Sweet with Heat Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts

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

Sweet with Heat Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts

Sweet with Heat 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.

Yield: 4 cups
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 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
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed (light or dark is fine)
  • 2+ teaspoons cinnamon (I used 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (reduce to 1/4 teaspoon for milder heat)


    1. Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
    2. In a large bowl, add the nuts; set aside. I used 1 cup each of pecans, walnuts, and almonds. All were raw and unsalted.
    3. 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.
    4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 5 ingredients. Dump over the nuts and toss to coat evenly.
    5. Turn nuts out onto to prepared baking tray, spreading them in an even flat layer.
    6. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, or until coasting is crisped, dried and candied. Stir nuts once midway through cooking.
    7. 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.
    8. Transfer nuts to airtight containers or jars.


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

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 402 Total Fat: 27g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 22g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 411mg Carbohydrates: 35g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 26g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 11g

More Easy Holiday Treats:

Reindeer Chow — A holiday twist on classic Muddy Buddies that’s EASY, ready in 15 minutes, and perfect for hostess gifts or cookie exchanges!!

Fudgy Boubon Balls — These bourbon balls only take 15 minutes of prep and you can make them days (or weeks) in advance, and just one appliance is dirtied! 

The Easiest Foolproof Fudge — Look no further than this recipe for the EASIEST and most FOOLPROOF fudge that takes less than 3 minutes to make!!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Stacks — If you need a ridiculously easy, no-bake dessert for a party, holiday cookie exchange, or just have a spur of the moment craving for chocolate and peanut butter, these Ritz cookies are perfect!

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!

Crock Pot Maple Pumpkin Spice Chex Mix — This Crock-Pot Chex Mix is LOADED with pumpkin spice flavor! It’s so easy to make and can easily be adapted to suit the ingredients you have on hand.

Loaded Christmas Bark — This loaded up holiday bark is a ridiculously easy no-bake treat with Oreos, pretzels, peanuts, M&Ms, white chocolate chips, and holiday sprinkles all embedded into dark chocolate.

93 comments on “Sweet with Heat Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts”

  1. 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. ;)

    • 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!

  2. These look great, Averie! LOVE this idea. So fun and such a great snack for summer!

  3. 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 : )

  4. These look like one completely addictive snack! Love the sugary cinnamon coating!

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

  6. 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!

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

  8. 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

    • 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…


  9. 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!

  10. 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! (=

  11. 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.

    • 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 :)

  12. 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!! :)

  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!

    • 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. MMMMM! My husband and I would fight for these!!

  15. 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.

  16. “Creeper heat.” <– Love!! Nothing beats sweet and salty/spiced nuts, these look fantastic!!

  17. I am drooling over just the thought of that smell!

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

  19. 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!

    • 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 :)

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

  21. 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.

  22. Wow, this is so perfect :) I love candied nuts! My dad sure would approve of this too.

  23. 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!

    • 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.

  24. Any idea where I can find raw, unsalted pecans, walnuts, and cashews? Can’t wait to try this!

    • 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!

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