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. 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 57 Comments

  • Lady Amalthea

    Oh, I have such bad luck with candying! Any tips other than work fast?

  • smin

    do you need to add water to the sugar while cooking it? the ingredients don’t have water in it but how else will the sugar melt?

  • Elise

    Hi Lady – I have no other tips, but perhaps there are readers out there who do?

    Hi Smin – Believe it or not, you don’t need to add water. The heat alone melts the sugar. Sugar is a crystal, the way ice is crystal. Adding heat breaks the bonds that hold the crystal together. Just watch it carefully, because it can burn if you aren’t careful. As soon as it starts to melt, start stirring.

  • Ilva

    What a wonderful idea! I have loads of fresh walnuts that someone gave me and now I know what will happen to at least some of them!

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