Candied Pecan Recipe {4 Ingredients!} - The Big Man's World ® (2024)

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Hands down, these are the BEST vegan candied pecans that happen to be gluten free! Made with just 3 main ingredients, they are crispy, sweet, and PERFECT for the holiday season!

Easy candied pecans made in a skillet and completely refined sugar free and dairy free. Simple, delicious, and ready in 10 minutes.

Candied Pecan Recipe {4 Ingredients!} - The Big Man's World ® (1)

Candied Pecans

When it comes to edible holiday gifts, I love making peppermint bark, English toffee, and these simple candied pecans.

If I had a choice between buying my friends and family physical gifts or making something edible for them, I’d always go with the latter. Although with that said, I’m already pawning off many of my desserts and baked goods to them, so I’d probably still have to get them a non-edible gift, or else they will think I am cheap! While I do the usual cookies and tarts, I’ve started also making candied pecans!

Now, these candied pecans aren’t like your traditional candied nuts! They are made in a skillet instead of the oven and they also contain NO egg to bind it. This is perfect as many of my friends follow a vegan and gluten free diet, and this ticks both those boxes.

These candied pecans are crispy, crunchy, and with an almost toffee-like texture. They are sweet, a little salty, and have notes of vanilla throughout.

I have already made a few sample batches and I cannot stop eating them- They are SO addictive that you’ll definitely need to share them around or they won’t even make it to Christmas!

How to make candied pecans

The Ingredients

  • Pecans– Use a mix of whole and halved pecans. Be sure to use unsalted and unsweetened pecans.
  • Sugar of choice– White sugar works best, but brown sugar and coconut sugar can also be used.
  • Water– Replaces the need for any egg white or similar, by creating a mock syrup with the sugar. In turn, this crystalizes over the nuts.
  • Vanilla extract– Gives a light vanilla flavor.
  • Salt– Perfect to balance out the sweetness, and fabulous if you love the sweet and salty combination.
  • Cinnamon– Optional, but gives some lovely spice.

The Instructions

Start by heating up a large non-stick pan or skillet on medium heat. When hot, add the sugar, water, and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Allow it all to heat up, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pecans and stir regularly, and ensure all the pecans are coated in it. Continue stirring regularly, until the sugar mixture begins to crystalize onto the nuts.

Remove from the heat and let the pecans cool in the pan for 3-4 minutes. After that, use a rubber spatula to break them all apart, before transferring to a lined baking sheet to cool completely.

Candied Pecan Recipe {4 Ingredients!} - The Big Man's World ® (2)

Can I bake these in the oven?

If you’d like to bake these instead of pan fry them, you CAN do that, with just a few tweakls.

Whisk all the ingredients together, before adding in the pecans. Place in a single layer on a lined baking sheet and bake at 120/250F for around an hour, stirring the pecans every 15 minutes.

Tips to make the best stovetop candied pecans

  • Be patient when simmering the pecans with the sugar mixture. It takes time for it to begin to crystalize. Be sure to be stirring regularly throughout.
  • If you find your sugar isn’t sticking to the pecans, re-dip them in some sugar once you’ve removed them from the heat.
  • Feel free to change up the flavors by adding some pumpkin pie spice or gingerbread spice to it.
  • These pecans would make a fabulous addition to some homemade trail mix.

Can I make this sugar free?

For this recipe, I recommend not using a sugar free alternative.

If you’d like sugar free pecans, try these keto candied pecans.

Storing and freezing skillet candied pecans

  • To store: Candied pecans can be stored at room temperature, in a sealed container, for up to 4 weeks. You can refrigerate them if you’d like them to keep longer.
  • To freeze: Place pecans in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Candied Pecan Recipe {4 Ingredients!} - The Big Man's World ® (3)

More delicious vegan recipes to try

  • Shortbread
  • Peanut butter cookies
  • Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
  • Chocolate babka
  • Churros

Watch how to make it

Candied Pecan Recipe {4 Ingredients!} - The Big Man's World ® (4)

Candied Pecan Recipe

5 from 198 votes

Easy stovetop candied pecans made with just 4 simple ingredients! Crispy, crunchy, and perfectly sweet, they make a fabulous vegan and gluten free snack!

Servings: 16 servings

Prep: 5 minutes mins

Cook: 5 minutes mins

Total: 10 minutes mins

Rate This Recipe



  • 3 cups pecans unsalted pecan halves
  • 1 cup sugar white, brown, or coconut
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon optional


  • Heat a large frying pan or skillet pan on medium heat. When hot, add the sugar, water, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon, if using it, and mix until fully combined. Allow to heat up, stirring occasionally.

  • When the sugar has completely dissolved, add the raw, unsalted pecans. Watch over the pan and continue stirring often until most of the sugar mixture has been coated and beginning to crystallize.

  • Remove pan from the heat and allow to sit for 1-2 minutes, before using a wooden spoon to stir almonds together to avoid immediate, overlarge clusters forming. Allow to cool completely before breaking up properly.

Oven option

  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.

  • Follow directions as above then spread out pecan halves on a single flat layer. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once pecans have just begun to crystallize, remove and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, before stirring once again to avoid immediate overlarge clusters forming. Allow to cool completely, before coating in an extra tablespoon or two of sugar.


TO STORE: Candied pecans can be stored at room temperature, in a sealed container, for up to 4 weeks. You can refrigerate them if you’d like them to keep longer.

TO FREEZE: Place pecans in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 178kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 2gFat: 13gSodium: 19mgPotassium: 76mgFiber: 2gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 10IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 15mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 13g

Course: Snack

Cuisine: American

Author: Arman Liew

Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Candied Pecan Recipe {4 Ingredients!} - The Big Man's World ® (2024)


How do you keep candied pecans from sticking together? ›

Under-cooking the pecans is the likely cause of stickiness, but the risk is low when they're oven-baked. After the sugar-coated nuts have darkened and turned very fragrant, about 20 minutes in the oven, stir the pecans and separate any pieces that have stuck together. Continue to bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Why are my candied pecans soggy? ›

If your pecans are soft, it's most likely because they weren't baked long enough and are still retaining moisture. The sugar needs to bake long enough to caramelize and form a brittle coating on the nuts.

Why do you soak pecans before roasting? ›

Wet pecans allow the salt to stick easily to the nuts. Plus, soaking nuts helps neutralize enzyme inhibitors, which can harm your digestion, and reduce phytates, which decrease nutrient absorption. Just submerge your nuts in water while the oven is heating up and you'll be good to go.

Are candied pecans shelf stable? ›

#8 What is the shelf-life of your pecan candies? Candy pecans have a shelf-life of 6 months. You can also store them in the freezer or refrigerator to enhance their shelf-life.

Why didn't my pecan candy harden? ›

If you beat too long, the candy will seize and start to crumble. If you don't beat it long enough, then pralines won't set properly and will stay soft and sticky. Work quickly to drop heaping tablespoons of pecan praline mixture onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

How do you get the rancid taste out of pecans? ›

Bake the nuts for 10 minutes. Halfway through the baking time, shake the pan and flip the nuts to ensure that they toast evenly. Remove the nuts from the oven and let them cool. Use the nuts in another recipe or have them as a snack!

Do you refrigerate candied pecans? ›

Storage Instructions: Candied nuts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for several weeks. Freezing Instructions: They freeze well in an air-tight container for up to two months. Nuts: use any kind of nuts with this recipe, like walnuts, almonds, peanuts, cashews, or pistachios.

Why do my toasted pecans taste bitter? ›

I started doing some research, and I found a little-known trick to making pecans taste sweeter: Soaking and rinsing the shelled nuts in lukewarm water before roasting removes the tannins and pieces of corky material that can cause pecans to taste bitter.

Why do people boil pecans? ›

Boiling pecans before cracking them can actually help prevent the shell from shattering. Here's how to boil them to loosen the shell but not cook the meat: ● Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil ● Add the pecans and let cook for 10-15 minutes ● Drain and let cool ● Get to cracking!

Can dogs eat pecans? ›

Why Pecans are Toxic for Dogs. Pecans contain juglone, a compound found in walnuts and pecans that is harmful to dogs and horses. Juglone can cause digestive issues, which usually results in vomiting. Pecans can also get a mold that contains aflatoxin called aspergillus.

How long can you keep homemade candied pecans? ›

How long will candied pecans keep? They will keep for up to two weeks in an airtight container at room temperature, at least three weeks in the refrigerator, or up to two months in the freezer. No matter where you store them, keep in a tightly sealed, airtight container.

How many years do pecans last? ›

Keeping Pecans Fresh
TemperatureIn-Shell PecansShelled Pecans
70 degrees (pantry)4 months3 months
40 degrees Fahrenheit (refrigerator)9 - 18 months6 months
32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius (freezer)2 years2 years

Can you reheat candied pecans? ›

REHEATING INSTRUCTIONS: To reheat, pop the pecans into an air fryer at 275°F for 5 to 10 minutes.

How do you keep candied nuts from sticking? ›

How to keep candied nuts from sticking? Toss the nuts with a spoon every 10-15 minutes during baking. Also, use a large baking tray and space the nuts out as evenly as you can to prevent overlapping.

Why are my pecans sticky? ›

The real culprits behind the honeydew are aphids. Aphids are soft-bodied insects that suck sap from plant leaves. Many species of aphids exist and attack various plants, but two types of aphids attack pecan trees and secrete honeydew, the yellow pecan aphid and the black-margined aphid.

What is the best way to store candied pecans? ›

Storing. Candied pecans will keep tightly sealed in an airtight container for one to two weeks. They will keep for at least three weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator and may be frozen for several months.

What causes stick tights on pecans? ›

Such "stick? tights" are caused by drought and heat stress in September and October. Pecans require water right up until the time of shuck split to reduce this problem. Nuts sprouting in the shuck before harvest (vivipary) are also reduced by late season water and/or stress reduction.

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