These Sweet and Spicy Nuts are the perfect party nuts! Slightly addictive and the best hostess gift! Make them all holiday long as a last minute holiday gift and you'll be loved by all!
Coated with a delicious blend of spices, these mixed nuts are a hit every holiday season! My family and neighbors are excited when it's time to make a batch of these. The secret to the spices staying on the nuts is using an egg white coating. These Christmas nuts go perfectly with cocktails or just like my kids like it, just for nibbling on. They are the perfect food gift idea for your special friends and neighbors!
This week I thought it would be fun to make a Sweet and Spicy Nut recipe. It’s holiday time. I was dreaming of having a wonderful cocktail and a bowl of these nuts. I had a feeling these nuts would be delicious. Yes, I was right!
Sweet and Spicy Nuts
Originally published December 31, 2019, updated on December 29, 2020.
I had posted this recipe back in December of 2010! I make them every year. These are not your average party nuts! I guarantee if you place a dish of these out they will disappear in minutes! I have to make jars of them as gifts and to keep around for our guilty pleasure. I have only posted one other nut recipe before...this Easy Spicy Peanut Brittle (makes a great holiday gift!!).
These are nuts that I made years ago for a Dorie Greenspan cookbook club that I was in. I had stopped making them for a while and I’m not even sure why? We have been spending the last few Christmases in Ohio and my cousin Susan makes them as gifts.
When you walk down into the basement there are trays of them cooling on restaurant catering racks. It’s impossible to not take a handful each time you go down to do your laundry. I’m pretty sure she does a riff on Smitten Kitchen’s recipe. I’ve made the Smitten recipe before, but found it too sweet. I keep coming back to this Dorie recipe.
Everyone I made this for this year asked me how do you make them so crunchy and can I have the recipe?
How do you make crunchy cocktail nuts?
The secret is in the egg white coating! Simply whisk up the egg white in a bowl with a fork. I add a few drops of water to the egg white. You don't need to strain the mixture from the nuts before you bake it up.
How do you make vegan sweet and spicy nuts?
If you are trying to make these vegan, coat them in aquafaba from chickpeas. Just whisk it up with a hand whisk (they don't have to be foamy). The next time I make these I will be making with the aquafaba whisked up. I have vegan friends and they will love this gift!
Today my mom came by. She was going to stay with my kids as I had a dinner to go to tonight for my daughter’s school. When my mom saw that I was making aperitivo style nuts, we both agreed that a good cocktail was in order. I like cooking with my mom. She has some good ideas.
Vintage Savoring Recipes-These Sweet and Spicy Nuts are from the SI archives, first published in 2010. All part of a series called Vintage Savoring Recipes. I will be showing some TLC to some amazing recipes you may have missed on the blog. Most of these recipes will have fresh photos and fresher notes.
It’s such a joy for me to revisit a beloved recipe like these nuts that we can't get enough of! Hope you enjoy some delicious blasts from the past!
I was planning to bring these gorgeous nuts to my sister-in-laws house tomorrow night for their Hanukkah celebration. She knows I will bring a cake. But nuts? I wanted to surprise her.
How do you make party nuts?
The first thing to do is gather up your nuts. I used this time pecans and almonds. You can also use cashews (so good!!). I use a combo of cinnamon, cayenne and a dash of nutmeg. You can make these your own by making more spicy or less spicy. You could even leave out the spice completely.
Coat it in the egg whites (or aquafaba if making them vegan). Then toss them in the sugar and spice mixture. When they are baking, stir them every 10 minutes.
Which Nuts To Use For Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts
You could use whichever combination that you like! The spice blend will go great with any tree nut you decide to use. Some that I enjoy the most are:
- Brazil Nuts
While I was at dinner tonight, the manager of the restaurant called me to come over to the phone as my daughter was on the other line. Of course, I got that sick feeling. The one time I don’t have my phone on the table “just in case”. What could it be? As I was walking, I shrugged it off hoping that she was just arguing with my mom over using the computer. My daughter was hysterically crying and let me know Grauntie Sheryl just died. Sheryl was my sister-in-law’s aunt. She lived in NY. She was a lovely and very kind lady. She wasn't our aunt, but she became our aunt. She was a part of our family. My heart broke hearing my daughter’s tears.
I returned home and was quickly enveloped in their tears. My mom’s and my daughter’s. My little guy not really understanding what happened. We all got in the car and rode over to my brother’s house. I felt guilty. Guilty that I haven’t seen my family in days. Sick thinking how quickly life can change and what am I always rushing off to do? Is it really always so important? Why didn’t I take a moment to call Sheryl today and wish her a Happy Hanukkah?
Hanukkah is their special holiday. A holiday I learned all about through their celebrations these last 11 years. Instead of lighting candles with them tomorrow, they will be arriving in NY to say good-bye to sweet Sheryl. I wish I could too.
These are the original nuts I made back in 2010! I just used cashews and they also disappeared in minutes!
Enjoy every moment. I’m not going to preach. Just a little bit of preaching: really, pause and be thankful for all you have. Call your mom and tell her you love her. Don’t text when someone is telling you a story. Take deep breaths and enjoy each instant.
I don’t understand how a life ends suddenly and unexpectedly. How do I explain it to my child so full of deep questions?
Right before we left my brother’s house tonight, my adorable little niece said they saw a really bright star shining in the sky. She thought maybe that was Grauntie Sheryl watching over them. I told her I am certain it was her.
How to make non-sticky Christmas nuts:
- Whisk the egg whites very well with a small amount of water. It has to be very bubbly and frothy. Don''t stop whisking until you see it very frothy!
- Next step is to add the nuts into the frothy egg whites and mix them very well by tossing together with a large spatula. Just keep tossing until they are all thoroughly coated. The goal is to have the nuts be tacky from the egg white coating. If it seems wet, keep on tossing until it is that sticky/tacky feel. If it's wet and you bake them like that, it will be a gloppy mess (and that's not how you want it to bake up).
- If you have leftover egg white in the bowl, you could add more nuts (do a half a cup at a time)and keep on tossing. Make sure no more egg whites is leftover in the bowl.
This is how the nuts looked before I baked them. The sweet smell of cinnamon was making me anxious to open the oven door and grab a few!
Pin it to your PARTY FOOD, HOLIDAY FOOD, or SNACKS to SAVE for later!
Find me on Pinterest for more great recipes! I am always pinning :)!
Happy New Year to all my friends and readers! I'll be back soon with something a little healthier. You all mean the world to me. I appreciate your support! XX
Slightly updated from Dec 2010
Sweet and Spicy Nuts
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch cayenne or to taste
- 1 large egg white
- 2 cups nuts such as almonds cashews or pecans, whole or halves
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Mix sugar and spices together in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl, beat egg white lightly with a fork.
- Toss nuts into egg white, stirring to coat. Then add sugar-and-spice mixture and continue to stir, evenly covering nuts.
- Transfer nuts to baking sheet, letting excess liquid drip off first.
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until nuts are browned and coating is dry. Cool 5 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board, break nuts apart, and let them cool completely. The nuts crisp as they cool.
Store in a airtight container and label. Serve with cocktails.
To gift the nuts, fill festive cellophane bags or decorative jars or tins with the nuts. Seal very well to ensure freshness.
- To make a very large batch of the nuts, make each batch of nuts individually. Do not mix a large batch of sugar spice mixture or egg white water mixture...the best way is to make it small portion at a time (it is not easy to mix very large batch of the nuts, will be a gloppy mess instead of nice and crunchy when it bakes up.
Nuts will keep at room temperature for about five days.
Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels says
Lora I'm so sorry, my heart just breaks for you and your family. You're in my thoughts and prayers. I wish I could give you a big hug right now. 🙂
The nuts look soooo delicious. I wanted to open up the oven too while they were baking. The smell was amazing! Your photos are so gorgeous!
Kris' Kitchen says
So sorry to hear about your loss. Your nuts look beautiful. I plan to make this recipe next...looks like many did this week, so I'm getting lots of great tips.
Wow what a great shot of these making me drool for some delish! nice job!
Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite says
I am so sorry for your loss xoxo
(your nuts look beautiful - you obviously did a better job of removing the excess egg white than some people... err.. me!)
Anna Johnston says
The nuts look great, bet they tasted a treat too.
So sorry for your family's loss & your so right. Enjoy every moment coz you never know when it'll change that's true.
Gorgeous photo above, Lora!!! Once again 🙂
I'm so sorry to hear about the death in your family...she must have been a special woman...
Liana @ femme fraiche says
I'm so sorry for your loss. And it is so important to realize just how special every day is...all the best to you and your family
I'm so sorry for your loss, and thinking of you and your family.
I do love nuts as appetizers and these look delicious.
Chef Dennis says
what a sad day for your family, there are no words to lift the pain from your heart, only time. Seeing your family suffer only makes it worse. You are absolutely right about how important each day is, we sometimes take for granted that our loved ones will always be around or at least until we get to them.
Thanks for sharing the lovely nut recipe with, Dorie does know best!
Gorgeous pics above and a touching post. I am ao sorry for your family's loss!! I am always here if you need to talk!! Love, Shulie
I am so sorry for the pain you and your family are feeling. It is especially hard at the holidays. I hope as you work through this with your children and extended family that you are able to find joy in a life well spent, in the love you shared and in the memories that will live on.
PS, the nuts look wonderful.
SMITH BITES says
I'm so sorry Lora ~ I saw the tweet last night and just felt sick for you; sure wish we lived closer so that I could give you a hug, but know that you not only have your birth family for support, but you also have a HUGE cyber family who loves you and is praying for you. (((hugs))) xo
So nutty ! 😀 Not to mention great lookig to
I'm very sorry for your loss...such a sad time. Hug your kids and know that things do get easier with time. On a happier note, your nuts look terrific!
Frolicking Night Owl says
Very sorry for your loss. Your nuts look fab!
Lora, I'm new to your blog, but just wanted to say how sorry I am for your family's loss. My family lost my husband's aunt this very day one year ago, so we understand. Prayers for peace, and may your tears turn into warm smiles as you go forward with your loving memories held close in each of your hearts.
Through all this sadness...you managed to pass along a very special and important message. Hopefully, the strength in that message will get your family and others that can relate through the holidays.
It does feel strange to make comments on food at this point...however, since sweet and salty nuts are my very favourite...how could I pass up to tell you how beautiful that introductary photo is.
Lora...it's lovely how tight your family is and that is ultimately what counts.
Ciao for now,
Aw, I am so sorry about your losing a treasured part of the family. Never an easy thing and my heart goes out to you all.
Your nut recipe looks incredible.
I am very sorry to hear of your family's loss - it is difficult to lose someone, but how to explain to young children? I'm not really sure....I cannot imagine that it is very easy. I wish you the very best in the coming weeks. Also, your nuts look absolutely delectable.
The Mom Chef says
I am so, so sorry for your loss and the sadness your family has to go through during this season. Thank you for the reminder to cherish those we have while they're here and not take any moments we spend with them for granted.
Thank you too for those amazing nuts. They look delicious.
Lora-Your spicy nuts turned out beautiful-you also didn't notice I added more cayenne when you left the kitchen, tha'ts why it was more spicy. The photos turned out beautiful, as well.
I have an award for you to pick up at my blog. Just copy and paste the award and the rules, and pass it on to other bloggers...now, I changed the rules a little, and extended the list.
Congratulations, well deserved!
So sorry for your loss. I wish we could remember what is important every day, not only when our world is shaken.
I will have to buy this book eventually instead of drooling over your pictures every week:)
Be Blessed and cherish the memories.
So sorry for your loss. Life is indeed so precious. Thank you for the reminder to appreciate our precious moments here. The nuts look tasty.
So sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the importance of being present with your loved ones.
the domestic mama says
Aw, I am so sorry, my prayers with you and your family.
I'm so sorry to hear about your family's loss. Really makes you sit up and take note about what truly matters.
Headed over here because my brisket is already in the oven slowly cooking for tonight's Chanukah dinner, house smells delicious, and I think, "hmmm, I bet CakeDuchess will have something tempting for dessert on her blog." Your FFwD nuts look quite festive. I think I'll have to check that out for our Christmas Eve gathering. And now, I must peruse for tonight's dessert.
Pacheco Patty says
Touching post, my heart goes out to you and your family. I hope you enjoy the holidays and the rest of your family is together. Thanks for sharing something personal and important to you and really to all of us:)
My last comment didn't post...but please know that my heart goes out to you and your family. These times of loss can be so hard, and I know that you are all experiencing a deep pain. Thank you for the reminder to appreciate those that we love. This is such an important habit! My heart and prayers are with you and your sweet family.
I am sorry about Grauntie Sheryl. Holidays are especially hard when people we love pass away. And don't let me start on the topic of explaining it to kids.
My daughter's friend came over yesterday to spend the night, and her Mom just broke down, telling me how her 10-year old nephew just died of cancer. We spent 10 minutes sobbing and hugging, unable to utter a word. How do you comfort somebody who lost a child in the family?
As you say, we need to be mindful of the frailty of life. And so very grateful for every day we experience...
Hard to comment on the nuts - seems a bit too trivial, but they look great. I cannot wait to try them. Happy Chanukah to you and your family!
I'm so sorry about this terrible loss that you are going thru..What you say is important..We have to be aware that life is a fleeting thing and therefore, we have to cherish every moment...Lately, maybe because I'm growing old, I've stopped feeling embarrassed of saying "I love you" to people, and I say it every time I feel it !!! and I feel much better..
Hey, the nuts are great!!
So sorry for your loss. It's always hard.
These sweet and salty treats look divine. Cashews are one of my favorite foods...I think I eat a few every day!
Your story breaks my heart. I hate that sinking feeling you get when you know something is wrong more than anything. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I do love your advice, and these nuts 🙂
Aw sweetheart what a wonderful post. I am so sorry about your Great-Aunt but she'd be proud of your spirit and feelings. I lost my brother just over a year ago and think of him every single day but it changed how we approach every precious day and each other. I appreciate what I have and who I share it with. I'm glad to have you for a friend. It's funny how life works, isn't it? Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays.
I'm so sorry for your loss. My condolences to your family.
These nuts are lovely- just in time for holiday entertaining. 🙂
So sorry about your Grauntie, 🙁 Life is so very short, it's such a blessing to have each day with our loved ones.
These nuts are something I would love to bring to a get together. They are perfect party food, yum!
Magic of Spice says
Lora, I am so sorry for you and your families loss. I can see from how well she was loved that she was a wonderful woman and therefore has a lasting and beautiful spirit.
The nut recipe is lovely and will share with my son, he makes something similar every year.
Den M. says
Do you use/recommend 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher or table salt? Thank you.
I typically use sea salt. Kosher salt is also great!
Great recipe we couldn’t stop snacking on them. I did however half the quantity of chilli
Hi Kerry, Thank you for taking the time to let us know you enjoyed the sweet and spicy nuts! I also have to make them less spicy for my kids. Spicy, or not, they're so good! 🙂