These Southwestern Sweet and Spicy Glazed Pecans come together in less than 30 minutes. But beware: they are addictively delicious!
Many years ago, I won second prize in a brownie contest sponsored by our local newspaper in Raleigh. I was thrilled but never made that recipe again. From that day on, I always made the first-prize recipe. My son Nick would sometimes get frustrated and ask me to make my original recipe. I would always respond that I knew my recipe was good but this one was better. What does that have to do with these Southwestern Sweet and Spicy Glazed Pecans? Read on!
I got the idea for Southwestern Sweet and Spicy Glazed Pecans from a Rick Bayless recipe that I found online. If you're not familiar with Rick Bayless, he's a culinary guru when it comes to Mexican cuisine and has several award-winning restaurants in Chicago. I tried his Spicy Glazed Pecan recipe and while being delicious they weren't very attractive and burned easily toward the end of the cooking time. I was going for beautiful, shiny glazed pecans and that was not the result I got.
I went on to try several other popular online recipes for glazed pecans with similar results, fairly tasty but not very pretty with a rough, sugary coating. Then I remembered my own recipe for Maple Molasses Glazed Pecans (duh?), a super simple recipe that comes together in way less than 30 minutes and results in beautiful mahogany-hued pecans with a lovely shiny glaze.
Why reinvent the wheel?
I pulled out the Maple, Molasses Glazed Pecan recipe and ran with it in a Southwestern direction. Voila! As you can see the results are beautiful and SO easy! A win-win! I had a little flashback to that long ago brownie contest. Now, whenever I want to make glazed pecans, I will stick to a tried and true recipe!
How to make these Southwestern Sweet and Spicy Glazed Pecans
As mentioned above, these delectable pecans come together in less than 30 minutes. This is, in a nutshell (pun intended!), how it works:
- Combine all the ingredients in a medium-size bowl that can go into the microwave.
- Microwave on high power for one minute, then remove from the microwave and stir, stir stir, for another minute. Heating the mixture then carefully stirring is one of the magic tricks for this recipe. Each pecan gets thoroughly coated, down into all the cracks and crevices with the delicious sweet, spicy honey-maple syrup.
- All that's left is to bake the pecans and give them a couple of stirs to ensure that they bake evenly.
- Turn them out onto a clean piece of foil and try to control yourself until they cool a bit.
How spicy are these pecans?
Using a half teaspoon of ground chipotle gives these Southwestern Sweet and Spicy Pecans a pleasant, but fairly mild amount of heat. If you like things spicier, you can always add more, but I would start in small increments and taste them before baking. You can always add more heat at this point but you can't take it away.
How to use these sweet and spicy glazed pecans
- They make a wonderful snack, decently healthy and good protein.
- Give your oatmeal a little Southwestern pizzazz with a sprinkle of these pecans.
- Serve them on salads for a nice sweet and spicy crunch.
- Sprinkle them on yogurt.
- Serve them as a cocktail nibble.
- Serve them on a charcuterie board for a delicious sweet and spicy crunch.
- And when your guests rave about how delicious they are, have a little bag or box of them to take along when they leave!
Yes, they make a wonderful gift! That's why we created a pretty label to make your packages look festive and beautiful. To obtain the free printable labels, simply scroll to the bottom of this page and let us know in the comment section. We'll send you a PDF for the labels along with instructions on how to use them and links for the boxes and ribbon pictured.
Have I convinced you that you want these Southwestern Sweet and Spicy Glazed Pecans in your life? Make a batch and the first sweet, spicy, super crunchy bite will have you sold!
Café Tips for making these Southwestern Sweet and Spicy Glazed Pecans
- This recipe calls for chipotle chili powder (aka ground chipotle). Chipotle chili powder is a mildly spicy, slightly smoky chili powder made from chipotle peppers which are actually smoked jalapenos. It adds fabulous flavor to these Southwest Sweet and Spicy Glazed Pecans. I would recommend picking some up as it's a great chili powder to use in lots of recipes, but you could also use an equal amount of ancho chili powder or regular chili powder.
- When choosing pecans for this recipe, look for packages that have mostly intact half pecans. Sometimes, during shipping and stocking, pecans can get very broken up and, while they will still taste delicious, they won't be as pretty. I save the broken ones to sprinkle over salads, oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream, etc.
- That being said, if you'd like to make this recipe with chopped pecans, which is nice for salads, feel free!
- This recipe calls for a microwave-safe bowl. What does that mean? Microwave-safe simply means that the bowl won't get hot or melt in the microwave. Glass, most ceramic ware and heatproof glassware are safe in the microwave oven. The best type of bowl to use for these nuts is a 4 or 8 cup Pyrex measuring cup with a handle. The handle on these type of cups doesn't get hot.
- If you store these nuts in an airtight container or ziplock bag, they'll stay fresh for a week to 10 days.
- Be careful when stirring these nuts, the glaze gets very hot.
- Don't skip lining your pan with foil and greasing the foil. Otherwise, the nuts will stick and make a mess.
- Work quickly in the final step as you turn the glazed nuts out onto the foil. Try to separate them as much as possible and spread them to a single layer.
Thought for the day:
You are the Lord, you alone.
You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens,
with all their host, the earth and all that is on it,
the seas and all that is in them;
and you preserve all of them;
and the host of heaven worships you.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
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- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder sometimes simply called Chipotle
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups pecans
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a sheet pan with foil and spray the foil generously with nonstick cooking spray. (this will keep nuts from sticking to the pan). Layout a second piece of foil on a work surface and again spray with nonstick cooking spray. Rub each with a small piece of paper toweling to evenly coat with the oil.
Combine all ingredients except pecans in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Stir well. Add pecans, then place bowl in the microwave and cook on high power for 1 minute. This will thin out the maple/honey mixture to help coat the pecans better. Stir continuously for 1 minute (no cheating, you want the syrup mixture to get in every little nook and cranny of the pecans), until pecans are thoroughly coated.
Turn pecans out onto the prepared sheet pan, making sure to scrape out all of the maple syrup/honey mixture as well. Spread out pecans to a single layer on the pan. Place pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and, using a heat proof silicon spatula, bring all the pecans to the center of the pan. Then stir well and spread out to a single layer again. Do this again at the 15 minute mark.
Bake until deep golden brown, a total of 18-22 minutes. Watch them carefully towards the end as nuts can quickly burn.
Stir again after removing from oven then spread out to a single layer on the 2nd sheet of prepared foil. Work quickly with two forks to separate the pecans. Allow to cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container for storage.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn’t have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.