Sweet with Heat Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts


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Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts — The smell of candied nuts is one of the best parts of holiday shopping! Munch on a these shopping mall-style candied nuts at home, year-round. 

glass jar filled with candied nuts

Homemade Candied Nuts Recipe

The smell of candied nuts wafting through the shopping malls before Christmas is positively intoxicating. Something so good shouldn’t be confined to just a month or two of the year. These shopping mall-style candied nuts are fast and easy to make and ready in a half hour. The aroma that wafts through your house while they bake is so intoxicating that you’ll wish you could bottle it.

For this mix, I used 1 cup each of pecans, walnuts, and almonds. Pecans are great here because their nooks and crannies trap the coating mixture especially well.

In the coating mixture, I used one tablespoon of cinnamon and one-half teaspoon of cayenne pepper. The nuts aren’t intense firebombs where you’ll need to immediately guzzle water. Rather, it’s a creeper heat. The kind that sneaks up on you.

Sweet with Heat Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts - Recipe at averiecooks.com

After a handful, your sinuses will be wide open, but you’ll reach for another handful. Food with heat is addictive. The more you have, the more you want. If you’re not into heat, either reduce or eliminate the cayenne. Still tasty, minus the open sinuses.

The sweet-with-heat, caramelized, crispy, brown sugary coating is so good. The stray bits of it that fall off are even better than the nuts themselves for me. I love finding bonus chunks of it laying loose in the jar. It’s the streusel topping principle. I love to pick at any sort of brown sugary crumbs.

These homemade Christmas nuts make great last-minute gifts and anything homemade in under a half hour is a winner. Don’t wait for Christmas. Bring some to a summer bbq, a pool party, or a neighborhood cookout. You’ll be the hit of the party as people stand around crunching and munching.

We’ve been doing our share of crunching and munching alright.

Sweet with Heat Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts - Recipe at averiecooks.com

What’s in Candied Nuts? 

To make this mixture of candied pecans, candied walnuts, and candied almonds, you’ll need: 

  • Nuts
  • Egg white
  • Water
  • Granulated sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Kosher salt
  • Cayenne pepper

Sweet with Heat Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts - Recipe at averiecooks.com

How to Make Candied Nuts

Making candied Christmas nuts couldn’t be simpler! Place nuts in a large bowl. Whisk the egg white and water until frothy in another bowl. 

Pour the egg white mixture over the nuts, then pour in the remaining ingredients. Toss evenly to coat. 

Spread the nuts over a parchment paper-lined baking tray, then bake until the coating is crisped, dried and candied. 

Sweet with Heat Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts - Recipe at averiecooks.com

How Long Do Candied Nuts Last? 

If stored in an airtight container at room temperature, these candied nuts will last up to a month. 

What Type of Nuts Should I Use? 

You can use any type of nuts you’d like in this candied nuts recipe. Just note that I used raw, unsalted nuts in this recipe. 

Sweet with Heat Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts - Recipe at averiecooks.com

Can I Omit the Cayenne Pepper?

Yes, but I recommend adding it in. It’s highly addictive!

Can I Add Other Spices?

Yes, you’re welcome to spice these candied nuts however you see fit. Cinnamon is a must in my book, though.  

Sweet with Heat Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts - Recipe at averiecooks.com

Can I Omit the Egg White? 

Not really, no. The egg white acts as the glue in this recipe and prevents the candied coating from sliding off the nuts. 

Can I Omit Part of the Sugar? 

I don’t think so, no. Without the sugar, you can’t make candied nuts. 

Sweet with Heat Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts - Recipe at averiecooks.com

Tips for Making Candied Nuts

Don’t skip the kosher salt in this recipe. You need a bit of salt to balance out the sweetness of the candy coating and bring out the flavor of the nuts themselves. 

Be sure to stir the candied nuts halfway through the bake time. If you don’t stir them, some of the nuts may burn. 

Lastly, you need to let these candied Christmas nuts cool completely before eating them. They crisp up as they cool and develop a crunchy exterior. 

Sweet with Heat Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts - Make shopping mall-style candied nuts any time you want! Just 30 minutes and these crunchy and very addictive nuts are all yours! Makes a great gift! Easy recipe at averiecooks.com

Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts — The smell of candied nuts is one of the best parts of holiday shopping! Munch on a these shopping mall-style candied nuts at home, year-round. 

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4.60 from 10 votes

Sweet with Heat Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts

By Averie Sunshine
The smell of candied nuts is one of the best parts of holiday shopping! Munch on a these shopping mall-style candied nuts at home, year-round.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 cups
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  • 3 cups nuts, pecans work very well to absorb the coating; I used 1 cup each of pecans, walnuts, and almonds. All were raw and unsalted
  • 1 egg white, whisked to frothy
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • cup granulated sugar
  • cup brown sugar, packed (light or dark is fine)
  • 2 + teaspoons cinnamon, I used 1 tablespoon
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (reduce to 1/4 teaspoon for milder heat)


  • Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add the nuts; set aside. I used 1 cup each of pecans, walnuts, and almonds. All were raw and unsalted.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and water until frothy, foamy, and bubbly, about 2 minutes by hand. Pour mixture over nuts and toss to coat evenly; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 5 ingredients. Dump over the nuts and toss to coat evenly.
  • Turn nuts out onto to prepared baking tray, spreading them in an even flat layer.
  • Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, or until coasting is crisped, dried and candied. Stir nuts once midway through cooking.
  • Lift the parchment paper with the nuts on it off the baking tray, set it on the counter, and allow nuts to cool. When nuts are cool enough to handle, if desired, break apart large clusters.
  • Transfer nuts to airtight containers or jars.


  • Nuts will keep airtight at room temperature for at least 1 month.


Serving: 1, Calories: 402kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 22g, Sodium: 411mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 26g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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White Chocolate-Dipped Oreo Cookie Balls — This Oreo balls recipe uses just 4 simple ingredients! If you’re looking for an easy no-bake dessert for cookie swaps or gift exchanges, this is it!

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About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Just made these, and I love them. I went light on the cayenne pepper, but the next batch I will use more. I doubled the recipe, and only used 1/4 tsp, and no heat at all. I was looking for the sweet/spicey, but not hot. I will be making them again
    Thank you for a great recipe

  2. 5 stars
    Just made these, and I love them. I went light on the cayenne pepper, but the next batch I will use more. I doubled the recipe, and only used 1/4 tsp, and no heat at all. I was looking for the sweet/spicey, but not hot. I will be making them again
    Thank you for a great recipe

  3. Did you take these photos of these nuts in the jar? I would like to know as I am doing Photography GCSE and I need to know a lot of different photographers.

    Thank you

  4. These are delicious. I added a touch of vanilla paste and made with solely cashew nuts. I’m from the UK so I doubled the recipe which meant I used 750g of nuts on the dot. Omitted the spice as that’s not for us, kept the cinnamon though. Baked for 35 minutes and they were spot on. I’ve now got three jars of nuts to give away for xmas + one for me and the boyfriend for munching on. Thanks Averie!

    1. You have lucky friends and family who are going to get these as gifts! I’m sure the vanilla paste is lovely and glad you’re happy!

  5. Hi. Can I use aluminum foil instead of parchment paper? I made these last year and they were fantastic. I want to make again now. But I don’t have parchment paper. Thank-you.

  6. These. Nuts. I made them last night and I cannot stop eating them!! Thank you for the recipe. You have become my new go to for to die for recipes!

    1. Glad I’m your new go-to and yes, these nuts. I know. I cannot even make them very often….way too addictive, yes! :) Glad you can relate!

    1. Probably like the other almonds (rosemary chipotle) I linked in the ‘Related Recipes’ section of the post. The coating won’t stick as well without the egg. You can try it, but just know that about half (or more) just won’t stick. The egg white is like glue but if there’s an allergy, there’s nothing you can do!

    1. Trader Joe’s is the cheapest. Or try the bulk bins at most any grocery store. Whole Foods of course will have them, but they’ll be more expensive. Target even carries some raw nuts. Very easy to find!

  7. I am wondering if it’s possible to substitute the white sugar & brown sugar with 1 cup of the Splenda Brown Sugar blend and still get it to caramelize to the nuts. Has anyone tried this? Might have to make a small test batch…
    Thanks for the recipe!

    1. I don’t think Splenda brown sugar actually caramelizes and browns…if it does, great. But I don’t think it will turn into the caramelized, melty, tacky coating these nuts are known for.

  8. My dad never has any ideas of what I should make, especially when I’m making it for him. He loves nuts too. I’ll have to remember these the next time he deserves something special.

  9. These look and sound terrific! Love your photos. I am sure your husband loved them. Mine would too!
    Sherri @ madefrompinterest.net

  10. I’m a huge nut lover too! And I could sure use this for snacking – I’m constantly skipping out on meals just so I can snack more!

    1. I’m constantly skipping out on meals just so I can snack more! <--- Oh wow, we should be roommates. Or at least go out for drinks! :) Or snacks! You and me both, girl! Why eat a meal when you can graze and try 15 diff little snacks. Tapas of sorts :)

  11. Oh, how tasty!! I love the brown sugar coating!! I’m not much of a nut fan, but I could eat these no problem!

  12. hot and spicy nuts are great for parties, but I find it difficult to manage the spiciness as I have a great tolerance for heat. Often put too much and blow my mind. However it does seem to make them more addictive. I would love to try adding cocoa powder into this coating for Mexican twist.

  13. Hehe, it sounds like our husbands are a lot alike. Mine has become much more adventurous as well but won’t typically get specific on what he wants me to make. I bet he’d love these!

    1. Yes because we’re you know, mind readers. Or after 12-13 yrs of marriage and like almost 15 together he’ll go, “Well you know I love xyz…” And I’m like NO, I DIDNT know that!

  14. I get EXACTLY the same responses from my husband about what I should make as well. And he will be THRILLED once I make these for him! So completely yummers looking – THANK YOU for the idea!! :)

  15. Kevin and Scott are so much alike. When I ask him what kind of dessert he wants… I get a lot of “whatever you want.” “I don’t care.” “Surprise me.” Ugh! I’m not a mind readers. However, he does not like pecans. So wheneverI make candied nuts – I get them all to myself. Which is sorta dangerous because I have no self control around sweet + salty anything! Seriously loving the cayenne you added!! I just made my favorite candied nuts recently (not for my blog…!) and now I want to make them again with cayenne, Averie! Genius. Totally trying it on my next batch.

    1. It added so much flavor. As you probably know, I don’t like salt/onions/garlic and most often, when it comes to savory-ish foods, most people think those things are the only way to add flavor. But I prefer to go with cayenne – no salt, no garlic/onion lingering in my pores for days, and I get nice and toasty :)

  16. I think that’s just how men are. They will be unsure about (most) things…and will eat about anything! Love how you thought of this recipe to make for him. Yum! My Justin would actually love these! Thank you for sharing! (=

    1. And they will even eat things ‘they don’t like’ b/c I swear, they don’t know what it is they really like and don’t like…mine anyway is that way :)

  17. I wish I could find a recipe for idunno or idontcare, because I get that request from my fiance All The Time!

    These nuts look absolutely outstanding! I should probably just start out with a double batch because I don’t think they would last long around here!

  18. Hi Averie! I have to say that I love your writing style! You just have a great way with words and you always tell a great little story. Men are the hardest to buy for period. John’s birthday was in May and then Father’s Day was 2 weeks later and the kids and I were struggling coming up with things to get him. We asked him the same question, “what do you want?” We got the same answer as you, “I don’t know.” I could rattle off a list of things to him that I want, as women, we’re just easier to shop for and we just know what we want!

    John would love these nuts. I tend to like my nuts plain or roasted, but he loves to make up a batch of spicy nuts. He takes them to work with him and goest to town. He would love the heat in these as well as the sweet! xoxo, Jackie

    1. They’re so good! Even Skylar got in on the action (age 6) so she enjoyed the little bit of heat, too! Men are so hard to buy/shop/cook for in general. My dad was the same way. What do you want? Oh…I dunno…


  19. I love your title for this recipe, and those nuts…wow! They sounds so good to me right now. :)

  20. These look amazing. I love the name too! It’s cute :) It’s so dangerous to keep nuts in the house- they are WAY too addicting. But these seem well worth it!

  21. I loooove spiced nuts. Recently I used Aleppo pepper instead cayenne, and the results were quite tasty.

    1. I’ve never even heard of Aleppo pepper! Ok now I have to keep an eye out for that and try it! Thanks for LMK! Learn somethin’ new every day!

  22. I absolutely love nuts like this – anytime I make any my husband and I usually fight for the last ones (I like to save them and eat small amounts over time, and he likes to eat as many as possible in one sitting haha). Inevitably I get mad because I come home after work to find that the last few I was saving for myself were gone : )

    1. Omg I would freak! Then again, we have SO much food here at all times b/c of my cookbook, blog, recipe testing that it would probably be a blessing if some disappeared!

  23. That scent reminds me so much of the mall! This is so weird, but I made coookies with a similar flavor profile just yesterday. My friend named them Ginger Smackdowns. ;)

    1. Ginger Smackdowns = omg I want one already! What are the odds you used the same flavor profile, too, 12 hrs before this post went live. After all these years, these things don’t surprise me anymore!

  24. I have a recipe for sweet and salty nuts, but your looks SO much better. I’vee never tried the egg white wash before . . . Oh, you are dead on about addictive! Sweet and spicy nuts are delicious and my downfall. Your description of creeper heat made me smile, but is truth! Cinnamon, sugar, and cayenne is in my future! Hopefully, I can make them today. I’ll let you know how they turn out:)

    1. Yes please LMK how it goes! The egg white clings like no other so the coating sticks beautifully!

  25. Nuts are one of my favorite snacks and I’m always looking for new ways to change them up. I love the sweet with the heat… great combo, thanks!

  26. My husband and in-laws would absolutely love these! They’re always chomping on nuts in their house, and I like that this contains a “hidden” heat that kicks up at the end.

    1. You should give them these and not tell them about the hidden heat and see what they say :)

  27. These look like the perfect homemade guys gift! Or girl, I would love these things.

  28. I’m not a fan of nuts in baking either but I can finish off a bag in no time! These look perfect for snacking on….although I probably won’t share them!

  29. YUM! I just bought a pound of pecans to spice up. These look SO delicious. I love sweet and spicy.

  30. Candied nuts are sooo good, but SO addicting. I can never get myself to stop popping them in my mouth!

  31. My husband always gives me the “I don’t know” and “I don’t care” answers as well. This is a great idea though! I can’t almost smell them!

  32. We had a jar of these sent to us from Colleen of Souffle Bombay a couple months ago, and my husband hoarded (and devoured) the entire thing! Must be something about guys and sweet/spicy nuts! Love the kick of cayenne in these!

  33. The brown sugar coating sounds incredible!! These sound additive and I know my dad would go crazy for them, as would I!! Love these, Averie!

  34. Candied nuts – especially almonds are impossible to pass up for me. TJ’s has some honey sesame that I love. Probably a good thing we don’t have a TJs. I’ve tried to make some habanero pecans but didn’t get it just right. We have a friend whose dad makes them from his homemade habanero jelly. They are amazing, addicting and amazing. And these? look so good. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I know the TJs honey sesame ones VERY well. They are super good. But these if I do say so, are even better :)

      And if your friend is selling homemade habanero jelly, I’m buying!! WOW. I lovvvve hot pepper jelly and that would be my dream jelly!

  35. Ohh, these sound addictive! Nuts have been one of my pregnancy cravings, so I feel like I must make these ASAP!!

    1. Congrats on your bun! And I guess the little one knows how tasty nuts are and so you’ve been having cravings. Funny, all I ever craved was Saltines and white carbs. lol

  36. My favorite snack used to be a bunch of nuts, not chopped, tossed with maple syrup and vanilla and salt then baked. Then mixed with raisins to cool. Best snack ever, just a little expensive and calorie dense :-) These nuts look great, I’ll definitely be making them soon!

  37. The first time I ever had candied nuts was at a showing of the Christmas Carol in Manhattan during a massive blizzard it was awesome and candied nuts bring me back to that day everytime…can’t wait to make these.

    1. I love food memories and stories like that. Thanks for sharing! I grew up in MN and have plenty of memories of blizzards and comfort food that kept us warm and toasty!

  38. Treats like this are so dangerous! I would love to try a small handful of these….but could I stop after that? Probably not :)

    1. Girl they are crazy addictive. Cannot stop after a small handful unless you have willpower of steel!

  39. Definitely did a great job with the photography – not to worry!

    Really love the look of this; and I’m sure I’d adore the flavour – nicely done!

  40. I love candied nuts, but have never made them before. I didn’t realize how easy they are to put together! These sound very good! :-)

  41. I love this recipe–and no doubt these are addictive! Those same nuts I smell in the malls are also popping up during our summer festivals now. I like the use of egg white on these–it gives them that thick, clingy coating but isn’t potentially tooth fracturing like a Jordan almond. I made some curried cashews for a co-worker a couple of weeks ago….I’m sure if I took these to the office they’d be gone in a flash!

    1. Ahhh, tooth fracturing. Yes, there are some nuts that seriously I wonder if I’ll lose a tooth! These aren’t like that. Crunchy but not tooth fracturing. Summer festivals…you’re right, they do tend to have these at things like that. The crazy thing is that fall festivals start in August even thought it’s still hot out and I know for sure they have them at that type of thing.

      Yes to the clingy coating. I’ve tried a million different coatings/tricks and this is the best for cling!

  42. LOVE “Sweet Heat” in the recipe title, Averie! I just adore sugared and spiced nuts. Add some heat, and I love them even more! Great idea for summer BBQs, too, like you suggested. Fabulous photography as always! Pinning! xo

    1. Thanks for pinning! It was hard to take pictures of these little buggers. How do you make a nut look great, really…but I tried :)

  43. My dad likes nuts too. Of course I love nuts, but maybe its a guy thing that is somehow related to sitting at a pub and having that little bowl of mixed nuts? Anywho, I really like this recipe and also the name. Egg whites, interesting, I never would have thought of using those but I bet it really does wonders to hold everything together. I think these blow cinnamon hearts out of the park.

    1. I’ve tried a million different coatings/tricks and the egg white is the best for cling. The coating truly sticks, rather than just falling off. And glad you like the title :)