Roasted Candied Pecans

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Roasted Candied Pecans, we’ve upped the flavor on this all-time holiday favorite! Pan roasting the pecans prior to candying, enhances the flavor, aroma, and crunch big time! 

Cooled completely, then dunked in a vanilla egg white bath and tossed with sugar and spice. Our little pecan candies bake slowly in a low oven, browning and caramelizing a little at a time. The sweet spicy aroma that fills the kitchen, is an announcement the Holiday Season has arrived.

A totally addictive fun treat, that tops salads, can be given as a gift, or even eaten by the handful (our personal fave)!

Roasted Candied Pecans Recipe | Mean Green Chef

That’s all thanks to the magical (OK scientific) effect called the Maillard Reaction. What’s that? 🙂

Roasted Candied Pecans Recipe | Mean Green Chef

Unraveling the Maillard Reaction: The Chemistry Behind Flavor Transformation

The Maillard reaction is a complex chemical process that occurs when amino acids and reducing sugars react at elevated temperatures, typically above 140°C (284°F). This reaction leads to the browning of food and the creation of a vast array of flavor compounds, resulting in the characteristic aromas and tastes associated with roasted, baked, grilled, or fried foods.

As the Maillard reaction progresses, these intermediates undergo further rearrangements and polymerization reactions, resulting in the formation of numerous flavorful compounds. These compounds include furans, pyrazines, thiols, and many others, which contribute to the rich, complex flavors and aromas associated with roasted nuts, bread crusts, grilled meats, and other browned foods.

In addition to flavor development, the Maillard reaction also leads to changes in food texture and appearance. The browning of the food surface creates a desirable golden-brown color and enhances its visual appeal. Furthermore, the reaction can contribute to the formation of a crispy crust or a tender, caramelized exterior, depending on the specific conditions of the cooking process.

Overall, the Maillard reaction is a fascinating chemical process that plays a crucial role in the development of flavor, texture, and color in a wide range of cooked foods, including roasted nuts, baked goods, grilled meats, and more. Its understanding allows chefs and food enthusiasts to optimize cooking techniques and create dishes with enhanced sensory qualities.

If the scientific details don’t captivate you, rest assured that the irresistible flavor will surely win you over!

Roasted Candied Pecans Recipe | Mean Green Chef

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How to Make Roasted Candied Pecans

Roasted Candied Pecans Recipe | Mean Green Chef

Roasted Candied Pecans

Roasted Candied Pecans, we've upped the flavor on this all-time holiday favorite! Pan roasting the pecans prior to candying, enhances the flavor, aroma, and crunch! 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 cups
Author: Mean Green Chef


  • 4 cups (400 grams) pecan halves unsalted
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (90 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher sea salt finely ground
  • 1 large egg white room temp
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon water


  • Preheat oven to 300°F/148°C. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Heat a large cast-iron or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot add the pecans and spread along the bottom. Leave for 1 to 2 minutes until they start to brown and become fragrant. Use a spatula to stir the pecans around the pan. Continue cooking, stirring every 15 seconds or so, until they are nicely browned and have a deeply toasted flavor, about 5 minutes time in total. Transfer to a piece of parchment paper until they’ve cooled to room temperature.
  • While the pecans cool, add sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk until combined. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the egg white, vanilla, and water together until frothy. Add the cooled pecans and gently toss until the pecans are well coated. Add the sugar and cinnamon mixture and toss until pecans are coated.
  • Spread the pecans out in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. The sugars will crystalize on the pecans. 
  • Remove from the oven and let the pecans cool on the baking sheet. When completely cool, store in an airtight jar for up to 1 month.


  • Prep time is approximate
  • Store in an airtight container up to 1 month.
  • Pecans can be frozen too! Cool completely after baking then transfer them to an airtight container, or freezer bag. Will keep up to 2 months.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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    Join the Conversation

    1. I absolutely LOVE candied pecans! I will try your recipe with the coconut sugar 🙂 Thank you! This makes me want to do them right now 🙂

      1. Thanks so much for checking out our recipe, Anna! These are a great treat and I’m sure they’ll be perfect with coconut sugar too!🤗🥰

    2. I want to try this, without the refined sugar or egg white. I’ll play around with substitutions and let you know!

      1. Hi, Cindy! 🥰 Please let me know what you come up with and I can send people to your site who are looking for recipe options!

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