These caramelized nuts are sweet, crunchy, and most importantly, guilt-free. They are made in a few minutes with only 5 ingredients.
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
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.
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.
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.
- Preheat the oven to 250F degrees.
- Whip an egg white with water and add the nuts. Mix to coat the nuts in the egg white mixture.
- Next, toss the nuts in a mixture of allulose (or sugar), salt, and cinnamon.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Candied Nuts (Stovetop or Oven)
- 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
- 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.
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Woohoo! So happy to see another carmelized nut recipe with stevia. I’ve played around with it a bit myself and I’ve noticed that stevia works just fine. 🙂 If I had to pick a sweetener team, I’d be Team Honey all the way. Because not only is it one of my favorite sweeteners but it’s also what I call my boyfriend, friends, random kind stranger…etc. Being born a southern American girl makes “honey” pretty much a staple nickname to us around here.
Haha, I love that story- Honey Kaylin.
So excited to try these for the holidays – the vanilla seems like its a great touch! Will probably use coconut sugar. Thanks!
Thanks buddy! the first batch I used coconut sugar and it worked a treat!
I’m a part of the team in the middle…. I use some white sugar in my baking but I’m also a huuuuuge fan of subbing maple syrup/honey when I can. YAY NUTS LOVE NUTS hehehh
stop saying nuts. Nuts.
Wow, very nice idea of sugar free caramelized nuts.
Thanks, Sadhna! 🙂
OMG I love caramelised nuts. They are selling them at all the Christmas markets around London, so I’m stocking up every time I go by one!
Oh those markets must smell incredible!!!!
I love snacking on nuts so these flavoured nuts are definitely a recipe I need to make!
Thanks Thalia! 🙂
I hate sweetners but LUV coconut palm sugar (it’s soo awesome!) These look delish Arman, and the pictures are pretty damn good too 🙂
How epic is coconut palm sugar? I am obsessed with using it as my sweetener of choice!
Cheers mate- coming from you it’s borderline knight worthy.
Oh my goodness yes! I’m living in Thailand at the moment and don’t seem to eat a lot of nuts (besides the peanuts in my pad thai of course) but now that the holidays are showing their face I definitely want to change that!
Oh wow! hope things are cooling down for you- I’m actually replying from Malaysia haha! Hi!
These look amazing and so easy! I am not an artificial sweetener fan – i just don’t like the taste at all. I actually prefer unflavored protein powder – i mostly just use it in smoothies and i think it tastes better. I used to use xylitol is baking sometimes, but then i found out it was cat poison, which kind of creeped me out. My go-to sweeteners are honey or brown sugar. I have never actually tried coconut sugar – I need to!
What! Can poison?! I never knew that!
I need deez nuts.
You do need deep nuts. NutZ i mean.
I use Sunwarrior Protein Powder. I got used to the “dirt” taste after awhile. Lol. I really like baking with coconut sugar too.
LOL! Lauren, I tried mixing it in yogurt once and it went all over my face lol!
So I’m pretty sure that I drank like a litre and a half of diet coke over the weekend (not even exaggerating) so I wasn’t planning on drinking any this week…but then you mentioned it and now I’m craving it again. Dammit Arman.
I try to stick to natural sweeteners and stevia most often, but aspartame or sucralose (or sugar) sneaks it’s way in there sometimes. I’m not super worried about it though.
Well. Remember that red bull I told you about? Turns out it’s not sugar free (well, not in Malaysia). It’s 25% reduced sugar. Fail whale.
I pitch my tent in the middle camp as well, although I do try to avoid artificial sweeteners for the most part. Even stevia I’m not a huge fan of. Honey and maple syrup, on the other hand? I can legit eat it by the spoonful. Even molasses, which I seem to get a huge craving for around this time of the year. Still waiting for it to hit…
That I am well aware of. I actually remember you nibbling dates in Toronto too. I wonder if that’s considered savoury next to a spoon full of honey now haha!
I’m sort of in the middle too. I like white sugar/brown sugar/honey/maple syrup for baking. I don’t bake with artificial sweeteners and I do try to limit them, but I just need to have a Coke Zero every couple of weeks. I know it won’t kill me!
Coke zero > diet coke.
However- Pepsi max > coke zero > diet coke.
However- Diet Mt.Dew > Diet root beer > Everything else.
However- Arman > Chelsea.
I LOVE NUTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂
So do I!