Spicy Pecans

Spicy Pecans


These make fantastic host/hostess gifts (see photo below), as well as a simple snack or holiday appetizer.

SPICY PECANS*
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SOFTWARE
  1. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  2. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  3. 1/2-3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on your heat preference)
  4. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. 1/2 teaspoon dried ground orange peel
  6. 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  7. 1 pound pecan halves
  8. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pats
  9. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar (light or dark...it's up to you. I prefer dark.)
  10. 3 tablespoons water
PROCEDURE
  1. Line a clean counter with a piece of parchment paper or foil at least 20 inches long. (In a pinch, you can use heavy duty aluminum foil.)
  2. Mix the cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, smoked paprika and orange peel together in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Place the nuts in a 10-inch cast iron skillet and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently with a large wooden spoon or spatula for 4 to 5 minutes or until the pecans begin to brown release their roast aroma.
  4. Stir in the spices until just fragrant (15-30 seconds) then add the butter pats and stir to melt. Follow that with the sugar. When thoroughly mixed add the water. Stir 2 to 3 minutes or until the sugar has completely and the nuts look glazed. Sprinkle over with the kosher salt and remove from heat.
  5. Spread the nuts evenly onto the parchment or foil so that they don't dry in clumps. Cool completely before transferring to an airtight container for storage.
  6. Although the nuts can be stored at room temp for up to three weeks or frozen (tightly wrapped) for up three months, odds are good they won't last more than a day or two.
Notes
  1. *This is a newly modified version of the version that's been online for a couple of years. The changes may seem small, but they make a big difference.
ALTON BROWN https://altonbrown.com/
Alton Brown's Spicy Pecans

47 Comments

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  1. 2
    John S

    Of course the small changes make a big difference, I made a batch last night with the old recipe. Aargh! I wonder how many pecans I have left….

  2. 3
    Heather

    Just made these to use as a topping for sweet potatoes. I wanted them to be sweeter for this application, so I subbed the cumin for ground cloves, and the water for Jamaican rum. This method is amazing, it makes the perfect glazed pecans. Highly recommend subbing rum!

  3. 5
    Amy

    Realized after I posted my previous comment that the # changes when comments are added.
    It was still meant for Jodi. 🙂
    I made a mistake when making these today; I put the water in before the sugar. In my reading the recipe quickly, I overlooked the part about adding the sugar, then the water. 🙁
    They still have a good taste, but are not as glazed looking as they should be.
    I have been cooking and baking for years, and I still make mistakes like this.
    So, don’t feel bad folks when mistakes like this are made. You are not alone in them. 🙂

    I

  4. 6
    Amy

    Jodi/Comment #3,
    You used the wrong measurement. It says use a teaspoon not a Tablespoon of cayenne pepper.
    Yowsa! Hot lips!!
    P.S.
    I feel your pain. I did something like that years back with some spicy Louisiana breaking I was given to use on pork chops.
    I used the whole bag. My family could not eat them, they were so hot. Had to toss them out.
    I was later told by the giver, that I was supposed to use a small amount mixed in with flour.

  5. 7
    Anna

    I realised I had no brown sugar too late so I used Indonesian coconut sugar instead. They were delicious. I have never made them before so I cannot compare to the original recipe. I dissolved the sugar in the butter/spice mixture before adding to toasted pecans as advised online for baking with coconut sugar. Also, I did dry the final product out a bit in the oven as they were sticky (perhaps because of the change in sugar). I will use this recipe again.

  6. 8
    Anna Amalia Costes

    I realised I had no brown sugar too late so I used Indonesian coconut sugar instead. They were delicious. I have never made them before so I cannot compare to the original recipe. I dissolved the sugar in the butter/spice mixture before adding to toasted pecans as advised online for baking with coconut sugar. Also, I did dry the final product out a bit in the oven as they were sticky (perhaps because of the change in sugar). I will use this recipe again.

  7. 11
    Angela

    These are dangerously delicious. The only problem I have is that it calls for “one pound” pecan halves. Why can’t it say two cups, or whatever the e act measurement is? Also, wear a breathing mask when making so you can breathe. And make sure the kitchen is well ventilated!!

  8. 13
    Amy

    These nuts were amazing! I did both a pecan and an almond batch as gifts personally I’m an almond fan but, I preferred the pecans this time much to my surprise. I couldn’t find dried orange peel so I zested a fresh on!

  9. 14
    Lori Shaulis

    Do you think if I subbed Surkin Gold for the regular brown sugar it would turn out ok?? Trying to make this a low carb version without losing the taste.

  10. 15
    Jeanne Wilkins

    This is fantastic! I didn’t have orange peel, and while I usually go out an buy what I need for your recipes, wasn’t able to, so I added a little Grand Marnier with the butter. I also added a tiny pinch of some smoked sea salt imported from Denmark that I received as a gift last year, it went in with the other spices. These are the best spiced nuts in the galaxy!

  11. 16
    Stephan

    Made this according to recipe. Our whole family is still (30 minutes later) coughing from the seasonings that somehow must have escaped into the air. They taste great, but is there anything I can do to prevent the coughing, short of wearing a “Breaking Bad” style respirator?

    • 17
      Deborah Simmons

      I also had trouble with in hailing the spice mixture. One of my small dog couldn’t breath and was hyperventilating. Very scary!

  12. 20
    Sherwood

    There are several missing words throughout the instructions. Need an editor? 😉 Also, could the butter be swapped for coconut oil or something else non-dairy?

  13. 23
    Claudia

    This is good on almonds too although pecans are slightly richer tasting. I added 1/2 tsp coriander as a sub for orange peel. I think it has a citrusy flavor. Also just a whiff of allspice as a bass note. The main change was to use 2 Tablespoons coconut oil instead of butter and cutting back to a fat quarter cup of brown sugar. Served at a ladies’ tea and appreciate by vegan guests.

  14. 24
    Kelly

    Funny that you added the smoked paprika. I just made the old version recipe last night and almost added that- but I opted for the addition of Smoked Serrano powder instead. Yum-o-rama!

  15. 28
    Blake

    Hmmm… Go easy when you toss in the little bowl of spices…. I took a lung full of cumin-cayenne-cinnamon dust, and I’m hurting. I made my own ground orange peel by baking orange peel for 20 minutes at 200F.

  16. 35
    Jared

    @Bill

    While it is difficult to find heat away from chili-based products, some hot sauces actually contain no chili peppers. You will have to hunt them down though.

    I’ve also used cracked black pepper as a substitute for cayenne. Alternatively you can probably skip the cayenne and maybe try a different type of burn. All jokes aside, everclear or something along those lines may give you an unexpected heat replacement. You would have to experiment with amount though.

  17. 39
    Jesse

    Do these have a chewy nut consistancy or do they come out crunchy? My family recipe has me baking them and with that I create a nice crispy nut. I thought of altering a non spicy recipe by replacing the water with bourbon. Anyone know if the flavor will come through?

  18. 40
    Bill

    I have a food allergy to all members of the chili pepper family, so cayenne and paprika have to be avoided. I love spicy food so this is killing me, but eating them kills me too! Do you have any suggestions on what I could do with this recipe to still enjoy spicy pecans?

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