Candied Walnuts with Cinnamon and sugar are a delicious recipe to snack all holiday long. Incredibly impressive, each crunchy bite will make you feel more and more addicted. Do not be surprised if you make these for a crowd and finish them off yourself!
These glazed walnuts (also often referred to as candied walnuts or caramelized walnuts) have a delicious crunchy coating that goes great alone, on ice cream, a summer salad, or as a nutty topping for recipes like baked oats.
Why you should make Candied Walnuts
Every time I make a candied nut or spicy nut, I remember how addicting they are and how I have to put a personal ban on more for a bit. So easy to eat, so easy to make, this small batch recipe is just one of many ways to oven bake, stovetop, or slow cook your way to candied nuts.
The possibilities of how sugared walnuts can be used are endless! The crunch of the sugar and walnut is just so satisfying that while this recipe is 4 cups of nuts, it won’t seem enough. Keep candied walnuts on the counter to snack on pre-holiday meal, and once cool, add in a few chocolate chips to create a satisfying handful of goodness!
These candied walnuts with a light sugary cinnamon flavor take about 15-20 minutes to make, plus cooling time. I’d maybe allow an hour to cool to be safe, but all of that depends on your climate.
- Shelled raw walnuts – I recommend keeping walnuts whole for this recipe. If they are cut down too small, they can burn.
- White granulated sugar – I use regular granulated sugar (White sugar) in this recipe, but there are suggestions below on using other sugars like brown sugar.
- Flavor – ground cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract.
How to make Candied Walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350, lay walnuts on a prepared baking sheet with parchment paper, and bake walnuts for 8 minutes.
- Remove nuts from the oven and set rimmed sheetpan aside.
- Add white sugar, ground cinnamon, salt, milk, and vanilla extract into a saucepan.
- Heat cinnamon sugar mixture over medium heat, constantly stirring until edges bubble/boil in the pan. As you make this sugar syrup, remember that it’s a very HOT sugar. Be careful!
- Reduce heat to low and continue to heat and constantly stir for 6-8 minutes. The sugar must be cooked long enough, so make sure to go low and slow.
- Add baked walnuts directly to the saucepan and mix well to coat all sides of the nuts evenly.
- Pour coated walnuts onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (my go-to for everything) to cool.
- Depending on the humidity in your home, drying could take as little as a half-hour or a few hours for this salty snack to set. Once walnuts are primarily dry, please put them in a zip lock bag and place them in the fridge to finish hardening.
- Gently break apart large pieces of caramelized walnuts into more bite-sized pieces once cool.
- Store in an airtight container (I store in the fridge in a zip lock bag) to keep the walnuts fresh.
Delicious inspiration for Candied Walnuts
Appetizers – Glazed walnuts are delicious as an appetizer to sit in a bowl, especially at parties and holidays. It keeps people off your case while you finish up the rest of the food! As an alternative idea, crush and use around a cheeseball recipe or on top of blueberry brie.
Salad Topping – Candied nuts are AMAZING on salad, and low key makes the whole thing better. Feels like a restaurant. Make sure you set aside some topping for strawberry salad or even this dessert salad recipe before you eat them all!
Snacks – Caramelized walnuts make a great after-school fun snack on their own or in a snack mix like homemade puppy chow. My daughter loves to eat them while doing homework. They also look great on a cheese plate, cheese board, or charcuterie board.
Food Gift – Pack up in a mason jar, tie with some twine, and voila, food gift! Are you feeling extra nice? Add some candied bacon too!
Dessert – Walnuts go great on ice cream, brownies, or pie pieces. They also make excellent add-on decoration pieces for cakes and cupcakes.
Can you use other nuts instead of walnuts?
Yes! Feel free to try this recipe with pecans, almonds, peanuts, cashew nuts, or even something fun like Brazil nuts! They are just so great to snack on, add to a salad bowl and give as food gifts.
- Candied Almonds – These Slow cooker Cinnamon Sugar Almonds are just so good! Mix up toasty roasted almonds with brown sugar and cinnamon coating and let slow cook for 4 hours for a snack that stores all week.
- Crockpot Candied Pecans – These addicting and delicious little bites are fantastic for holiday seasons, make great gifts (think mason jars!), and are the perfect topping from salads to desserts.
- Oven-baked Candied Pecans – Candied pecans are a unique caramelized pecan dessert dish perfect for the Southern mama in you.
- Spiced Mixed Nuts – Hit the spot with addicting cashews, walnuts, peanuts, and almonds with oven-toasted party nuts. Make enormous batches for a party or store for a perfect spicy snack.
Can I use Maple or Honey to Candy Walnuts?
In theory, you could use maple syrup honey or a brown sugar mixture for candied walnuts. Unfortunately, I haven’t tested these theories out yet, so I do not know how it alters the recipe in timing, and at this time, I would not be able to tell you exactly how it’s done. If you are up for a challenge, instead of mixing milk and sugar, replace refined sugar with honey and spices and monitor the walnuts recipe.
I have plans to test this out in the future, but I have not at the time of this article. If you happen to give it the old college try and want to update me, please share in the comments, and I will edit the post.
Spicy Candied Walnuts
Prefer sweet -n- spicy nuts over just plain old sweet? Dust a little of these spices before sugar hardens:
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Glazed Walnut FAQ’s
Alternative baking idea: I have an oven-baked candied pecan recipe here containing egg whites and sugar. You can easily candy your walnuts this way, which is oven-baked, following the exact instructions and just changing out the nuts.
How long do candied walnuts last? Judging by all my Pinterest feedback, about one day because you eat them all! However, these delicious snacks generally last up to 2 weeks as long as they are sealed from moisture.
Can you use halved walnuts over whole? Sure! It’s OK to use walnut halves if you prefer. I like the bag of walnuts whole and then use as is straight from the pack.
How to clean sugar-covered saucepan – Add water to the pan and bring back to a boil. The sugar should dissolve quickly.
Are they any side effects of eating walnuts? If they are candied like these walnuts are, your waistline will suffer if they were a daily occurrence. In general, nuts are nutritious for you and shouldn’t be looked at as a negative.
Can a dog eat a walnut? I get this question a lot, especially because your best friend is often begging for food. It’s best to stay with dog-safe food like doggy blueberry muffins than randomly feeding them everything. Walnuts can be toxic in many situations and are not a food that dogs can digest. Do not feed your dog sugar or nuts.
Related Appetizer Recipes
Looking for more appetizer recipes that everyone can munch on?
- Homemade Butter Mints
- Homemade Tortilla Chips
- Spiced Party Nuts
- Homemade Cinnamon Chips
- Mini Pigs in a Blanket
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Candied Walnuts in MINUTES!
- 4 cups shelled walnuts
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 and lay walnuts on a baking sheet (with parchment paper) and bake for 8 minutes. Remove walnuts from the oven and set rimmed sheetpan aside.
- In a saucepan, add granulated white sugar, ground cinnamon, salt, milk and vanilla extract. Heat mixture over medium heat stirring constantly until edges begin to bubble/boil in the saucepan.
- Reduce heat to low and continue to heat and stir constantly for 6-8 minutes. Sugar must be fully heated low and slow. Be careful as sugar can be REALLY hot.
- Carefully fold parchment paper like a funnel (see video) and slowly add walnuts to saucepan and mix well (spatula works great) to evenly coat nuts.
- Pour candied walnuts onto a parchment covered baking sheet to cool.
- Depending on the humidity in your home, cooling could take as little as a half hour or a few hours.
- Once Candied walnuts are mostly dry, put them in a zip lock bag and put in the fridge to finish cooling and drying.
- Before eating, gently break walnuts apart once cool.
- See full recipe for notes on how to take your cinnamon candied walnuts to spicy candied walnuts!
- Store candied walnuts in an airtight container. (I store in the fridge in a zip lock bag)