Candied Walnuts are super-easy to make at home! They are naturally sweetened with maple syrup, and make an excellent salad topper or crunchy holiday snack.
Why You’ll Love Them
They’re unbelievably easy. All you need is 3 ingredients, and about 10 minutes of effort to make these candied nuts at home. The candy coating is simply maple syrup & salt!
They’re delicious. The walnuts develop a rich flavor and crispy texture, thanks to the caramelized maple syrup. A touch of salt takes the flavor over the top!
They’re great for special diets. If you are serving guests who need to avoid dairy or white sugar, these nuts are made without the need for a butter or egg white sugar mixture. They are naturally vegan and gluten-free.
They are easy to customize. If you have a different nut on hand, like pecans or almonds, this recipe will work for those, too! You can also add extra flavor by adding in a dash of cinnamon, a pinch of cayenne pepper (for a spicy addition), or any other spice you love.
Ingredients You’ll Need
What’s in candied walnuts?
- Maple syrup
That’s all you need to make delicious maple coated walnuts, but you can also add in any extra flavorings you like, such as vanilla extract or cinnamon.
How to Make Maple Candied Walnuts
1. Cook them in a skillet.
Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, so you are ready for the next steps. This recipe moves quickly!
Add the walnuts, maple syrup, and salt to a 10-inch skillet or saucepan over medium heat. When the maple syrup starts to bubble, stir the walnuts with a wooden spoon, or spatula, for about 3 minutes.
The syrup will thicken and start to stick to the walnuts. When the timer goes off, carefully transfer the walnuts from the pan to the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Use two forks or spatulas to spread the walnuts out in a single layer. They will want to stick together, but you’ll get the best results if they are separated. (This way you won’t wind up with a large chunk of crunchy walnuts.)
Bake the walnuts in a single layer for 5 to 7 minutes at 350ºF. You’ll see some of the maple syrup bubbling on the pan, and the walnuts might look slightly more cloudy on top.
Remove the pan from the oven, and let the walnuts cool completely. This should take 10 to 15 minutes.
Once the walnuts are cool, they should feel dry to the touch. Break apart any pieces that have stuck together, then they are ready to serve.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week at room temperature, or you can store them for up to 1 month in the fridge.
How to Use Candied Walnuts
Give them as a gift! Transfer these walnuts to a glass jar with a lid, and tie a bow around the top for an adorable DIY gift.
Serve them as a snack. Candied walnuts make an excellent addition to a cheese board, or you can simply serve them in a bowl for a delicious treat!
Use them as a salad topping. These crunchy walnuts add extra sweetness and crunch to practically any salad. Use them in place of croutons or plain nuts, like in my Holiday Salad or Apple Walnut Salad.
Add them to desserts. Serve these candied walnuts over ice cream, or add them to a chocolate chip cookie recipe for extra crunch.
Sprinkle them over your breakfast. These make a delicious addition to a bowl of oatmeal or yogurt.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to bake them in the oven? You can skip the oven step for a maple glazed walnut recipe, but keep in mind that the walnuts may still feel slightly sticky if you only cook them in the skillet (cook them for 5 minutes in that case). They will have a glossy appearance this way, but they can develop a tacky feel the longer they sit out at room temperature.
Can I add more flavor? The caramelized maple syrup and walnuts provide a lot of flavor on their own, but feel free to add in a splash of vanilla extract or a dash of cinnamon. (Note: I tried adding fresh rosemary to one batch, and I couldn’t taste it at all over the maple and walnut flavors, so don’t be surprised if your additions aren’t super noticeable.)
Can I use brown sugar instead? Traditional recipes use a 1/4 cup of granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet per 1 cup of walnuts. Feel free to experiment with that, if you’d like to! (I’m not sure the oven will be necessary in that case, so you may want to refer to other recipes if you want to go that route.)
Do I have to use a non-stick skillet? No! I used a cast iron skillet for this recipe, and sticking was not an issue. The maple syrup will start to stick to the pan as it cools (after you’ve removed the walnuts) so I recommend soaking the pan in water for 10 minutes, then gently scrub it until the pan is clean again. The syrup will dissolve right off!
Maple Candied Walnuts
- 2 cups walnuts
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the walnuts, maple syrup and salt.
- Stir often, until the walnuts are toasted and the maple syrup is starting to stick to the nuts, about 3-5 minutes. The walnuts should look glossy, with less maple syrup visible on the pan.
- Transfer the cooked walnuts to the parchment lined baking sheet, and use two forks or spatulas to carefully separate the nuts into a single layer. (Don't use your hands, the hot maple syrup will stick to them!)
- Place the walnuts in the oven to bake at 350ºF for 5 to 7 minutes, then remove the pan and let them cool completely. (This should take 15 minutes or so.) When the walnuts are cool, break apart any nuts that have cooked together, and enjoy them straight off the pan, or in a serving bowl.
- These candied walnuts can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or for up to 1 month in the fridge. Serve them over salads for extra crunch!
If you try this candied walnut recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it!