Sweet and savory vegan Candied Rosemary Walnuts make for the perfect addition to holiday party spreads, vegan cheeseboards, desserts, and salads! All you need is a handful of ingredients with two optional cooking methods (stovetop or roasted) for these moreish savory-sweet rosemary spiced nuts!
Candied Rosemary Walnuts – Two Ways (Stovetop + Roasted)
With the holiday season upon us (less than a month until Thanksgiving – yay!), we’ve been cooking up a storm in preparation. Along with all the ‘classics’ for your Thanksgiving table, though, there are dishes like these easy candied walnuts (aka glazed walnuts/ caramelized walnuts), which are taken to new levels with the addition of fresh rosemary for addictive savory-sweet roasted walnuts! These rosemary spiced nuts are the perfect accompaniment to any holiday party spread, grazing boards, vegan cheeseboards, over desserts, as a snack, or even as a frugal holiday gift- in a jar, complete with a bow!
Not only are these rosemary walnuts incredible, but the method is super simple – requiring just a handful of versatile ingredients (you can swap out the nuts, sweetener, and seasonings!) and a simple almost-foolproof method. In fact, we’ve even included TWO cooking methods below: for stovetop or roasted easy candied walnuts.
However, rosemary roasted nuts are our preferred method. It’s even more fool-proof, more hands-off, and there’s no mad rush to separate the candied walnuts before they dry into a single clump. The only caveat is there’s an extra (technically optional) blanching step. However, it takes just minutes and yields crunchier sweet roasted walnuts with a crunchy candy coating, so it’s no trouble at all!
Since these rosemary walnuts are so quick to prepare, they make for a great last-minute party snack to fit various dietary requirements too; gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, vegan, etc. More so, making homemade candied walnuts is far more frugal than getting them store-bought! Especially when buying walnuts or your nut of choice in bulk!
Best of all, with the addition of rosemary, these spiced candied walnuts are fragrant and flavorful with a delicious sweet and savory flavor. Everyone will be reaching for seconds, thirds, and fourths!
Walnuts: We recommend buying unsalted raw walnut halves already de-shelled for ease.
Powdered sugar: You can use regular powdered sugar or make your own with brown sugar (make sure it’s vegan first) or coconut sugar by grinding it in a coffee/spice grinder into a powdered consistency.
Cinnamon: Adjust the amount to taste.
Salt: To help balance the sweetness of the sugar in this candied walnuts recipe.
Rosemary: Use fresh rosemary for the best flavor and to avoid burn on these rosemary roasted nuts.
Other simple add-ins & Recipe Variations
Spice: The combination of rosemary and sugar pairs wonderfully with some heat too. Use ½ – 1 tsp (or adjust to personal taste) of chili, chipotle, ancho, or cayenne pepper powder with the rosemary spiced nuts.
Other herbs: Thyme and/or sage pair well with the rosemary (use a 1:1 ratio of 2 or all 3 herbs).
Other seasonings: Chai spice (like I used for this chai popcorn) also works well for this candied walnuts recipe (minus the rosemary). Pumpkin pie spice/ apple pie spice would also taste delicious – especially with a brown sugar/maple sweetener. Cardamom or Allspice would also taste nice in place of the cinnamon.
Vanilla: Adjust the amount to taste. However, I recommend around ½-1 tsp vanilla extract per cup of walnuts.
Maple candied walnuts: Use ¼ cup maple syrup and 1 tbsp dairy-free butter per one cup walnuts. Follow the stovetop method – mixing until nuts are thoroughly coated, then bake in the oven at 350F for 12-15 minutes, or until caramelized.
Nutmeg:A pinch of nutmeg pairs well with the cinnamon (and Chili powder – if using)
Other nuts:This rosemary spiced nuts recipe also works amazingly if you use pecans. However, it should work with most nuts: almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamias, cashews, or even a mixed nut mix.
Nut-free: We haven’t tried this, but this method (minus the blanching) should also work with sunflower/pumpkin seeds with a slightly reduced roasting time.
How to Make Candied Walnuts?
Keep scrolling to the recipe card for the complete list of ingredients and recipe instructions.
Sweet Roasted Walnuts (baked candied walnuts)
First, preheat the oven to 350F/175C and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a silicone baking mat).
Then, in a medium/ large bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, chopped rosemary, cinnamon, and salt – then set aside.
Meanwhile, fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Then add the walnuts and cook for three minutes before straining well.
Toss the blanched walnuts with the sugar mixture to thoroughly coat until the sugar has dissolved.
Spread the rosemary walnuts mixture onto the baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the walnuts are golden brown. Make sure to check on them regularly to ensure the sugar isn’t burning – in some cases, it can take as little as 12 minutes to achieve your desired results.
Finally, remove the walnuts from the oven, allow them to cool, break up if needed, and then enjoy!
Candied Rosemary Walnuts
This method allows you to skip the blanching step and create the entire recipe in one pan. However, the ingredients will differ slightly. For every cup of walnuts, you’ll need around ¼- 1/3 cup granulated sugar and a tablespoon of dairy-free butter (adjust the amount of salt added to the recipe if using salted butter).
First, heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat. Then add all the ingredients (walnuts, sugar, vegan butter, chopped rosemary, cinnamon, and salt).
Continue to cook, stir frequently (with a wooden spoon/silicone spatula), for several minutes – until the sugar begins to melt, turns a golden brown, and thoroughly coats the nuts (usually 3-5 minutes).
Then, quickly transfer to either a piece of parchment paper or silicone baking sheet and spread evenly (do this quickly as it will set VERY quickly). Then allow to cool and harden (6-10 minutes usually) and enjoy!
You have between 30-40 seconds to separate the nuts before they start to set. Regarding when to add the various ingredients, you may prefer to allow the sugar to melt BEFORE adding the nuts. Some also prefer to add the cinnamon/ dry spices and salt right before transferring from the pan.
How to Store?
Once prepared, you can store the leftover caramelized walnuts at room temperature in an airtight container for between 1-2 weeks. Avoid storing them in the fridge as it can cause them to become moist/sticky.
Ensure that the caramelized walnuts cool COMPLETELY before storing – otherwise, they can steam in the bag and remain soft and sticky.
How to Serve Candied Rosemary Walnuts?
There are tons of ways to enjoy these savory-sweet walnuts, including:
As a party snack during the holiday period
Served the caramelized walnuts as part of a vegan cheese board/grazing board
Why blanch the walnuts before candying them? This can help keep the walnuts crisp after baking. However, it also helps the sugar to cling to all the crevices in the walnuts.
Why are my candied nuts sticky? If they never fully harden after cooking, you didn’t cook them for long enough. The sugar actually needs to reach a specific temperature to achieve the ‘brittle,’ hard coating. If they haven’t been stored well (or you live somewhere particularly humid) and become sticky within a few days, you can place them back in the oven for 5-10 minutes (or slightly longer if needed) or even use a dehydrator. Just remember that they will remain somewhat sticky when hot and will harden when cooled.
Can you freeze candied nuts? Absolutely – allow them to cool COMPLETELY after cooking. Then transfer to an airtight container/Ziplock bag (must be airtight to avoid moisture) and store for up to 2 months. After that, you can enjoy the spiced candied walnuts straight from the freezer or allow them to thaw for a few minutes at room temperature first.
Can I double the batch? Yes, though the sugar will take slightly longer to melt/caramelize if you’re using the stovetop method.
Can I make these sugar-free/keto candied walnuts? We haven’t tried using a sugar alternative, though powdered erythritol may work in place of powdered sugar. If using granulated sweetener, it may need more of a ‘binder’ to adhere to the fruits – but we haven’t tested.
Top Recipe Tips and Notes
Pay attention: The sugar can very quickly go from perfectly browned to burnt. So no matter which method you use, keep an eye on the caramelized walnuts to avoid having to start over!
Don’t use wax paper: Parchment paper or a Silpat sheet (silicone making mat) are important to avoid the nuts sticking to the pan. However, they will melt the wax on the wax paper and become an even bigger mess – so avoid!
Use a heavy-bottomed pan: When using a stovetop method, use a heavy-based pan; otherwise, the sugar can burn more easily.
Use a nut/seed blend: This method doesn’t just work for delicious, caramelized walnuts. You can also make a nut blend, nut and seed blend, or even omit nuts altogether and just use seeds (reduce the cooking time accordingly).
For extra flavor: As soon as the rosemary spiced nuts come out of the oven, you can season them with some additional chopped rosemary and possibly flaky sea salt (to taste).