Candied Walnuts

Favorite FallCandyWalnut

Walnuts. Sugar. That's pretty much all you need to make these Candied Walnuts! These crunchy caramelized nuts are a great party snack. You can also serve them in a salad or sprinkled over ice cream!

Photography Credit: Alison Conklin

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.

How to Candy Walnuts - separate the walnuts

The Trick to Making Candied Walnuts

The trick is to work very fast once the sugar starts melting, because once you mix in the walnuts, the candy syrup 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…)

How to candy nuts

Ways to Use Candied Walnuts

Around the holidays, candied walnuts make a great party snack. You can make them a day or two ahead, and then just set them out in small bowls or serve them alongside a cheese plate for people to snack on.

You can even add a sprinkle of minced rosemary or a dash of cinnamon when you stir in the walnuts for some extra holiday flavor!

Other times of year, candied walnuts are a fine addition to lunch salads, mixed into bowls of yogurt, or sprinkled over ice cream. They’re also a nice snack to have in your bag when traveling.

Mix it Up!

Don’t like walnuts? Use pecans, almonds, or any other nut instead.

You can also double this batch if needed, though your sugar will take a little longer to caramelize. If you need to make more candied nuts, make them in separate batches rather than trying to make them all at once; it’s more difficult to quickly separate larger batches before the caramelized sugar starts to harden.

how to make candied walnuts

How to store candied walnuts

Let your walnuts cool completely, then store them in an airtight container, like glass canning jar, at room temperature. As long as it’s not too humid where you live (which will cause the walnuts to become sticky), they should stay crunchy for at least a week.

Looking for more ideas for nuts?

Updated December 9, 2018 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the recipe.

Candied Walnuts Recipe

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  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups candied nuts

Ingredients

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

Method

1 Toast the walnuts: 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, until slightly darker in color and fragrant.

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.

Make candied walnuts - toast the walnuts

2 Get everything ready: You'll need to work quickly once the caramelized sugar is ready, so be sure to have everything prepped and ready to go.

Place the cooled walnuts in a bowl near the stove. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper and place near the stove. Have two forks ready.

3 Caramelize the sugar: Pour sugar into a medium saucepan with a thick bottom and place over medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon as the sugar begins to melt.

Keep stirring until all the sugar has melted and the color is a medium amber, 5 to 10 minutes (exact timing will depend on your stovetop).

how to candy walnuts - add the sugar to the pan Candied walnuts - melt the sugar candied nuts - cook the sugar until golden

4 Coat the walnuts in caramelized sugar: As soon as sugar has melted and the color is a medium amber, add the walnuts to the pan. Stir quickly and make sure each piece is coated with the sugar mixture.

As soon as the walnuts are coated with the sugar mixture, spread them out on the rimmed baking sheet. Use two forks to separate the walnuts from each other, working very quickly. Sprinkle the nuts with the salt.

how to make candied walnuts - add the walnuts to the caramelized sugar How to Candy Walnuts - separate the walnuts

6 Cool and store: Let the walnuts cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container and store for up to a week.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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55 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Dawn

    I have made this Chinese-style. One of the secrets I found was to blanch (simmer) the walnuts for 10 minutes before toasting. This removes the bitterness which can be very pronounced to some people with walnuts. The second lovely addition is to sprinkle sesame seeds (toasted if you like) over the nuts at the point where this recipe says to sprinkle with salt. The extra flavor is amazing. Just some thoughts. :)

  • June

    Great tasting simple recipe! We followed the recipe and then we sprinkled cinnamon on top to add extra flavor. It was gone in minutes.

  • 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!

  • Michelle

    Just tried this for the first time, to put into a salad with cranberries and apples I am making for a NYE party. I can mess anything up but these seemed to have turned out OK! I used my toaster oven and toasted the walnuts in batches, just in case. This only became problematic because I forgot to reduce the sugar for fewer walnuts, so the first batch came out very sugary! But so yummy. The second batch was better. The only problem I found is that the sugar tends to harden on the wooden spoon so I would recommend using a plastic spatula which seemed easier to get the hardened sugar off of, and also when left over residual sugar hardened in the pan, that was a bit of a pain to get off. But all in all these are so good and I’m so glad I know how to make candied walnuts now! The hardest part is not eating them all before putting them into the salad!

    I definitely do not recommend a plastic spatula, which will most likely melt at the very high temperatures of the melted sugar. To get the sugar off of the wooden spoon, just soak it in water for 10 minutes. ~Elise

  • Kim

    Yummy – tastey walnuts, however, Mine have sat on the pan all night and are very sticky. They won’t dry…what should I do. We are supposed to package them today. Please help.

    I would try reheating them in the pan, and removing them from the pan as soon as you can loosen them. ~Elise

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Candied walnuts in a bowlCandied Walnuts