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.
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
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 the nuts 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
Step 1: Place walnuts, brown sugar, water, butter, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper in a nonstick skillet.
Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a simmer.
Step 2: 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.
They're done when the mixture is thick and sticky, the nuts are completely coated, and there is very little of the glaze in the pan.
Step 3: Cool the nuts. Remove the nuts from the heat and immediately pour them out into a single layer onto a sheet of parchment paper. Use a spatula to separate the walnut pieces -- otherwise, they'll stick together in one clump.
Step 4: Let them cool completely.
Enjoy on salads, cakes, pies, pancakes, sundaes, or as a snack.
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:
- Add the 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 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.
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.
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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.