Sweet Spiced Pecans

Spiced Sugar Pecans --the sweet, crispy coating is made of vanilla sugar, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and Ugandan vanilla extract

Just so you know up front, I get it. I get it that as a rule, food bloggers are supposed to post recipes in-season. Clearly, spiced pecans are a bit out of season. Yadda, yadda.

Hey, did you know that yadda yadda is in the Merriam Webster Dictionary? Here’s the official definition:

boring or empty talk <listening to a lot of yada yada about the economy> —often used interjectionally especially in recounting words regarded as too dull or predictable to be worth repeating

I would like to encourage you, though, to keep reading. Never judge a book by its cover or a recipe by its name or the season in which it is posted.

Spiced Sugar Pecans --the sweet, crispy coating is made of vanilla sugar, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and Ugandan vanilla extract

Over the past few months, I have tinkered off and on with recipes for sugary spiced nuts. Many bloggers have a recipe for them, with most recipes being relatively similar to each other and producing a tasty product. What’s not to like with sugar and cinnamon coated nuts?

Through some serendipitous events involving vanilla, my daughters and I stumbled into the most amazing spiced nuts we have ever tasted. It is not as though we set out working together to develop an incredible recipe for spiced nuts; it’s more that we each made a random offering which coalesced into these addictive pecans.

My daughter, Tricia, made some fantastic vanillas for me last year as part of a Christmas present. My daughter, Katie, decided to try out one of the ripened vanillas to use on a batch of sweet spiced pecans. As for me, I figured out the recipe for said pecans.

The base recipe involves simple, every day ingredients. However, it is the type of each ingredient that makes the flavor of these sweet spiced pecans so terrific.We used vanilla sugar, dark brown sugar, ceylon cinnamon, fresh nutmeg, and homemade Ugandan vanilla. This random tinkering experience has taught me more about the intricacies and subtleties of simple ingredients than has any other single cooking experience. Quite frankly, I was amazed at how much of a flavor difference there was between the homemade Ugandan vanilla vs. my trusty bottle of Costco’s Kirkland vanilla.

Spiced Sugar Pecans --the sweet, crispy coating is made of vanilla sugar, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and Ugandan vanilla extract

I realize that not everyone has the exact same variety of vanilla extract that I used. However, I feel confident that if you use a good quality, pure vanilla extract, you can still make scrumptious sweet spiced candy pecans. I also feel confident that even if you use imitation vanilla, you will be pleased with the end result. (The real stuff will be better, though. It’s all a matter of good, better, best.) We can talk another time about the differences between real vanilla and imitation vanilla. It will be a fun chemistry lesson. In the meantime, this is a link to my daughter’s blog on how to make vanilla.

The same goes for all of the other ingredients–the good stuff does make a positive flavor difference, but the regular stuff will still turn out a tasty product, too. If you choose to make these sweet spiced pecans for a gift or gifts, you might want to splurge on some really good vanilla extract–may I suggest Tahitian, Ugandan or Indian? You’ll love them!

Pecans are not the only nuts for which this sweet coating will work. It’s great on walnuts and almonds as well. I use pecans because they are my favorite, having spent a lot of time when I was growing up playing beneath the stately trees on my grandmother’s property. A mixture of sweet spiced nuts would be a great addition to your secret treat stash. You have one of those, don’t you?

Spiced Sugar Pecans --the sweet, crispy coating is made of vanilla sugar, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and Ugandan vanilla extract

Sweet Spiced Pecans

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 3 1/2 cups

These pecans with their sweet, baked-on, crispy coating will keep you coming back for more. Better make a double batch!


  • 1/2 cup vanilla sugar or granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used Ugandan)
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 3 cups pecan halves


  1. Preheat oven to 300-degrees F. Line a shallow baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together vanilla sugar, dark brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together egg white, vanilla and water until lightly frothy.
  4. Put pecans in a large mixing bowl. Pour egg white mixture over pecans and stir until pecans are well coated. Pour sugar mixture over pecans; stir well to completely coat pecans with sugar mixture.
  5. Spread pecans evenly on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, stir well and redistribute pecans evenly. Bake for an additional 15 minutes; remove pan from oven. Stir pecans again and allow to cool on pan. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Do not refrigerate.


To make vanilla sugar: Split 1 vanilla bean lengthwise. Scrape out caviar and add to 2 cups sugar. Using your clean hands, rub the sugar and vanilla bean caviar between your fingers until well mixed. Pour sugar in an airtight container or jar and push vanilla pod halves down into the sugar. Shake container once every day or two for a week to break up sugar and redistribute vanilla. The vanilla sugar will be ready to use in 1 week.

FYI: Used or old, dry vanilla beans can be placed in white sugar to maintain a supply of vanilla sugar. The intensity of vanilla flavor is dependent on the number of beans used per volume of sugar and also the length of time the beans have been infusing in the sugar. The vanilla flavor will increase over time.


You may also like:
Pecan Pie Bars
Pecan Pie Bars
Chocolate Delight
Chocolate Delight
Zucchini Bread
Zucchini Bread


  1. says

    We love yadda yadda. Incidentally, we also love spiced pecans! Now Ugandan vanilla I’ve never heard of so I’m eager to visit your daughter’s blog. If she anything like you, I’m going to love it. Have a great weekend!

  2. says

    In season… out of season.. I just want to eat these. I can eat a whole bucket myself. 🙂 Hope you are having a great start to your September! ~ Ramona 🙂

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