Easy Cinnamon and Sugar Candied Pecans

These easy cinnamon and sugar candied pecans taste just like the kind you pay a fortune for at the mall! You won’t believe how easy they are to make at home (how-to video below!).

White bowl filled with easy cinnamon and sugar candied pecans.

Naming these easy cinnamon and sugar candied pecans as ultimate favorite holiday recipe this year is so, so tempting as I’m writing this. And I would do it. I really would! Except for a magical cookie recipe I’m going to post next week.

So in an effort to remain calm and collected, instead I’ll just say: IF YOU DON’T MAKE THESE CINNAMON AND SUGAR CANDIED PECANS, YOU ARE QUITE DECIDEDLY A BIT CRAZY AND MUST NOT WANT MAXIMUM JOY IN YOUR LIFE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON.

{Disclaimer: those with nut allergies are obviously exempt from the above dictate.}

Sorry to shout. But seriously, how else am I going to get you to take these delicious and amazing cinnamon pecans seriously? 

I have made these so many times in the last couple months, I’ve lost count. Not only are they ridiculously easy to make (and I’m not just saying that), they make the perfect snack to set out for little get togethers, football games. AND, they are crazy good coarsely chopped and thrown on a salad (like my favorite amazing spinach salad).

Sheet pan filled with easy cinnamon and sugar candied pecans.

A longtime MKC reader, Teresa, graciously sent me this recipe (and gave me permission to post it) a few months ago. Teresa makes huge batches of these pecans and gives them out as holiday gifts every year. I have no doubt she has people clamoring to be in her “friend circle” just to get a bag of these delightful pecans in December. Once you taste them, you’ll understand.

These easy cinnamon and sugar candied pecans are fabulous. I’m not someone who generally craves pecans or other nuts. In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time detailing my disgust of why someone would put nuts in my favorite cookie or brownie (although I have made a lot of exceptions for nuts over the years, so maybe I’m maturing a little??). 

But there’s something about these buttery, sugary, golden, roasted and candied pecans that have me literally throwing them out my door to every person who will take them so I don’t eat the whole batch (again). 

Top down view of white bowl filled with easy cinnamon and sugar candied pecans.

If you’ve ever walked into Cabelas or past one of those kiosks in the mall and been knocked off your feet by the magical aroma of roasted, sweet nuts wafting towards you, you’ll understand the emotion that may fill your heart while these cinnamon pecans bake in your oven and fill your house with a smell no candle or melting wax can ever replicate. 

Plus, you won’t have to sell your firstborn child to afford buying a bag at the mall. It’s definitely cheaper to make them at home! 

Years ago, I posted this recipe for candied cinnamon and sugar almonds, and I’ve made them on and off again over the years. Tasty and festive! But today’s pecan recipe is less fussy (and even more delicious).

This cinnamon pecans recipe has skyrocketed to my favorite candied nut recipe ever, and I, like Teresa, will be making them year after year! The addition of butter to the recipe changes everything. It lends a caramelly, warm note to the sweet, cinnamon pecans that is extraordinarily delicious (and pretty much dangerous). 

Can I Use Another Kind of Nut?

Yes, I think so! I’ve only ever made this recipe with pecans because they are one of my favorite nuts, but you could experiment with almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.

Is There a Sweet and Spicy Version?

If you want to add a little heat to these sweet, candied pecans, I wholly support you in this! There’s something about that sweet and spicy combo that is fantastic on candied nuts. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper with the cinnamon (more or less to taste). And then try to find it in your heart to share any of the finished batch.

See How Easy It is to Make Them Here!

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Four Years Ago: White Chocolate Pecan Brownies
Five Years Ago: Cinnamon Roll Caramel Popcorn

Easy Cinnamon and Sugar Candied Pecans

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (5.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups (16 ounces) whole raw pecans (see note)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 
  2. Melt the butter and spread on a rimmed half sheet pan (11X17-inches). You can also cut the cold butter into cubes, place on the sheet pan, and pop in the oven while preheating to melt the butter; just watch closely so it doesn't burn.
  3. In a large bowl, add the egg whites and salt and whisk until foamy but still liquidy, 30 seconds or so. Add the sugar and cinnamon and mix until well blended and the cinnamon is completely mixed in.
  4. Add the pecans and gently mix until the nuts are well coated, making sure to get underneath to the bottom of the bowl as you mix. 
  5. Spread the pecan mixture in an even layer over the melted butter in the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and using a flat metal spatula or similar tool, quickly stir the pecans and spread them back into an even layer. Bake for another 10 minutes, stir again, and spread into an even layer.
  6. Bake for a final 5-10 minutes (watching closely!) until the pecans are sizzling and lightly golden. Remove the pan from the oven, give the pecans another good stir, scraping them up from the bottom of the pan. Spread them into an even layer and let them rest on the pan for 1-2 hours WITHOUT STIRRING AGAIN until completely cooled and the sugar coating has set. The pecans keep for up to a week well-covered in a cool, dry place (not the fridge).

Notes

I have only ever made this recipe with pecans (because they are sooooo good), but you could try experimenting with other nuts: whole almonds, cashews, walnuts.

For a sweet and spicy version, try adding a pinch of cayenne (more or less to taste) with the cinnamon.

Follow @melskitchencafe on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #melskitchencafe. I love seeing all the goodness you are whipping up in your kitchens!

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Teresa, a longtime MKC reader – she’s made them for years and originally got the recipe from a Bon Appetit magainze (I cut the butter down from 8 tablespoons to 6 tablespoons – I found they were a bit too greasy with the full 8 tablespoons) 

The video in this post was made in partnership with Inspo