These easy Candied Cashews are cinnamon sugar-candied cashews, perfect as a homemade gift for Christmas or a quick snack.
Plus, these are vegan candied nuts made without eggs or dairy.
Are Candied Nuts Vegan?
Did you know that most candied nuts contain egg whites? Yes, most recipes call for egg whites. Therefore, candied nuts are not always vegan.
I will show you how you can make delicious candied cashews without eggs or butter.
The result in taste is amazing and as crunchy and sweet as the egg based candied nuts. the only difference is the color.
In fact, egg-free candied nuts won’t crystalized on top and stay shiny and slightly sticky.
But overall, this candied cashew recipe tastes fantastic, and it’s perfect for your vegan holiday gift this year.
How To Make Candied Cashews
It’s so easy to whip a batch of these crunchy, sweet cashews that you won’t stop making this recipe this holiday season.
- Unroasted, Unsalted Cashew Nuts
- Brown Sugar – or brown erythritol if you are making sugar-free candied nuts.
- Sea Salt
- Vanilla Extract
- Cinnamon or pumpkin spice if you are making a Fall version of these candied nuts.
Making Vegan Candied Nuts
First, cover a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
Slightly oil the paper with oil spray like avocado oil or coconut oil.
Set it aside.
In a non-stick skillet, add brown sugar, water, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract. Bring to medium-high heat.
Stir and cook until the sugar melts and forms bubbles in the skillet. It should start to boil lightly.
The best way to succeed with candied nuts every time is to use a candy thermometer.
Sugar must reach 320°F (160°C) to melt and form a shiny caramel coating around nuts that brittle and harden later.
Now, stir in cashews and stir to coat with the mixture. Keep cooking on medium heat to avoid burning the nuts.
Cook for about 3 minutes until the liquid reduces, and the sugar coating gets around all the nuts. It should look shiny, dark in color, and still very liquid.
Pour the coated cashews in a single layer onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Candied nuts get all their texture after cooling down. Let them cool down for about one hour or until the nuts reach room temperature.
The caramel around the nuts firms up and gets stiff. If it’s humid where you live, the nuts might stay sticky.
These candied cashews store in an airtight container up to 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator or cold dark place.
You can also freeze candied nuts in zip-locked bags and thaw them at room temperature the day before.
They stay fresh in a jar at room temperature for up to 4 to 6 days. After that time, the nuts get rancid. That’s why it’s preferable to store them in the fridge.
These candied cashews are delicious holiday snacks to add to a charcuterie board or a small mixing bowl as a dessert with a cup of vegan hot chocolate.
You can also use these nuts in a trail mix along with pop corn and other raw nuts.
Play with flavors and add different dry spices to the recipe as an add-on to cinnamon or swap:
- Pumpkin Pie Spices
- Orange Zest
You can also swap vanilla extract for:
- Orange Extract
- Peppermint Extract
- Almond Extract
Below are some food allergy swaps for you to try:
- Sugar-Free – The best natural sugar-free sweetener to replace brown sugar in the same ratio is brown erythritol. However, erythritol melts faster than sugar, so watch the temperature carefully and use a thermometer to monitor the caramel.
- Nut-Free – You can also candy seeds. Most seeds are smaller than nuts, so you will have to add way more to the caramel, or you will get too much caramel around each nut resulting in seed clusters.
- Refined Sugar-Free – This recipe works with unrefined cane sugar or coconut sugar. The coating gets darker and less crunchy!
- Sodium-Free – You can skip the salt in the recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the answers to your most frequent questions about this recipe.
Can I Use Other Nuts ?
Yes, you can use the exact same recipe to make delicious candied pecans, walnuts, almonds or a combination of all.
Can I Use Maple Syrup?
You can make candied maple nuts, but the process takes way longer.
It takes 10 to 15 minutes for the maple syrup to reduce and thicken as sugar-based caramel.
Can I Use Sugar-Free Crystal Sweetener?
Yes, you can use natural sugar-free sweeteners like erythritol or allulose.
I don’t recommend xylitol. It stays soft and won’t harden around the nuts.
Why Are My Candied Nuts Sticky After Cooling Down?
Sticky candied nuts means you didn’t cook them long enough.
Therefore, the caramel couldn’t form properly. Sugar must reach 320°F (160°C) to create a shiny caramel coating on nuts. The best way to control that is to use a baking thermometer.
If you use sugar-free erythritol, the temperature will be 248°F (120°C).
More Vegan Snack Recipes
If you like these candied cashews, you’ll love these other quick vegan snacks.
Did you try these candied cashews? Share a comment or review below.
- Line a baking sheet with lightly oiled parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a non-stick skillet, add brown sugar, water, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract, and bring to medium-high heat.
- Stir and cook until the sugar melts, and the mixture gets bubbly.
- The best way to succeed with candied nuts every time is to use a candy thermometer. Sugar must reach 320°F (160°C) to melt and form a shiny caramel coating around nuts that brittle and harden later. Sugar-free erythritol will melt faster, around 248°F.
- Stir in the cashews and stir to coat. Keep cooking, reduce to medium heat to avoid burning the cashews, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and coats all nuts.
- Pour the nuts on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer and cool down at room temperature.
- Break into pieces to serve and store in glass mason jars in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.