Small Batch Crunchy Candied Walnuts

by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.58 from 7 votes
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These crunchy little devils are dangerous. They’re addictively sweet, rich, crunchy, and nutty. I made this “small batch” recipe to not only keep myself from eating two cups of candied walnuts at once, but also because walnuts are expensive and I wanted to save the rest of the bag for other non-candied purposes. Sometimes you just need a little “sprankle-sprankle” of candied goodness on your meal and not a mountain of candied walnuts with no dedicated use. A mountain is great if you’re having a party, but not for everyday purposes.

A small wooden bowl full of chopped crunchy candied walnuts

What’s in Candied Walnuts?

The super simple candy coating on these walnuts is just brown sugar, butter, and a pinch of salt. Yep, that’s it! That’s all you need to make that delectably rich toffee coating. This is a dangerous piece of knowledge, use it wisely.

You can also play around with adding some other herbs and spices to your candied walnuts. A pinch or two of cayenne pepper would be amazing with the brown sugar and butter candy coating, as would vanilla, cinnamon, or ginger.

How Do You Use Candied Walnuts?

Candied walnuts are a great topping for several things. Most recently I used the sweet and crunchy nuts to top an Autumn Kale and Apple Salad. They’re also great on top of ice cream or ice cream sundaes, yogurt or yogurt parfaits, a bowl of oatmeal, or even added to granola (after cooking). A small bowl of candied walnuts also makes a great addition to a cheese board (hello holiday entertaining!).

How Long Do Candied Walnuts Last?

As long as it takes you to eat them! Ba-dum-dum. Okay, all bad dad jokes aside, these candied walnuts will last quite a while. All nuts do go rancid eventually, but as long as you cool them completely and then store them in an air-tight container, they should be good for about a month.

Close up of crunchy candied walnuts in a small wooden bowl

You might also like our Candied Pecans recipe or Candied Almonds!

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Small Batch Candied Walnuts

4.58 from 7 votes
This small batch of crunchy candied walnuts is just the right amount of sweet, crunchy, and nutty topping for salads, desserts, oats, and more.
Overhead view of a bowl full of candied walnuts
Servings 4 2 Tbsp each
Prep 0 minutes
Cook 5 minutes
Cool Time 10 minutes
Total 15 minutes


  • 1/2 Tbsp butter ($0.07)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.08)
  • 1 pinch salt ($0.01)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts ($0.60)


  • Add the butter, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt to a small non-stick skillet. Heat over medium until the butter is melted and the brown sugar is just beginning to sizzle around the edges (it should still look grainy).
  • Add the walnuts (chopped or whole) and stir to coat in the brown sugar mixture. Continue to cook and stir over medium heat for 2-4 minutes, or until the brown sugar is fully melted and coating the walnuts (it should look glassy, not grainy). If the sugar is not melting, raise the heat slightly.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat immediately, as the sugar can go from melted to burning quickly. Spread the candied nuts out over a sheet of parchment paper, making sure they are in a flat layer and separated as much as possible.
  • Allow the nuts to cool fully (about 10 minutes). The candy coating will fully harden as they cool.

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Serving: 2TbspCalories: 135kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 2.5gFat: 11.38gSodium: 109.45mgFiber: 1g
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Overhead view of a bowl full of candied walnuts

How to Make Candied Walnuts – Step by Step Photos

Brown sugar, butter, and salt in a small skillet

Add 1/2 Tbsp butter, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, and a pinch of salt to a small non-stick skillet.

Walnuts added to skillet with molten brown sugar

Heat and stir the brown sugar and butter until the butter is melted and the brown sugar is just starting to sizzle around the edges. It should kind of look like grainy lava, like in the photo above. Add a 1/2 cup walnuts (chopped or whole) and stir to coat in the brown sugar mixture. Candied walnuts cooling on parchment

Keep cooking and stirring for 2-3 minutes more, until the brown sugar is fully melted and coating the walnuts (it should look glassy, not grainy). If the sugar is not melting, raise the heat slightly. Once the sugar is melted, remove the skillet from the heat immediately because the brown sugar can go from melted to burning quickly. Spread the walnuts out onto a piece of parchment paper, in a single layer, trying to separate them as much as possible. Let the nuts cool completely (about 10 minutes). The candy coating will harden further as they cool.

A small wooden bowl of crunchy candied walnuts from the side.

Enjoy your crunchy candied walnuts on top of salads, yogurt, ice cream, oats, or any of your other favorite foods!

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  1. I didn’t have brown sugar, so I use coconut sugar and that didn’t work a well. The mixture was glossy but wouldn’t stick to the nuts at all. So i immediately tried another batch using white sugar which worked better, but not really well.

  2. I made the candy walnuts but didn’t boil my sugar long enough so instead of having a hard crack I had soft I also added to the mixture cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, cinnamon. But did not use any salt.
    I’ve had nothing but compliments about the candied walnuts thank you for the recipe.

    1. There’s no exact time frame, but as long as you make sure they cool completely first to eliminate condensation in the jar, they could last about a month.

  3. Thank you from Seoul, Korea! Using your recipe as a base, I made a few batches as Christmas gifts with a lot of cinnamon, less brown sugar and butter and… marmalade. Healthy, crunchy, my coworkers were happy :)

  4. I have made this recipe a few times now and I am obsessed! I add a little vanilla and pumpkin spice blend to mine. Can’t believe how fast they get eaten up. I will definitely keep coming back to this recipe! Thanks so much!

  5. Very tasty! I doubled the recipe, added more salt, and a pinch of cayenne. Will definitely make again. 

  6. During step 2, our brown sugar/butter seemed to just fall off the nuts and clump up to itself… What can we do to make the candy coating more liquidy?

    Even as is, it was delicious ice cream topping 😊

    1. I haven’t encountered this issue myself, so it’s hard to say, but was the brown sugar and butter melted together and glassy looking or was it still grainy? If it’s still grainy, a tsp or so of water might help it melt together better and then coat the nuts better, too.

    2. The same thing happened to me . I tried a second batch and let it cool longer but still fell off walnuts never got glossy stayed graney. Got smooth but never adhered to walnuts and was just clumps of mixture when cooled

      1. Correction from above I meant to type I let it cool longer not cool longer.

    1. I was wondering if it would work with vegan butter–will have to try soon. I definitely want this for an oatmeal topping hehe

  7. my daughter brought back from German Christmas Market a bag of walnuts candied in “Irish Creme” liquor. ANy idea how to use this for the flavoring?

  8. This will work for other nuts, too. I’m with you on batch size–we’ll eat as big a batch as I can make, so just enough for a few salads or a modest snack is perfect.

  9. This seems like just a pretty quick and easy recipe for candied nuts in general, do you think it would work if I did an assortment, peanuts and walnuts, anything I happen to be throwing in my trail mix?

  10. These also make great gifts. I package in cellophane bags from Michael’s or Joann Fabrics. They even have nice gold twist ties.