Candied Walnuts

Walnuts. Sugar. That's pretty much all you need to make candied walnuts. A dash of salt helps too. These are very easy to make.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Walnuts. Sugar. That’s pretty much all you need to make candied walnuts. A dash of salt helps too. These are very easy to make. The trick is to work very fast once the sugar starts melting, because once it gets on the walnuts it cools quickly and the walnuts will stick together. You have 30 seconds or so to separate them before they are forever bonded by glassy, cooked sugar. The other trick is to not burn the walnuts when you toast them. (Yes, we’ve done that before…)

Candied Walnuts Recipe



  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups raw walnut halves
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt


1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Use middle rack in oven. Lay walnuts out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 5 minutes. Test for doneness. If not quite toasted enough, toast for 1 or 2 more minutes. Be careful not to burn. Remove from oven and let cool in pan on a rack.

2 Pour sugar into a medium saucepan with a thick bottom. Have walnuts nearby, ready to quickly add to the pan at the right time. Cook sugar on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon as soon as the sugar begins to melt. Keep stirring until all the sugar has melted and the color is a medium amber. As soon as sugar is melted and the color is a medium amber, add the walnuts to the pan, quickly stirring and coating each piece with the sugar mixture.

3 As soon as the walnuts are coated with the sugar mixture, spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet, lined either with a Silpat non-stick mat, or parchment paper. Use two forks to separate the walnuts from each other, working very quickly. Sprinkle the nuts with the salt. Let cool completely.

Makes 1 1/2 cups.

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Showing 4 of 53 Comments

  • Deb

    I made candied walnuts many years ago but the recipe was so complicated and the oil started to burn and smoked up the whole house. This looks way too easy…love it! So tonight we are having roasted beet salad with candied walnuts and goat cheese. I’m thinking of using brown sugar rather than white sugar. No idea how I’m going to cook the chicken, yet!

  • Emma

    I don’t have a pot with a particularly thick bottom- how problematic is this?

    It’s a problem because then the sugar might not melt or caramelize evenly. You could more easily end up with burnt sugar. ~Elise

  • Ybk

    One important tip when doing this is DO NOT put the candied nuts on WAX paper. The sugar temp will be way in excess of what wax paper can handle. The nuts will become fused to the paper and there’s no way to get them off, without the taste of crayons and the occasional bit of paper. Use parchment paper instead! It can handle the heat. Learned this the hard way!

  • Deb

    I just tried these for the first time. I was about ready to call it quits (I had the melting and clumping that some other posters have described) but I just kept stirring and it eventually happened! The sugar completely melted…I added a bit of pumpkin pie spice and they are really good. There was a bit of stringing between the nuts as I separated them on the baking sheet…I assume this is normal or does it mean that I didn’t cook the sugar long enough? Regardless they taste just fine and will be awesome on salad (along with craisins and a raspberry vinaigrette).

    So glad it worked out for you! And yes, the stringing is normal. ~Elise

  • Elissa

    Easy and good! I used walnut pieces that were already toasted, which made it even quicker. They didn’t stick to the pyrex dish I cooled them in at all. Adding salt, black and cayenne pepper made them better. Will be great on salads.

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Candied Walnuts