How to Toast Pecans

Don't burn this all-important addition to your favorite sides and desserts.

October 22, 2021

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We’ve all come across a recipe that call for toasted nuts. While it may seem like a superfluous extra step, it’s actually incredibly beneficial! Pecans naturally have a sweet and nutty flavor, but are softer in texture compared to other nuts. A quick toast to your halves and pieces will both provide additional crunch and enhance their exceptional flavor. Whether you’re using the stovetop or oven method, both will easily toast up your pecans for a variety of dishes.

Why Toast Pecans?

If a recipe calls for toasted pecans, don’t skip this step! Pecans are typically added to a recipe for added texture and flavor and toasting them will only improve both qualities. Toasting pecans (or any nut for that matter) not only makes them extra crisp and crunchy, but you’ll get an even greater boost of nuttiness and flavor.

The Secret to Toasting Pecans

For the best result, toast your pecans as whole pieces, then chop as the recipe suggests. Toasting pecans that are all a similar size rather than roughly chopped will promote even toasting.

For proper storage, store your toasted pecans in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. If you’re not planning to use your pecans within two weeks of purchasing them, throw them in a resealable bag or air-tight container and freeze them. Nuts in general are very oily and tend to go rancid when stored at room temperature for an extended period of time. The freezer will keep your nuts fresher longer.

How to Toast Pecans on the Stove

For toasting pecans on the stovetop, place the pecans in a dry stainless-steel skillet over medium heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until they are a deep golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stirring frequently will prevent uneven toasting or burning. Transfer to a cutting board or plate and cool completely, then chop if required, and use accordingly in your favorite savory dishes and baked goods.

The stovetop method is best for smaller batches of nuts, as pecans can cook unevenly if not stirred and tossed frequently. Also, be sure to not overcrowd the pan; too many nuts in a small skillet will also result in uneven toasting.

How to Toast Pecans in the Oven

Your oven is also a great tool for toasting pecans. For this method, preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts evenly onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake until they begin to brown and become aromatic, making sure to toss halfway through, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

While it does take a little bit of extra time to preheat your oven, this method is great for toasting larger batches of pecans evenly and at the same time.

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