Not quite candied, nor simply salted, but a sweet and savory combination that is absolutely addicting. This sweet and spicy nuts recipe will walk you through making your own spiced nuts with egg whites so the spices stick to the nuts and not your fingers (or to the bottom of the bowl). Fantastic as a snack, used as a salad topper or as a garnish on a favorite pasta – they are so easy you will want to always have them on hand.
What's in this post
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Most of us think of making spiced nuts to give to the hostess of a holiday party or serve at your own get together. I opt to make these all year round, tossing them in my summer blueberry salad, a winter apple spinach salad with warm bacon dressing, topping my fall ravioli with pumpkin sauce or just popping them in my mouth as a snack anytime of the day.
But how do you get the spices to stick to the nuts and not be left behind on the baking sheet? The trick is to make a spice coating using egg whites. whites adhere the sugar, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne and salt spices to the nuts. And after being roasted and cooled the nuts are not oily or sticky to the touch.
Let’s Get Started!
What you'll need
When making spiced nuts you can choose to use one type of nut or a mix of nuts. I love pecans but there are other options (see below) and this spice coating is a perfect match.
Here's are the key ingredients needed to make this sweet and spicy nuts recipe. The full recipe can be found at the bottom of the post.
- egg white – this is the edible glue for the spices.
- unsalted pecan halves – other great options are walnuts, cashews, almonds, or hazelnuts or a mix of nuts.
- warm spice mixture of cumin, cayenne pepper and ground cinnamon
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make spiced nuts
1. Beat the egg white. Separate the egg yolk from the egg white. Beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon water in a large bowl until bubbly and foamy. Don’t stop whisking until the whites are frothy!
2. Combine nuts and spices. Add the nuts, sugar, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and salt and toss together until nuts are coated.
3. Roast the nuts. Spread the nut mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the nuts at a low heat of 275 degrees, until mostly dry but still slightly sticky, this will take about 40 minutes.
4. Stir the nuts. With hot pads, remove the nuts from the oven. Using a wooden spoon or a spatula stir the nuts. We want to make sure all sides will get nice and crispy.
5. Continue to Roast. Reduce the temperature to 200° F. Return the nuts to the oven and bake until crisp, about 30 more minutes. Using a wooden spoon or spatula loosen the nuts from the baking sheet, cool completely on the sheet.
How to store
You can store spiced nuts in a sealed container at room temperature for 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to a month. If you freeze, bring the nuts to room temperature before serving.
The spice and nut mix options are endless. Start by whisking your egg whites with a small amount of water until bubbly and frothy. Now stir in any of the following into the egg whites with sugar mixture:
- Pumpkin spice nuts - add ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice blend
- Rosemary mixed nuts - stir in 2 Tablespoons finely snipped or chopped fresh rosemary
- Sweeter party nuts – double the amount of sugar. Swap out white sugar for coconut sugar.
How to use sweet and spicy nuts
Place them on your next charcuterie board with hummus, assorted cheeses, and dried fruit. Yum!
Sweet and Spicy Nuts Recipe
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- 1 large egg white
- 2 cups unsalted pecan halves
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 275° F. Separate the egg yolk from the egg white. Beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon water in a large bowl until foamy. Add the nuts, sugar, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and ¼
teaspoon salt and toss together until nuts are coated. Spread the nut mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until the nuts are mostly dry but still slightly sticky, this will take about 40 minutes.
- With hot pads, remove the nuts from the oven. Using a wooden spoon or a spatula stir the nuts. We want to make sure all sides will get nice and crispy. Reduce the temperature to 200° F. Return the nuts to the oven and bake until crisp, about 30 more minutes. Using a wooden spoon or spatula loosen the nuts from the baking sheet, cool completely on the sheet.
Your Notes, Tips and Tricks
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
Common questions asked about sweet and spicy nuts recipe
You've got questions...I've got answers! If you have a question about this recipe that isn't answered below, feel free to leave it in the comments, and I'll jump in there to help you out.
Use egg whites. Whisk egg whites with a small amount of water (1 Tablespoon). Continue to whisk until very bubbly and frothy. Now you can add the nuts, spices and sugar to the egg whites. Toss until the nuts are thoroughly coated. Now they are ready to roast in the oven.
Let them cool completely. Before storing them in an airtight container, cool them completely. If they are still warm and sealed in a mason jar, they will become sticky and lose their crispy texture. Moisture is what makes the nuts sticky – so keep the dry and cool in an airtight container.
Roasting nuts low and slow in the oven is the best method. We suggest a low temperature of 275 degrees, if you are pressed for time you can bump up the heat to 300. Nuts have a lot of volatile oils and fats . Those oils that are so good for us will break down at a higher heat leaving their healthy benefits on the pan. Toasting nuts in the oven also results in even browning.
Dealers choice! Use whichever combinations you like. The spice blend will go great with any tree nut you choose to use. My favorites are pecans (my MOST favorite), cashews, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts.
Looking for other homemade ingredient recipes like this? Try these:
These are my favorite dishes to use sweet and spicy nuts: