I learned how to make caramelized nuts when I took a professional Petits Pours class at Lenôtre in France. The original recipe was for hazelnuts, but I have adapted it for pecans. Actually, the recipe works for any kind of nuts. I’ve also made caramelized walnuts. It’s just a good basic recipe to have in your repertoire. The photo you see above shows Caramelized Pecans garnishing my Creamy Pumpkin Pie, along with Red Wine Poached Cranberries and Candied Kumquats.



Caramelized Pecans

Shirl Gard


  • YIELD: About 2 cups

  • 200 grams pecan halves About 1 1/2 cups

  • 25 grams water 2 Tablespoons
  • 75 grams sugar 1/3 cup
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons butter

  • 300 grams = Total 10.5 ounces


  • Place pecans on small quarter sheet pan and heat nuts in 350º F oven until hot and lightly toasted 3-4 minutes, then transfer to a hot medium saucepan.
  • Pour water into a separate small saucepan. Slowly add sugar to center of pan and stir to dissolve sugar. Add lemon juice.
  • Bring to a boil and stop stirring. Brush down sides of pan with water, as needed during cooking, to prevent crystallization.
  • Cook to 240° F (115° C).
  • While caramel is cooking, set up a Silpat-lined sheet pan and spray it with non-stick spray. Place vinyl gloves next to sheet pan.
  • Pour hot syrup over warm nuts.
  • Stir over medium heat until sugar turns a golden caramel color. Stir gently with wooden spoon so you don't break the nuts.
  • When desired caramel color is reached, add butter and stir to separate nuts (gently, but quickly). Watch the color closely because if the caramel gets too dark, it will be bitter.
  • Pour nuts immediately onto the Slpat-lined pan and put on your gloves.
  • Work quickly to separate the nuts. Caution: the nuts will be extremely hot.
  • Cool to room temperature.
  • Store in air-tight plastic container. These can become sticky in a humid environment.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!