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This will be the easiest 3 ingredient stovetop vegan candied pecans you have ever made!
They are seriously simple and ADHD proof (stay at the stove while making and stirring regularly) so there’s no way you’ll burn them!
Once you make these easy candied pecans once for friends and family, they’ll ask you to make them EVERY Holiday Season, just like my husband does! (The asking of making them usually starts just before Thanksgiving, and *might* end after the New Year…yes, they are THAT GOOD!)
Ingredients You’ll Need
Pecans: Use unsalted and unsweetened halved pecans. Do NOT use chopped. (I’ve tried using chopped and it did not turn out well, it was basically a mess of crumbs by the end.)
Sugar: White sugar certainly works best, and that is what I always use (plus it’s usually cheaper than the alternatives and with my food photography business, I always have white sugar on hand). But, brown sugar will also work, just know the flavor may be slightly off.
Water: The water liquefies the sugar turning it into a simple syrup, and then crystalizes the sugar onto the pecans. So no need for eggs or anything else.
Add-ins: If you’d like to add in anything else, vanilla, a pinch of salt, and cinnamon all work well and have all been tested. I simply like to boil ingredients, and recipes, down to the bare minimum to make them as simple as possible, which is why I now only use the 3 ingredients.
How to make candied pecans
*Note that these instructions can be printed below
Step one: Heat a large pan (or skillet) on medium heat and add the water.
Step two: Once the water starts to bubble, add the sugar and melt, stir constantly.
Step three: Once the sugar is liquid, add in the nuts, stir to coat and let the sugar crystallize, scraping the pan to prevent the nuts from sticking to it.
Step four: Remove from pan and allow to cool before enjoying
Tips to make the best stovetop candied pecans
I’ve made these candied pecans (and my candied cashews) every year for the holiday season for at least the past 5-10 years (many times per year). So I know a thing or two about making candied nuts!
My biggest tips are:
- BE PATIENT. It will take time for the sugar to crystalize onto the pecans, that’s why this recipe says it takes 25 minutes, not 5 or 10.
- STIR REGULARLY. Don’t stir occasionally or constantly, you need to stay by the stove and stir them. Pull up TikTok or something else on your phone to watch or listen to and enjoy the process, because you’ll enjoy the outcome even more!
- Play around with the heat if need be, but you’ll mostly stay around medium heat.
- These will feel soft still when done, they will harden when they cool.
- These are HOT, don’t try to take them off the pan with your hands, and don’t let hungry hands take them off the pan to ‘try them’ to see if they’re done.
Alternative Ways to Make this
These are far more superior when cooked on the stove, and there’s no chance of burning them.
But, if you’d prefer to make these in the oven then they may need some oil to help prevent them from drying out.
Directions for baking Candied Pecans in the Oven
- Preheat the oven to 325℉ and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix together 1 ½ to 2 cups pecans with 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and two tablespoons sugar (I use brown sugar for this). (Optional if using raw or unsalted pecans, add a pinch of salt.)
- Pour the mixture on the parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes stirring halfway through, or every 4-5 minutes to make sure they get cooked evenly.
- Allow to cool before enjoying.
Cooking them in the oven may seem easier, but it’s also a lot easier for them to burn and may not lead to the desired crystalized pecan results.
So, I highly recommend cooking them on the stove.
How to Serve and Use Candied Pecans
We usually eat these as is and munch on them during the holiday season, along with my candied cashews!
But, you could also use them for:
- Adding to a salad
- Adding to trail mix
- On top of waffles or pancakes
- On top of nice cream
- On top of oatmeal
- Fold into brownies or cookies
- And more!
Package them nicely into a mason jar with a holiday ribbon and gift card and give as edible Holiday Gifts.
How to Store Skillet Candied Pecans
Room Temperature: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for at least a week. (They may last longer, but I haven’t been able to hide them from my family long enough to test this.)
FAQ’s for Candied Pecans
Yes, see the alternative way to make these above, but know they turn out best on the stove.
Seeing as how there are only 3 ingredients in this recipe and one of them is sugar, I can’t guarantee you can make these sugar free. You might be able to use maple syrup to make them, but I have not tested this theory myself.
I can attest to them lasting at least a week at room temperature in an airtight container. Unfortunately, my family eats them all up before I can test them lasting longer…even if I hide them, they find them.
Munch on them! Seriously, they’re great for munching on during the holiday season – they’re nuts, so they have protein and can help keep you full til your next meal. Or, use one of the suggestions in the ‘how to serve’ section for other ways to enjoy these holiday favorites!
More delicious vegan recipes to try
- Easy Candied Cashews
- Muddy Buddies
- Classic Trail Mix
- Cinnamon & Sugar Tortilla Chips
- Vegan Snowballs
Candied PecansShawna Clapper
- Skillet or Large Pan
- Spatula or Wood Spoon
- 2 tablespoon Water
- ½ cup Sugar
- 1 ½ cups Pecans
- Heat a large pan (or skillet) on medium heat and add the water.
- Once the water starts to bubble, add the sugar and melt, stir constantly.
- Once the sugar is liquid, add in the nuts, stir to coat and let the sugar crystallize, scraping the pan to prevent the nuts from sticking to it.
- Remove from pan and allow to cool before enjoying