Sweet and spicy pecans and bourbon-soaked cherries coated with a mixture of brown sugar, butter, and a sprinkling of orange zest. Serve these cocktail-inspired candied pecans at a Kentucky Derby party or use them on salads or baked brie.
These stovetop candied pecans with bourbon cherries taste like an old-fashioned cocktail in snack form — with just a little bit of a spicy kick.
Speaking of the classic 🥃 cocktail, here’s a twist you might like: an old-fashioned cocktail made with moonshine and spiced simple syrup.
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- ❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- 🥃 Ingredients for Bourbon Glazed Pecans
- How to Make Stovetop Candied Pecans
- How to Use Candied Pecans
- 📖 Variations
- 💭 Top tip
- Are Candied Pecans Supposed To Be Sticky?
- How to Fix Soft or Sticky Candied Pecans
- More Pecan Recipes
- 🎥 Recipe Card & Video
- Sweet & Spicy Bourbon Glazed Pecans
❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Cooked on the stovetop in a skillet, these nuts ready in about 10 minutes and will keep for up to three weeks in the pantry. The recipe makes 2 cups of candy pecans, enought for eight servings.
Glazed nuts are a great snack to keep on hand for snacking or to use in recipes. They’re a nice addition to a charcuterie board and make great food gifts at the holidays.
If you’re looking for candied pecans without the heat, try this recipe for this pecan pie cheesecake topping that tastes like pralines without all the work.
Want to see a brief overview of the process before diving into the full recipe? Watch my web story on how to make glazed pecans.
🥃 Ingredients for Bourbon Glazed Pecans
- dried cherries
- pecan halves
- unsalted butter
- brown sugar
- vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- ground cinnamon
- kosher salt
- ground cayenne pepper
- orange zest
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Stovetop Candied Pecans
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Place the dried cherries in a small bowl and pour bourbon over them. Soak for at least 30 minutes before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
While the cherries are soaking, combine the ground cinnamon, kosher salt and ground cayenne pepper in a bowl with the vanilla bean paste.
Toast the pecans in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure they do not burn.
The nuts should smell toasty and should be just starting to brown.
Add the butter to the pan. Stir until the nuts are coated and the butter is completely melted.
Next, add the brown sugar, spices and vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. Stir well to coat the nuts.
Remove the skillet from the heat and immediately add bourbon and cherries. Stir for a minute until everything is combined.
Return the pan to the burner and cook for 1-2 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly, until a glaze forms and thickens.
Transfer glazed pecans to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread them out in a single layer to cool and allow the harden.
Just before serving, add the orange zest.
Toss everything together and transfer to a bowl for serving.
Hint: Make sure you use a nonstick pan for this recipe. It will prevent the glaze from sticking and it will make clean-up so much easier!
How to Use Candied Pecans
Candied pecans are a delicious snack to serve with cocktails. But that’s just one way to enjoy them. Try these glazed nuts
- as a salad topping
- as a filling or topping for baked brie
- swirled in yogurt or ice cream
- on baked sweet potatoes
- in homemade snack mix or trail mix
- served over cream cheese as an easy party appetizer
Candied pecans also make great gifts. Put some in a jar with a pretty tag and ribbon.
Missing an ingredient? Not to worry. These ingredients can easily be substituted:
- Dried cherries – You may substitute dried cranberries or dried blueberries for the dried cherries in this recipe.
- Nuts – You can make this recipe using walnuts or almonds instead of pecans.
- Vanilla – Substitute vanilla extract for the vanilla bean paste.
- Brown sugar – You can use either dark brown sugar or light brown sugar for this recipe.
This recipe is really adaptable and can be made with a variety of different spices, nuts, liquors and extracts. If you switch things up, leave a comment letting me know how it turned out.
- Spices – Feel free to experiment with different spices to add sweetness or heat to the glazed pecans. Options include paprika, chili powder, nutmeg, allspice and cumin.
- Liquor – If you don’t like bourbon, try soaking the cherries in rum or Amaretto instead.
- Non-alcoholic – While the alcohol cooks off in this recipe, you can make this recipe without liquor. Just soak the cherries in water to reconstitute them.
- Extracts – If you’re not using alcohol in the recipe, but still want the flavor, consider substituting bourbon or rum extract for the vanilla.
Once the glazed nuts have cooled and hardened, you can store them in an airtight container in the pantry for up to three weeks. If you’re planning to store the nuts, wait to add the orange zest until you’re ready to serve them.
💭 Top tip
To avoid burning the pecans, make sure you stir them frequently while making this recipe. They can quickly go from toasted to burned if they’re allowed to sit too long in the pan.
Are Candied Pecans Supposed To Be Sticky?
While it won’t affect the flavor, candied pecans should not be sticky when they’re cooled. If prepared properly, they will develop a hard candy coating as they cool.
If your nuts are sticky, that likely means the sugar and butter mixture never got hot enough to reach that candy stage.
How to Fix Soft or Sticky Candied Pecans
You can still eat and serve sticky pecans. But if you want to fix them, you have two options.
You can return them to the nonstick skillet and cook them for a few more minutes, over medium heat. Stir constantly to ensure the nuts don’t burn.
You can also fix sticky candied pecans by placing them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cook at 325ºF for up to 15 minutes, checking frequently to make sure they’re not browning too much or burning. Remove from the oven and allow to cool and harden.
More Pecan Recipes
If you liked this canided pecans recipe, you may also enjoy these other pecan recipes.
- Bourbon Pecan Kentucky Derby Pie
- 25 Delicious Pecan Recipes
- Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Bars
- Chocolate Turtles Pecan Cookie Dip
- Pecan Pie Cheesecake Topping
- Caramel Apple Baked Brie
Pin This! Spicy Bourbon Candied Pecans with Cherries
🎥 Recipe Card & Video
Sweet & Spicy Bourbon Glazed Pecans
- Nonstick skillet
- spoon or spatula
- baking sheet
- parchment paper or silicone mat
- ¼ cup bourbon
- ¼ cup dried cherries or cranberries
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 1 Tablespoon orange zest
- Soak cherries in bourbon for 30 minutes.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine the cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt and vanilla bean paste in a bowl.
- Toast the pecans in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently so they don’t burn.
- Add the butter to the pan. Stir until butter is completely melted and the pecans are coated.
- Add brown sugar, spices and vanilla to the pan. Stir well to coat.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and add bourbon and cherries. Stir for about a minute until everything is combined.
- Return the pan to the burner and cook for 1-2 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly, until a glaze forms and thickens.
- Transfer the glazed pecans to a parchment lined baking sheet. Spread them out in a single layer to cool and harden.
- Once cool, sprinkle the orange zest over the nuts.
- Dried blueberries or craberries can be used in place of dried cherries.
- Walnuts or almonds can be used instead of pecans.
- Substitute vanilla extract for the vanilla bean paste.
- Rum or Amaretto can be used in place of bourbon.