Pecans, like most nuts, are better toasted. Pecans are slightly softer than other nuts, so crisping them up by toasting them enhances the texture. These nuts are naturally sweet and toasting them brings out the sweet flavor even more. If your recipe calls for toasted nuts, do not fear! We're tackling how to toast pecans to bring out their nutty flavor and crunchy texture.
Toast Pecans on the Stovetop
This stovetop method is one of the most popular because of how easy and quick it is.
Take whole, raw pecan pieces and place them in a dry skillet. Turn the burner on to medium heat and cook the pecans until they are golden brown. This takes between 2-5 minutes. You'll want to make sure to stir frequently to prevent burning.
Once toasted, pour the pecans onto a cutting board and cool completely. Chop the pecans if needed and place pecans in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
All nuts are slightly oily and don't last long at room temperature. It's best to store them in the freezer if you're not going to use them within two weeks.
Toast Pecans in the Oven
The oven method is another great way to toast pecans that doesn't take much time.
To start, preheat oven to 350 degrees. For easy cleanup, wrap a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil or parchment paper. Next, spread the pecans in an even layer and bake until browned and fragrant. Make sure to toss the pecans at the halfway point to ensure even browning. The process should take 7-10 minutes.
If you want to make roasted pecans, simply add butter to the pecans while cooking and sprinkle on some kosher salt for flavor.
Toast Pecans in the Microwave
If you're short on time, use the microwave to toast pecans. The total time, including prep time and cook time, is only about two to three minutes. Pecans have natural oils, which protect them from drying out in the microwave.
In a microwave-safe plate, add one cup pecans that have been coated with oil or melted butter. To ensure even toasting, make sure the pecans are in a single layer. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and repeat in 15 second increments until the pecans are toasted.
Pecan Recipes and Hacks
Everyone's favorite recipe using pecans is pecan pie. The secret to getting a great pie with depth of flavor is to toast the pecans before baking.
If you want an easy recipe featuring pecans, look no further than candied pecan halves. The pecan's buttery flavor is amped up by brown sugar and sea salt.
These make a great dessert topper or a fun addition to an appetizer. If you want to add candied pecans to a salad, simply toss some cayenne pepper in for a spicy, savory kick.
Candied pecans on their own don't provide the best nutrition. One serving has 0% vitamin C, vitamin A, and calcium, with a minimal amount of potassium. There's quite a bit of monounsaturated fat and saturated fat, with 10g carbohydrates.
To make up for their lack of vitamins, serve with veggies, like brussels sprouts or sweet potatoes.