Egg Whites Are Your Secret Ingredient For The Best Candied Nuts

Candied almonds in a bowl
Candied almonds in a bowl - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Making candied nuts is a quick and easy way to elevate a favorite snack. The simple process results in an extra crunchy, fragrant, and flavorful product that you can customize for a variety of uses. But there's a secret ingredient you may not realize can boost your candied nuts to the next level, and you likely already have it on hand: egg whites.

Egg whites manage multiple responsibilities when it comes to candied nuts. For one thing, they bring a light sheen -- similar to an egg wash on baked goods. Also, in the same way that egg whites will transform your granola into crunchy goodness, this ingredient helps ensure that pleasantly brittle quality in candied nuts, too. This is thanks to the proteins that bring binding power to a formula and which help the sugar in your mixture stick to each nut, along with any spices and flavorings you choose to add. When it comes to making your candied nuts, egg whites are also neutral in flavor, so they won't interfere with the profile you're planning.

Read more: The 20 Best Egg Brands, Ranked

More Notes For Better Nuts

Candied pecans in cast iron
Candied pecans in cast iron - Rudisill/Getty Images

In addition to better candied nuts, this is also a great way to use up leftover egg whites if you've had to use yolks for another recipe. That being said, you can also use liquid egg whites from a carton if you don't want to crack into fresh eggs. Regardless, be sure to coat all of your nuts well so that they crisp up evenly and have that glossy look throughout the batch.

Beyond this egg white secret, a few extra tips can ensure your candied nuts come out flawlessly. If you're making your nuts in an oven, lining your baking sheet with parchment or Silpat will make for easier cleanup. If possible, spread them out a little, as the egg whites can bind your nuts into chunks if they're too close together. Just 15 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit should be enough baking time. But, if it's your first time making them, check in a few times, as nuts can burn quickly thanks to their natural oils.

You can also make candied nuts on the stovetop in a nonstick skillet, which is much faster (you can have a finished product in about five minutes), but you may want to toast your nuts a bit first since they won't be exposed to heat as long as the oven-roasted version and it'll enhance their flavor. Once made, you can store candied nuts in an airtight container for about a week without refrigeration.

Enjoying Your Candied Nuts

Salad with candied walnuts
Salad with candied walnuts - Magdanatka/Shutterstock

While they're delicious simply as a snack by the handful, candied nuts can also be flavored and used in many applications, from sweet to savory. Some classic flavor profiles include baking spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or pumpkin spice, and even cayenne or chili powder for a kick. But you can get extra creative with ideas like vanilla lavender candied cashews.

You can experiment with different kinds of sugar -- from granulated to brown and turbinado or even coconut sugar -- and liquid sweeteners like honey or molasses. Whichever you choose, you'll want to make sure you use enough salt to balance and elevate your flavors. Candied pecans are delicious with a little bit of vanilla extract, too. And if you know how long to soak bourbon candied nuts, you can also get them nice and boozy.

Use these crispy nuts as added crunch for savory dishes like salads or roasted veggies. Sprinkle them on top of ice cream, use them to decorate a cake, or simply stir them into yogurt. You can even fold them into batter and dough for things like pancakes, muffins, or scones. Knowing that this egg white addition will help make sure you have a crunchy and delightful treat to share, you can package them up and give them as a gift, too.

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