It’s always good to have an appetizer you can make quickly during the holidays—or during any party-going season, really. But there’s something festive and indulgent about spiced nuts that always feels right for the season.
This snack takes the idea of your standard nut mix and, thanks to the addition of some fresh herbs, cayenne, butter, and maple syrup, adds some sweet heat to the situation.
A Last-Minute Party Snack
This is not a make-ahead snack. You have to wait until the last minute to bring it together—preferably 15 to 20 minutes before people arrive.
This is best consumed soon after it’s made because if the nuts sit too long, the melted butter hardens on the nuts and they just get a little slimy. Once it’s not warm anymore, the recipe just doesn’t work as well.
But luckily, batches of these nuts are easy and speedy to pull together. And they are generally consumed fast enough that waste is not an issue.
The bonus? It makes your house smell delicious. There’s no substitute for the smell of welcoming food, especially when it’s cold outside.
What Kind of Nuts in a Nut Mix?
I picked pecans, walnuts, and almonds because that's what I most commonly have in the house, and I like the way the softness of the pecans and walnuts contrasts with the crunch of the almonds.
That being said, you could also do hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, peanuts, and maybe even pistachios. Just keep in mind if you’re using nuts of various thicknesses and sizes, you need to compensate for that with the toasting time in the oven; smaller ones will brown more quickly.
Please use unsalted nuts that you can buy bagged in the baking aisle or in bulk—not the kind you find in those cocktail mixes, which tend to be salted. You’re basically making your own mix here, except way better.
More Easy Party Snacks!
Herb-Spiced Mixed Nuts
- 3 to 4 cups (283 to 354g) pecans, walnuts, and almonds
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, olive oil, or coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped sage
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Toast the nuts:
Place the nuts on an ungreased, rimmed baking sheet and toast them for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven to cool slightly.
Combine the butter, herbs, and maple syrup:
Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the rosemary, sage, thyme, cayenne, maple syrup, and salt. (If you are using oil, you should gently and briefly warm it as well.)
Toss the nuts with the butter and herbs:
Using a spatula, toss the warm nuts in a medium bowl with the melted herbs and butter until the nuts are coated.
These are best consumed immediately, while warm. They may make your hands a little messy, but it’s worth it. Trust me.