Are you wondering how to make candied walnuts at home? Here’s a simple step-by-step recipe you can make with 3 ingredients in 10 minutes.

Candied walnuts are a sweet, crunchy, and delicious treat to eat as a snack, candy, or as an addition to desserts and winter salads.

Candied walnuts on a plate

Check out our best plant-based dessert recipes!

You’ll love this recipe for candied walnuts because it’s easy to make, with only 3 ingredients, and yields irresistible, crunchy, sweet, nutty, light, and shiny walnuts.

Candied walnuts are regular walnuts that are toasted, then coated with caramelized sugar.

Caramelized sugar is really simple to make. You only need a small saucepan with a thick bottom, sugar, and heat.

As you apply heat, the sugar melts and changes color from white to a rich caramel color. That’s when you add in the walnuts, stir them in, then quickly transfer them onto a sheet of parchment paper to cool.

After a few minutes of cooling, the caramel dries and hardens around the walnuts, coating them in a crunchy and shiny shell you won’t be able to resist.

This is a beautifully simple recipe, and we hope you enjoy it.

Separating sugar-coated walnuts

Ingredients

walnuts and sugar

Walnuts

You can use walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts, cashew nuts, and hazelnuts.

Sugar

We make this with white sugar. Brown sugar works too.

Salt

Add a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor of the candied walnuts and leaves a tang on the tongue, but this is optional.

Instructions

Prep equipment

Line a baking sheet or cooling rack with parchment paper and prepare two forks to handle the walnuts.

It’s essential to prep the equipment in advance as the caramel cools down quickly, and you won’t have time to do so later.

Toast nuts

Next, toast the walnuts. You can do so in a non-stick skillet on the stove on medium heat for a couple of minutes.

Or you can toast them in an air-fryer for about 3 minutes or in the oven for about 6 minutes, in both cases at 350°F or 180°C.

toasting walnuts in a pan

Melt sugar

Add the sugar to a small saucepan with a heavy bottom.

sugar in a pot

Melt the sugar on medium-low heat until it turns into syrup. It should take 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir occasionally with a silicon spatula or with a spoon to prevent the sugar from burning, especially around the edges of the pot. Don’t stir too much; it’ll mostly melt on its own.

Tip: If your sugar starts to smoke/burn at any point, turn the heat off for a moment to let the pan cool down a bit.

melting sugar

Coat nuts in caramelized sugar

When the sugar has completely melted and reached a rich orange-brown caramel color, turn off the heat. Add a pinch of salt and the toasted walnuts.

Tip: at this stage, you can add a sprinkle of cinnamon or other spice, such as vanilla extract, cayenne pepper, or simply more salt, that’ll stick to the candy coating.

melted sugar and spoon

Carefully move the walnuts in the caramelized sugar, and try to coat each piece with the help of a fork. This should take you about 1 minute.

Tip: try to be fast as the sugar starts to harden immediately.

walnuts covered in sugar

Transfer the nuts-sugar mixture to the parchment-lined baking sheet and separate the nuts from one another with a fork.

Try to arrange them on a single layer. You need to work quickly as the sugar cools down fast.

Separating sugar-coated walnuts

Let cool down completely in a dry corner of your kitchen and away from the sun until the sugar has hardened (about 30 minutes).

Candied walnuts on baking sheet

Serving suggestions

You can use candied walnuts as:

  • As homemade candy to bring to friends as a gift.
  • As a tasty snack on yogurt with homemade granola.
  • Chopped up and sprinkled onto desserts like ice cream, muffins, or a delicious brownie cake.
  • With cheese on a platter.
  • Tossed in one of our crunchy winter salads.
Candied walnuts in salad

Delicious salads for candied walnuts

Add a handful of candied walnuts to these winter salads for a guaranteed crowd-pleasing dish:

Storage

Store candied walnuts in an airtight container in a dry corner of your kitchen and away from sunlight for up to 1 month. Do not refrigerate.

More favorite snack ideas

If you love sweet and savory snack ideas, here are some guest-friendly and tasty recipes:

For many more easy dessert ideas, check out our desserts category page.

candied walnuts on a white plate

Candied Walnuts

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 5 votes
Here's a simple step-by-step candied walnuts recipe you can make with 3 ingredients in 10 minutes.
Candied walnuts are a sweetcrunchy, and delicious treat to eat as a snack, candy, or as an addition to desserts or winter salads.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Cooling time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1 cup
Course: Candy
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ½ cup sugar
  • teaspoon salt

Instructions 

  • Line a baking sheet or cooling rack with parchment paper and prepare two forks to handle the walnuts.
    It's essential to prep the equipment in advance as the caramel cools down quickly, and you won't have time to do so later.
  • Next, toast the walnuts. You can do so in a non-stick skillet on the stove on medium heat for a couple of minutes.
    Or you can toast them in an air-fryer for about 3 minutes or in the oven for about 6 minutes, in both cases at 350°F or 180°C.
    toasting walnuts in a pan
  • Add the sugar to a small saucepan with a heavy bottom.
    sugar in a pot
  • Melt the sugar on medium-low heat until it turns into syrup. It should take 1 to 2 minutes.
    Stir occasionally with a silicon spatula or with a spoon to prevent the sugar from burning, especially around the edges of the pot. Don't stir too much; it'll mostly melt on its own.
    melting sugar
  • When the sugar has completely melted and reached a rich orange-brown caramel color, turn off the heat. Add a pinch of salt and the toasted walnuts.
    melted sugar and spoon
  • Carefully move the walnuts in the caramelized sugar, and try to coat each piece with the help of a fork. This should take you about 1 minute.
    walnuts covered in sugar
  • Transfer the nuts-sugar mixture to the parchment-lined baking sheet and separate the nuts from one another with a fork.
    Try to arrange them on a single layer. You need to work quickly as the sugar cools down fast.
    Separating sugar-coated walnuts
  • Let cool down completely in a dry corner of your kitchen and away from the sun until the sugar has hardened (about 30 minutes).
    Candied walnuts on baking sheet

Video

Candied Walnuts is a fun and easy Holiday recipe

Notes

Nutrition information is for the whole batch of candied walnuts.
TIPS
– If your sugar starts to smoke/burn at any point, turn the heat off for a moment to let the pan cool down a bit.
– Once the sugar has melted, you can add a sprinkle of cinnamon or other spices, such as vanilla extract, cayenne pepper, or simply more salt, that’ll stick to the candy coating.
– Once you add in the nuts, try work fast as the sugar starts to harden immediately.
– Check out our “serving suggestions” chapter to get ideas on how to use candied walnuts.

Nutrition

Calories: 1150kcal, Carbohydrates: 116g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 77g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 55g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 518mg, Dietary Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 103g, Vitamin A: 23IU, Vitamin B6: 1mg, Vitamin C: 2mg, Vitamin E: 1mg, Vitamin K: 3µg, Calcium: 116mg, Folate: 115µg, Iron: 3mg, Manganese: 4mg, Magnesium: 185mg, Zinc: 4mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

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