Candied Walnuts

These quick and easy to make candied walnuts are an irresistible snack, but also make a nice addition to a salad or as a topping for a baked good like holiday Star Bread.

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Candied walnuts in a small ceramic dish.

Easy Candied Nuts

Candying has a reputation for being difficult, but it doesn’t need to be. All it means to candy something is to coat and saturate a food in a sugar syrup that hardens when it cools, creating a candy coating that you crunch through. These candied walnuts don’t require a thermometer or a copper pan. They are easy, take only three ingredients and just a few minutes to make.

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Three green ramekins with ingredients and a blue non-stick skillet.

Three Ingredient Candied Nuts

Those three ingredients are the nuts, some butter and sugar. Here, I’m using walnuts, but this same recipe could be used for any variety of nuts that you like – pecans, hazelnuts or almonds. Above, I’m just making a small batch of candied walnuts to top some Star Bread, but the recipe below is scalable to give you quantities for as many nuts as you’d like.

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Candied walnuts and a wooden spoon in a blue non-stick skillet.

How Long to Cook Candied Nuts

First, use the right pan for the job. A non-stick skillet will definitely save you from difficult scrubbing later on. Then, just melt the butter, allowing the water in the butter to evaporate, add the sugar and cook until the sugar starts ever so slightly to brown. Add the nuts and toss them around as the sugar darkens. The nuts will toast a little and absorb the sugar. As the sugar starts to brown, the color will darken exponentially, so keep stirring the nuts at that stage. Overall, the whole process takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

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Candied nuts on parchment paper on a baking sheet.

How to Cool Candied Nuts

As soon as the nuts have reached a desirable color (the darker they are, the more bitter the candy will taste), turn them out onto some parchment paper and immediately separate the nuts with a wooden spoon or spatula so that they don’t stick together as they cool. They will harden up very quickly. If the nuts are greasy when they have cooled, rub them with a little paper towel to remove any grease. 

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Candied nuts in a ceramic dish with some on the countertop.

How to Use Candied Walnuts

These nuts are a delicious topping for baked goods like Star Bread or Cinnamon Rolls, but can also be tossed into a salad for extra crunch or into a snack mix. Of course, they are pretty delicious straight out of your hand too!

Candied Walnuts

  • Prep Time: 2 m
  • Cook Time: 20 m
  • Total Time: 22 m
  • Servings:
    4
    (makes ½ cup)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a 10-inch non-stick skillet.
  2. Add the sugar and let the mixture cook over medium heat until the sugar starts to dissolve, swirling the pan regularly.
  3. Add the walnuts and toss around for a few minutes over medium-low heat.
  4. When the sugar starts to brown, turn the heat to low and cook, stirring or tossing constantly, until the nuts and sugar are a deep brown color.
  5. Transfer the nuts to parchment paper immediately, using a spatula to separate the nuts so they don’t stick together.
  6. Cool completely and enjoy as a sweet snack or as a topping for baked goods.
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Comments (3)Post a Reply

    1. Hi Pam. Sorry you had a problem with this recipe. It sounds like you may have had your pan too hot. The sugar has to dissolve over medium heat and then it will start to caramelize and coat the nuts, at which time you turn the heat down. If it is too hot, the sugar will seize and clump up.

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