Today, I’m going to show you how to make those Cinnamon Glazed Nuts like you can get at the mall. They are easy to make, and will be the best candied nuts you’ve ever had.
Since you’re making them at home, you can choose the type of nut to use, how much sugar, and how much spice as well. Completely customizable spiced candied nuts to eat out of hand, chop and add to pancakes or waffles, or top a sundae.
You might also like my pumpkin spice caramel corn recipe.
And for ease of browsing, you can find all my candy recipes in one place. Thanks for visiting!
Watch my candied nuts web story here.
Why You Have to Make These Nuts!
Candied nuts are the best.
Many recipes have you add egg white, sugar, and spices and then bake the nuts.
I have made them that way, and they are tasty, but to really get that stirred-in-a-big-pot-like-at-the-mall flavor and aroma, you have to make them in a pan on the stove top.
So that’s what I’m going to show you how to do.
They cook up sandy and crunchy on the outside with a mellow, nutty creamy-crunchiness on the inside (depending on what nuts you use).
I make mine with some sweet baking spice along with a little bit of spiciness, but since you’re making them, you can leave out the spicy spice. Or add extra if that’s your thing.
Here are more reasons to make them:
- short ingredient list
- ready in about 10 minutes
- makes about 3 cups of candied nuts, so you can snack on them and use them in recipes
Why This Recipe Works
In most candy-making, we try really hard to control the recrystallization of the sugar. Not making candy on humid days, washing down the sides of the pan with water, not stirring until a certain temperature, etc.
To make candied nuts, we want to encourage the sugar to recrystallize.
We want sugar crystals coating the outsides of all the nuts, so in order to make that happen, we do the opposite of what we normally do when working with sugar.
- Rainy day? Make these!
- We stir and stir the whole time.
- After the sugar caramelizes, we add in a bit more sugar. This introduces seed crystals into the mix and encourages the rest of the sugar to go back to its crystal form.
Sandy, cinnamony, spicy, candied nuts, just like at the mall. And we made them all by ourselves!
How to Make Them
I promise these candied nuts are very easy to make, but if you are concerned about working with boiling sugar, see the “Pro Tip Short Cut” section below or the “Notes” section of the recipe card for an easier method.
Here’s what you’ll need, along with recommendations for substitutions
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pecans: Use your favorite nut, but start with raw. Don’t use roasted peanuts, for example, because they’ll be overcooked at the end. Other good choices are almonds, walnuts, and raw cashews
- Sugar: I use roughly half a cup for 2 cups of nuts, but you can reduce that amount or increase it by 2 Tablespoons either way
- Salt: Use 1/4 teaspoon at least. If you want your nuts to be sweet and decidedly salty, use up to 1 teaspoon. I use 1/2 teaspoon and like that level of saltiness
- Hot Spanish Smoked Paprika: Other good choices are cayenne or ground chipotle pepper. You could even use freshly ground black pepper if you’d like. Increase or decrease the amount according to how spicy you want them to be
- Cinnamon: I actually used apple pie spice in my most recent batch, and that worked out well. You can also use pumpkin spice or any combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and/or cardamom. It’s up to you
- Water: I add a touch of water to help dissolve the sugar at the beginning of cooking. It’s not strictly necessary, but it does help keep your sugar from burning in spots before all of it has melted
Making these nuts is pretty straightforward.
- Put all your ingredients in the pan except for a tablespoon of sugar
- Cook, stirring constantly, over medium to medium-high heat. The sugar will melt, come to a boil, and eventually caramelize.
- As soon as you start to smell caramelized sugar, stir in the last of the sugar thoroughly. Your nuts will go from shiny to dull and sandy with sugar crystals.
- Cook another minute or two, stirring constantly, and then turn them out on a Silpat-lined baking sheet to cool completely.
Equipment You May Need
You’ll need a good, heavy pan to cook these in. I prefer a saucier since the rounded sides make it easier to stir. I have this OXO saucier and I absolutely love it.
Make sure you’re using a wooden or high-heat resistant silicone spatula to stir. Nobody wants melted rubber in their candied nuts. (Or a burnt hand from using a metal spoon).
We used these Vollrath spatulas at the restaurant, and I can highly recommend them.
If you want a half-sheet pan with a rippled surface, I have this one and use it frequently.
Pro Short Cut
To avoid working with boiling sugar, combine nuts with salt, spices, and enough simple syrup (1:1 syrup of water and sugar) to get the nuts wet.
Spread out on a baking sheet and bake at 325F until the nuts are crisp and dry.
Stir them every 5 minutes or so so they crisp up evenly.
Once cool, test them. If they’re still a little bit soft, pop them back in the oven for 2-3 more minutes and test again.
Tips for Success
Cook the nuts in a pan with a silver or white interior rather than in non-stick or cast iron. You’ll be able to see more easily when the sugar caramelizes.
Stir the nuts continuously to make sure that the sugar cooks and then recrystallizes evenly so that a)the sugar doesn’t burn, and b)all the nuts are coated with lovely, sandy sugar crystals.
Cinnamon Glazed Nuts Q & A
Check your sugar to make sure it’s not processed with bone char. Otherwise, the recipe is vegan as written.
Yes! Doublecheck your spices to make sure none are processed on shared equipment, and the recipe should be gluten-free as written
I wouldn’t make them on the stovetop, but you can absolutely make your simple syrup with Splenda and then make the short-cut version of candied nuts with no issues.
Yes, they can. Seal them tightly and freeze for several months. Allow them to come to room temperature before opening the container. If they have gotten soft at all, re-crisp for a few minutes in a 325F oven.
Either you didn’t cook them to a high enough temperature (on the stovetop) or long enough (if using the oven method). Either way, crisp them up in a low oven for a few minutes. Once cool, taste one
Until you eat them all. I kid! They should stay fresh for a couple of weeks in a sealed container at room temperature. Again, if they get a bit soft for any reason, a low oven is your friend.
There are many ways to enjoy your magical cinnamon glazed nuts, friends.
Of course, you can eat them as is.
Or mix chopped candied nuts into your caramel corn.
Top ice cream with them, bake them into muffins (try these cinnamon chip muffins. They’d be perfect in them)
Make my buttermilk pecan ice cream and add these guys, either whole or very coarsely chopped.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
Wherever regular nuts can go, candied nuts can go. And go more deliciously!
If you have questions about this post or recipe, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can leave a comment on the post and I will get back to you within about 24 hours.
If your question is more urgent, please shoot me an email, and I will respond within 4 hours, unless I’m asleep.
A Note About Measurements
NOTE: Most of my recipes are written by weight and not volume, even the liquids.
Even though I try to provide you with volume measurements as well, I encourage you to buy a kitchen scale for ease of measuring, accuracy, and consistency.
Don't let its small price and small size fool you. The Escali Primo is an accurate and easy-to-use food scale that I have used for years. It's easy to store, easy to use, has a tare function, and easily switches between grams and ounces/pounds for accurate measurements.
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- 2 cups pecans, walnuts, almonds, etc
- 4 oz (a generous 1/2 cup) granulated sugar
- 2 oz water (1/4 cup)
- 2 teaspoons apple pie spice or cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- gently rounded 1/4 teaspoon Spanish hot smoked paprika
- 1 Tablespoon additional sugar
- Put sugar, water, salt, spices, and nuts into a medium saucepan.
- Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat-safe spatula, until the sugar melts and then starts to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
- Once you smell caramel, add the extra Tablespoon of sugar and stir thoroughly into the nuts, making sure they're all coated.
- The nuts will go from shiny to sandy and dull looking.
- Once all the nuts are sandy with sugar crystals, pour out onto a Silpat-lined half sheet pan to cool completely. (Or eat warm).
- Eat out of hand, or chop them and use them in your favorite recipes: pancakes, waffles, muffins, cakes, as an ice cream topping or mix-in, etc.
An Easier Alternative
- Combine about 1/2 cup simple syrup along with spices and salt and toss nuts in this mixture.
- Spread onto a Silpat-lined baking sheet and bake at 325 until crisp and dry, stirring every 5 minutes.
- Nuts will be done in about 15-20 minutes, depending on what type of nut you used and how much simple syrup you used.
- If they aren't crisp once cool, bake an additional 2-3 minutes to dry them out completely.
- Cool and store.
Store nuts in a sealed container for up to a week.
Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving Calories 134Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 0mgSodium 55mgCarbohydrates 5gFiber 2gSugar 3gProtein 2g
The stated nutritional information is provided as a courtesy. It is calculated through third party software and is intended as a guideline only.
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