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Kevin Curry

Stovetop Candied Pecans Recipe

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I know few people who have NOT at least tried the wonder of stovetop candied pecans?  It’s almost a rite of passage here in the south!  One of my favorite childhood memories was picking pecans in Batesburg, South Carolina with my brother.  My dad is from there so we would spend some summers there with my grandparents and cousins.  The pecan trees were GIANT and I was always mesmerized by the amount of pecans that surrounded the perimeter of the tree on the ground.  Seemed to be never-ending!

So, suffice it to say, I’ve had just about every pecan dish known to mankind (or at least a Southerner).  Have you heard of Dixie sweet potatoes?  Imagine sweet potato pie and pecan pie had a baby.

Then there’s stovetop candied pecans! A sweet treat that can elevate the flavor of nearly any dish or can be enjoyed by itself.

It got me thinking – where did the original idea of candying nuts – candied pecans – come from? What are candied pecans and from where did they originate?

What Are Candied Pecans?

Candied pecans are essentially pecans that have been coated in a hardened spiced sugary syrup.  It is often made with ingredients like brown sugar and cinnamon.

The nuts are then baked or cooked until they’re glazed with this sweet and spiced mix.  Once the nuts and syrup cool to room temperature, a delightfully crunchy exterior with the warm, nutty flavor of the pecan is left.

Stovetop Candied Pecans Recipe

The History of Candied Pecans

Though candied nuts have likely been around for centuries across many cultures, candied pecans definitely have roots in the Southern US. Pecan trees, which are native to North America, became a staple of the Southern diet.  This is why they were such a big part of my childhood – South Carolina was FULL of pecan trees!

I couldn’t find any exact dates but I’m guessing it wasn’t long before folks started experimenting with the rich flavors of brown sugar and adding softer nuts like pecans, birthing what we now know as candied pecans. Over the years, these treats have evolved from simple family recipes to gourmet store staples and even incorporating into meal prep as a sweet snack option.

 

Stovetop vs. Oven: The Benefits of Skillet Candied Pecans

When it comes to how to make candied pecans, there are two primary methods: on the stove using a skillet or baked in an oven.

While both methods have their merits, making them in a skillet offers some distinct advantages:

  • Speed: Skillet candied pecans can be ready in a fraction of the time compared to their oven-baked counterparts.
  • Control: Cooking on the stove allows you to monitor the caramelization process closely, ensuring that the nuts don’t overcook.
  • Texture: Achieve a crispier exterior with the direct heat from the skillet.

 

The Sweet Health Benefits of Brown Sugar and Cinnamon

Pecans are not the only ingredient providing health benefits!

Brown sugar contains trace minerals like potassium and magnesium and calcium,  which white sugar lacks due to its refining process.

Additionally, cinnamon, a staple in many recipes for candied pecans, is lauded for its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to regulate blood sugar.

Ok, now on to the stovetop candied pecans recipe with…cashews!

Show full recipe

Stovetop Candied Pecans Recipe

Ingredients

20 Servings
Serving Size:2 tbsp
* Optional Substitution Note
  • 1.5 cups raw pecan halves
  • 1.5 cups raw cashews
    • raw pecans
  • 1 cup brown sugar
    • coconut sugar; raw cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons water

Tools

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Steps

Step 1

Set a stainless steel or nonstick skillet on medium heat.  Add brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of water.  Continuously stir until a syrup is created.

Step 2

Add the nuts and continue to stir, ensuring every nut is covered in the syrup.  Continue stirring and folding the nuts in the syrup in the skillet with a spatula.

NOTE: As you stir, the nuts will become grainy.  This is normal.  Just continue stirring until a syrup forms again. Use the remaining tablespoon of water if needed.

Step 3

Once the syrup forms again, fold the nuts in the syrup, reduce the heat in the skillet, or remove the skillet from the heat.

Spread the nuts on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and let them nuts cool and harden, about 10 minutes.

Step 4

Once the nuts have completely cooled, break them into pieces and store the pieces in an airtight container.  Enjoy on salads, parfaits, or…even as part of a fall harvest chex mix!

halloween harvest fall chex mix

Stovetop Candied Pecans Recipe

Kevin Curry

An easy 20-minute stovetop recipe for candied pecans - or any nut really - that uses 3 simple ingredients - brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla!
Stovetop Candied Pecans Recipe

Prep 5min
Cook 15min
Total 20min

Category Sweets
# of servings20
Calories 150


  • 1.5 cups raw pecan halves
  • 1.5 cups raw cashews
    • raw pecans
  • 1 cup brown sugar
    • coconut sugar; raw cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons water

  1. Set a stainless steel or nonstick skillet on medium heat.  Add brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of water.  Continuously stir until a syrup is created.

  2. Add the nuts and continue to stir, ensuring every nut is covered in the syrup.  Continue stirring and folding the nuts in the syrup in the skillet with a spatula.

    NOTE: As you stir, the nuts will become grainy.  This is normal.  Just continue stirring until a syrup forms again. Use the remaining tablespoon of water if needed.

  3. Once the syrup forms again, fold the nuts in the syrup, reduce the heat in the skillet, or remove the skillet from the heat.

    Spread the nuts on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and let them nuts cool and harden, about 10 minutes.

  4. Once the nuts have completely cooled, break them into pieces and store the pieces in an airtight container.  Enjoy on salads, parfaits, or…even as part of a fall harvest chex mix!

    halloween harvest fall chex mix


Nutrition per serving

Calories150cal
Protein1g
Fats11g
Carbs13g
Sodium30mg
Fiber2g
Sugar11g
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Details

Prep 5min
Cook 15min
Total 20min
# of servings20
Serving Size:2 tbsp

Nutrition per serving

Calories150cal
Protein1g
Fats11g
Carbs13g
Sodium30mg
Fiber2g
Sugar11g
About Kevin - author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hey, I'm Kevin

My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and maintaining an active lifestyle.

By experimenting in the kitchen and sharing my meals on Tumblr, I learned healthy eating is not boring! By making a few adjustments to my favorite foods, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my wellness goals while satisfying my desire for BANGIN food! 😅 Now I try to help people around the world realize that same level of freedom in eating regardless of budget. Welcome, let's #DemocratizeWellness together!