This homemade beer nuts recipe is easy to make from simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand. Make it as spicy as you like by adding more or less Sriracha. Infinitely better than the original beer nuts.
This beer nuts recipe is easy as can be. And it’s a perfect impromptu party trick since it can be made from scratch in mere minutes with India Pale Ale, nuts, Sriracha, brown sugar, and the expectation of beer drinking alongside these nuts. You can actually taste the complexity of the IPA in these perfectly sweet, salty, and spicy nuts. Shame, though, that this recipe requires you crack open a robust IPA and then use only 1/3 cup of it. What, oh what, to do with the rest of that beer? One approach would be to toss together a second or even third batch of these crazy easy, surprisingly nuanced beer nuts. Trust us, the recipe merits making more—quite a lot more. Although you’ve already probably conjured a simpler, more hedonistic approach to not letting that IPA languish, especially since nothing goes better with these than more of the same IPA that went into them.–Renee Schettler
☞ Table of Contents
- 1/3 cup IPA plus more for the cook
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon store-bought or homemade Sriracha sauce or to taste
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups salted mixed nuts* (include plenty of peanuts if you want to be economical)
- Pinch cayenne
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- Dump the beer and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and let it cook, without stirring or otherwise disturbing the contents of the pan, for 3 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and Sriracha until everything is completely incorporated. (If you want your beer nuts to have just the slightest trace of warmth, use just 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha. If you want your beer nuts to have more of a discernible kick, use 3/4 teaspoon or more.) Add the nuts and stir until each nut is well coated.
- Spread the nuts evenly in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 6 minutes. Stir the nuts well and then bake for an additional 6 to 8 minutes. The syrup mixture should be bubbling pretty vigorously when you remove the baking sheet from the oven. Sprinkle with the cayenne. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. As the nuts cool, the coating will go from bubbly to gooey to stretchy to sticky to crisp. [Editor’s Note: If the nuts remain in the sticky stage when cooled, then they weren’t in the oven quite long enough. Next time, leave them for the entire 8 minutes after stirring.]
- Break the nuts apart, if necessary. Toss them in a bowl and serve alongside a fresh IPA if you’ve already finished off the rest of the bottle used in the recipe.
How To Decide Which Nuts To UseThere are a lot of different combinations of mixed nuts out there. Good grief. And we thought trying to decide which toothpaste to use was tricky. We tried this beer nuts recipe with several different mixes of salted nuts and we loved ’em all, which is a damn good thing given how pricey nuts are these days. And if you need to make this recipe eminently economical, simply do what we did and make the recipe with 50% peanuts and 50% mixed nuts. Heck, you could even make the entire batch of beer nuts with nothing but peanuts, and we bet you’d hear no complaints. We certainly didn’t.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is without a doubt the simplest and best spiced nuts recipe I’ve ever encountered. It took all of 5 minutes, if that, to toss things together. And, more critically, the taste was incredible. I made these beer nuts the first few times with a Lagunitas IPA and we were all impressed by the subtle notes of IPA coming through in the candied coating, which went spectacularly with each kind of nut we tried, from peanut to pistachio, walnut to macadamia. I don’t care for things to have a lot of heat, so I preferred the nuts with just 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha, which was barely discernible and, as such, didn’t obstruct those lovely nuances I mentioned. The guys in my life, however, felt that version was much too tame and vastly preferred the second batch made with 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha and, in fact, wanted me to add more—a lot more. But we all noticed the nice, rich caramel flavor with the nuts. Definitely wait until the nuts are cool before sampling—not only does the flavor come through better when the nuts are a more moderate temperature, but those tempted by the hot, gooey mess on the baking sheet straight out of the oven will be justly rewarded with singed fingertips. I’ve already made this recipe several times, and the next time—yes, there will be a next time, and a time after that, and so on—with an amber ale or even a stout. This is going to be a staple for us. One word of caution, though, is that I’ve noticed that if you try to take a shortcut and don’t simmer the beer and sugar long enough or take the beer nuts out of the oven before the requisite time, they remain a little sticky rather than turn crisp. Still taste incredible but much less easy to toss down by the handful.
These are seriously addictive! I simply can’t walk past the bowl without grabbing a handful. The recipe was simple to follow and turned out great. I used 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha, and I found the resulting heat quite subtle. You could definitely add more, or maybe 2 pinches of cayenne. I used a mix of almonds and cashews (no peanuts – severe allergy in the house). After 6 minutes in the oven, the syrup was bubbling slowly, and after 12 minutes, it was bubbling vigorously. The nuts were soft and sticky and gooey after coming out of the oven but did crisp up nicely. The ones in the very center of the pan were still a bit soft, so perhaps an extra 1 or 2 minutes of cooking could have fixed this.
In the real world, this beer nuts recipe would easily satisfy 4 people. In my world, it seemed the perfect amount for me and a small taste for my gal. These beer nuts were delicious! The hands-on time was between 5 and 10 minutes, and the entire process was just under 25 minutes. I used only good old-fashioned Georgia “party peanuts.” I also used about 1 tablespoon Sriracha and a healthy pinch of cayenne pepper. I baked them for the allotted 6 minutes, tossed them, and they were bubbling furiously after another 4 minutes. I had spooned the entire lot of nuts and sauce over my parchment-covered pan, which, when all was said and done, left me with a sheet-like peanut brittle. I broke about half into separate pieces and just left the rest as brittle and simply demolished it as is. This was a wonderfully sweet, spicy, nutty treat that I am certain to revisit often!
These are delicious with a nice aftertaste; however, they would not hold up outside in warm weather. They would become a sticky mess. As a trial, I took the portion of not quite crisp nuts and tossed in a mixture of 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. This produced the typical beer nut coating that you get at happy hour. All in all, the nuts went down nicely with the IPA used in the recipe. This served 6 for happy hour. I used 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha and would have liked a whole teaspoon. I used a combo of almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, filberts, and pecans. The baked mixture was indeed bubbling throughout at the 12-minute mark, so I removed from oven to cool as instructed. I believe an extra 2 to 3 minutes would’ve produced a more brittle-like coating. I found that the nuts sitting in more sauce in the center of the baking sheet did not crisp as well as those on the outer edges.
I would say 4 “polite” servings but 3 realistic servings. I chose to use a local brew, Birdsong Brewery’s Jalapeño Pale Ale. I used 1/2 teaspoon store-bought Sriracha. I used cocktail peanuts in place of standard salted peanuts because they were lower in sodium (90 grams versus 170 grams per 1/2 cup). I missed the extra salt and had to sprinkle it on the finished product. I did not add an additional pinch of cayenne.
I prepared this recipe in a bit of a fog with my first cup of coffee. We needed a snack for the afternoon and there wasn’t much in the house or time to waste. The end result—sweet, savory, addictive, brittled nuts—were positively gobbled up. If your mixed nuts are only lightly salted, you may want to add an extra sprinkle of salt when they come out of the oven. I did, along with an extra pop of cayenne. The caramelly sauce really counters that spicy hit. It’s impossible to eat just one, especially when accompanied by a frosty beer. Any beer can be used for this recipe, we used a stout. I used 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha and used half peanuts and half “fancy mixed nuts” (cashews/almonds/brazil/hazelnuts). I used parchment paper and had no issues with sticking. The sugar dissolved in the beer very quickly, by the time it boiled.
Originally published February 04, 2016