Candied Walnuts

There are various ways to make candied walnuts, ranging from stove top, roasting, or deep frying.  I first started making these yummy little morsels to top one of my favorite salads with Roasted Beets, arugula, goat cheese, red onion, and tomatoes.  These are great for salad toppers or just to munch on by themselves.  I also make this roasted version as a healthier alternative to deep frying for a classic Chinese dish: Honey Walnut Prawns (traditionally the candied walnuts here are deep fried, sugar glazed and sprinkled with sesame seeds).

When I am feeling lazy, all I do is dry toast the walnuts with sugar in a skillet over medium high heat on the stovetop.  A ratio of 2:1 walnuts to sugar is usually the perfect amount and I like to add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.  It only takes 5-10 minutes to do but you must watch the pan carefully, as I have burned a few batches when I got distracted.  The recipe below is a little bit “fancier” as you blanch the walnuts first, as blanching removes the bitterness of the walnuts and bring out their sweetness and nutty flavors.  The recipe also has more spices involved, but then all you do is pop it in the oven so the actually toasting part is low maintenance.  I think both methods are very simple and the results are great — let me know which you prefer!

Candied Walnuts (adapted from epicurious and Tasty Kitchen)

Yields: 1 cup


  • 1 C walnuts
  • 2 T maple syrup or honey
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • generous pinch of cayenne pepper


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Blanch walnuts in boiling water for 30 seconds to one minute and then drain.

While still wet, combine walnuts and all remaining ingredients in medium bowl; toss to coat.  Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until walnuts are deep golden and sugar mixture is bubbling.

Cool completely on baking sheet.  These can be made 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container.

Enjoy as a snack or as a salad topping!  Pictured below: Roasted Beets salad with arugula, tomatoes, red onion, goat cheese, candied walnuts, and a curry vinaigrette.

3 Responses to “Candied Walnuts”
  1. .I wanted to put a little twist on the sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving. Im not a fan at all of the marshmallow and syrup laden toppings that seem to dominate the Thanksgiving preparations. Theyre just a bit too sweet for me. I did however want a topping for my sweet pototoes for the visual impact they would have. So I decided on candied walnuts. They are sweet of course but have a bit of heat to them and are really visually appealing. They turn glossy-like. Plus theyre really crisp which makes for a great texture contrast to the sweet potatoes. I think this combination really worked. Of course the walnuts are great on their own. .Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Candied Walnuts.2 1 2 pounds sweet potatoes.Vegetable oil.5 T butter.3 T brown sugar or to taste.Kosher salt.Candied Walnuts recipe below.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly rub the sweet potatoes with the vegetable oil. Roast the potatoes in the oven for about an hour or until they are tender all the way through. Remove them from the oven and let them rest until they can be handled safely. Then carefully peel off the skin theyre still hot!! being careful to keep the skin separate from the flesh. Place the flesh in a mixing bowl and discard the skins. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix. Using a hand or stand mixer beat until the sweet potatoes are smooth. Taste and adjust any seasonings. Place the sweet potatoes in your serving dish and sprinkle with the candied walnuts. Pass any remaining walnuts on the side. Enjoy!.Candied Walnuts.2 cups whole walnuts.Cayenne pepper to taste.Kosher salt to taste.about 2 cups of powdered sugar.Vegetable oil for deep frying.Bring a pot of salted water to a boil it should taste like the sea . Place all of the walnuts in the water and blanch for 1 minute. Drain into a colander and season with the cayenne pepper and Kosher salt tossing to coat each walnut. Do this right in the colander. At this time you should have oil ready for deep frying 350 degrees . While the walnuts are still in the colander sprinkle about a 1 2 cup of powdered sugar over the walnuts. Shake and toss the walnuts. Keep adding powdered sugar in stages until there is a nice coating of powdered sugar on the walnuts. Then add the walnuts in stages to the oil. Fry until they are a deep golden brown. Place on an oiled baking sheet theres no point in putting them on paper towels . Let cool and serve…

  2. Colleen Woo says:

    it’s sounds easy to make, will try it soon.

  3. woopriscilla says:

    yum! can’t wait to try this one!

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