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Easy Candied Pecans

Candied pecans from Out of the Box Baking.com

If you’re a pecan fan but you love a sweet coating on the outside, this simple recipe is going to blow you away. It’s truly one of the simplest and yummiest things I’ve made in ages. . .and that’s saying a lot! Best of all, it’s an easy stovetop recipe. No baking required!

A Brief History of Candied Pecans

My granddaughter calls candied pecans “sugar nuts” and that’s a pretty apt description. There are a variety of methods but they all end up with a similar outcome: sweet crunchy pecans. This is a basic recipe adding just the right amount of sweetness without a lot of trouble.

I did a little research to see when and where our forefathers started sugaring their pecans, almonds, and so on. Here’s what I found at New Orleans Historical.org:

Pralines are thought to have originated in seventeenth-century France when the chef of César, Duc de Choiseul, Comte du Plessis-Praslin coated almonds with sugar. While sugared nuts were already enjoyed throughout the world, the candy termed “praline” became a popular treat in France, in part because of their lucrative sugar colonies in the Caribbean. The French settlers in Louisiana brought the praline tradition with them.

African-American cooks working in the French colonists’ kitchens transformed the sugared-almond praline. Because of their abundance, pecans replaced almonds and milk was added. The final product was a sweet, creamy patty filled with pecans.

This recipe doesn’t call for milk. It’s a traditional “sugared nut” recipe, so incredibly simple and sweet. In fact, just typing this makes me want to stick my hand in the baggie filled with candied pecans that I made the other day.

Candied Pecan Ingredients

Candied pecans from Out of the Box Baking.com

You’ll find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick peek at what you’ll need. Start with good quality pecans. You’ll be glad you did. These are simple ingredients that you likely have on hand.

  • raw pecans (pecan halves work best)
  • water
  • light brown sugar
  • ground cinnamon
  • vanilla extract

That’s it. No, really!

As simple as those ingredients are, the process is simpler still! You’re going to love the process of making this sweet treat.

How to Make Easy Candied Pecans

Place brown sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add cinnamon and stir until the brown sugar mixture melts.

Candied pecans from Out of the Box Baking.com

Simmer on low for a minute, constantly stirring. Don’t allow it to burn!

Add vanilla extract. Stir, stir, stir!

Add raw pecan halves and mix well. Leave the heat on for a couple of minutes to allow pecans to get toasty then remove pan from stove.

Candied pecans from Out of the Box Baking.com

Pour into a prepared baking sheet to cool. (Place a sheet of parchment paper on the baking sheet ahead of time.)

Candied pecans from Out of the Box Baking.com

Once pecans reach room temperature, store in an airtight container. This nutty treat will stay fresh for several weeks in a sealed container but I can promise you, they’ll all be eaten by then. No, really.

Candied pecans from Out of the Box Baking.com

What to Expect from these Candied Pecans

Candied pecans from Out of the Box Baking.com

These yummy pecans are sweet and delicious! They make a great snack.

They’re not overly sugary, which is nice. This is an easy candied pecans recipe, so you can make them with ease even if it’s your first time.

If you want a heavier caramel-like coating you might want to add a couple tablespoons of butter. (They’ll end up with more of a glaze instead of crunchy sugar coating that way.)

I’m crazy about pecans, as I said, so these were pretty ideal to me! Less is more when it comes to sugaring pecans.

I doubt these will last long. As soon as a certain granddaughter of mine finds out I have these, she’ll be right over for a visit and I can wave goodbye to these! Next time I’m going to make a double batch!

Maybe I’ll put some in small mason jars and give them away as gifts during the Christmas season.

Variations on Sugared Pecans

These are so yummy but there are always ways to mix things up a little bit! Here are a few suggestions:

  • Butter Toffee: To make a butter toffee glaze, add butter and corn syrup to the brown sugar mixture then coat pecans until glossy and smooth. Caramelized pecans are so delicious!
  • Maple Pecans: Add maple syrup in place of brown sugar if you want a rich maple flavor.
  • Pumpkin Pie: Looking for a fall treat? Add pumpkin pie spice to the recipe! A tablespoon will do! Make a big batch for the holidays. Your friends and family will thank you.
  • Bourbon Pecans: I know. You can add bourbon to the mix. The alcohol will cook off but the flavor will remain.
  • Milk Chocolate: Melt chocolate chips and dip your pecans or drizzle your sugared pecans with chocolate after-the-fact. Allow to dry fully before storing.
  • Cayenne Pepper: Yes, I know. Pepper and pecans? Why not? If you want to add a bit of heat, add a teaspoon of cayenne to the recipe along with the brown sugar. The two flavors should help balance each other out.
  • Serve with ice cream: These are perfect on a hot fudge sundae with some hot fudge on top.
  • Cheese boards: If you’re into charcuterie, you’re going to love adding these candied pecans to your boards!

More Nutty Recipes from Out of the Box Baking

If you love recipes with pecans, walnuts, almonds and more, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few of our favorites!

There are lots of other recipes on the website that include nuts but I’ll stop there. Looks like we all have a lot of baking to do! And remember, you can always give these away during the holiday season in treat bags. They would also be great on a cookie tray!


That’s it for this post, friends! I’m nuts about nuts. I hope you are, too! And I sure hope you enjoy these delicious candied pecans!

Easy Candied Pecans

Easy Candied Pecans

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

If you're a pecan fan but you love a sweet coating on the outside, this simple recipe is going to blow you away. It's truly one of the simplest and yummiest things I've made in ages. . .and that's saying a lot!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • vanilla extract

Instructions

    Place brown sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add cinnamon and stir until the brown sugar mixture melts.
    Allow to simmer for about a minute on low heat, stirring constantly to assure it doesn't burn.
    Add vanilla extract and stir, stir, stir.
    Add pecans and stir until fully incorporated. Leave the heat on for a couple of minutes for the pecans to get toasty then remove pan from stove.
    Pour onto a prepared baking sheet to cool.

    Once cooled, store in airtight container.

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