Smoked Candied Nuts – with Bourbon and Sugar Glaze

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Candied nuts make a great snack for the house or holiday parties. They also make for an amazing edible holiday gift idea. These smoked candied nuts are slowly smoke roasted and then finished with a sweet glaze making them crunchy, sweet, and mildly smoky.

A sheet tray full of smoked candied nuts
Add just enough of the sweet glaze to coat so you taste the nuts.

Candied nuts, similar to our smoked almonds recipe, are popular because they are crunchy and delicious and great to snack on throughout the day. They also feed a crowd and make an easy awesome gift. This batch is made with a mix of nuts (though you could stick to just one if you prefer) and finished with a sweet glaze.

And according to the Mayo Clinic, they are heart healthy too.

Ingredients for Candied Nuts

We use a variety of nuts for our candied nut mix. It also depends on what is easily available and what you like. But our favorite mix is to maximize flavor and crunch.

  1. Pecans – These just melt in your mouth with a little sweetness after roasting or smoking.
  2. Almonds – The bite and crunch give texture.
  3. Cashews – Soft to the bite, lightly sweet and adds moisture.
  4. Hazelnuts – Adds an herbal element and strong crunch. We are partial to these since we own a Hazelnut farm.

You can use any mix you like, but we find a combination of 3-4 gives the best flavor. Be sure when buying that you purchase raw nuts, not those that have been already roasted or blanched. We like to buy them in the bulk food section for the best price.

How to Smoke Mixed Nuts

The goal with smoking nuts, is to mimic the oven roast texture, but at a much lower heat. Nuts also contain natural oils that will slowly extract as the nuts roast. So there is no need to flavor or oil them PRIOR to the sweet glaze. Simply smoke them for a few hours at a low heat together.

After the second hour, the color will darken, and the natural oils start to come out of the nuts which further enhances the smoky flavor. Pull them off when you like the color and flavor.

  1. Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Fruit woods are a great option for nuts.
  2. Smoke the nuts together on a sheet pan or oven safe dish for 90 minutes. Then stir up the nuts.
  3. Smoke an additional 90 minutes and remove from smoker. They should have slightly darkened.
Mixed nuts on a sheet pan in a pellet smoker for holiday nuts.
We’re using our MAK Two-Star General for the perfect flavor.

Want more smoke flavor? Either change the wood type to oak or hickory, or keep smoking. But check them every 30 minutes after the third hour. This avoids scorching and an overly smoky flavor.

Once removed from the smoker, it’s time to make and apply the glaze.

The Glaze

The glaze is simple:

  • Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • Bourbon (or Whiskey)
  • Cinnamon
  • Kosher Salt

Almost like making caramel, the goal is to combine all the ingredients in a small pan and then get the sugar to caramelize and bubble. This will also concentrate the subtle Bourbon flavor for a sticky and sweet glaze that adheres to the nuts. The glaze comes together in just a couple minutes. You can make the glaze as soon as the nuts come off of the grill. Then glaze the nuts while they are still warm for that candied nut flavor.

Chef’s Note: You are not making caramel so be cautious to not overheat the pan. So depending on the pan you use (stainless steel versus cast iron as an example), start on a lower heat level and slowly raise the temperature. You want a gentle amount of bubbling to avoid burning, or scorching, the sugar and butter mix.

Smoked Candied nuts in a mason jar
Store the candied nuts in a mason jar, makes for the perfect gift.

Storing Smoked Mix Nuts

If not serving warm right away, store in a mason jar. They will stay fresh for up to a month.

If giving these as a gift, add a nice note “to enjoy within the next month”.


It’s easy to make with just Pecans or a single nut variety. The same portions apply.

Consider a little heat with cayenne pepper. A little goes a long way.

Don’t have Bourbon? Dark Rum works great as well. Amaretto is fun too for a cherry like flavor. Any liqueur will actually make for a fun flavor addition.

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A sheet pan full of Smoked Candied Nuts
5 from 1 vote

Smoked Candied Nuts Recipe with Bourbon Glaze

A slowly smoked mix of pecans, almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts finished with a sweet and decadent butter, brown sugar, and bourbon glaze.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 3 hours
Glaze: 10 minutes
Total: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 3 cups


Smoked Nuts

  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • ½ cup raw almonds
  • ½ cup raw hazelnuts

Sweet Glaze

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons bourbon, (whiskey or rum are alternatives)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt


Smoking Nuts

  • Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit, using fruit wood, using an indirect method.
  • Place the mixed nuts in a glass container or sheetpan, and then place in the smoker. Smoke for 90 minutes and then stir the nuts. Smoke additional 90 minutes (for 3 hours total smoking). Remove and glaze the nuts while still warm.

Sweet Glaze

  • In a small sauce pan, add all ingredients over medium-low heat and stir until combined. The sugar will caramelize and bubble, be sure to keep stirring for 4 minutes until thick. Adjust heat down if the sugar is caramelizing too quickly. See note.
  • Pour the glaze over the smoked mix nuts while they are still warm, and toss together well to combine. Serve warm or cold.


Purchasing Nuts: Make sure to purchase raw nuts (not those that have already been roasted).
Mix of Nuts: Use any combination of nuts you like. You can use just one kind (such as pecans), or a mix of your favorite. The glaze is meant for 3 cups of nuts total. 
Storing – If not serving warm, store in a mason jar. They will stay fresh for a month if kept in the jar, tightly sealed and stored in a cool dark cupboard.
Important Chef’s Note on Glaze: You are not making caramel so be cautious to not overheat the pan. So depending on the pan you use (stainless steel versus cast iron as an example), start on a lower heat level and slowly raise the temperature. You want a gentle amount of bubbling to avoid burning, or scorching, the sugar and butter mix.


Calories: 766kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 67g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 212mg | Potassium: 737mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 18IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 143mg | Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Glaze: 10 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: holiday, holiday appetizer
Servings: 3 cups
Calories: 766
Keyword: holiday nuts, smoked holiday nuts, smoked nuts
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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. I am going to try this. But was wondering could glaze them and throw in oven or smoker at 350 to 375 to set the sugars and carmelize them?

    1. When testing this recipe, we tested only at the lower heat, and when we set the glaze first, it seemed to get a slightly burned flavor. So I would say you could, but we have not tested it that way. At the higher heat though it may burn slightly before you get the desired texture of the roasted nuts. If you do try it we would love to hear and add as an update to the recipe.