A delicious, crunchy, candied nuts recipe made with no corn syrup! These Candied Pecans have a delicious cinnamon-vanilla brown sugar coating that is incredibly easy to make. Your friends will swear these were store-bought!
Brown Sugar Candied Pecans Recipe
I am absolutely hooked on these homemade candied pecans!
The inspiration for them is the Sweet n’Spicy Pecans from Millican’s – they are one of my favorite things to order for cheeseboards or when putting together a little gift package for someone. They have that perfect combination of crunch, melt-in-your-mouth candy coating, and toasted nuts, making them absolutely addictive.
For this recipe, I went with a purely sweet flavor profile that makes these candied pecans perfect for using to top cupcakes, cakes, brownies, etc. Next time I make them, I may try hitting them up with some chili powder and sea salt, but I think they’re kind of perfect as-is!
The brown sugar coating has that light and airy, yet perfectly crispy texture thanks to the addition of whipped egg whites. There is absolutely no corn syrup in this recipe – and you won’t miss it! The addition of cinnamon and vanilla to the candy coating gives a delicious depth of flavor that prevent these candied pecans from being too boring or cloyingly sweet.
I used vanilla paste instead of vanilla extract to make these pecans, because it gives a concentrated vanilla flavor without affecting the consistency of the recipe. You can use vanilla extract, but the vanilla flavor won’t be as strong.
For this recipe, I used Millican Pecan’s Pecan Pieces. I didn’t realize what a difference there could be between pecan brands, but these are so incredibly fresh and flavorful. They also have delicious snack options like the Sweet and Spicy Pecans which are perfect for the holidays. My next order, I’m trying their Pecan Butter and the Caramel Pecan Coffee! (And by the way, this is not sponsored – I just really love them.)
Now, the baking time for this recipe will vary with how well your egg whites were whipped and whether you use tinfoil, parchment paper or silicone baking mats for baking. (Parchment paper is your best bet.) Make sure that you are stirring the nuts and checking on them every 15 minutes. I’ve made three batches already and found that my baking time varied widely between them.
The nuts will still be slightly sticky when they are ready to be taken out of the oven but shouldn’t have a “wet” coating when they are done baking. They will crisp up more as they cool, but not dramatically. Test one or two to ensure they have your desired level of “crunch” before ending your baking time.
These nuts would make a gorgeous and thoughtful homemade gift. They are an absolute gourmet treat and taste like they came from one of those little foodie shops with $8 chocolate bars and weird kitchen gadgets.
You can use little cellophane baggies for packaging the nuts, or for best storage, gift in a mason jar and put the recipe on a little gift tag. (Or else your friends are going to end up begging you for more batches!)
These candied pecans will last in an airtight container for up to two months, but they never last that long in our house! You can store in the refrigerator or freeze in an airtight freezer bag or your favorite freezer containers to make them last even longer – but the moisture could affect the crunchy coating. (This set of freezer containers is a crazy bargain.)
Candied Pecans Ingredients
- Egg White
- Cream of Tartar <– we buy this in bulk and it is great for making homemade play dough for the kids or our famous snickerdoodle cookies
- Vanilla Paste <– can use vanilla extract but vanilla paste will have a more concentrated flavor
- Brown Sugar
- White Sugar
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: stir and check on the pecans every 15 minutes to prevent burning your pecans.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Electric mixer <– this is a great hand mixer if you don’t want to make the investment into a stand mixer
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mixing bowl
- Spatula <– I like these spatulas because they are one solid piece and don’t have removable heads for bacteria to get trapped
- Cookie Sheet
- Parchment Paper <– you can use a silicone baking mat or tinfoil but I found parchment paper to have the best results
How to Make Candied Pecans
Preheat oven to 300F
Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. If using parchment paper, you may want to apply a light spray of cooking oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat the egg white and cream of tartar until light and frothy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the vanilla until just combined.
Fold the pecans into the egg white mixture, coating completely.
In a small separate bowl, combine the sugars and salt.
Stir the sugar mixture into the pecan mixture until completely combined.
Fold the coated pecans onto your prepared baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Bake until the pecan coating is as crunchy as you desire – they will be a bit sticky, but the stickiness will go away as they cool at room temperature.
Allow pecans to cool on the baking sheet fully before breaking up and storing or serving.
Grab your free printable for our candied pecans recipe:
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- 3 cups pecans
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 300F
- Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. If using parchment paper, you may want to apply a light spray of cooking oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
- With an electric mixer, beat the egg white and cream of tartar until light and frothy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the vanilla until just combined.
- Fold the pecans into the egg white mixture, coating completely.
- In a small separate bowl, combine the sugars and salt.
- Stir the sugar mixture into the pecan mixture until completely combined.
- Fold the coated pecans onto your prepared baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Bake until the pecan coating is as crunchy as you desire - they will be a bit sticky, but the stickiness will go away as they cool at room temperature.
- Allow pecans to cool on the baking sheet fully before breaking up and storing or serving.
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Reynolds Kitchens Non-Stick Parchment Paper - Amazon Exclusive 12 inch - 60 Square Feet
Clear Plastic Cellophane Treat Bags With 4" Colored Twist Ties Plastic Gift Bags, Party Favor Bags (4"x9", 100 Pack)
LorAnn Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste, 2 ounce
Domino Dark Brown Sugar, 32 oz
Orchard Fresh Raw Pecan Halves 1-Pound | Millican Pecan since 1888 | San Saba, Texas
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 246Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 183mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 3gSugar: 17gProtein: 3g
Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
I hope your family loves these candied pecans as much as my family does! The first time I made these candied pecans it created an all-out battle in my home for who got to eat the last few pecans, so be prepared – and maybe double the batch!