Bourbon Candied Pecans are sweet with just the right amount of spice and the taste of bourbon to make these extra special. It’s a super simple recipe to turn toasted pecans into a great treat or handmade gift.
The sweet coating of sugar and spices forms a crisp crunchy candy coating that surrounds the roasted pecan making these candied nuts irresistible.
I originally shared this recipe in 2013 when it was part of a dessert for pumpkin pudding topped with bourbon pecans. I absolutely loved the Bourbon Glazed Pecans so I decided they needed a space of their own.
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Please let me know if you have any questions about this recipe. I read all the comments myself and I try to help as soon as I can. I have readers from all levels of comfort and experience in the kitchen on my site, and I’ve tried to answer some of your questions already in the post. But if I’ve missed anything, please feel free to leave a comment and ask.
How to make
Be sure to scroll down to the printable recipe card for full ingredient amounts and instructions.
These are so easy to make. First, start by toasting the pecans. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place pecans on a cookie sheet, and toast until they become aromatic, about 10-15 minutes.
Next, stir the brown sugar, spices, and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Now for the candy coating. In saucepan on medium heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar mixture, and stir until sugar dissolves completely. Add bourbon and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add pecans to the candy, and mix to coat.
Pour pecans onto a piece of parchment paper, and separate the pecans with 2 forks. Allow to cool at least 20 minutes.
These pecans are a delicious lightly sweet snack to munch on by themselves. But don’t stop there.
Serve them as appetizers at the next family holiday gathering or at a Super Bowl watching party.
Use them to top cupcakes, cakes, and desserts of all kinds. Try mixing them into some cream cheese frosting.
You can use these to top ice cream.
Toss them on top of pancakes, waffles, or French toast.
Top salads with a handful.
They are a fantastic handmade gift to give or give them as a hostess gift. Just pop them in a pretty jar and tie with a nice ribbon. I have some more great handmade gift ideas.
Candied nuts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
These pecans do not need to be refrigerated. In fact, I recommend storing them at room temperature, as the moisture from the fridge could affect their texture.
Yes, you can freeze these pecans. Allow the pecans to cool completely after making them. Transfer them to an airtight container like a ziptop bag, and store them in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Changes to the recipe
Yes, you certainly can play around with this recipe.
I like the way the pecan halves look, impressive and fun, but feel free to use chopped pecans or pecan pieces. Maybe you want to use them in something like a cake. And, pecan pieces are always less expensive.
Can a different kind of nuts be used?
Yes! You can use any kind of nuts that you want.
Try slivered almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, or peanuts.
Be aware that if you get salted nuts, the final candied nut will be saltier. That could be really tasty though. But I might recommend getting lightly salted ones.
Also, if you get nuts that are already roasted, you can skip the first step of toasting them yourself.
Can I replace the bourbon with something non-alcoholic?
Yes, if you don’t drink or use alcohol you can absolutely use something else.
Just as a side note, the alcohol cooks out of these, leaving just a lovely flavor, but if you don’t want to invest in a bottle of bourbon, I get it. Though, if you could find a little air plane bottle of bourbon, you could get all the flavor at a fraction of the cost!
I’d recommend going with an apple cider or apple juice for a little non-alcoholic flavor. You could also use vanilla extract in place of the bourbon. Or, some combination of extract and juice.
Also, you can switch up which booze you use. Rum, Tuaca, Amaretto, etc. would all be delicious!
Spicy bourbon pecans
Do you like spicy pecans? Add about ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or ground ancho chili pepper to the syrup as it boils. You’ll get a lovely heat that lingers.
So many of my readers love the flavor of bourbon!
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Bourbon Candied Pecans
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground mace
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Place pecans on a cookie sheet, and toast until they become aromatic, about 10-15 minutes. Watch them carefully as they burn easily.2 cups pecan halves
- Lay out a large piece of parchment paper or wax paper on the counter. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, spices, and salt. Set aside.¾ cup packed dark brown sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground mace, ¼ teaspoon salt
- In saucepan on medium heat, melt butter. Add the brown sugar mixture, and stir until sugar dissolves completely. Add bourbon and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat.4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons bourbon
- Add pecans to sauce and mix to coat. Pour pecans onto prepared parchment paper, and separate the pecans with 2 forks. Allow to cool at least 20 minutes.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.