This recipe will help you make perfect buttery toasted pecans, or any other type of nuts, to use in a variety of recipes and dishes. Think of all the great pies!
There are all kinds of nuts in South Georgia, myself included, but in Waycross, pecans are king! I know that peanuts are a cash crop but I get sick and tired of peanuts. They should all be ground up and sent to Reese’s for their cups. Give me a handful of perfectly toasted pecans and I am good to go!
If you want to get technical, peanuts are really a bean/legume so we will stick with my initial statement that toasted pecans rule!
I love to snack on nuts, especially buttery, salty nuts, so much that I can eat my weight in them, but finding the right bag/can of toasted salted nuts is a challenge. Most of the ones on the market are so over salted they make me shrivel up like a slug, not that I ever did that as a kid. Or they are so over-roasted that they taste burnt. If I wanted burnt nuts I can do that at home. How about when you are looking for toasted or roasted nuts without salt but can only find salted ones that are not roasted. How frustrating. The only way to get the perfect nut is to toast and salt it yourself, in the privacy of your own home, where only you can see how many of them you eat in one sitting!
Before we get to the butter and salting portion, let’s talk about the heat.
How do I get the toasting right? I’m going to tell you that I am a high heat junkie. I thought the only way to cook something was to turn the heat on high and cook it. With this method, I have burned quite a few pounds of nuts and quite a few other meals. Before I learned the right way, you would find me throwing my nuts on a baking sheet and shoving them in the oven at 450F because I am impatient and lazy. When I want nuts I want them now, not five days from now. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and burn everything on the first go. Not only does this burn the nuts too quickly but even taking out the nuts sooner leaves the insides of the nuts still raw.
Lowering the temperature allows the nuts to toast evenly and all the way through. The only trade off is more time. But you get something in return for your patience, more flavor. Letting the nuts toast slowly allows more time for the natural oils from the nuts to come out. More oil, more flavor, and something for the salt to stick to! So how do I toast the nuts to get it right? Are you screaming “HELP ME I NEED SOME DIRECTION?” This tutorial came about after all those burnt nuts I had to toss out and not wanting to waste any more money. I am all for not wasting money because that means I can buy more wine:)
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Here are the tips and tricks to get you perfect, buttery, salted, toasted pecans every time you make them!
- Start low! Keep the oven temperature below 300F so you don’t cook the nuts too fast. I prefer 250F or 275F but you might want to go even lower if the nut is smaller like a sunflower seed but I don’t recommend going below 200F as you will be there all day waiting for those nuts to toast.
- Go slow! Proper toasting takes time. Start with 10-minute increments and see how they do. Small seeds take only a few minutes but larger nuts take time. For a sunflower seed, I might go for 20 minutes stirring at 5-minute increments. For large walnuts, I expect an up to an hour with 15-minute stirring increments. While you are toasting, read a book, organize a kitchen drawer, or clear some space on your DVR. Just don’t stray too far because you need to stir and flip during the toasting process.
- Get some help from butter! Adding some butter to the nuts adds another barrier between the heat and the surface of the nut. With the help of the butter blanket, your nuts will get a flavor boost and it helps the nut toast evenly. Let’s not forget that it helps the salt stick to the nuts better.
- Get Salty! When your nuts are done toasting, salt them while they are hot! We want the salt to stick to the nuts, not fall off when you store them. If you are skeptical about salting your nuts use it sparingly. Salt brings out the flavors of the food it is added to even if you are using it for sweet treats so I add it to all of my nuts. If you are on a salt-restricted diet or just don’t like more salt then leave it off the whole batch and add right before you add the nuts to your recipe.
If you look in my freezer you will see my ziptop bags full of toasted, buttered, and salted nuts. When I am planning on toasting a batch I try to toast a few types, or even a few batches of them to save time.
When I make my Paleo Snack Bars I make small foil baking trays so I can remove the smaller nuts and leave the larger ones in longer without having to remove the whole tray.
With these tips, you will have perfectly toasted pecans or other nuts that will liven up a school lunchbox, add crunch to your cheese board, add texture to your baked goods, and add some healthy fats to your trail mix and snack bags!
Some of my favorite tools to make these Toasted Pecans are these:
Once I bought restaurant-grade aluminum baking pans I never looked back. The “fancy” ones in the stores never work right. This one I recommend: Baking Sheet, I typically make bacon in my oven and want to have it above the pan and not floating in grease. I use this Baking Rack to get that done. It fits down inside the half sheet pan perfectly. For making candy or other bread I use a Silicone Baking Sheet and I love that it is dishwasher safe. If I don’t want to use my silicone one I use these Silicone Parchment Sheets. I love that they are not on a roll so they lie flat right from the get-go and they are already perfectly sized for my pan. No cutting!
Want perfectly toasted pecans or any other nut for that matter? This quick tutorial will show you how!
- 4 cups raw pecans (or other nuts) about 1 pound
- 1/2 cup butter I use sweet cream Kerrygold, unsalted, organic
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
Toss pecans with the butter until evenly coated.
Place in an oven preheated to 275F.
Toast for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to ensure even cooking.
When done, place nuts on a cooling rack covered with paper towels.
Salt the toasted pecans to your liking.
Store in an airtight container when cool.
You can even freeze these for later use!
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