These Salted Cinnamon Candied Walnuts (or pecans) are easy to make with only 5 minutes of hands on time! They’re spiced with warming cinnamon, sweetened with both white and brown sugars for extra richness, and have a slightly salty touch. They make the perfect gift for the holidays as an alternative to traditional cookies, especially when packaged in a mason jar with a festive bow. Or, they work as a sweet, crunchy addition to a salad or cheese board.
This recipe couldn’t be easier. All you do is melt some butter in a pan, add some walnuts, sugars, and cinnamon, and stir until it’s caramelized. Then, allow to cool on a parchment covered baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. So simple!
Have you ever made caramel from scratch? If not, have no fear. It can feel a little bit intimidating, but it’s actually very easy and hassle free.
First of all, keep in mind that caramel gets SUPER hot. It’s heated to a boiling temperature but also thick and gooey from the sugars, so be careful not to taste test these nuts by plucking one out of the pan and popping it into your mouth. Your hand and mouth will not be happy.
Second, because of the heat, do not use a non-stick skillet. This could damage the surface. Instead, use something like a heavy stainless steel skillet (I have this one and it works perfectly!) to make sure the caramel heats evenly and doesn’t cause any damage.
Third, do not freak out if you go to wash your pan and the caramel has cooled into a hard rock mess on your spoon and pan. It may seem like the end of the world, but a soak in warm water and soap will dislodge and disintegrate the caramel left on your utensils. Deep breath.
You’ll know the caramel is ready when it starts to turn a darker, deep color (the brown sugar will make it darker than your average caramel- don’t worry, it’s not burnt!) and it doesn’t feel “grainy” anymore when you stir it.
Try to separate the pecans as much as you can on the parchment covered baking sheet, but if a few are sticking together, don’t worry. You can break them apart once they’ve cooled very easily.
Recipe for Cinnamon Candied Walnuts below!
Candied Walnuts with Sea Salt and Cinnamon
- Melt butter (3 tablespoons) in heavy bottomed skillet (I used stainless steel)
- Add walnuts (2 cups); stir to coat
- Add white sugar (1/4 cup), brown sugar (1/4 cup), and cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon); stir to coat.
- Continue stirring until sugars caramelize- they should not be grainy anymore, and begin to darken in color (about 3-4 minutes).
- Spread nuts out on a parchment covered baking sheet, sprinkle with sea salt, and allow to cool for at least ten minutes. If nuts are difficult to separate, you can break them apart after they've cooled for a bit.
- Eat the candied walnuts on their own, or add to salads for a sweet touch!
- Thinking of using honey or maple syrup instead of sugar for a more natural alternative? I don't recommend it. Think about these at room temperature, vs. sugar at room temperature. When the nuts cool, they will be left a sticky mess if you use honey or syrup, rather than harden to candy. Usually I'm all for the substitution, but not this time. A combination of honey or maple syrup and sugar may work, but I haven't tried it.
- The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.