Sweet & spicy pecans are an easy make-ahead party snack for holidays, cocktail parties, game day or tailgating. The balance of sweetness and spiciness is truly addictive! Serve them in snack bowls or toss them on top of a salad.
These have been on our party appetizers table for as long as I can remember. They’re a staple of southern holiday entertaining or any time you want to serve delicious nibbles. Add these seasoned pecans to your next cocktail party, ladies night in, or dinner party.
These sweet and spicy pecans are the perfect addition to add to any party menu or holiday entertaining. They have the perfect balance of sweetness and heat from ingredients like sugar, cayenne pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. And a combination of egg whites and butter makes sure the flavor completely encapsulates the pecan.
I’ve grown up with holiday parties always having a bowl of pecans or mixed nuts that have been seasoned and spiced for the occasion. Nothing says the Holidays to me quite like a dish full of sweet & spicy pecans. This amazing party recipe is the perfect addition to Thanksgiving or Christmas entertaining. It’s also great for game day parties!
Make-Ahead for Parties
Make a big batch of these seasoned nuts up to 3 days ahead. Store them in an air tight container then serve them at parties, or set them out while your waiting for the big meal to finish cooking.
This is a tried and true recipe we’ve made for years. And guests ALWAYS rave about the taste. I bet you have all the ingredients in your kitchen already!
This version of candied pecans lends itself well to a variety of uses. Here are some more ways to serve them.
- Add these to any party cheese board you might serve throughout the year.
- Serve them on a brunch cheese board for weekends and holiday brunch entertaining.
- Put a small dish on a bar cart bubbly bar so guests can grab a few while they pour a cocktail.
- Sprinkle them onto a spinach & arugula salad along with blue cheese and dried cranberries or fresh pears. Top with a simple vinaigrette. The sweet spicy flavor and crunch go so well with the salty cheese and fresh or dried fruit.
- Give them as party favors or hostess gifts. Just put some into a cellophane bag and tie with ribbon.
How to Make Sweet & Spicy Pecans
As you follow the recipe card instructions keep these tips in mind for best results.
- Preheat the oven and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. This makes for easier cleanup and also protects the pan from absorbing the heat flavor from the cayenne pepper.
- Make sure to use pecan halves for best results and flavor.
- Use a large mixing bowl. Add the egg whites and salt and whip them using a whisk, until they’re nice and frothy.
- Add the remaining seasonings and mix well. Pour in the pecan halves and melted butter, and stir to coat all the nuts.
- Spray the prepared baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray before pouring the coated pecans onto it.
- Spread the nuts out in a single layer so they don’t overlap one another. You can bake them in batches if you need to.
- Bake as directed, stirring every 10 minutes to avoid over-browning on one side.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely. They will crisp up as they cool.
HOSTESS TIP: Remove them from the baking sheet and let cool on a cooling rack in a single layer so they don’t clump together.
More Nuts Recipes
You can’t go wrong with any of these spiced nut recipes. Just determine if you want a bit of heat (this recipe), more sweetness, or more savory & smoked flavor. Serve them all year long for any party occasion.
Can I use different nuts for this recipe?
You can certainly add variety with different types of nuts. Sometimes I like to add almonds to the mixture to give it more texture and flavor. I’ll measure 4 cups pecans and 2 cups almonds.
Walnuts are another good nut to use for this recipe. Their texture is similar to pecans but the taste is a bit different.
Cashews can also be used to mix in. Just make sure your total measurement is 6 cups of nuts and you can adjust the ratio to pecans accordingly.
Here are more fun facts about nuts.
- 2 egg whites
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Smoke Paprika (or regular)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 6 cups pecan halves
- 1/4 cup Plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Beat egg whites and salt with wire whisk until foamy. Add sugar, paprika, red pepper, and Worcestershire sauce, beating well. Stir in pecans and butter. Spread on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil & sprayed with non-stick spray.
- Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until pecans are crisp, stirring every 10 minutes.
- Let cool and store in air tight container.
Add some almonds to the mixture. Use 4 cups pecans and 2 cups almonds to change up the texture and flavor.
Add these to a salad with blue cheese and light vinaigrette!