Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts make a quick & easy garnish for your favorite dish or a delicious homemade gift for the holidays. They have a sweet, rich taste and crunchy texture, and they’re SO much less expensive to make than purchase pre-made!
Candied walnuts are a game-changer. In fact, let me level with you here; I did not like walnuts before I learned how to candy them. But in the five minutes it took me to make these Brown Sugar Walnuts for the first time, I had a change of heart.
Whether or not you like raw walnuts, I guarantee that once you get them all toasty and coated in brown sugar, their buttery smell and sweet, nutty taste will win you over. They're perfect for adding flair to baked goods, garnishing a salad, gifting for the holidays, or just snacking. Just be warned, if you decide to give these as a gift, you're absolutely going want to make extra for yourself!
Tips for Making the Best Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts:
Use Brown Sugar: While you can caramelize walnuts with granulated sugar, the rich, molasses-like taste of brown sugar really compliments the nuts and adds another layer of flavor.
Watch Them Closely While Cooking: I'm not kidding when I say that this is a five-minute recipe. Brown sugar and walnuts both burn quickly on the stove, so keep your eye on these the entire time you're cooking!
Add a Touch of Sea Salt: As I mentioned earlier, this is a tip I got from you guys! Many readers who have already made this recipe mentioned how good it is with a sprinkle of sea salt. About ¼ teaspoon of sea salt is enough to amplify the flavor in these walnuts without making them taste salty. Feel free to use less or more to suit your tastes!
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DIY Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts
Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts make a quick & easy garnish for your favorite dish, or a delicious homemade gift for the holidays. They have a sweet, rich taste and crunchy texture you won’t be able to get enough of, and they’re SO much less expensive to make than purchase pre-made!
- Prep Time: 1 minute
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 6 minutes
- Yield: 1 ½ cups candied walnuts 1x
- Category: snack
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 ½ cups (5 ⅝ ounces) raw walnut halves*
- ½ cup, packed (3 ¾ ounces) brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste (optional)
- Prep baking sheet: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine walnuts and brown sugar: Mix walnuts and brown sugar together in a large saucepan and set on a stove-top over medium heat (or just below).
- Cook: 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. Don't walk away from the stove; this will happen very quickly! 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).
- Transfer to baking sheet: Remove pan from heat and quickly spread the nuts out on the lined baking sheet to prevent them from drying in a clump.
- Garnish: Sprinkle nuts with sea salt, if desired, and allow to cool for a couple minutes before eating or using in a recipe.
*Shelled walnuts are typically sold as halves, but if you happen to have whole ones, simply cut them in half before mixing with the brown sugar.
Quick Note: This is an updated version of a post that originally appeared on Bright-Eyed Baker in 2012. The update includes new text & photos, as well as a slight modification to the original recipe. I've increased the brown sugar by a small amount and added a touch of sea salt per reader comments. I've also added a few extra notes to the instructions for clarity.