Butter-Baked Candied Walnuts

updated Nov 7, 2022

Sweet, slightly salty, nutty, these candied walnuts are what you'll want to put on everything.

Serves12 to 16

Makes6 cups

Prep7 minutes

Cook26 minutes to 30 minutes

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Credit: Laura Rege

The scent of cinnamon-spiced nuts filling my kitchen is the clearest signal that the holidays are approaching. We’ve shared recipes for candied pecans, candied cashews, and a fun spiced nut mix from the one and only Dorie Greenspan, but this time I’m playing around with walnuts, giving them a buttery, spiced glaze.

Candy-coated walnuts do it all: They’re the perfect last-minute gift, a great make-ahead appetizer, and are fun to have around for snack time and for making lunchtime salads more fun. The best part is that they are incredibly easy to make, with just walnuts, sugar, spices, egg white, and butter.

What Are Candied Walnuts Made Of?

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

  • Walnuts
  • Granulated sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Egg white
  • Unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • Vanilla extract
Credit: Laura Rege

What Does Butter-Baking Do to Candied Walnuts?

In this recipe, you use egg whites to help the sugar and spice adhere to the nuts, then you bake them in butter to take them to an entirely new level. Melting the butter directly on the baking sheet creates a slick, no-stick surface to bake the sugar-encrusted nuts. The butter sizzles into the candy coating, creating a crunchy, buttery crust.

How Can I Use Candied Walnuts?

Candied walnuts are a great homemade gift to give around the holidays, but they’re also a fun thing to keep in your rotation year-round. Instead of adding plain walnuts, fold these candied nuts into banana bread or muffin batter, or add a pile of candied walnuts to a grazing board spread. The sweet and salty nuts pair nicely with hearty greens, sliced apples or pears, and crumbled blue cheese. They also make a bowl of vanilla ice cream a lot more fun.

How to Store Candied Walnuts

Once the candied walnuts are completely cool, store them in a cool, dry place, like the pantry, where they 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 make the crunchy candied walnuts soft and chewy.

Candied Walnuts Recipe

Sweet, slightly salty, nutty, these candied walnuts are what you'll want to put on everything.

Prep time 7 minutes

Cook time 26 minutes to 30 minutes

Makes6 cups

Serves12 to 16

Nutritional Info


  • 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


  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.

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