Naughty and Nice Spiced Nuts

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This recipe has become a Christmas tradition at our house during the holiday season. We think they may become a tradition in your home, too!

There is just something festive about these nuts. They really are the perfect snack for grazing during the holiday season. A little sweet right at first, followed by a touch of heat right at the end. They can be made days in advance and they make wonderful gifts, too! Happy Holidays!

A close-up view of a person holding a metal scooper filled with spiced nuts over a Christmas tin filled with more of the nuts.

How To Make Naughty and Nice Spiced Nuts

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The Ingredients You Will Need

There are just a handful of ingredients for these nuts. Go with good-quality nuts, since they are the star of the snack! Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand.

Egg whites – Whisk vigorously until frothy.
Water – Tap water is just fine.
Nuts – We use a variety including whole almonds, pecan halves, dry roasted peanuts, and dry roasted cashews. If you get them salted, be sure to read the NOTES.
Sugar – Granulated.
Spices – Cayenne, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice (found in the spice section of most well-stocked supermarkets: See NOTES), and salt. If using salted nuts, don’t add to the sugar mixture.

EXPERT TIP: Use a whisk to whisk the egg whites until they are very frothy and nearly double in volume. This takes a little elbow grease, but don’t worry, it only takes about 1 minute. Fold in the nuts into the frothy whites.

A person pouring a variety of nuts from one large glass bowl into another large glass bowl with foamy egg whites in it.

Tips for Making Perfect Spiced Nuts

Use a Combination of Nuts – Use a variety of nuts such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, and cashews to create a diverse and flavorful mix. See NOTES about salt.

Coat the Nuts Evenly – Ensure the nuts are evenly coated with the sugar and spice mixture to achieve a balanced flavor profile.

Allow the Nuts to Cool Completely – Let the spiced nuts cool completely after baking to allow the sugar and spices to set and develop a satisfying crunch.

EXPERT TIP: Add the sugar to the nuts gradually. Add a portion of the mixture and then use a large wooden spoon to stir the nuts until coated and repeat this process until all the spiced sugar has been added and coated the nuts.

A person pouring a spiced sugar mixture from one large glass bowl into another glass bowl filled with assorted nuts that have been coated in frothy egg whites.

How To Serve and How To Store

These are perfect for placing in holiday-themed tins and have around the house for family and guests to nibble on.

Simply line your tin with wax paper, or parchment paper, and then fill with the nuts. You can also serve these in bowls around the house, as well.

The nuts will keep for several weeks and don’t need to be refrigerated. Keep in an airtight container when not out for folks to enjoy. They make excellent holiday gifts, too.

An assortment of nuts that have been coated in egg whites and spiced sugar being dumped from a glass bowl onto a large baking sheet.

Other Holiday Recipes to Try

We love the holiday season so much and here are some our most favorite recipes from our favorite time of the year:

Holiday Chocolate Toffee
Baked Brie with Praline Sauce
Christmas Crostini
Best-Ever Charcuterie Board
Bacon Parmesan Gougères
Maple Pepper Bacon
Sausage, White Bean, and Spinach Dip
Classic Warm Clam Dip
Easy Homemade Hummus
Classic Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

These are all absolutely wonderful, especially during the holiday season. But, in the meantime, aren’t these nuts calling your name?

An overhead view of a large baking rack filled with spiced nuts that have a wooden spatula inserted in the middle of them all.

There’s nothing like the holidays, and it’s always great to have all kinds of funs snacks and treats to nibble on while the kids and adults alike wait for Santa Clause to make a visit to your home!

These nuts are mostly nice and not very naughty. However, if you want very little heat at all, then reduce the cayenne to just 1 teaspoon.

Nothing spells the holidays better than a handful of spiced nuts. You can also reheat them in the oven and serve them warm. Warm or room temperature, you and your family will love them!

An overhead view of spiced nuts that are in a large tin that is lined with brown paper and a scooper next to it filled with more of the spiced nuts.

Ready to make the best snack this side of the North Pole? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

Naughty and Nice Spiced Nuts on a wood cutting board next to a tin with nuts

Naughty and Nice Spiced Nuts

These Naughty and Nice Spiced Nuts are simply amazing. Sweet at first, followed by a little naughty sting. So good!! You'll love 'em. And so easy to make!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Kris Longwell
Cuisine: Appetizer
Keyword: Holiday snacks recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 286kcal


  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp water
  • 4 cups nuts salted and roasted, a mix, about 1½ lbs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice


  • Pre-heat oven to 250°F.
  • Whisk together the egg whites and water in a large bowl until frothy.
  • Stir in the nuts.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
  • Add the sugar mixture to the nuts and mix, coating well.
  • Spread nuts in a lightly buttered (Pam works well) large baking pan.
  • Bake in the middle of the oven until dry, about 1 hour. Stir about halfway through.
  • Cool and break into bite-sized chunks.
  • NOTE: These can be made up to 5 days before serving.


Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 15mg | Potassium: 304mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 191IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This post was originally published in December 2014, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in December 2023!


  • 5 stars
    These are SO good! To be honest, I balked a bit at using an entire tablespoon of cayenne but I trust your recipes to be outstanding and therefore followed this one precisely. These are just as you describe – a lovely, crispy, candied nut flavor followed by a finish of wonderful spicy heat! I’m definitely adding this recipe to my holiday must-haves.

    • Hi Theresa!! Yay!!! We are so so happy you made the spiced nuts and loved them! That heat kinda creeps in…but in such a good way! Thank you so much for sharing and for the wonderful review! Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones!!! xoxo Kris & Wesley

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