I totally understand the delight of candied nuts. It’s the ultimate combination of flavors that make us humans come back for more: fat + sweet + salt.
This year, I wanted to make candied nuts as a holiday treat, but easier and a bit more healthy than the traditional recipe, so without oil and white refined sugars.
These candied pecans are crunchy and perfectly sweet. The pecans have the exact right consistency as they are for example softer than hazelnuts or macadamia nuts.
If you have four ingredients (that is including water and salt), and a few minutes you can also enjoy these delicious stovetop candied pecans!
Why you will love these candied pecans:
- they are soft and sweet
- easy to make
- don’t require an oven
- fool-proof (aka no burning)
- you only need a few simple ingredients
Stovetop Candied Pecans Ingredients
This ”recipe” is simple, but makes so much sense. Fat (pecans) + sugar (coconut sugar) is always a winning combination. For this recipe for candied pecans you will only need 4 ingredients: pecans + sugar + water + salt.
Just have a look at the ones you can buy in the store or the ones that are offered at your local market. They often contain a good amount of oil and white refined sugars. I am not even sure if they are vegan.
I don’t use white refined sugar so I started to experiment with the sweeteners I have in my kitchen, such as date syrup, maple syrup and xylitol. They all worked amazingly well, but a (non-syrup) sweetener works best with water and works best for this oil-free recipe.
Coconut sugar gives theses pecans a nice deep sweet flavor, and it combines so well with the texture of these nuts.
Candied pecans vs Caramelized Pecans
These two names are often used interchangeably, and I can imagine the confusion.
Caramelized pecans are often coated in a shiny sugar glaze, while candied pecans have a bit more of a crunchy coating with sugar.
This recipe falls a bit in both categories. Yes, there is this irresistible sugar glaze, but once cooled off these pecans are also crispy.
Glazed or sugared. What do you think?
How to Make Caramelized Pecans
You will only need a few ingredients for this recipe, but to make it oil-free you will also need a non-stick skillet.
Add the coconut sugar + water to a non-stick skillet
It’s as simple as melting the coconut sugar and water in a skillet. Stir on medium heat until it starts to bubble.
Next, add in the pecans and heat until sticky.
Keep in stirring until all pecans are sticky, aka caramelized. This will all take about 5 minutes.
The liquid sugar will slowly coat each and every pecan. The moment the water is evaporated you will be left with only the pecans and sugar.
Once the pecans start to stick to the skillet, you can remove the pecans from the heat.
A sprinkle of salt
I’m using a sprinkle of salt in this recipe for two reason.
Firstly, the combination of fat + sweet+ salt is irresistible.
Secondly, just a tiny bit of salt will bring out the flavor of the pecans and the coconut sugar.
Allow to cool at room temperature to set the pecans
This is an important aspect of this recipe, as the cooling process will make the pecans crispy. They need at least 20 minutes to set. You can speed the cooling process by placing the pecans in the fridge. The more time the pecans can cool, the more crunchy they will become.
You can place the pecans on a big plate or baking tray lined with parchment paper. If you don’t want the pecans to stick to each other make sure to leave some space between them.
I personally don’t have a problem with candied pecans sticking to each other, since I never actually only eat just one candied pecan. But if you want to do it the right way: candied pecans should not stick to each other.
Optional Flavors for Candied Pecans
The best thing about making your own candied pecans is that you can use extra/other flavors. Today I’m sharing with you a basic recipe, but this recipe leaves room for so many optional flavors.
For warming autumn flavors, add cinnamon, gingerbread spice or pumpkin spice.
If you feel like adding a different tone of sweetness, add vanilla-extract.
For pecans with a punch, add a little cayenne.
Crave a bit more of a salty-sweet flavor? Add extra flaked salt.
How to use Stovetop Candied Pecans
During the festive holiday season, I like to make a few batches. One basic, one with vanilla and one with cayenne. As such I always have these pecans on hand for different recipes.
- All variations are delicious eaten alone as a snack
- I also add all variations to my salads
- I add a few (sweet pecans) to my oat porridge
- These pecans (salty and spicy) make an amazing appetizer
- I also love to use these pecans as a topping or with a dessert
If you are also going to make candied pecans, I’d love to know! If you share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @TheGreenCreator + #thegreencreator!
Want to save these Candied Pecans for later? Pin the recipe to your Pinterest boards:
With only four ingredients and 10 minutes you can make the best ever stovetop candied pecans ever! These candied pecans are vegan, oil-free, and refined sugar-free.
- 2 cups (200 grams) pecans
- 1/2 cup (70 grams) coconut sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon flaked salt
Bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally so the sugar and water can melt together.
Once the coconut sugar is dissolved and the sugary water start to bubble and release moist, add in the pecans and the salt. If you are using any of the optional ingredients, you can add these now as well.
Heat until almost all the liquid is evaporated. Tis can take about 5 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on the skillet and stir occasionally.
When the water is evaporated and the pecans become sticky, remove from the heat.
Transfer the pecans to a big plate or a baking tray (with parchment paper).
With a spatula, separate each pecan if you don’t want them to stick to each other.
I spread the pecans out a little bit, as I don’t mind them sticking to each other.
Let cool completely at room temperature or in the fridge. The longer you let the pecans cool, the crunchier they will be.
Store in the fridge or at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to two months.
Keywords: easy, vegan, refined sugar free, nuts, candied, candied pecans, christmas, holiday, coconut sugar, dessert, pecans, snack