Sweet and Spicy Roasted Nuts

Sweet and spicy roasted nuts. The same says it all. Mixed nuts are tossed with sugar, salt, cumin, red pepper flake and roasted to perfection. How do you say, “Happy holiday?”

Roasted mixed nuts coated with sugar and spices in green bowl

These sweet and spicy nuts are addictive little snacks, so spread them around with care. The sugar and red-pepper flakes hit just the right balance of sugar and heat, making them a great accompaniment to drinks, especially Champagne. Originally published August 14, 2009.David Leite

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Nuts

  • Quick Glance
  • (4)
  • 5 M
  • 35 M
  • Makes 2 cups
5/5 - 4 reviews
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Crank the oven to 300° (150°C). Line a lipped baking sheet with foil and coat the foil lightly with cooking spray.

Whisk the egg white until very foamy. Add the sugar, salt, cumin, and red-pepper flakes and whisk well. Stir in the nuts and coat completely.

Spread the nuts in single layer on the baking sheet. Bake until they’re a deep golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring often.

Remove the sheet from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool. Break up any nutty clumps. The nuts be made a week in advance. (Ha! Like they’ll ever last that long.) Store in an airtight container.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

An undiscovered gem in the oeuvre that is Leite’s Culinaria. I’m amazed this recipe doesn’t have dozens of loyal followers gushing—yet. These nuts are perfect, and perfectly unpredictable at the same time. Not too sweet, not too spicy, and with a little bit of mystery thrown in. A guest asked, “What’s the spice in the nuts?” and I smiled. The surprise is the cumin, adding just the right interest to the sweet of sugar and the spicy of the red pepper flakes.

I’ll agree that they could be a great accompaniment to drinks. I used them as an amuse bouche for brunch and they worked beautifully. A little nibble, better than the ubiquitous bread basket, and easy to alter as necessary to fit the mood of the occasion. The directions are simple and functional. The timing was perfect. I interpreted, “stir often” to be about every 5 minutes or so, and I found I had no clumps to break up after I removed the tray from the oven. David notes these can be made a week in advance and stored in an airtight container. At my house, they would never last that long! Whether made with a wide range of nuts or narrow, even with just one type of nut, these would also be a delicious hostess gift at any time of year.


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  1. I make this appetizer for every party, get together, game night, etc. I’m the official “Sweet & Spicy Nut” girl. I like to find special gift jars or bowls wrapped in festive plastic wrap and arrive with these as the hostess gift. I’m not allowed to attend any party without them. . . . Be careful when doubling the recipe unless you can spread them out on four trays – If you can’t spread the nuts out I have found they don’t crisp the way they should. I love to use a mix of raw, unsalted nuts – – these are addictive and fabulous.

    1. I love it when a guest arrives with homemade goodies, what a wonderful suggestion Cherie. I may have to invite you to my next party!

  2. Loved them! I have made this recipe with almonds and pecans (they really are addictive). I personally liked the pecans best, as there was more surface coated with sweet and spicy goodness. I also loved the added dimension of sea salt. This is going to be one of the goodies in my gourmet Christmas giveaways.

  3. Made something very similar Sunday night—required for “Mad Men” Cocktails. It’s the same recipe, but for the first time I added a scant shake of cinnamon, chili powder, and pepitas. Excellent.

  4. Oooo, these are good, very very good. I toss in some finely chopped rosemary as well just because I love the aroma! These vanish at parties when I serve them.

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