These 5-minute Stovetop Candied Pecans are a quick and easy way to make sweet glazed pecans for salads, snacking, food gifts, and more! It’s all made in one pan for minimal mess, and it’s overall much quicker and easier than the oven method. Plus, no candy thermometer needed!
Whether you eat these pecans on their own or add them to a variety of dishes, they’re such an easy way to add flavor and texture to so many recipes, using simple ingredients.
The typical candied pecans recipe usually calls for making them in the oven, but something about that feels a bit too fussy and long to me. I’ve been making candied pecans on the stove for as long as I can remember, and it only takes me 5 minutes to make them. It’s so easy!
I like not having to turn the oven on, especially when I only want to make a smaller batch. I try not to keep too many of these around because they’re so good, I want to eat them all in one sitting. Whenever I make them for the holiday season and set them out, they disappear within minutes.
Tips for Best Results
Use a nonstick pan – While you can get away with using any stainless steel pan, the nonstick pan helps all of the sweetness stick to the nut. It glazes easier, in my experience.
Use brown sugar or maple syrup – I love honey, but I don’t recommend using it here. Brown sugar or maple syrup will give you the best results.
Toast the pecans first – Totally optional, and sometimes it’s easier to just use raw nuts straight out of the bag. But if you have the time, toast the pecans for a few minutes (you can use the same skillet) to begin bringing out the flavor in the nuts. Most importantly, make sure to use fresh pecans that aren’t rancid or expired.
These candied pecans are really wonderful, especially for sprinkling on salads like Kale Salad or Warm Brussel Sprout Salad with Crispy Goat Cheese! They are also well-suited for food gifts during Christmas and the holidays.
I actually grew up with candied pecans, sugared pecans, and maple glazed pecans of all sorts in my house at Christmas time because my dad loved ordering them every year. Simply place the nuts in a mason jar with ribbon or in pretty holiday tins for last-minute gifts.
Step by Step Overview:
To get started, combine brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and kosher salt in a skillet, and add a splash of water so the sugar has an easier time dissolving:
Ingredient Variations and Substitutions
This is a great recipe for accommodating several different substitutions. I recommend trying the recipe once as written, then you can experiment with changes.
Spices: You can pretty much use whatever spices you’d like. I like to keep it simple with cinnamon, but you may add cloves, cardamom, allspice, or pumpkin pie spice. You may also try options like cayenne pepper, ancho chile powder, or even smoked paprika.
The Sugar: I like using brown sugar for its slight molasses tastes, but you can also use granulated white sugar or even coconut sugar. For maple syrup, follow this Maple Pecans recipe instead (it is also a quick and easy stovetop recipe). I do not recommend corn syrup.
Fat: It is not necessary to add fat here, but if you’d like it for richness, add a tablespoon of butter or coconut oil with the rest of the ingredients.
Vanilla extract: Add up to 1 teaspoon with the rest of the ingredients.
Egg whites: Egg should not be used here at all. This is only used for the oven method for helping the coating stick.
Stir it all around to combine:
Cook the sugar mixture over medium heat until it gets hot and bubbly and looks like a glaze:
Throw in pecan halves, making sure they are more or less in a single layer:
Raw or toasted both work, but I personally think toasted pecans taste better.
Can you use other nuts?
Absolutely, it does not matter what kind of nut you use. Walnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, and really any other nut will work well here.
Cook the pecan halves for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the liquid cooks down and glazes the nuts:
If the pecans still look sticky, keep cooking for a few more minutes. Different stoves have different heat output.
Once the liquid has cooked down and coated the pecans, spread them out on parchment paper to cool. Then break apart and enjoy your sweet snack:
If you’d like to make a big batch, use a larger skillet, and try to make sure the pecans are more or less in an even layer. You don’t want to overcrowd the pan.
Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy this easy candied pecans recipe, in ways sweet and savory!
- Add to a Kale Salad or Brussels Sprouts with Candied Pecans and Ricotta Salata.
- Add to a cheese and charcuterie board.
- Sprinkle on Chocolate Bark.
- Chop them up and add to Butter Shortbread Cookies, The Very Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, or this Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.
- Sprinkle on Overnight Oats or Maple Scones.
- Make your Pecan Sticky Buns even better.
- Sprinkle on Grilled Peaches with Bourbon Brown Butter Sauce.
- Toss them into this Granola Recipe for an extra delicious snack.
- Add to ice cream like Pumpkin Chip Gingersnap Cookie Ice Cream.
- Make homemade gifts of them along with any of these 12 shipping-friendly food gift ideas for Christmas and beyond, and pack in a care package!
- Toss with Roasted Sweet Potatoes.
Or you know, you could just eat them. I do that too.
If the pecans turn out sticky, this means the sugar never reached a high enough temperature to have that hard crack “brittle” coating on the outside. Electric stoves tend to have less heat power and responsiveness as compared to gas stoves, so cook for a few minutes longer if you have an electric stove or a weaker gas stove. They can be salvaged, even after they’ve cooled. Just cook more, and watch and smell to ensure the pecans don’t burn.
Once completely cooled, in an airtight container at room temperature for a week. You can get away with two weeks or longer, but the flavor won’t be as good. They taste best fresh.
Yes, let them cool completely, then store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
No, but they will last for 4 weeks in the fridge, if you do want to extend the shelf life.
Absolutely, just make sure you use a larger skillet as needed.
These candied pecans are gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.
For the pecans:
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 cup pecan halves
- Combine all ingredients except the pecans in a skillet and cook over medium heat for a minute or two, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling.
- Add the pecans and cook for an additional 3 minutes, stirring to coat in the glaze.
- Remove from the heat, and spread the pecans out on parchment paper to let them cool completely.
- Break apart, and enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.