DIY Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts

by alexandra

Post image for DIY Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts

In the five minutes it took me to make these Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts, I became addicted (and so did everyone else in the house)! Whether or not you like raw walnuts, once you coat them in brown sugar, they become an intoxicating treat with their buttery smell and sweet, nutty taste. They’re perfect for adding flair to baked goods or munching on plain. Just be warned – you can’t stop at one!


DIY Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts


Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts take minutes to prepare, are much cheaper than store-bought ones, and are absolutely delicious and dangerously addicting with their warm, buttery smell and sweet, nutty taste.


  • 1 1/2 cups raw walnut halves*
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, loose


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix walnuts and brown sugar together in a large saucepan and set on a stove-top over medium to medium-high heat.
  3. As the brown sugar melts, use a wooden spoon to move the mixture around in the saucepan, making sure that all of the nuts get coated and none of the sugar stays in one place long enough to burn.
  4. Cook for about 5 minutes at the most, until all of the sugar has melted and all of the nuts are coated (or immediately if you smell anything burning). Then, remove from heat and quickly spread the nuts out on the lined baking sheet to prevent them from drying in a clump.
  5. Allow nuts to cool for about a minute before eating or adding to a recipe.


*I buy halved walnuts, but if your’s are whole, simply cut them in half before mixing with the brown sugar.

Julia {The Roasted Root} June 5, 2012

I literally have 10 pounds of walnuts in my freezer. I’m ALL over this! Yum!
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brighteyedbaker June 5, 2012

Haha DO IT!

Stacey June 5, 2012

OMG! I just made these – delicious! I am a sea salt caramel junkie, so I sprinkled sea salt on 1/2 of them while they were cooling – sooooo good.

brighteyedbaker June 8, 2012

They’re incredible, right?! Good idea :)

Cher-Cher August 19, 2013

Shut up!!!!! These were great until I added sea salt and now they’re effin amazeballs!! Thank you!!!

alexandra August 20, 2013

Haha yay! So glad to hear it! I guess I need to add sea salt next time. :D

A J Daw October 4, 2012

How about a sprinkle of cinnamon just before you turn them out of the skillet onto the cooling sheet ?

alexandra (brighteyedbaker) October 4, 2012

I would say yes to that. :)

Churchmouse October 10, 2012

I make these lots for gifts and selling at my church’s Bazaar. For fun, once, I added some cayenne pepper. That version sold out in minutes! Try it. It only takes about a quarter tsp and makes a nice, nippy difference.

alexandra October 10, 2012

Cayenne pepper sounds great! I add it to my granola a lot of times and love the little bite it contributes to the flavor, so I bet I’ll love it with this too. Thanks for the idea! :)

Barb November 20, 2012

Just made these for a salad on Thanksgiving. So easy and they taste just like in a fancy restaurant salad!

alexandra November 21, 2012

MMM that will be a delicious salad! We ate these so quickly I don’t think they made it to dinner-time at our house!

Brandy November 21, 2012

I just made a butterscotch cheesecake for dessert tomorrow. I think I am going to make a batch of these to add as a topping. Thanks for sharing!

alexandra November 22, 2012

Sounds fantastic! You’re welcome :)

carolyn November 21, 2012

Just made these with almonds (;cause that;s what I had,) Amazingly delicious! I just added a little salt, ’cause salt is good. :D Thank you for an easy, wonderful recipe.

alexandra November 22, 2012

Oooh sounds amazing! I’ll have to try the almonds sometime!

Zara from Ireland February 22, 2013

Yummy to garnish a lovely crisp green salad,
sliced pear and blue cheese – with the candied walnuts.
Great starter dish.

alexandra February 24, 2013

I agree, that sounds fantastic!

Lindsey June 30, 2013

Any time someone needs a salad for a group party, i always bring a spinch salad with strawberries, goat cheese, a balsamic vinaigrette i make myself and some candied nut of some kind. I cant wait until the next potluck to try these in it =]

alexandra July 3, 2013

I’ll bet these walnuts would be awesome on that salad! It sounds yummy!

Zelie August 4, 2013

Hey I have to try these!! They sound amazing!!:)thanx for sharing your recipe!!:)

alexandra August 6, 2013

Watch out; they’re pretty addicting!! You’re welcome. :)

Marissa November 28, 2013

These came out deliciously. I melted butter in the pan first and then to make things simpler, I just put the hot nuts onto a regular plate. They come off of there just fine, no need to waste parchment paper :) I put them on top of mashed sweet to give them some crunch.

alexandra December 2, 2013

Good to know about the parchment – thanks! Sounds like a tasty dish with the sweet potatoes!

Abby November 29, 2013

Try it with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of honey,OMG it is so delicious!!!

alexandra December 2, 2013

Ooh, sounds so good! I’ve heard from a few others that a touch of sea salt works well; I love the honey idea!

Deborah January 22, 2014

Raised in walnut orchards and had to pick my share of them and go to school with stained hands. Hated them! Now I take them home to SF from my Mom’s trees and crack them while watching football. Everyone loves this recipe in every dish imaginable, thank you so much. Sea salt and cinnamon yes! Will try pepper next since I too have lbs in freezer!

alexandra January 25, 2014

I’m so glad you liked them! I’ll bet a touch of cayenne would be good, perhaps even with the cinnamon. :)
At least the walnut-picking stained hands thing didn’t prevent you from liking them in your adult years!

TurtleDoctor October 20, 2015

Right now is harvest time for my walnut trees. So far I’ve shelled just over 300 pounds. Everyone I know gets organic walnuts for the holidays. I will include a note with this receipe. Thanks loads they’ll love these.

alexandra November 22, 2015

Thank you, that’s awesome!

Rachel May 23, 2014

This did not work for me. The brown sugar started to melt and then turned into small rocks, then was smelling like it was going to burn so I removed it for the heat

alexandra May 27, 2014

I’m sorry to hear that, but I honestly have no idea why that would have happened to you. Everyone else who I’ve heard from who’s tried the recipe has had success. Did you use regular brown sugar?

Sue December 22, 2016

Same thing happened to me. I now have 2 lbs of funky looking walnuts & brown sugar rocks.Such a waste plus now I need to find another hostess thing to bring to this event in a few hours.

Rachel May 29, 2014

Yes I did

alexandra June 17, 2014

Had all of the brown sugar melted already before it turned to rocks? If it had, perhaps you just cooked it too long…

Rachel June 18, 2014

No, it had not all melted before it turned into rocks.

alexandra June 19, 2014

Well, I’m sorry but I really have no other idea what might have gone wrong. Wish I could be of more help, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out these kinds of issues without being there. :(

Michelle June 5, 2014

Just wondering, can these candied walnuts be stored for a long time? and how should it be stored? room temp. or in the fridge?

alexandra June 17, 2014

I kept mine at room temperature. I’m really not sure how long they’ll keep; I would say at least a few weeks, but possibly longer.

Deb Webster November 12, 2016

My brother makes these for Christmas. We store them in the freezer with Christmas cookies until we are ready to eat them. The flavor stays good, usually we finish them in two to three months, with lots of self control. I once found a container which had slipped behind packages. It tasted fresh and good, even eight months later.

andrea June 19, 2014

omg.. stumbled upon this recipe when searching for ‘candied walnuts for salad’. I *literally* just finished making them and wanted to try it and to be honest, I don’t think these are going to last long enough to put on my salad!! Thank you for the recipe! Others required butter and I was trying to steer clear from that!

alexandra June 19, 2014

I totally know what you mean about these not lasting long enough! When I made them for this bread I’m pretty sure I had to make them a second time because we devoured the first batch so quickly. I’m so glad you liked them!

cindy nickel July 11, 2014

I pit cherries, cut them in half, sprinkle them on lettuce of choice, add blue cheese crumbles and candied nuts,& either a vinaigrette or blue cheese dressing, fantastic.

alexandra July 13, 2014

Sounds so good!

Gwyn July 29, 2014

I had the same problem as Rachel, all of the brown sugar didn’t melt and it more or less clumped up instead of coating the walnuts. I put that batch aside and started again with white sugar and the nuts came out beautifully coated and taste amazing. The brown sugar nuts are still edible, just not well coated. Thanks for the video and recipe.

alexandra July 30, 2014

Granulated sugar melts easier than brown sugar, so I can understand why it would have been easier to work with. I’m really not sure why you would have had an issue with the brown sugar in this case, but I’m glad you found a workaround!

Susie September 15, 2014

Holy cow, I made one batch to toss in a strawberry, spinach salad and then had to immediately make 2 more batches. Yum!

alexandra September 18, 2014

Hahaha I know how you feel! So glad you’re enjoying them. :)

Grace October 22, 2014

I’ve tried this recipe for the third time. Although the nuts are delicious, I can’t get the brown sugar to melt. It remains crystallized and lumpy and not evenly distributed on the walnuts. If I increase the heat it just starts to smoke. I also tried heating the sugar til it starts to melt before adding the nuts, but same results. I tried melting a bit of butter to help liquify but it doesn’t help. Any help or suggestions w would be appreciated. I’m looking for a more even smoother coating of brown sugar or is the crystallized version how it should be?

alexandra October 29, 2014

Hi Grace! Sorry for taking a while to get back to you, but I thought I’d try out the recipe again since I haven’t made it in a while, just so that I could better answer your question. For me the sugar does melt, and when it does it gets hot quickly, but as long as you don’t leave it on the stove long, it doesn’t actually burn. You’ll still see bits of sugar on the nuts, so they do appear somewhat crystallized I suppose, but you should definitely see the sugar melting while cooking. I’m not sure why you’re having this issue, but you could always use granulated sugar for a more even coating, since it tends to melt better.

Katrine October 10, 2015

I’m very late to the party, but wanted to mention that the sugar actually crystallises if you stir too much. So, stirring a little less (but keeping a close eye, burns fast) might help.

alexandra October 19, 2015

Yup, you got it! ;)

Sharmin November 14, 2014

I had that clumping problem as well, but it was easily solved by adding a tsp of water and lowering temp once it starts melting. Coated much more evenly! Also, the tiniest pinch of salt made a big difference. Yum yum yum.

alexandra November 15, 2014

Thanks for sharing that tip for anyone else who has the same problem! I’m sure a bit of salt could never be a bad thing either! :)

Hardhyan January 4, 2015

We live in the desert and our brown sugar dries out quickly, so I add a tb of coconut oil and a tb of water and cook on low stirring go frequently until melts and coated.
Thanks for the recipe, Hardhyan

alexandra January 5, 2015

Thanks for sharing your tips! :)

Matthew August 31, 2016

I probably wouldn’t add water if I had a bottle of bourbon around.

Jane July 25, 2015

If you brown sugar or old I find you have the problem of the sugar not melting and clumping, you need to just add a little liquid, butter, water coconut oil…
This is the best way I have found to make candied walnuts. Thank you sooooo much

alexandra July 27, 2015

Thanks for the tip for those who have had that problem. Glad you like the candied walnuts too! :)

Danielle February 20, 2016

I really like it a lot. My daughter and I had to add water to make it coat the walnut.
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Fat Junie February 28, 2016

Works with pecans too. I added just a tiny bit of butter to the saucepan because I’m too lazy to wait for the sugar to melt. And yes, it was all I could do not to eat the whole jar before company arrived. Some of mine graced the top of my steak pizza — flank steak marinated in maple bourbon balsamic vinegar, caramelized onion, tomato, garlic, mozzarella, and candied pecans (with a dash of salt). KILLAH.

alexandra February 29, 2016

Yep it does! I did a pecan version here.
The pizza sounds amazing!

alexandra September 4, 2016

LOL, I like the way you think ;)

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