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Home » Cuisines » American » Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts

Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts

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Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts are destined to become your new favorite snack! With just a few simple ingredients and a mere 5 minutes of your time, you’ll have a treat that’s perfect for any occasion.


Whether you’re hosting a party or just craving something sweet and crunchy, these candied walnuts will not disappoint. So gather your ingredients and get ready to indulge in the irresistible aroma and taste of homemade Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts.

a bowl of brown sugar candied walnuts.

I used these candied walnuts in our strawberry walnut salad and sourdough scones recently, and they were a hit with everyone. They are perfect for snacking on, adding to your baked goods, or package them in a mason jar, tie a ribbon around it, and give them out as a holiday gift. 

❤️ Here is Why This Recipe Works

Only four ingredients: This easy recipe uses just a handful of ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry. You can quickly whip up a delicious snack without making a special trip to the store.

Versatility: These candied walnuts are not only great for snacking, but they make a fantastic addition to a variety of dishes. You can toss them in salads, sprinkle them over yogurt or oat groats, or even use them as a topping for chocolate marshmallow ice cream. 

Quick and Easy: This recipe is incredibly simple and quick to make. You’ll just need a few minutes to prep and 5 minutes of cook time before your candied walnuts are ready.

Adaptable: Add spices and seasonings to customize the flavor. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, or even cocoa powder are just a few ideas. Check out the notes in the recipe card for some flavorful ideas. 

Brown sugar candied walnuts in a dish with several walnuts in the foreground and a towel in the background.

The Ingredients

Here is a list of the ingredients you will need for this easy candied walnuts recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details. 

  • Raw walnuts
  • Brown sugar. This recipe works well with light or dark brown sugar. 
  • Butter
  • Salt. A pinch of salt brings out the flavors. 

If you want to add spices or seasonings to create some fun flavors, check out the notes in our recipe card below. A drizzle of vanilla extract will also enhance the flavors. 

Ingredients for brown sugar candied walnuts.

How to Make It

Here is a brief overview to get an idea of what to expect with these brown sugar caramelized walnuts. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.

  1. Put a sheet of parchment paper on a large cutting board or a baking sheet. 
  2. Place all the ingredients in a skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar melts and gets syrupy, and turns a golden brown.
  3. Remove the skillet from the heat and tip the walnuts onto the parchment paper. 
  4. Use a fork to spread the walnuts out in a single layer, breaking them apart so they are not touching each other. Allow the walnuts to cool, then transfer to a dish. 

A skillet and spatula with brown sugar candied walnuts. A blue towel in the corner of the photo.

Tips for Success

  • Use Fresh Walnuts: To ensure the best flavor and texture, use fresh walnuts. Stale or old nuts will have a bitter, rancid flavor. 
  • Stir frequenlty: Keep a close eye on the sugar as it melts, and stir constantly to prevent it from burning. Burnt sugar can give your candied walnuts a bitter taste.
  • Cool Separately: After the walnuts are candied, spread them out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet to cool. This will prevent them from sticking together and clumping.

Serving Suggestions

Brown sugar candied walnuts are a delicious and versatile snack or topping. The candy walnuts add a caramel-like flavor and crunchy texture to everything. They can be enjoyed on their own, added to salads, desserts, or even cocktails. Here are a few ways to use them. 

  • As a snack: Candied walnuts are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without overdoing it. They are also a good source of protein and fiber and much healthier than candy.
  • On salads: Candied walnuts add a crunchy texture and sweet flavor to salads like our cranberry chicken saladspinach salad, or fresh fruit salad
  • Add crunch to baked goods: You can add candied walnuts to cakescookies, and tarts. They add a delicious crunch and flavor that will take your desserts to the next level.
  • As a topping: Candied walnuts can be used as a topping for yogurt, oat groats, granola, and ice cream (try it on our chocolate stout ice cream or with an ice cream sundae).
  • On a cheese board. These brown sugar walnuts make a great addition to a charcuterie board. They add a nice contrast of textures to soft cheese and they balance out the saltiness of the meats. 
brown sugar candied walnuts on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan with a fork.

Substitutions and Variations

Variety is the spice of life, and when it comes to these delightful brown sugar candied walnuts, the variations are endless. Try experimenting with some different flavor combinations! Here are a few suggestions for your perfect snack. 

  • Cinnamon Spice Walnuts: 1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon allspice, and a pinch of ground cloves.
  • Sweet and hot: add a touch of heat with ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or a dash of Tabasco sauce.
  • Mexican spiced chocolate: Add 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon allspice.
  • BBQ spiced walnuts: add 2 tablespoons BBQ seasoning rub.
  • Rosemary and thyme walnuts: add 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, and ½ teaspoon black pepper.

These crunchy candied walnuts make a great party snack. It is a simple recipe, so make several flavors and set them out in small bowls for everyone to enjoy. 

 Storage 

Store your brown sugar candied walnuts in an airtight container at room temperature to keep them fresh and crunchy. They will stay crunchy for two to three months when stored correctly, but they may not last that long once you start snacking on them!

More Healthy Snack Recipes 

Are you on the hunt for more wholesome and delicious snacks? Here are some more ideas. 

Brown sugar candied walnuts in a dish with several walnuts in the foreground and a towel in the background.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are my candied walnuts sticky?

If your candied walnuts are sticky after cooling, it’s likely because the sugar did not have enough time to crystallize. To avoid this, make sure the sugar heats enough to turn to a syrupy consistency and cook the walnuts for at least 4 minutes.

Why are my candied nuts chewy?

If your candied walnuts are chewy instead of crisp after cooling, it’s likely because they were not cooked long enough. Make sure to cook the walnuts for at least 4 minutes in the syrup before taking them off the heat.

Should candied walnuts be refrigerated?

You do not need to store candied walnuts in the refrigerator. However, they will last a bit longer if they stay in the fridge. They can also be frozen for up to 6 months.

These easy brown sugar candied walnuts are not only a delightful snack but also a versatile ingredient that can elevate your salads, desserts, and various dishes. They are great during the holiday season but you can use them any time of year. With a quick 5-minute recipe and endless flavor possibilities, these candied walnuts are a must-try.

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A bowl of candied walnuts.

Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts

Yield: 2 cups
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Use these sweet and crunchy brown sugar candied walnuts on salads, toppings or just to snack on! This is an easy recipe that takes 5 minutes to make.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups walnut halves, raw
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set it close by you.
  2. Place the walnuts, sugar, butter, and salt in a non-stick skillet set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar melts and becomes syrupy on the bottom of the skillet. Continue stirring constantly for 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the skillet from the heat and tip the walnuts onto the parchment paper. 
  4. With a fork, spread the walnuts out in one layer, breaking them apart so they are not touching each other. Allow the walnuts to cool, then transfer to a dish. 
  5. Use immediately or keep in an airtight container in a cool cupboard. 

Notes

  • Light or dark brown sugar works with this recipe.
  • Stir the mixture frequently and adjust the heat if needed to keep from scorching or burning.
  • Work very quickly with a fork to spread and separate the nuts from sticking together.
  • Do not touch the hot nuts with your fingers!

Variations

  • Cinnamon Spice Walnuts: 1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon allspice, and a pinch of ground cloves.
  • Sweet and hot: add ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper and ½ teaspoon smoked paprika.
  • Mexican spiced chocolate: Add 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon allspice.
  • BBQ spiced walnuts: add 2 tablespoons BBQ seasoning rub.
  • Rosemary and thyme walnuts: add 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 239Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 27mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 2gSugar: 12gProtein: 4g

Nutrition information is a guideline only. It is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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