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Easy Vegan Candied Pecans (Stovetop)

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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!

Overhead view of Candied Pecans in a white bowl.

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!)

What Makes These The BEST Candied Pecans

These are the best candied pecans recipe you’ll be able to find, no joke, and this is because;

  • They use 3 simple ingredients
  • They can be stored for weeks
  • Crunchy, crispy, sugary
  • Can be made as an edible holiday gift
  • Egg Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Weird Ingredient Free
  • Can be used as a sweet topping for salads, trail mix, and more!

Pecans not your thing? Try my Candied Cashews recipe, it’s just as simple – you could even just replace the pecans in this recipe with cashews.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Candied Pecans ingredients on a wood cutting board.

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.

Process photos for Candied Pecans on the stove. First image is just water and sugar, second image is just after the pecans were added.

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.

Process photos of Candied Pecans on a pan on the stove.

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.  
Candied Pecans in a jar with a red and green ribbon.

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

  1. Preheat the oven to 325℉ and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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

Can I bake these in the oven?

Yes, see the alternative way to make these above, but know they turn out best on the stove.

Can I make these sugar free?

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.

How long do candied pecans last?

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.

What should I do with vegan candied pecans?

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!

Candied Pecans close up and spread out on parchment paper.

More delicious vegan recipes to try

Candied Pecans in a white bowl with more pecans surrounding it.

Candied Pecans

Shawna Clapper
These stovetop vegan candied pecans will be the best you have ever made! They’ll get people begging you to make them every holiday season and keep them stocked for the entire month of December! They’re crunchy, sugary, and maybe a tad bit addictive because they’re so good!
4.50 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 118 kcal

Equipment

  • Skillet or Large Pan
  • Spatula or Wood Spoon

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoon Water
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 1 ½ cups Pecans

Instructions
 

  • 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

Video

Notes

Be patient, it will crystalize. Also know they are hot when they are done and may feel soft, but will harden as they cool.

Nutrition

Calories: 118kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 1gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 0.2mgPotassium: 51mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 7IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 9mgIron: 0.3mg
Keyword pecans
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