A simple and easy recipe for crispy candied walnuts with a special method to remove the bitterness from it! Made with just 3 ingredients and ready from start to finish in 25 minutes!
If you're like me and do not like walnuts because of their bitter taste, then boy do I have a treat for you! These Chinese candied walnuts are crispy with a hint of sweetness (and if you like, savoriness as well) with absolutely no hint of bitterness.
INGREDIENTS FOR CANDIED WALNUTS
- Walnuts - I like to use walnuts for this recipe because of all the nooks and crannies that hold all the sugar onto it which makes it more candied and crispy. I have not tested this on any other nuts yet.
- Sugar - I have tested this with coarse raw sugar, demerara sugar, granulated white sugar, and powdered sugar and they all work well for this recipe.
- Oil/Butter - I personally like to use oil for this recipe over butter but I do occasionally use butter for this and it works just as well. For the oils, I like to stick to the more common oils like canola and corn oils.
- Salt (optional) - salt is completely optional for the recipe and I only recommend adding it if you like sweet and savory flavored nuts.
BOILING WALNUTS IN WATER
When I learned this technique from my dad when he worked at a Chinese restaurant and it blew my mind. Boiling the walnuts in boiling water for 5 minutes removes that bitter flavor on the skins. It also removes the residue coating on the nuts which makes the walnuts crispier when it gets roasted.
The hot walnuts also help with melting the sugars to get them into the crevices.
OVEN ROASTED vs STOVETOP
At Chinese restaurants, they deep fry the walnuts after boiling it but for this recipe, I kept things a bit simpler by oven roasting them instead. We are still essentially deep frying them in the oven, but this has a much easier and quick clean up afterward.
I have tried using both the stovetop and the oven to make these walnuts, and I prefer the oven-roasted method. Here's why.
- You can make bigger batches since cookie sheets/cake pans are larger than frying pans.
- It's easier than using the stovetop because you don't need to constantly stir the walnuts.
- The heat and dry air in the oven cooks and dries the walnuts out more evenly.
- Easier cleanup. Remove the parchment and throw it out. The pan should be clean.
- You have to constantly stir the walnuts or they will burn
- Uneven cooking since the walnuts are constantly moving
- Slightly quicker cooking time than using the oven, by about 10 minutes
Regardless of which method you choose to use, it is crucial to let it cool completely to allow it to harden before storing or eating. Try to keep them in a single layer and preferably not touching so they don't stick together.
STORAGE & SHELF LIFE
Since these walnuts have been roasted, there is a shelf life to them. I keep this for about 2 weeks but since they usually disappear pretty fast.
Store them in an airtight container in a cool dry place. I don't recommend putting it in the refrigerator unless you live in a high humidity area because the fridge usually has a bit of moisture in there and it can cause the walnuts to clump together and lose some of their crispiness.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO USE CANDIED WALNUTS
- Use them on your charcuterie board
- Eat them as-is as a snack
- Add them to shrimp or vegetable stir-fries
- Break them up into smaller pieces and add them to your granola mix
- Add them into your cereal or oatmeal
- Break them up into smaller chunks and add it to your yogurt
- Add them on top of salads to give it a bit of crunch and additional flavor
LOOKING FOR MORE BITE-SIZED SNACKS?
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DID YOU MAKE THESE CANDIED WALNUTS?
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Crispy Candied Walnuts
- Pros and Cons of Oven-Roasting: You can make bigger batches, you do not need to watch the stovetop, easier to clean up (throw out parchment paper), and the heat and dry air roast the walnuts more evenly. No major con, except it takes a bit longer.
- Pros and Cons of Stovetop: Slightly quicker cooking time by about 10 minutes, but you have to make it smaller batches and it cooks more un-evenly.
- I have tested this with coarse raw sugar, demerara sugar, granulated white sugar, and powdered sugar and they all work well for this recipe.
- I personally like to use oil for this recipe over butter but I do occasionally use butter for this and it works just as well. For the oils, I like to stick to the more common oils like canola and corn oils, but avocado oil is my favorite oil to use because of it's high smoking point, and it's the healthiest oil of the other 2.
- Salt is completely optional for the recipe and I only recommend adding it if you like sweet and savory flavored nuts.
- Store them in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 2 weeks.
- Alternatively, if you want to make it exactly like how they do at the restaurants, you can deep fry it in oil for 3-5 minutes on low heat, just make sure the sugar gets fully dissolved with the hot walnuts right after you strained them from the boiling water, you want to create a light syrupy coating on all the walnuts. You can also skip adding the oil with the sugar since you will be deep frying it in oil.
- Put a pot of water over the stove on medium high heat
- When the water starts to boil, add in the walnuts and boil them for 4-5 minutes
- Drain the water from the pot into a strainer and transfer the walnuts to a small bowl
- While the walnuts are still hot, sprinkle the sugar over the walnuts and mix well. The residual heat from the walnuts will melt the sugar. If you are using a bit of salt, add it during this step.
- Once the sugar has dissolved and everything is well mixed, add in the oil and mix well
Oven Roasting Instructions
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C)
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet or pan and pour the walnuts onto it and spread it out into a single layer.
- Once the oven has reached 350F, put the tray in the oven and roast it for 10 minutes
- Once 10 minutes is up, remove the cookie sheet from the oven and gently flip the walnuts and put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Make sure it is still in a single layer so the walnuts don't stick together
- Remove the tray from the oven. If the nuts don't look brown and roasted enough, add it back in the oven for another 5 minutes. If it still isn't brown enough, bake it for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Let the walnuts cool for at least 30-40 minutes before storing or eating it.
Stove Top Instructions
- Using a frying pan, set the stove to low heat and add 1-2 tablespoons of oil into it.
- Add in the walnuts and toast it for 10-15 minutes. Make sure you keep moving the walnuts by mixing it so they don't burn. Keep them on a single layer.
- Once the walnuts have cooked for 10-15 minutes, pour them out onto a plate or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If the walnuts don't look toasted enough, continue to toast it for another 2-3 minutes.
- Spread them out into a single layer and let it cool for at least 30-40 before storing them or eating it.
*Nutritional information is calculated using online tools and is an estimate*
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Adina Turchin says
These remind me of my childhood! My parents used to always buy these in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, and the container would be empty by the time we got home. This was back in the 70’s! I made these yesterday and they were delicious. Wish my parents were still alive to eat them with me; I cherish the fun memories:) Thank you!
Adina Turchin says
I meant to choose 5 stars, not 4!
Joyce Lee says
I adjusted this for you! 🙂
Joyce Lee says
I'm so happy you liked them!
These are exactly what I was trying to make! My parents also always bring these home from the Chinese supermarket and they would disappear fast!
I'm very touched and happy that I can bring those fond memories back, as I also have these memories too. 🙂
Looks delicious and must be very good for a snack.
Joyce Lee says
It's an awesome snack. I can never stop eating them! haha
I have fried once. If the nuts are not sweet enough or crispy enough, can I throw back the nuts to re-coat with sugar and bake again?
Joyce Lee says
That is a good question. I haven't tried re-coating the nuts with sugar and rebaking them again so I am not sure if it will work. This is definitely an interesting thought and something I might try to test in the future to see if a double coating is possible!
If you did test it out, let me know if it turned out for you!
I did. The nuts weren’t sweet at all so I threw more sugar and a spit of water back in the frying pan and tossed until the pan was dry again. Perfect.
Joyce Lee says
Thanks for the update! It's really good to know you can do that without burning the sugar! 🙂
Janet Lau says
does this method of boiling the nuts work with different types of nuts such as almonds, peanuts, cashews?
Joyce Lee says
Hmmm, that's a good question! I haven't tried with different types of nuts, so I am not 100% sure.
If you do test it out, let me know how it turns out with the different types of nuts! I'm curious now also! I might test it out as well in the future when I buy a new batch of nuts. 😊
Arden Le says
crispy, sweet, super easy
I love the instructions and photographs! I made this to eat with my charcuterie and it is amazing! Personally I wanted it a teeny bit sweeter but everyone else loves it as is!
This has pretty must sent me down the rabbit hole and now i want to try every recipe on this site! I am currently marinating my oven roasted 5 spice peking chicken! Wish me luck and keep up the amazing work!
You should post your recipes on subtle asian cooking! You deserve all the exposure!!!
Joyce Lee says
I'm so happy you liked this! Good call on using them in charcuterie! I am definitely going to be doing this from now on! I like to throw them on salads, because I'm not a huge fan of veggies haha!
Thank you for your kind words! I am always happy I can share my recipes and try to make it as easy to follow as possible.
I had no idea about subtle Asian cooking, and will definitely look into posting on there - thanks so much for this!! I feel so touched! 💖
I hope your Peking chicken turned out, and that you enjoyed it!! 🙂
I am a fan of the savory balancing the sweet, so not only added the suggested salt immediately after removing from the oven, but also premixed that salt with equal pinches of both cayenne and red chili powders. It's still not completely cooled but half has been eaten and a 2nd batch is about to begin.
Joyce Lee says
I love the addition of the cayenne and chili powders! I'm excited to try this out next time I make this! Thank you for the brilliant tip!
Audrey Lee says
Tried the recipe out and succeeded on the first try! Yay! Did the oven baked version, the walnuts were dark golden brown after 10 min on each side, anything more would lead to burning. After cooling down, the walnuts are extremely crispy and delicious. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
YAY, high-five!! I actually like doing it the baked way as well. I find it a lot easier and it toasts a lot more evenly too! I'm so happy to hear that you liked this!! 🙂 I'm always happy to share.
I really love this crispy candied walnuts, it is my most favourite snacks any time. After following your ingredients, I tried to put lesser brown sugar for lesser sweetness (this way I can eat more ) and also sprinkled some roasted white sesame seeds on top to make it a bit colorful and texture. Just because of your simple fantastic Recipe, I then encourage myself to do it and real fresh (without buying fthe packaged candied walnuts from the bakery stores which may have been stored long). All my friends after tried mine, and gave a thumb-up !!
Thank you Joyce. You are Great !! 🙂
That's one of the reasons why I decided to finally make this recipe! haha I was always looking for it at the stores and it was a lot cheaper and fresher to make it at home! heehee I'm happy you liked it! Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂
Susan K Pontier says
When do you add the salt? I really want to add equal parts salt and cayenne and I need to know when this is added.
Joyce Lee says
Good question! I didn't realize I forgot that step! Thanks for pointing this out to me!
You would add the salt in when you are adding the sugar, so it melts the sugar and salt granules with the hot walnuts - this would be under step 4 under Instructions.
Brilliant idea with the cayenne - I definitely will need to add some of it next time I make a batch!