Candied Walnuts

updated Oct 13, 2023
christmas
Candied Walnuts Recipe

Making candied nuts at home is easier than you think. These walnuts are coated in cinnamon sugar and baked in butter until crackled, crunchy, and completely irresisitible.

Serves12 to 16

Makes6 cups

Prep7 minutes

Cook26 minutes to 30 minutes

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Credit: Laura Rege

When the aroma of cinnamon-spiced candied walnuts fills the air, its clear that the holidays are here. Candied walnuts are coated in cinnamon sugar and baked in butter until crackled and crunchy. These nuts add a sparkle to snack time and lunchtime salads, but also make a great make-ahead appetizer and an easy homemade gift.

What Are Candied Walnuts Made Of?

This recipe comes together with a mix of simple ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen.

  • Walnuts: Buy raw walnut halves, not pieces for the best presentation. Other nuts, including pecans or cashews can be substituted.
  • Granulated sugar: This pantry staple gives candied walnuts their sweet flavor, satisfying crunch, and that holiday sparkle.
  • Cinnamon: A warm, aromatic spice essential to the flavor of candied walnuts.
  • Egg white: Binds the sugar and spices to the walnuts with a crisp, lacy texture.
  • Unsalted butter: Creates a non-stick surface for baking and sizzles into the candy coating giving these walnuts their signature buttery, spiced glaze.
  • Kosher salt: Even sweet treats need a sprinkle of salt for balancing the flavors.
  • Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract adds a caramel undertone to the candied walnuts’ flavor.
Credit: Laura Rege

What Does Butter-Baking Do to Candied Walnuts?

Egg whites to help the sugar and spice adhere to the nuts, but baking them in butter takes them to an whole new level. Melting the butter directly on the baking sheet creates a slick, no-stick surface that sizzles into the candy coating. The result: warm, toasted walnuts with an irresistibly crunchy and buttery candy crust.

How Can I Use Candied Walnuts?

Candied walnuts are a great homemade gift to give around the holidays, but keep them in your year-round rotation to add sparkle to your everyday. Fold candied walnuts into banana bread or muffin batter or add a pile of candied walnuts to a grazing board spread. The sweet and salty candied walnuts pair with winter salads, breakfast parfaits, and even make a bowl of vanilla ice cream more fun.

How to Store Candied Walnuts

Cool candied walnuts completely cool, then store in a cool, dry place, like the pantry. Candied walnuts will last for a week. The refrigerator may seem like the perfect place to extend the shelf life of these nuts, but the moist environment will turn the crunchy candied walnuts soft and chewy.

Candied Walnuts Recipe

Making candied nuts at home is easier than you think. These walnuts are coated in cinnamon sugar and baked in butter until crackled, crunchy, and completely irresisitible.

Prep time 7 minutes

Cook time 26 minutes to 30 minutes

Makes 6 cups

Serves 12 to 16

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 4 cups

    walnut halves (about 13 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1

    large egg white

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    vanilla extract (optional)

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.

  2. Arrange 4 cups walnut halves in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring once halfway through, 10 to 12 minutes total.

  3. Meanwhile, place 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Place 1 large egg white in a large bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar mixture in three increments, whisking after each increment until incorporated before adding more. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, if using, and whisk to combine.

  4. When the nuts are ready, transfer to the egg white mixture and stir until completely coated. Cut 3 tablespoons unsalted butter into 4 pieces and place on the baking sheet. Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake until melted, about 1 minute.

  5. Tilt the baking sheet gently to coat the bottom in butter. Transfer the nuts onto the baking sheet and spread into an even layer.

  6. Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the nuts are light golden brown and appear dry, stirring halfway through, 15 to 17 minutes total. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and loosen the nuts from the baking sheet by sliding a thin metal spatula under them. Let cool completely on the baking sheet, about 30 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.