It's that time of year again: Christmas! And what better way to celebrate this joyful holiday season than by creating delicious snacks for your loved ones? This year, turn up the flavor with some crunchy, caramel-coated brown sugar candied walnuts. With hints of wintery spices to treat your taste buds and an easy recipe you can make at home in minutes, this delightful snack is sure to put a smile on everyone's face - even if it just means a delicious snack break from all the holiday hustle and bustle. So grab your ingredients and get ready to whip up a batch of these sweet treats that also work as holiday presents— they'll be gone before you know it!
Christmas is a doorstep away, and as it usually happens every year, we haven't done any Christmas shopping yet! Although we just moved to Spain a couple of months ago, we already have a lot of new friends, and we like spreading the love with food.
So, we use our kitchen as a resource to make this delicious snack made with a handful of ingredients in just a couple of minutes. We like snacking on them with a nice cup of coffee, our beloved Argentinean mate, or on top of pumpkin dairy-free overnight oats.
They also make the perfect individually wrapped candy Christmas gift! Who doesn't love candied nuts? Pure comfort food!
💚 Why you will love them
- Quick & Easy
- Crunchy Delight
- Sweetly Spiced
- Versatile Snack
- Gift-Ready Goodness
You only need four ingredients at its simplest, but once you get it, you can easily play with the winter and Fall seasons' cozy spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, or pumpkin pie spice mix.
- Walnuts - use fresh raw walnuts. You can use other nuts such as almonds, pecans, cashew nuts, or a combination. If using salted walnuts, you can skip the salt.
- Vegan butter - we like Earth balance, or you can make your own vegan butter; this recipe from World Vegan is outstanding. You can also use melted coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado oil.
- Brown sugar - you can use white granulated sugar, coconut sugar, or maple syrup instead.
- Salt - use fine sea salt.
- Pumpkin pie spice mix
- Vanilla extract
See the recipe card for quantities.
- Walnuts - you can use the same recipe for almonds and cashews. I don't recommend the same method for hazelnuts, though.
- Vegan butter - use avocado oil.
- Brown sugar - coconut sugar works well.
- Skillet - use a non-stick skillet or frying pan.
- Spatula - the only utensil you will need to manage the walnuts. We like using a silicon one.
- Parchment paper - to let the walnuts dry out completely. You can also use an oven-silicon baking mat.
So, it doesn't get easier than this. To make this easy candied walnuts recipe, just measure all your ingredients and use your best non-stick skillet.
Step 1: Heat a skillet on medium heat and then add brown sugar, kosher salt, vegan butter, and optional spices.
Step 2: Stir frequently for 5 minutes, ensuring no clumps are formed.
Hint: leave the walnuts to cool completely and fully harden before you store them if you make candied walnuts as a present.
Step 3: Transfer the candied nuts to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and scatter all the nuts on a single layer.
Step 4: Once the sugar mixture coating hardens, which will take about 5 minutes, you can transfer them to a bowl and enjoy!
💡 Expert tips
Fresh Nuts Matter: Always start with fresh, raw walnuts. Stale nuts can ruin the flavor and texture of your candied walnuts.
Consistent Heat: Maintain a medium heat throughout the cooking process. Too high heat can cause the sugar to burn, while too low won't allow the sugar to caramelize properly.
Stir, Stir, Stir: Keep the walnuts moving in the skillet. This prevents them from burning and ensures an even coating of the caramelized sugar.
Timing is Key: Pay close attention during the last few minutes of cooking. This is when the sugar transforms into a perfect caramel coating. Overcooking can lead to a bitter taste.
Separate Immediately: Once you transfer the candied walnuts onto parchment paper, separate them quickly. If they cool and harden together, they can be difficult to separate without breaking.
Cool Completely: Let the candied walnuts cool completely before storing. This helps to maintain their crunchiness.
Watch the Salt: If you're using salted walnuts, adjust the added salt in the recipe accordingly to avoid overly salty walnuts.
- Cinnamon roasted walnuts - add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon for every cup of nuts. If you love cinnamon, you can add another ¼ teaspoon.
- Spiced candied walnuts - add pumpkin pie spice mix, nutmeg, cardamom, and cayenne pepper to spice it up.
- Maple candied walnuts - add maple syrup instead of brown sugar.
- Vanilla - add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract to add an extra holiday note.
You can also bake these candy walnuts in the oven using a prepared baking sheet or an air fryer; simply mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and bake. See detailed instructions on the recipe card.
🥢 How to serve
Consume this snack on top of your favorite overnight oats, cinnamon oatmeal, oats and chia pudding, or holiday salads where you can simply replace the walnuts for pecans; check out this vegan kale salad!
You can also add it to a sweet potato crunch casserole during your holidays.
Wondering How to store candied walnuts?
You can store candied walnuts in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.
If you plan to keep them for longer, you can store them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Store in an airtight container to keep them fresh and crunchy. If they start to soften, you can briefly reheat them in the oven to restore their crunch.
And... Guess what? You can even freeze candied walnuts! Once the nuts are completely cool, store them in a freezer bag. Squeeze out the air before sealing. Candied nuts will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.
The walnuts must be completely dry and crisp before removing them from the skillet. Afterward, let them cool down on parchment paper or a wire rack before storing them. Moisture is the enemy of candied nuts!
🎄 More Holiday Recipes
Try out these delicious Holiday recipes: Mediterranean Honey Roasted Vegetables, our Holiday vegetarian roast, Vegan Vegetable Casserole, Green beans with toasted almonds, or Stuffed Onions with tofu and mushrooms.
f you don't have time to try our delicious candied walnuts, be lazy and use these popcorn gift ideas by Alex at BestCornPopper.
⭐ If you try this brown sugar and cinnamon roasted walnuts recipe, let us know! 💬 Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag us @ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts (10 Minutes + Vegan GF)
- Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat, and add the walnuts, brown sugar, salt, optional spices, and vegan butter.
- Stir frequently so the walnuts and sugar don't burn (pay special attention at the last minute). When the sugar mixture starts melting, constantly stir until the brown sugar is completely melted and the walnuts are fully coated.
- Transfer immediately onto a sheet of parchment paper and immediately separate the nuts; otherwise, they will stick together.
- Once the coating hardens, which will take about 5 minutes, you can transfer them to a bowl and enjoy!
- Melt the vegan butter and mix the nuts with the rest of the ingredients, and spread them separately on the baking rack. Bake at 350 ºF (176 ºC) for 13 minutes.
- Melt the vegan butter, mix the nuts with the rest of the ingredients, and spread them on a prepared baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake at 350 ºF (176 ºC) for 12-15 minutes.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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