my favorites, but coconut sugar rocks for baking. I have yet to experiment more with stevia, but I use that in my plain Greek yogurt sometimes. Never used Norbu before though!
    I dare you to swap these with the real Nuts 4 Nuts in NYC and see if people notice.

  14. For some reason after consuming Natvia/ Norbu I get reallllly thirsty- followed my diarrhea and bloating : (! Looks like it’s regular ol sugar for me – usually in tea or gelato. I would like to try this recipe though, probably subbing the natvia for coconut sugar. Have you used molasses, golden syrup or treacle in baking before? A must in anzac biscuits and gingerbread men in my opinion! : D

    1. Definitely try it with coconut sugar- I love the distinct flavour that gives (My first batch was made with it :))

      I have several molasses recipes coming up 😀