Skip to main content

Candied pecans are good on everything and make a great last minute gift: Here’s how to make them

Candied pecans are the perfect holiday treat

Candied pecans
Pixel-Shot/Adobe Stock

Candied pecans are one of those things that improve just about everything. Toss them into a mixed greens or creamy chicken salad. Crumble them up and mix them with homemade butterscotch sauce for the best ice cream or pie topping you’ve ever had. Nestle them in with fruits and cheeses on your holiday charcuterie board, or serve them by themselves alongside your favorite champagne cocktails. Alternatively, you could always just eat them straight off the counter as they cool because you lack the patience and the willpower to let them make it further than that. However you enjoy them, candied pecans are an incredibly delicious and very versatile ingredient that’s wonderful to have in the cupboard, especially during the holiday season.

Perhaps the best thing about these sweet little nuts is that they’re almost stupidly easy to make. A few simple ingredients go into a pot and come out having combined to make something magical. Plus, making a big batch of these will make your house smell like Mrs. Claus’ kitchen, so don’t blame us if the neighbors come knocking for an impromptu holiday chit-chat.

If those neighbors do come a-knocking, though, these candied pecans make absolutely perfect holiday gifts. Make a big batch and package them up in cute little jars or holiday tins tied with a ribbon and note including the recipe.

So if you’re wondering how to make candied pecans, this is our very favorite recipe.

Candied pecans
Deryn Macey/Unsplash

Candied pecans recipe

Candied pecans can be made in the oven, but we find the stovetop method to be simpler and easier, especially when making a small batch. They’ll be ready to eat in less than 10 minutes, and there’s no need to preheat an oven.


  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, and set aside.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium heat, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, cayenne, vanilla, water, and orange zest. Cook, stirring often, until the brown sugar melts and bubbles, about 1 minute.
  3. Stir pecans into the brown sugar mixture, stirring to coat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the pecans are fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Transfer the candied pecans to the prepared baking sheet and spread them into an even layer. Cool, and then break them up before serving.
  5. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Editors' Recommendations

Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
Baking pro shares how to make bread for beginners
No need to go to the shop — this guide will turn you into a home baker
Making bread at home

A few years ago, while most of our favorite dining establishments were closed for the pandemic, home cooking and baking really took off and even today, it's still a thing. Making bread -- especially sourdough -- emerged as a must-try hobby par excellence. While baking helps people feel productive and accomplished, it is also known to reduce stress and anxiety. The comforting feel of a spongy, malleable pile of dough in your hands, the meditative act of kneading and rolling, the primal scent of yeast and flour, the satisfaction of creating something with your own hands, the unbeatable scent of fresh-baked bread filling your home ... these are just some of the reasons baking bread encourages mindfulness and has worked its way into the hearts of millions of new bakers around the country and the world. 

But even though baking bread is overall a simple process -- with most basic recipes requiring just a handful of ingredients that most people would have on hand or can easily get -- it can still be a daunting task for some people due to all the variables of dealing with a living thing (yes, yeast is alive!) that reacts, responds, and grows right before your eyes. The world of bread is vast: There are so many different ways to experiment. For those who love trying new things and seeing what happens, it’s a glorious, fermented adventure, especially for sourdough fanatics who are constantly tweaking ratios, ingredients, temperatures, and techniques. For others, it can be a bit intimidating. But since sourdough seems to be most people’s bread of choice for baking, we thought we’d give it a go and wanted to find a beginner-friendly rendition to start off with. 

Read more
How to make creamy, crispy chicken fried steak – a recipe for the home chef
This is so easy, you may never order it again and save it for dinner at home
Homemade chicken fried steak dinner

Crispy and covered in gravy, chicken fried steak is a delicious and filling Southern delicacy. Essentially a thin beef steak that's battered and fried, a piece of chicken fried steak resembles a large fried chicken cutlet. In the South, chicken fried steak is a beloved recipe, and common at restaurants and home kitchens.

Country fried steak vs. chicken fried steak
Many historians trace the origins of chicken fried steak to German immigrants in the 19th century. When these immigrants came to the South, they brought with them Wienerschnitzel, a breaded pork or veal cutlet pan-fried in butter. The phrase "chicken fried steak" appeared as early as 1914 in ads for the Phelp's Dining Room and Cafeteria in the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Read more
Soup is trending: Here are 4 great soup recipes from a top chef
Who doesn't need more soup recipes, right?
Carrot soup

Soup season is upon us, and it's time to grab some spoons and celebrate. But which direction do you go in a category so tremendously vast? Is it a chicken noodle soup kind of afternoon or a minestrone day?

That's up to you, and we're here to outfit you with some serious options. So, we reached out to a top chef for some wisdom. Chef Laurent Tourondel is respected worldwide and currently leads the kitchens at L'Amico and Skirt Steak in New York. He offered thoughtful options, inspired by everything from the Italian countryside to tasty winter fungi.

Read more