Spiced Pecans

Total Time:
18 min
10 min
8 min

1 pound

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ground orange peel
  • 1 pound pecan halves
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Mix the salt, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and orange peel together in a small bowl and set aside.

Place the nuts in a 10-inch cast iron skillet and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes until they just start to brown and smell toasted. Add the butter and stir until it melts. Add the spice mixture and stir to combine. Once combined, add both sugars and water, stirring until the mixture thickens and coats the nuts, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer the nuts to the prepared sheetpan and separate them with a fork or spatula. Allow the nuts to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container for storage. Can be stored up to 3 weeks.

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    63 Reviews
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    Yummy!! I did not have any orange zest so I used 1/4 tsp of cardamon. Perfection!!! Will make these again and again!
    I've tried many versions for spiced pecans, my father in-laws favorite, and I've finally found it. This one is perfect...no modifications needed!
    Made these just now, easy as pie! I toasted them in the oven before hand, and had the melted butter and spices all ready on the stove when the pecans came out of the oven. Quick, no mess, and tasty! Another Alton winner!
    This recipe is GREAT. I've made this for 3 family get-togethers and everyone loves them. Thanks, Alton!
    Perfect. The flavor combination is perfect, and the technique leaves the nuts evenly coated and not gritty. perfect.
    Not overly sweet or spicy. Nice blend of flavors. Starts with a little bit of sweetness than a nice kick from the cayenne and a little smokiness from the cumin. Delicious! And easy.
    Wow, these are really good. After reading the reviews I decided I wanted to make this recipe but I didn't have all the ingredients needed. Firstly, I only used light brown sugar. Also, I didn't have any dried zest so I made my own by zesting one orange which I then put in between 2 paper towels and microwaved 4 minutes at 40% power which did the trick. After sampling my efforts and immediately made another batch thinking these would make a great hostess gift. One problem, I can't stop eating them! They're so addictive!! The spicing is perfect. They're great on their own but would be equally wonderful in a salad. I may get adventurous next time and add freshly chopped rosemary. This recipe is definitely getting added to my repertoire of holiday foods. Bravo Alton!
    Excellent flavor, wonderful warm spicy after taste. Easy to make. Awesome!
    This is a delicious recipe. So easy and a great gift a Christmas time. The only change I made was to use 1/2 tsp. table salt for kosher salt. Came out great. Will make again.
    Fabulous and super easy! These are best when they are still a little warm, but they are great cooled and crunchy too!
    A BIG hit at Thanksgiving! Will definitely make again and again. And a full pound, not a halved recipe as I did this time. A+ Alton!!
    Very tasty and addictive (even my picky eater daughter who doesn't like "spicy" couldn't stop eating them. The flavor is very good, however next time I am going to cut back a little on the cumin (the one flavor that seems to stand out on it's own more than any other. That said, I will probably cut back a little on the cayenne, too, since I think the cumin helps "cut" the cayenne. The cayenne as it is in the recipe as written is very subtle...tastes "warm", not "hot". I have only eaten these as a stand alone snack, but plan to incorporate into salads and maybe even try a few in a batch of brownies, and wait for reaction.
    I thought "who would want an entire pound of candied pecans?", and made a half recipe since it was easy to do. What a mistake! I wanted to eat all 8 ounces of pecans there on the spot while they were still warm. This is an amazingly good recipe.
     Like others I would like a slightly more orange flavor. So the second time I made the recipe I doubled the orange peel (since that is what I had on hand, and used walnuts.
     This will be my go to recipe from now on.
    Made these at Christmastime. Everybody loved them! Just right for spiciness! Will make for SuperBowl but will try almonds. But have to make the pecans, too.
    Soooo tasty! I made the recipie as is and it was delicious! The only critizism I had was a little too much cayenne it you were to eat it alone. However, if you put it in a salad, then it would be perfect as is! Thanks AB!
    I hope these make it to the party. I can't stop eating them! 
    Didn't have orange peel so I used OJ instead of water.  
    Alton, your recipes never fail me. You ROCK! 
    Just made these for the first time. They are quick, easy and delicious. The plan was to give them for Christmas gifts but there may not be enough left! Oh well, have to make more tomorrow! I used all the spices as listed and they are quite flavorful. I read some negative reviews but mine turned out perfect.
    After reading all the positive reviews I wanted to try this recipe...I couldn't find the one I use at Christmas each year. I follwed it exactly, it was a big dissappointment. I had 4 people try it, and no one liked it either. I gave it to the squirrels. Thankfully, I found my recipe the next day....and I was happy to make it, and serve them at my party that night.
    I've made this for 2 or 3 years now and love it. I usually make a double batch at once. Someone asked how many holiday dishes have cumin in them...I'm not sure, but maybe you're afraid it will be an overpowering flavor. It is not. All the spices marry well together. I follow the recipe to a T and everyone LOVES it. So easy and perfect for mailing to those deployed because it keeps long and is something different than the overload of cookies and chocolate they get. I know this; I was deployed and every holiday was an overload of cookies and chocolate! = Enjoy!
    My second time making these - LOVE! I must have been going too fast reading the recipe because both times I used fresh orange peel instead of dried - gave a nice subtle hint of orange. Thanks, Alton. We are huge fans!
    I have many spiced pecan recipes and this is one of the best. It is very simple, doesn't involve egg whites, or an oven, and is very flexible in spices. I didn't have any oranges or dried orange rind, so I put 1/2 tsp. coriander instead. While they were cooling, I also sprinkled on some flavored sugars, one batch had orange-ginger, and another had curry sugar. Very yummy!
    For the holidays, I'd lose the cumin. How many holiday food items have cumin in them? 
    I like this technique of making spiced pecans over others where you bake the pecans. A LOT easier and a LOT easier clean up. 
    This is pretty straight forward which makes me wonder why it's considered an intermediate recipe.  
    Play with the spice to get it to where you want. 
    Even play with adding things that you feel are representative of the holidays.
    Fantastic!! I made these for Thanksgiving and they were a huge hit! The recipe is perfect me because I don't care for too hot and spicy, so you might want to taste test and add more spice and heat if you prefer. I couldn't stop eating them. For those that found it too sticky, I think you might not have cooked it for the full 3 minutes. Mine were almost too hard, I will back off the time to 2-1/2 minutes next time. I usually make the Bar Nuts from Union Square for Christmas (I love the rosemary, but I'm going with these this year. Once again, thank you Alton!!
    Good stuff, very addictive. I put on a spinach and goat cheese salad, which added a lot flavor to the dish.
    You are the best!
    Delicious! I made these to pack in jars for hostess gifts.
    I made this along with fudge and gave it as gifts to my neighbors. Got lots of compliments. The orange adds a special touch.
    These were very bland. I would double the spice mixture the next time and add a large dash or two of Angostura Bitters when the nuts come out of the oven.
    Very tasty, the heat sneakes up on you! Very easy!
    These were a HUGE hit at our holiday gathering last year! Will definitely make again this year.
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