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Caramelized Spiced Nuts

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Makes 4 to 6 servings 1x

Time 15 minutes

Units Scale


  • 2 tablespoons good-quality vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (about 1 pound) unsalted shelled nuts (see the headnote)


  1. Heat the oven to 450°F. Grease a baking sheet with the oil. Put a large skillet over high heat and add 2 cups water and the sugar. Bring to a boil and stir in the garam masala, cayenne, salt, and nuts. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced to a syrup, 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat to low. Remove the nuts with a slotted spoon, letting the excess syrup drain off a bit and spread the nuts on the baking sheet. Be sure to turn off the burner when you’ve finished.
  3. Roast the nuts for 10 minutes, tossing once or twice with a spatula. Remove from the oven and let cool—the sugar coating will be very hot, so resist sampling for a few minutes! The sugar coating will harden as the nuts cool. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 or 3 days.

— Recipe from How to Cook Everything: Completely Revised Twentieth Anniversary Edition

Recipe variations

Fiery Caramelized Nuts
Substitute a tablespoon or more finely chopped canned chipotle chile with the adobo sauce for the garam masala.

Rosemary Caramelized Nuts
Substitute 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary for the garam masala.

Miso Caramelized Nuts
The miso flavor mellows after roasting. So go by your taste and the intensity you’re using. Omit the spices and wait to add salt. When the liquid has finished reducing in Step 1, remove from the heat and stir in up to 2 tablespoons any miso. Proceed with Step 2. As soon as you can safely taste a warm nut, decide if you want to toss in more miso or a little salt before transferring to a bowl.