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Candied pecans are amazing and these no refined sugar Maple Bourbon Pecans are even better! Sweet maple syrup, smoky bourbon, rich cinnamon, and a little spicy heat makes these roasted pecans outrageously addictive! A delicious sweet-salty mix.
When I make candied bourbon pecans, the entire house smells like fall! Cinnamon, maple and buttery, bourbon glazed roasted pecans! I could have eaten the whole batch! They are delicious as toppings on ice cream, oatmeal, pancakes, salad, food gifts and more
With the Kentucky Derby coming up, I’ve joined other talented bloggers making bourbon inspired recipes! A bowl of bourbon pecans to nosh on while cheering on your favorite horse would be perfect!
I developed this recipe as part of a Kentucky Derby Party Bourbon inspired recipe collaboration! Check out ALL of the great recipes here!
Ingredients for Bourbon Pecans
- Raw Pecan Halves | the star of the recipe (psst, try other nuts too or mixed nuts!!)
- Real Maple syrup | I used bourbon barrel aged maple syrup, if you haven’t tried it, it is fabulous! Pure maple syrup is fine, but if you can find bourbon barrel aged, it’s so worth it. I purchase mine at a farmer’s market in Vail each year, but have also found seasonally at Trader Joe’s.
- Butter or Olive Oil | I used butter, because it’s only a tablespoon!
- Bourbon | Any bourbon of your choice, if you prefer not to use bourbon, may I suggest using a good vanilla extract or Bourbon Vanilla extract.
- Kosher Salt | adds salty balance to the sweet and enhances the flavors.
- Ground Cinnamon | Use a good quality cinnamon, this one is my favorite.
- Cayenne Pepper | Adjust your heat up or down depending on your taste!
What is Bourbon Maple Syrup
Barrel aged Bourbon maple syrup is simply maple syrup that has been aged a bit in barrels that formerly were used to age, well bourbon.
It is not an alcoholic syrup, but certainly takes on the flavors, taste and nuances of the bourbon that was aged in that barrel.
It’s amazing! Use it in drinks, a drizzle over glazed carrots or Brussels, in a brown butter glaze — the sky’s the limit!
Are Candied Pecans the Same as Praline Pecans?
Pralines originated in France, but the European version differs somewhat from the one in the United States.
The original French confection featured almonds instead of pecans. When French settlers moved to the southern U.S., they found few almonds but plenty of pecan trees.
They substituted pecans in their recipe while adding cream to thicken the mixture, resulting in a fudge-like candy. (Source)
What Are Praline Pecans?
While pecan pralines are more of a candy or confection, praline pecans give you all the deliciousness of pecan pralines, without the additional ingredients.
Typically praline pecans usually use brown sugar, which is why they are sometimes called sugar pecans.
These are slightly different because we don’t use refined sugar in this recipe, instead our sweetness comes from pure maple syrup.
How Do I make Spicy Candied Pecans?
This recipe uses an oven vs. stovetop, nothing wrong with stovetop glazed pecans, but I love the enhanced flavor you get from slow roasting these in the oven; leaving them shiny, crunchy, and perfectly glazed.
- Start by simply placing all ingredients (except pecans) in a medium to large bowl, whisk to mix.
- Add pecans and stir to coat the nuts evenly with the liquid and spice mixture.
- Pour onto parchment lined baking sheet and spread evenly in one layer, the maple bourbon slurry might puddle, but don’t worry.
- Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 10 minutes, then stirring every 5 minutes until the liquid is gone for a total of about 25 minutes.
WAYS TO USE BOURBON GLAZED PECANS
- Oats | Chopped or whole mixed into oatmeal, either hot or cold overnight oats or muesli!
- Add to a yogurt parfait the the best, best, best tasting yogurt ever!
- Make a speciality granola as food gifts!
- Chopped and sprinkled on top of pancakes or waffles.
- ICE CREAM| My personal favorite! Make everyday ice cream into an elegant dessert by pouring bourbon salted caramel sauce over vanilla ice cream, topping with chopped praline pecans. Swooning over here!
- Sprinkle on top of cakes, pies, muffins and more.
- Salads | Add to any salad and elevate the crunch and taste factor x 10! These would be my favorite salads to add to, Sweet Maple Apple and Harvest Apple Salad.
- Food Gifts | Make up a couple of batches and give as food gifts to friends, these pecans are perfect for snacking by the handful too! (See below for all sorts of great food gift ideas!)
How will you use these delicious roasted cinnamon pecans? Pop a comment below the recipe!
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Maple Bourbon Pecans
- 3 cups pecan halves, raw
- 1/4 cup Maple syrup, I used bourbon barrel aged maple syrup, Pure maple syrup is fine, but if you can find bourbon barrel aged, it’s so worth it.]
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted (may sub olive oil)
- 1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon Bourbon, any bourbon or use a good vanilla extract or Bourbon Vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper, Adjust your heat up or down depending on your taste!
- Preheat oven to 325°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Pour all ingredients (except pecans) in a medium to large bowl, whisk to mix.
- Pour in the pecans and stir to coat the nuts evenly.
- Evenly spread the wet pecans on a parchment lined baking sheet, in one layer. The maple bourbon slurry might puddle, but don’t worry it will bake into the pecans.
- Bake in preheated 325° oven 10 minutes, then stirring the pecans every 5 minutes until the liquid is gone, for a total of about 25 minutes. The pecans should be roasted and deeper brown, but not blackened. Be sure each time you stir to try and get the pecans back in a single layer, sometimes I give the pan a little shake.
- Remove from oven, stirring pecans one more time, trying to separate any large clumps. After a few minutes of cooling, separate any larger clumps to allow to dry completely.
- Store in sealed bag at room temperature or in sealed container.
- Delicious eaten by the handful, or on top of yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes and waffles, salads and much more. See post for all of the ways to use these delicious pecans.
✱ Kathleen’s Tips
The Fresh Cooky is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.
About Kathleen Pope
Recipe Innovator | Food Photographer | Food Writer
Hi, I’m Kathleen Pope. Here at The Fresh Cooky you will find easy, mostly from-scratch, trusted recipes for all occasions. From speedy dinners to tasty desserts, with easy step-by-step instructions. I am here to help teach you how to make mouthwatering recipes without spending hours in the kitchen. Read more about Kathleen here.