Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts are deliciously sweet, spicy, crunchy, and salty -- and they cook in under 5 minutes! They make a tasty snack, salad topping, holiday gift, and a great addition to your cheese board.
Candied nuts are the perfect snack all on their own -- but also a great way to add a little sweetness, crunch, and nutty taste to everything from a simple salad to an ice cream sundae.
They're incredibly delicious, easy to make, and WAYYYY less expensive than buying them in the grocery store.
And I wasn't kidding when I said this easy candied walnuts recipe cooks in under 5 minutes. Once you see how easy they are to make, you'll never buy them again.
We love brown sugar candied walnuts on Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad and Pumpkin Pancakes -- and my husband tosses them into trail mix for a car snack :).
Why You're Going to Love This Recipe
Super easy recipe that cooks in under 5 minutes
Simple recipe for a delicious sweet and salty snack
Great party snack during the holiday season -- or any time of year
How to Use Candied Walnuts
This delicious recipe for crunchy candied walnuts is a fun way to dress up your favorite salad, side dish, dessert, and more. Some of our favorite ways to use them are on:
- Roasted brussels sprouts
- A charcuterie board or cheese plate
- Strawberry goat cheese salad
- Overnight oats
- Yogurt parfaits
- Baked sweet potatoes
- Pumpkin pancakes
This stovetop candied walnuts recipe comes together with just a few simple ingredients.
Raw walnuts. I use regular walnuts. If you want, you can toast them a little first.
Brown sugar. The molasses in the sugar adds richness to the candy coating on the caramelized walnuts. I like dark brown sugar, but light brown sugar also works.
Cinnamon. Cinnamon gives these candied walnuts warm and cozy flavor. You can also add a little cardamom, nutmeg, or allspice.
Cayenne pepper. Just a pinch of cayenne pepper brings a touch of heat. You can add more, less, or leave it out.
How to Make Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts: Step-by-Step Instructions
1. Prep a baking sheet.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or a sheet of parchment paper.
2. Make the candied walnuts.
Add one cup walnuts, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 tbsp water, 1 tbsp butter, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp cinnamon, and a pinch of cayenne pepper to a nonstick skillet.
Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a simmer.
When the mixture starts to bubble, stir the nuts in the brown sugar mixture for 3-4 minutes or until the liquid evaporates, the sugar mixture thickens, and the nuts are evenly coated in a glossy glaze.
Once the mixture is thick and sticky enough that the nuts are completely coated and there is very little of the glaze left in the pan, they are ready to remove.
To avoid sticky nuts, the sugar mixture should reach hard crack stage at 300 degrees.
Keep your eyes and nose on them as well to make sure they don't look or smell burned. It can happen in a blink!
3. Cool the nuts.
Remove the nuts from the heat and immediately pour them out into a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet.
Use a spatula to separate the walnut pieces -- otherwise, they'll stick together in one clump.
Let them cool completely.
Enjoy your candied walnuts on salads, cakes, pies, pancakes, sundaes, or as a snack.
Store completely cooled candied walnuts at room temperature in an airtight container or covered mason jar in a cool, dry place for about 2 weeks.
Tips for Success
Add the candied walnut ingredients to an unheated pan.
Don't walk away from the stove while these are cooking. Nuts can go from uncooked to burned in a red hot second.
Keep the walnuts in a single layer while they simmer in the caramel glaze.
For a nice crunchy coating (not sticky), cook the sugar mixture to "hard crack" stage at 300 degrees.
Of course! You can use this same candied walnut recipe to make other delicious snacks like candied pecans, almonds, cashew nuts, or mixed nuts.
If the sugar coating on the nuts isn't crunchy and brittle, then the brown sugar mixture didn't cook long enough. Be sure to cook these nuts until the sugar mixture thickens and becomes sticky. It should reach "hard crack" stage of 300 degrees.
No. Candied walnuts do not need to be refrigerated. Store them in a cool, dry place. If you place them in the refrigerator, they can pick up moisture, which can affect their crunchy candy coating.
Get the Stuff I Use
Parchment paper is always handy to have on hand for baking cookies and cooling candied walnuts.
This spatula and spoonula set is sturdy, functional, and looks great in a white pitcher on my counter.
Try Candied Walnuts On ...
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Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts
- 1 cup walnuts
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Add all of the ingredients to a nonstick skillet.Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a simmer.When the mixture starts to bubble, frequently stir the nuts for 3-4 minutes or until the liquid evaporates, the sugar mixture thickens, and the nuts are evenly coated in a glossy glaze (with very little caramel sauce left in the pan).
- Quickly pour the nuts onto the prepared baking sheet and separate them with a spatula. Let them cool completely.
- Store candied walnuts in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.
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