Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

I have been wanting to make a homemade version of spiced nuts for more than a few years now. My mom loves nuts, especially cashews, and for a long time I would stop at a kiosk at the mall and buy the cinnamon-dusted almonds and cashews to put in her stocking. The last year or two, however, I haven’t seen that kiosk and they have been missing. I knew that it would be simple to make at home, but never made the time to do some playing around to see what I liked. Well, after a week of nothing but sweets and four holiday meals in the course of two days, I thought it might be a good time to do some experimenting with savory snacks, especially since New Year’s is right around the corner. These nuts take about 10 minutes to make and are deliciously addicting.

They are mostly spicy, but have a sweet undertone, which is the perfect balance. I used pecans and walnuts here, but you could easily substitute any combination of your favorite nuts – cashews, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts… whatever tickles your fancy. A great snack with a nice kick!

I love the idea of putting a bowl of these nuts out for guests to munch on alongside appetizers, or during a cocktail hour. You could also put them in a little clear bag, tie with a ribbon and bring them, along with a bottle of wine, as a hostess guest if you are going to someone else’s place for New Year’s Eve (or any other party for that matter).

Three years ago: Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

Yield: 2 cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes


½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon ground chipotle powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup walnuts
1 cup pecans
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Dash hot sauce


1. In a small bowl, combine the salt and spices; set aside. In a large heavy skillet, melt butter. Add walnuts and pecans; cook over medium heat until nuts are toasted, about 3 minutes.

2. Sprinkle with spice mixture and stir. Add the brown sugar, water, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until sugar is melted. Spread on foil to cool. Store in an airtight container.

(Recipe adapted from Taste of Home)


30 Responses to “Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts”

  1. Kiri W. on December 28, 2011 at 4:01 am

    Looks delicious! Candied nuts are a Christmas staple in Germany, the spicy ones should be a nice change.


  2. Blog is the New Black on December 28, 2011 at 5:32 am

    Oh wow….. these sound divine!


  3. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on December 28, 2011 at 6:07 am

    I love mixed nuts…so much. Salty and spicy and sweet all in one is perfect!


  4. Jennifer@Peanut Butter and Peppers on December 28, 2011 at 8:49 am

    I wanted to make spiced nuts this holiday season, but I never did, I always ended up using my nuts for something else. I love the recipe, this I will try today! Thanks!


  5. Sarah @ See Sarah Bake on December 28, 2011 at 9:04 am

    These sounds amazing. I have a good friend that is lactose-intolerant so it’s always a struggle to find things to make that she can eat (especially since I love everything involving cheese….). These would be a great addition to the snack/appetizer table


  6. Cassie on December 28, 2011 at 11:53 am

    These are fabulous in so many ways. Great NYE snack!


  7. Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes on December 28, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Oh I LOVE pecans! This looks delicious!


  8. CouponClippingCook on December 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    The combination of flavors you used sounds amazing together. So glad you posted this….it’s a perfect idea for a get-together I’m having with some friends.


  9. Penny Wolf on December 28, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. It would be good to find one using a dusting of cocoa powder too.

    Also, I almost approached a young woman in Cabela’s in Wheeling today because she looked like your picture. I chickened out and didn’t yell out “Brown Eyed Baker?”.
    Was it you?!


    • Michelle on December 30th, 2011 at 8:02 pm

      Hi Penny, How funny! It was not me though, I’ve been in Pittsburgh all week 🙂


  10. Jen at The Three Little Piglets on December 29, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    What a gorgeous picture! I just loved spiced nuts…


  11. Russell at Chasing Delicious on December 29, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Yum! This looks like perfect snack. I am definitely trying this one soon.


  12. Sylvia Bagley on December 31, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Just made these and they are getting rave reviews — what a fabulous combination of spicy-sweet at first, then a KICK in the pants! I didn’t have a couple of the ingredients (chipotle powder, cumin) but they weren’t really missed.


  13. domesticallyinept on December 31, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    This look fabulous! The Worcestershire sauce is a nice touch! I’ve made something similar but with honey and oil instead of butter and brown sugar. I’ll definitely give these a try!


  14. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on January 2, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    I am obsessed with making roasted nuts lately… Definitely have to give this recipe a try. Yum!


  15. Joanna on January 3, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Just stumbled upon your blog. Your pictures are gorgeous!
    I feel like digging into some of these nuts right now! Gonna to make these using a mix of hazelnuts, walnuts and cashew nuts! I don’t have ground chipotle powder..so will probably have to substitute that.


  16. Janet@FCTC on January 4, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    These sound great! I am only so so on nuts but for some unknown strange reason, I crave them during the Winter months. These look like something I would love to nibble on!


  17. Sherry on January 29, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I’m glad to read that there was at least one person who made this without the chipotle powder didn’t miss it since that’s the only ingredient I don’t have. But when you say hot sauce, do you mean something like Tabasco or would even Sriracha work?


    • Michelle on January 30th, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Hi Sherry, I used Tabasco, but I definitely think you could use Sriracha as well.


      • Sherry on February 2nd, 2012 at 5:24 am

        Made these today with Sriracha and without chipotle pepper with peanuts, cashews, pecans and walnuts. They were fine, although I think next time I’ll use less butter since it seemed like there was a bit too much of it leftover at the end. I think maybe next time I’ll up the cayenne since they weren’t quite spicy enough without it, and maybe the sugar too since it was only just a touch sweet and not sweet enough for me. But


  18. mark palace on May 20, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    i LOVE this recipe!!! wow!!! i did not have the chipotle powder (will try it next time)…so, i added 2x the cayenne pepper and it was Amazingly delicious!! thank you SO much for sharing this recipe!!! also, i am vegan, so i deleted the butter and used organic coconut oil instead…delicious! yummy!


  19. Cristina on December 12, 2013 at 10:30 am

    This is the recipe from the Taste of Home magazine….


  20. Chuck on December 14, 2013 at 9:31 am

    I was looking for a spicy mixed nut recipe and seen these. They looked so good I had to make them right away. FANTASTIC!! My skill level is around peanut brittle in a microwave but these were so easy to make and tasted awesome. The spice is not hot, but stays with you like it should. I’ll making these for a long time to come. Thanks for the recipe.


  21. Barbara on December 20, 2013 at 6:59 am

    I will be making these nuts this weekend as part of a Christmas present. Thank you for sharing!


  22. Katie P on January 20, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Should the nuts be raw or already roasted before I make this recipe?


    • Michelle on January 21st, 2014 at 11:12 am

      Hi Katie, Raw, if you have them. If not, dry roasted would be next best. Finally, roasted unsalted after that.


      • Katie P on January 21st, 2014 at 12:12 pm

        Thanks Michelle! I am making these for the Superbowl….if I don’t eat them all before my friends arrive 😉


  23. Stephenie on March 20, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    These were awesome! I couldn’t stop eating the first batch. I bought a jar of dry roasted peanuts and used them in the recipe exactly as written. I have a new batch cooling now… I upped the amount of brown sugar and siracha to try to replicate some nuts I had at a bar that were slightly more coated in brown sugar. We’ll see if that messes up the flavor balance or not.

    Now I want to start playing with other spice combinations… I’ve been contemplating a dry mustard/wasabi powder/soy sauce base for my next batch.


    • Stephenie on March 20th, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      Sorry to reply to my own post… just realized I accidentally lied.. I didn’t make the first batch exactly as written. I didn’t have chipotle powder but I had ancho powder so used that instead.


  24. Karen on June 7, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Just made these and they are absolutely divine! I am going to add this recipe to my Christmas collection of candied nuts. Thank you for sharing. 🙂


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