Desserts Other Recipes

Candied Walnuts

overhead view of a glass jar filled with candied walnut pieces

If you’re the one responsible for the grocery shopping in your house you know that nuts are expensive. A small 6 oz. bag usually costs $6 or even more at my grocery store. And 6 ounces doesn’t go very far when you put them on lots of different dishes. My family likes them on their oatmeal, in their salads, as toppings on ice cream and baked desserts (like this pumpkin sheet cake)… we used candied walnuts as a garnish usually once a day. Needless to say, if I buy the small 6 oz. bags I usually by them 3 at a time just to get us through the week. That’s $18 per week on nuts – it drives ME nuts!

When I realized how much I was spending on nuts each week I decided to start buying them in bulk at the wholesale club so save a little money. But that meant I needed to candy them myself. How hard could it be? The answer is not hard. I’ve also learned from experience that friends will think you’re very fancy for making your own candied nuts. I’ll let you in on a little secret though, not only is candying nuts not difficult but it only takes 10 minutes and 3 ingredients. But let them think you’re fancy anyway.

About the Ingredients

Nuts – if you’re planning to use the candied nuts as a topping I recommend chopping them before you begin. Not too small, just a rough chop, so the bites aren’t so big.

Sugar – light brown sugar is best for this recipe.


How to Make Candied Walnuts

Simply roast the nuts for 5-10 minutes. You want them to just start to turn a shade darker and you’ll be able to smell that toasty nutty roasted smell wafting from your oven. While they’re toasting melt some brown sugar in a sauce pan. Gently stir it with a whisk and keep a close eye on it. As the sugar melts it will turn into a silky bubbly caramel sauce. You can let it darken a shade until it’s a perfect golden color. That’s when you can fold in the toasted nuts.

a peak into a glass jar with candied walnuts

Lay out a sheet of parchment paper on the countertop and pour the coated nuts onto the paper. They’ll be ultra sticky but do your best to separate the chunks into smaller pieces. Then sprinkle with salt and let them dry. A little tip if I may – the drying happens very quickly so work as fast as you can to make it easier on yourself. Once the nuts are dry, gather up the parchment with the nuts still inside and give it a few good squeezes to break up some of the pieces a little further.

Now you can pour them into any airtight container and store them. Use them often and show off just how fancy you are for having homemade candied nuts as a pantry staple.

Recipe Substitutions and Variations

Sweet and spicy go together so well. Have you ever had hot honey? If not, I highly recommend you try it by getting some of Stonewall Kitchen’s Hot Honey. Salad dressings, dipping sauce for a cheese board, or in place of barbecue sauce for fried chicken… hot honey is a flavor combo that is insanely good. With that in mind, try adding some heat to your candied walnuts. When you melt the brown sugar into caramel sauce, add some chipotle peppers. Remove the peppers when the sauce is complete right before you toss the nuts.

overhead view of a glass jar filled with candied walnut pieces

FAQ’s & Recipe Tips

How long do candied nuts last?

Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. After that, they may begin to go stale. They can also be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Why are my candied nuts grainy?

Probably because the sugar didn’t melt complete when cooked on the stove. Be sure the sugar is completely dissolved before tossing in the nuts.

The Recipe for Candied Walnuts

The recipe is attached below for easy downloading and printing.  If you test it out be sure to leave a note in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you garnished with them or if you ate them as a snack. Enjoy!

candied walnuts

Candied Walnuts

Garnish for everything from salads to desserts.
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Servings 6 servings


  • Parchment paper


  • ¾ cup walnuts roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • salt


  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for about 7 minutes or until fragrant and just starting to turn brown.
    ¾ cup walnuts
  • Meanwhile, in a saucepan on the stovetop, melt the brown sugar, stirring constantly. (Keep a close eye on your sugar because it will quickly turn to caramel and subsequently burnt caramel.)
    ¼ cup brown sugar
  • Once the sugar is melted and a rich caramel color, add the nuts to the pan and toss to coat.
  • Working quickly spread the nuts on a piece of parchment paper on the countertop. (The caramel will harden very quickly!) Try to spread them into pieces as best you can and season with salt while they are still sticky.
  • Once dry, if the chunks are too large, gather nuts in the parchment and gently squeeze/crunch them to break them apart.


Store candied walnuts in an air tight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

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