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Trouble shooting spiced nuts

I've followed various recipes in the past and always manage to have spiced nuts that are delicious yet sticky or leave a greasy slick on your fingers....!
I want to make a housewarming gift for my low carb friends and don't want to ruin the $30 of raw nuts I bought.
I would like to use coconut oil, minimal sugar, (do i need it?) and a combination of smoked paprika, cinnamon, black pepper, and sea salt.

So many recipes have different techniques!
I would appreciate feedback on the best way to make some yummy nuts that will keep at room temperature yet not be sticky or greasy! Do I need to use an egg white? Or bake at a long low temperature? Cook stovetop and then bake?

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  1. I don't know if this will work, but I have made candied nuts for my diabetic family in the past. To get the spices and sugar to adhere, I used egg white. Mixed the nuts in egg white then seasoned them. After a bake in the oven, there was no grease or stickiness. Hope that helps!


    1. There's an older thread that may help; the link I'm posting is to one particular post that may address your issue. In any case, lots of info on spiced nuts issues here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6967...

      Good luck!

      1. I've had luck using whipped eggs white (soft peaks) as a glue for the seasoning (usually sugar and cinnamon).

        1) Whip the eggs
        2) mix in the nuts
        3) pour in the dry ingredients a little at a time while mixing the nuts.
        4) bake until dry (temperature, I don't remember right now).

        No sticky or greasy coating. The key is to dry in the oven.

        1. I've made this recipe, and don't recall it being too greasy. I mean, they are nuts, with some oil added, so there has to be some of that, I guess. I can say that my health-conscious niece asked for the recipe, and she made them and loved them.


          1. Use the process recommended by the Nov-Dec 1999 Cooks Illustrated master recipe for spiced nuts. Heat 2 cups of nuts on a parchment-lined sheet for 5-8 min at 350, rotating once. Pull as soon as they begin to deepen in color. Meanwhile, in a deep pot on medium-high heat, stir 2T water, 1t light or dark brown sugar, and 1T unsalted butter. Dump in the nuts, stir until all are shiny and coated and the liquid is almost all gone. Dump into a large bowl containing your choice of seasoning mixture and toss to coat. Return to parchment to cool. You can sub your booze of choice for the water. I have made a double batch in the same size pan and pot without a problem. These don't stick together and have no shiny shell. They have a slightly crunchy coating, depending on what herbs/spices, and salt you use. If you are worried about seasoning, just use a seasoned salt mix, or pumpkin pie spice blend.

            These nuts do not clump. They are neither sticky nor greasy, and don't have a lot of sugar. I think you could omit it but would not suggest that unless you use some other natural or artificial sweetener, since it balances the salt and other seasonings.

            4 Replies
            1. re: greygarious

              Boozy nuts? What an interesting idea.

              1. re: greygarious

                Thank you! For some reason i didn't think to search CI.
                Do you think i can use coconut oil in place of butter? I actually never use butter but i'll pick some up if that's the key to this working.

                1. re: Ttrockwood

                  Absolutely fine to use coconut oil. You taste the rum in the nuts, but the alcohol is cooked off. I think they are the perfect combination for almonds or macadamias. I'd include onion powder, allspice, pepper, and salt. Maybe coconut sugar. While you could use Splenda, the salt and sugar create the slight crunch in the coating.

                  If you need specific spice measurements I can dig out the issue of CI but this is a forgiving recipe with which I play fast and loose.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    Thanks so much- i made some awesome not at all sticky nuts today for the first time!!
                    One batch had smoked paprika, cinnamon, black pepper and salt; the other batch had a touch of sugar, toasted sesame seeds, chia seeds, black pepper and salt. I can see this becoming a frequent habit!

              2. If you are making a gift for low-carbers, don't use sugar. If you want them to be sweet, a small amount of powdered Splenda is a better choice, but honestly I think your spice blend will be good without sugar. I make spiced nuts frequently, and I find that the spices stick just fine without any egg white or anything else, but some nuts work better than others. Pecans are my favorites - they seem to grab spices really well. Anyway, I just toss them with a small of oil, my spices and plenty of extra-fine salt. Roast at a lowish temp (300) until golden.

                2 Replies
                1. re: biondanonima

                  Thanks! They are low carb "ish", not medically necessary and often making exceptions for wine and desserts.... ;) I came across so many recipes that used 1/2cup or more sugar and wanted to avoid that much.
                  Glad I don't need the egg white! This sounds like a great easy method

                  1. re: Ttrockwood

                    I would leave the sugar out before assuming someone is OK with artificial sweeteners. I made spiced nuts recently and didn't use sugar and they were still awesome.