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.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

Tester Elsa J. adored these roasted nuts. She loved that they’re “not too sweet, not too spicy, and with a little bit of mystery thrown in.” As with any recipe, she appreciated that the directions were “simple and functional”, and that the finished nuts turned out exactly as described — “perfect.”

What You’ll Need to Make This

  • Egg white–This is the key ingredient for creating a shiny coating that allows the seasoning to stick to the nuts. You’ll need the white from 1 large egg.
  • Salt–You can use whatever salt you have on hand, but we’d recommend a finer grain here.
  • Mixed nuts–Use your favorite combination of nuts, but make sure you choose raw nuts.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and coat with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk the egg white until foamy. Stir in the sugar and spices, then add the nuts and toss to coat.
  3. Roast the nuts. Cook in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet until deep golden brown. Cool completely before storing.

Common Questions

How do I get my egg whites foamy?

An electric mixer or immersion blender will do it fast and efficiently. Begin whipping your egg whites at low speed until they become frothy. Once the egg whites are foamy, increase the speed to high until they become whipped to the desired stage.

You can also use a large balloon whisk if you’ve got elbow grease to spare.

How can I use these roasted nuts?

Aside from serving them as a cocktail nibble, they’re also great on endive and blue cheese salad, sprinkled on roasted root vegetables, and some of us would even chop them up and try them mixed into chocolate chip cookies.

What should I serve these with?

If you’re serving these as part of a selection of hors d’oeuvres, select other handheld bites, such as blue cheese balls, mac and cheese canapés, crispy cheese sticks, or stuffed dates. We highly recommend pairing these nuts with a champagne cocktail.

Helpful Tips

  • To avoid sticky nuts, make sure you let them cool completely before storing them.
  • These spiced roasted nuts can be made up to 1 week before serving. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • This sweet and spicy nuts recipe is suitable for gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian diets.
  • Make a double batch, package half of them up in bags with cute tags, and include them as part of your edible holiday gifts.

More Great Spiced Nut Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

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.

Sweet and spicy roasted nuts in a large green bowl on a wooden table.

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Nuts

4.88 / 16 votes
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. They're a terrific little nibble.
David Leite
Servings8 servings
Calories234 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
  • 2 cups mixed raw nuts of your choice


  • 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 a 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 can be made a week in advance. (Ha! Like they'll ever last that long.) Store in an airtight container.


  1. Make-ahead–The roasted nuts can be made up to 1 week in advance.
  2. Storage–To avoid the nuts becoming sticky, cool them completely before storing them in an airtight container at room temperature.
  3. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian diets.


Serving: 1 servingCalories: 234 kcalCarbohydrates: 14 gProtein: 7 gFat: 19 gSaturated Fat: 2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 11 gSodium: 306 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 5 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2013 David Leite. Photo © 2013 Citrus and Candy. All rights reserved.

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 sweetness 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.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    These Sweet and Spicy Nuts were a big hit at Thanksgiving. Five adults finished the entire bowl before dinner! Gone before I could get a photo.
    It was a last minute decision on my part to make them, so I used nuts I had on hand: raw almonds (with “skin”), raw pecan halves, and Trader Joe’s roasted 50% salt cashews. I reduced the salt in the recipe by half and I don’t think the oven toasting was too much for the cashews. I love the crackly, almost glassy finish that the egg white gives to the nuts.
    I wonder if anyone made them with brown sugar. Just thought it might be good, but maybe it wouldn’t make that much difference?
    Thank you, Leites Culinaria for a terrific and oh, so easy recipe!

    1. You’re welcome, Anita! We are so pleased that these turned out so well and that everyone enjoyed them. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  2. 5 stars
    These are delicious! I used a mix of almond, pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts. My favourites are definitely the pecans and walnuts! The cumin and chili was a really nice combo. The egg whites added a really nice crispness without adding extra fat/oil, which I loved. I’ll definitely be trying this recipe again with some other spices – maybe cinnamon and chili next time!