Spiced Nuts (AKA Cocktail Nuts) Are The Easiest Holiday Appetizer!
The inspiration for making spiced nuts are the countless NYC bars that my husband and I have frequented where candied or cocktail nuts are placed in heaping mounds in front of us. Before we even realize what we’re doing, we’ve demolished the bowl and asked for a refill. Both on our drinks and the snack!
Here’s why we love them so much:
- Spicy and sweet! Cayenne pepper and high quality maple syrup give the nuts that epic combination of spicy with just the right amount of sweetness.
- Crunch! Toasty and warm, these spiced nuts have the most satisfying crunch.
- Perfect alongside drinks! We love to serve these over the holidays or at the start of a cocktail hour because they are quick to prep, easy to make in large batches, and also perfect alongside any and all drinks! Cocktails, wine, beer, they all benefit from a big bowl of spiced nuts!
- Can be made ahead! Easy to prep a double batch before an event, then have ready to go when guests walk through the door.
Mix and match the nuts and herbs based on what’s available, but we promise these sweet, salty, spicy cocktail nuts are sure to become a holiday party staple!
Ingredients For Spiced Nuts
- Pecans, walnuts, almonds, and cashews
- Wet ingredients to bind it all: olive oil and maple syrup
- Fresh herbs: rosemary and thyme
- Spices: cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and Kosher salt
Obviously the mix of nuts are the star of the show! The pecans and walnuts are our favorite in terms of texture, which is why we recommend using more of them, but of course mix-and-match the ratios of nuts to your specific tastes, as well as using what you’ve got on hand!
You’ll also need a rimmed baking sheet and parchment paper.
How To Make Spiced Nuts
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, then spread on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 300F for 25-30 minutes, or until nuts have turned a golden brown and smell nutty.
Let cool slightly, then serve immediately or store in an airtight container.
Note: any nuts that are NOT on parchment will likely burn. Be careful and make sure they’re all on the parchment!
Can I Substitute Other Nuts?
Totally! After testing these a few times, I found that my personal preference was to go heavy on the pecans and walnuts. I prefer their texture compared to the cashews and almonds. But my thinking was that not everyone at a party likes the same nuts, so it’s good to mix things up a bit.
Also, it’s appealing to see a variety and mix of nuts in the bowl. We totally eat with our eyes first!
Will Brown Sugar Work In Place Of Maple Syrup?
Yes! Feel free to substitute maple syrup for brown sugar, just beware that the brown sugar won’t melt or dissolve, and will add another crunchy layer on top of the nuts. I prefer the smooth, sticky maple syrup which ends up coating the nuts. The result is almost caramel-like. Either works, though!
How Long Will Spiced Nuts Last?
In an airtight container, these will stay crispy for up to a week. They won’t ‘go bad’ after that time, they just won’t taste as fresh. Don’t forget: oil spoils! Even plain, unroasted nuts lose their flavor and texture if not eaten quickly.
What Do You Serve With Spiced Nuts?
But seriously, these make for the best drinking snack. They’re salty and sweet and spicy. You can’t help but demolish handful after handful of these while sipping on a cold drink, whether that’s a cocktail, beer, or wine. All delicious with spiced nuts!
Feel free to mix up the ratio and quantity of your favorite nuts, but don’t skimp on the cayenne. You need the heat to counter the sweetness from the maple syrup (or brown sugar)! Trust me when I say these disappear lightning fast. Grab them while you can!
If you make these Spiced Nuts, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below! Totally think they’re going to become your holiday party go-to snack!!
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For more party snacks, check out the following:
- Blistered shishito peppers
- Israeli cheese bourekas
- Cherry tomato confit with garlic and shallots
- Baked brie phyllo cups
- Roasted grape crostini with whipped ricotta
Spiced Nuts Recipe
- 1 cup pecans
- 1 cup walnuts
- ½ cup cashews
- ½ cup almonds
- ¼ cup maple syrup or light brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp chopped rosemary
- 1 Tbsp chopped thyme or sage
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp kosher salt divided
- Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for ½ tsp kosher salt (reserve). Toss to combine, then place on baking sheet.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with remaining ½ tsp kosher salt. Let cool (they’ll crisp up during this time), then serve immediately or store in an airtight container.