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This Kahlua Sugared Pecans Recipe is easy to make with only five ingredients and taste so much better than the store bought kind! They’re perfect for a sweet snack or to give as holiday food gifts.
Why This Recipe Works
What is it about sugared nuts that are so good? For me, it’s the sweet candy-like coating with a crunchy nut.
Nuts are good for you so that should make these good for you too, right? Let’s all just agree and move on, ok?
I’ve been making these sugared pecans for so long, I’m don’t even remember where I first came upon them. I think it was in an online cooking forum somewhere. Turns out it’s a recipe from the Stop and Smell the Rosemary cookbook. I’ve adapted the recipe a bit over the years and am still making them each year after all this time.
These Gourmet Kahlua Sugared Pecans are a staple in my gift giving repertoire and are always a BIG hit with everyone I give them too. Like, can’t stop eating them in one sitting kind of hit.
Warning: they are addictive. If you’re planning to make them for giving away as gifts, you might want to make them when your family is not home or ban them from the kitchen, so they don’t eat too many first-ha!
I love to make these in big batches and wrap them up and give them as gifts to teachers, neighbors friends or as hostess gifts.
In just a little more than 30 minutes I can have a lot of my homemade gift giving treats ready and done.
They’re always very popular and most everyone will tell me they love them! No matter what you call them, sugared pecans or candied pecans, they are super simple and taste delicious!
What Ingredients are needed for this Kahlua Sugared Pecans Recipe?
Egg whites – See my tip below on how I separate the eggs.
Kahlua liqueur – This is found at a liquor store. I recently discovered they have different flavors but I just use the traditional Kahlua which has a slight coffee flavor. Don’t worry, the alcohol bakes off so that all you’re left with is the flavoring.
Sugar – I usually buy the store brand to save a bit of money.
Salt – Regular table salt is what I use. Other types like sea salt or Kosher are usually too coarse to use in baking recipes.
Shelled Pecan Halves – I purchase these in bulk at Sam’s Club or Costco. A pecan half means that they are not already chopped up and are the half of a whole cracked nut.
The smaller bags sold in the grocery store are SO much more expensive per ounce. This recipe uses up the 2-pound bag I buy but whenever I do have leftovers, I just put them in a freezer safe zip-top bag and store for up to a year!
How to Make Kahlua Sugared Pecans
Over the years I’ve tweaked the recipe just a bit so I’m sharing it again with all of you all and with some updated pictures too (the first one was SO tiny and not so great).
Kahlua has been my go-to liqueur of choice and has become the most popular. I’m not sure if that’s hint of coffee with the sugar or what but it’s a winning combination!
To separate the eggs, I will sometimes use the egg shell transfer method but very often I can’t get that just right. So I prefer to use a egg separator spoon like this one. Makes life so much easier!
I’ve included pictures to show you the progression of how these sugar coated pecans bake in the oven. At first it will seem like there is too much liquid.
Be sure to stir between every 10 minutes (as instructed in recipe). Then, the sugary mixture will start to get foamy and it seems like it is falling off the pecans. Don’t worry—it’s ok!
Once you have finished the final 10 minutes, transfer to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or another pan with a silicone baking mat. Allow about an hour for them to fully cool.
You will notice that as they cool, the sugary coating will start to crystalize. This is totally normal!
Once the sugar roasted pecans are fully cooled, you may need to break them up into smaller pieces.
Is this Kahlua Sugared Pecans Recipe Make Ahead?
Yes! These store wonderfully so are perfect for making ahead. Like I’ve said, I like to make a big batch all at once so that I can divide them up into gift bags for gifts.
Store at room temperature for up to a week (if they last that long!)
You Can Also Freeze Sugared Pecans
You can store these Gourmet Kahlua Sugared Pecans in an airtight freezer-safe container or zip-top bag. Label and freeze for up to six months in the freezer.
Just bring out what you want or need for the occasion and let them come to room temperature before serving, about 20-30 minutes.
Other Easy Food Gifts and Nut Recipes
I often pair a festive bag of these pecans with a gift card to Starbucks for those on my gift giving list that like that and it is a quick and easy way to give a gift with a personal touch.
Be sure to check out this recipe for Quick & Easy Spiced Caramel Almonds or Spicy Cocoa Almonds for other easy to make gourmet nut recipes. Or for other homemade food gifts ideas, I’ve gathered up a bunch from other bloggers on this Food Gifts Ideas Roundup Post.
This post originally appeared here in October 2011. It was updated December 2014 with new photos and then again in December 2019 with new photos and more content and recipe updates.
Easy Gourmet Kahlua Sugared Pecans
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup Kahlua liqueur
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 cups pecan halves shelled
- Prepare a large jelly roll pan by lining it with tin foil.
- Combine the sugar and salt in a bowl, set aside.
- Combine the egg white and the liqueur in a large bowl, stir well with a whisk.
- Add the pecans, and stir well.
- Add sugar to bowl, and stir well to coat.
- Spread onto prepared jelly roll pan in a single layer.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until pecans are lightly toasted and browned, stirring every 10 minutes.
- It will look like the coating is coming off (but it's not).
- Stir from the outside in to keep pecans on the edges from burning, and watch closely since sugar burns easily.
- Remove from oven, transfer IMMEDIATELY to wax paper or a silicone baking mat to cool.
- Pecans keep for two weeks in an airtight container or in freezer up to three months.
Is this Kahlua Sugared Pecans Recipe Make Ahead?Yes! These store wonderfully so are perfect for making ahead. Like I’ve said, I like to make a big batch all at once so that I can divide them up into gift bags for gifts. Store at room temperature for up to a week (if they last that long!)
You Can Also Freeze Sugared PecansYou can store these Gourmet Kahlua Sugared Pecans in an airtight freezer-safe container or zip-top bag. Label and freeze for up to six months in the freezer. Just bring out what you want or need for the occasion and let them come to room temperature before serving, about 20-30 minutes.
This post originally appeared here in October 2011. It was updated December 2014 with new photos and again in December 2019 with new photos, more information and an updated recipe.
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