Roasted pecans, often called the “little black dress of appetizers,” are one of the easiest, healthiest, and quickest snacks or appetizers to prepare. Toasting pecans in the oven brings out their natural oils and intensifies their rich, irresistible, nutty flavor.
Buttered, salted, roasted pecans are ridiculously addictive and make a terrific homemade gift for the foodies in your life.
In the South, where they are grown, roasted and salted nuts are likely to be present at baby and wedding showers, cocktail parties, tailgating, or anywhere folks gather and munchies are served. This is especially true around the holidays. I always have some in my freezer for a quick and easy appetizer and recipes that call for roasted or toasted nuts, salad toppings, or plain snacking.
Roasted pecans can also be substituted for other nuts in most recipes. For example, I make Easy Homemade Southern Basil Pesto using roasted pecans instead of pine nuts. I always substitute toasted pecans for sunflower seeds in Broccoli Salad, and when used instead of peanuts, they make an incredible Homemade Pecan Butter.
Here’s what you will need for this recipe:
This recipe is one of the easiest on my blog and only requires three ingredients:
- Pecan halves: have a sweet, mildly nutty, and buttery flavor. Always try to purchase the freshest pecans you can find. If you use them as an ingredient in baking, you can get away with less expensive pieces, but if you are serving them as an appetizer or snack, try to find nice pecan halves.
- Unsalted butter: you can substitute salted butter here, but you will need to reduce the amount of salt you add.
- Kosher salt: in the event you use regular table salt, only use half as much as kosher salt.
You will also need a rimmed baking pan and parchment paper or aluminum foil to line the pan.
Here’s how to roast them:
- First, preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. The low temperature is essential to maximize the flavor of the nuts.
- Spread out the halves in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with either aluminum foil or parchment paper, and top with chunks of butter.
- Place the nuts in the oven and bake for approximately 10 minutes.
- Remove the nuts from the oven and toss to coat with the melted butter, which helps the salt stick to them.
- Sprinkle lightly with about a teaspoon of kosher salt or sea salt flakes and shake the pan to distribute them evenly.
- Place them back in the oven and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes. Start tasting the nuts every 5 minutes and remove them from the oven when they are fragrant and one shade darker.
- While they are still hot, add additional salt if desired and allow to cool completely.
Frequently asked questions:
Whether fresh or roasted, pecans should be stored in airtight plastic bags in your refrigerator or freezer unless you plan to use them right away. They will turn rancid very quickly, especially in hot, humid climates. However, when stored in a refrigerator, these nuts will keep for several months, and they will keep up to a year in the freezer.
Pecans can be added to your dishes while still frozen, as they will thaw very quickly. When I use them in baking, I always roast them, whether the recipe calls for it or not, and think the flavor is much improved.
Generally, pecans are harvested in October and November. Pecan groves are beautiful with their stately trees and green foliage and line many roads in South Georgia, which produces the most nuts.
There are over 500 varieties of pecans, although only a few are harvested commercially. The primary difference in all of the different types is the nut’s size and the thickness of the shell. Stuarts and Elliots are the most popular, at least in our area. Paper-shell, named because of their paper-thin shell, is easiest to crack.
These days, I have to admit I’m spoiled and buy my nuts already cracked or shelled. In the fall, when fresh nuts are available, I usually buy at least 10 pounds and stick them in the freezer, to pull out later and use in recipes throughout the year.
It used to be that roasting meant baking in the oven, and toasting meant cooking them in a skillet on the stove. These days, the lines are blurred, and the terms are interchangeable.
I prefer to roast pecans in the oven because they cook more evenly, and there is less chance they will burn.
Roasted or toasted pecans go with just about everything, but they pair exceptionally well with cheese and are a great addition to a charcuterie board or a relish tray.
Pecans are versatile, and their crunchy deliciousness is a welcome addition to main dishes, appetizers, salads, and side dishes, as well as desserts. For example, easy-to-make Pecan Crusted Grouper is one of our all-time favorite dishes.
- Store the toasted pecans in an airtight container at room temperature for about one week. Or, you can freeze them in an air-tight plastic storage container or freezer bag for up to a year.
- This is a great recipe to serve around the holidays as an appetizer or snack. If you are in a hurry or plan to use them as an ingredient in baking, you can speed up the process. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. and then roast them for 10-12 minutes. But watch them carefully; they can burn in seconds.
- Nuts that have been just harvested or are very fresh take a little more time to roast because they have more oil and moisture. Older, drier nuts take less time.
- Always use pecan halves when roasting. Pieces burn easily due to their small size.
- When I use these nuts in baked goods, I always roast them, whether the recipe calls for it or not. I think the flavor and texture are much improved.
- When you are tasting the roasted nuts to see if they are done, allow them to cool first. This makes it easier to tell if they are done.
Recipes that feature pecans:
Check out these delicious and popular recipes that feature pecans on my blog:
- Dot’s Ultimate Southern Pecan Pie
- Southern Pecan Praline Cheesecake
- Healthy Wild Rice Chicken Salad
- Georgia Cornbread Cake AKA Pecan Cake
- Cranberry Pecan Mini Goat Cheese Balls
- Quick and Easy Stovetop Candied Pecans
- Southern Pecan Praline Cake
- Easy Butter Pecan Cookies
- Pecan Pralines and Cream Ice Cream
- Old-Fashioned Pecan Pralines
- Healthy Apple Pecan Chopped Salad
★ If you make this recipe, please leave a comment and give it a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
The Best Roasted Pecans Recipe
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Parchment paper or aluminin foil
- 1 pound pecan halves
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small cubes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste, may substitute sea salt flakes
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Spread out the pecan halves in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with either aluminum foil or parchment paper, and top with chunks of butter.
- Place in your oven and bake for approximately ten minutes.
- Remove the nuts from the oven and toss to coat with the melted butter. Sprinkle lightly with about a teaspoon of kosher salt or sea salt flakes, and toss the pecans again.
- Place the pecans back in the oven and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes. Then start tasting them every five minutes and remove them from the oven when fragrant and one shade darker.
- Add additional salt if desired and allow to cool completely.
*This post was republished on January 18, 2022, with the addition of a FAQ section and expanded tips and notes. There is no change to the original recipe.