What Is Nougat?

There's no question you've eaten it before. But what exactly is it?

March 21, 2023
Nougat with almonds and hazelnuts on a golden background where it is reflected, copy space


Nougat with almonds and hazelnuts on a golden background where it is reflected, copy space

Photo by: Francesco Marzovillo/Getty Images

Francesco Marzovillo/Getty Images

By Alice K. Thompson for Food Network Kitchen

Alice is a contributing writer and editor at Food Network.

Your favorite candy bar might contain a sweet, whipped marshmallow-like layer. Or you may have seen slabs of white almond-studded confections in European markets. Or a family member might make chewy white squares studded with candied fruits for the holidays. All of these are kinds of nougat, an ancient confection that’s as popular as ever. Here’s everything you need to know about this sweet treat.

What Is Nougat?

Nougat is a confection made with sugar or honey that’s cooked and then whipped with egg whites to aerate it. It often contains almonds or other nuts, candied fruits and chocolate, although it can be left plain. Nougat can be soft and tender like marshmallow but is more often dense and very chewy. Some versions are brittle and hard. How long the sugar syrup is cooked for and what other ingredients are added will affect the texture.

Nougat is known as torrone in Italy, nougat or nougatine in France, turron in Spain, gaz in Iran and mann al sama in many Arabic countries. In the United States, a number of popular candy bars contain a nougat layer.

What Is in Nougat?

Nougat is made by cooking a sugar syrup or sugar and honey syrup to high temperatures, sometimes with the addition of corn syrup to prevent the sugar from crystalizing. The syrup is then whipped with egg whites to aerate it. Flavorings from vanilla to rose water to cocoa can be added. Nuts such as pistachios, almonds and hazelnuts are commonly mixed in, as are bits of bright candied fruit or sometimes chunks of chocolate.

What Does Nougat Taste Like?

Nougat has a very high sugar content and low fat content so it tastes extremely sweet. The sweetness is often balanced with flavorings like almond extract and rose water and with the addition of nuts. It’s typically very chewy, but can also be light and soft or hard and brittle depending on how it is prepared.

baker praparing  Artisanal nougat


baker praparing Artisanal nougat

Photo by: Silvia Bianchini/Getty Images

Silvia Bianchini/Getty Images

How Do You Make Nougat?

You can make nougat at home as long as you have a few pieces of equipment. You’ll want to have a candy thermometer since most recipes call for cooking the sugar syrup to precise temperatures. You’ll also want a stand mixer since you’ll need to whip the egg whites, then very carefully pour the hot syrup into the whites while beating. Nougat is sticky, so having cooking spray to oil your pans, hands and other implements is useful, as is waxed paper for storing the nougat.

Nougat recipes for home cooks vary a lot, but here are basic steps common to most. You can also see some of our best nougat recipes below.

Step 1: Make a sugar syrup. Heat it to the recommended temperature.

Step 2: Beat the egg whites. Begin beating your egg whites when the syrup is close to done; egg whites begin to deflate after whipping so time this carefully for best results.

Step 3: Whip sugar syrup into the egg whites. Continue whipping until the mixture is cooled. Whip in flavorings like vanilla.

Step 4: Fold in nuts and other mix ins. Spray a spatula with cooking spray to prevent sticking and fold in nuts or other ingredients.

Step 5: Cool the nougat. Pour the nougat into a pan lined with plastic wrap or sprayed or brushed with oil. Let cool for several hours, then cut and store the nougat in an airtight container separated by layers of wax paper or parchment.

Nougat Recipes

Gumdrop Pistachio Nougat

Gumdrop Pistachio Nougat

Photo by: Teri Lyn Fisher

Teri Lyn Fisher

This is a classic recipe for a homemade nougat. The gumdrops are a fun alternative to candied fruit and make this perfect for holiday gift-giving or anytime you want a bright treat.

Jacques Torres’s classic French nougat contains almonds and pistachios and is dipped in chocolate.

This adorable candy recipe from Molly Yeh has nougat squares dipped in chocolate and topped with colorful sprinkles. You could also top them with chopped nuts or chopped candies.

Related Links:

Next Up

What Is Fudge?

And how exactly is it different than chocolate?

What Is Toffee?

Everything you need to know about this sweet, crunchy, buttery confection, including how to make it.

What Is Praline?

You’ve probably heard the name and eaten it. But what exactly is praline?

What Is Marzipan?

And is it the same thing as almond paste?

More from:

Cooking School

What's New