You are going to LOVE these easy air fried candied walnuts! They are super quick and easy to make in the air fryer and they taste AMAZING! The perfect sweet and salty, crunchy snack for adding to salads, topping ice cream or just plain gorging on whenever you pass by the kitchen! They are also amazing gifts or cocktail nibbles for parties and a great way to get the kids to eat more walnuts to top up their omega-3 levels.
Unlike most other recipes for candied walnuts, this recipe contains only a handful of simple ingredients and is egg-free, dairy-free and vegan too!
I absolutely love candied walnuts. The sweetness balancing out the bitterness of the walnuts and that perfect crunch make it a moorish snack that I just can’t resist. Thankfully, this easy air fryer recipe means that I can quickly make a batch whenever I get the urge to have these tasty little treats!
Why You Will Love This Glazed Walnut Recipe
- Quick and easy recipe – it literally takes a couple of minutes to mix the ingredients together and then toss it all in the air fryer for 10 minutes. Using the air fryer is so much quicker than roasting them in the oven!
- Healthy snack – ok, the sugar content isn’t exactly healthy but if you’re eating these as a delicious treat instead of sweets (candies) or a chocolate bar, or if it means you’ll eat more walnuts, then I think that’s a good compromise.
- Great gift – take 10 minutes to whip up a batch or two of these candied walnuts to put in a jar and give to a friend as a hosting gift or thank you present.
- Dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, vegan – this recipe is very allergen friendly (in contrast to most of the other recipes for candied walnuts on the web!)
- Free from heavily refined white sugar and corn syrup – I have used maple syrup in this recipe which is a natural sweetener and less processed than white sugar and corn syrup which appears in most other candied walnut recipes.
Walnuts are protein-rich, high in antioxidants and full of heart-healthy fats that are essential to our nourishment. Of all the nuts, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids that are often lacking in today’s diets. In fact, eating walnuts has been linked to reduced LDL blood levels, reduced cholesterol and general cleaning of the arteries (see this Healthline article for full details) and so they are definitely worth trying to include them in your diet!
Obviously sugar-coated snacks are not the healthiest way to eat your health-foods but if you are comparing eating these maple roasted walnuts to eating candies or a packet of crisps, these snacks definitely win on the nutrition stakes! A few of these candied walnuts as a snack will be a filling and nutritious way to keep you going until the next meal.
Children in particular, often shun walnuts because of their bitter flavour compared to other nuts. Glazing them with this spiced maple syrup coating will make them more palatable to your children and they will be gobbling up these healthy nuts in no time!
- Walnuts – you need plain, uncooked, unsalted walnuts for this recipe since we are seasoning and cooking them ourselves. Try to find the freshest walnuts you can as old walnuts will have more of a bitter flavour.
- Maple Syrup – I use maple syrup because it is a natural ingredient and far better for you than the highly processed refined corn syrup (which is the usual syrup found in glazed walnut recipes). It is also suitable for vegans so makes it more versatile for serving at parties or gifting to those who might not eat honey (which is the other syrup often found in candied walnut recipes).
- Water – just plain water is fine for this recipe. It is to make the syrup go further in coating all of the nooks and crevices in the walnuts and then, while air frying, the water will evaporate, leaving only the sticky toasted walnuts.
- Vanilla Extract – try to find the best quality you can (not vanilla essence). This really adds a lovely rich flavour to the walnuts and goes so well with the cinnamon.
- Salt – the salt brings out the flavours of these candied walnuts and balances the sweetness. I use Himalayan pink salt which contains more minerals than regular sea salt.
- Ground Cinnamon – the cinnamon is just enough to give a delicious background flavour. Feel free to add more if you really love cinnamon as this is quite a subtle amount in the recipe. You could also omit this and just store the walnuts with a stick of cinnamon instead.
Please see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for full list of ingredients and their quantities.
How To Make This Recipe
Air Fryer Temperature:
180°C / 350°F
Start by pre-heating your air fryer to 180°C / 350°F.
While it is heating up, take a medium bowl and mix the maple syrup, water, salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract together. Add the walnuts and toss them together so each side of each walnut is coated in the mixture.
Find an oven-safe tin or dish that fits inside your air fryer or lay some parchment paper in the air fryer basket.
Pour the coated walnuts into the tin or lined air fryer basket and spread them out into a single layer. (If you have a small air fryer basket or you are doubling up the recipe, you should do two batches).
Air fry for 8 minutes, stirring half way through cooking time to again coat the walnuts in the sticky syrup mixture.
When they are done, stir them again so that they are covered well in the brown glossy mixture and then immediately scrape them out onto a plate lined with parchment paper. You can use a spatula to get out all of the sticky syrup. Spread the walnuts out into a single layer and leave to cool.
Once cooled completely, you can store them in an air-tight container to use as you please!
(This easy air fryer recipe was created in the Instant Pot Vortex Air Fryer (paid affiliate link). Cooking times may vary slightly for a different brand of air fryer.)
This is a summary only. Please see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this page for full instructions.
- Don’t overcrowd the air-fryer basket. You need to make sure the walnuts are laid in a single layer in the air fryer basket otherwise they will steam rather than roast and they won’t get crispy. It is better to do another batch if they don’t all fit into your air fryer basket in a single layer.
- Cool completely before storing otherwise the residual heat will add steam to the airtight container and this excess moisture will cause your crispy candied walnuts to go soft.
- If your nuts have gone soft, you can re-heat them in the air fryer for a few minutes to crisp them up again.
- It’s best to make these candied nuts on a small baking tin or dish that you can fit in your air fryer because you want the nuts to cook in the syrup and then to stir them through the syrup as well. If you don’t have a suitably sized tin or dish, you can line the air fryer basket with a piece of parchment paper before adding the walnut mixture but you will need to stir them more carefully on the paper.
- Wash the baking tin or dish that you used to make the nuts immediately after you empty them onto the lined plate, so that the syrup doesn’t harden onto the tin. It will be really easy to wash clean in hot soapy water while it is still hot and the syrup is soft. If it has been left too long and has hardened, just fill with a little boiling water and leave to stand for a minute, then wash it off while it is soft.
Here are my favourite ways to serve these easy air fried candied walnuts:
- Serve as snacks at a party or just keep in a jar in your kitchen ready for a quick snack whenever you feel peckish (or whenever you happen to be walking through the kitchen…).
- Use in salads to add crunch – try this gorgeous recipe for kale and apple salad with candied walnuts.
- Chop them up and use to sprinkle on top of yoghurt or ice cream!
- Sprinkle on top of porridge (oatmeal) or cereal or mix into granola for a special breakfast treat!
- Serve with coffee and homemade vegan truffles at the end of a dinner party.
These candied walnuts also make amazing gifts for people – just put some into a mason jar and tie with a pretty ribbon. It’s such an easy homemade gift to do but always so well received!
- Add some other flavourings like pumpkin pie spice or ground nutmeg or spice it up with some cayenne pepper!
- For a nut-free version, you could use chickpeas instead or pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.
- Don’t feel like you need to limit yourself to walnuts in this recipe. You can use any other nuts too. Almonds and pecans work particularly well.
Candied almonds are equally delicious and quite different to the candied walnuts! Almonds take a little less time and need less syrup than walnuts because they don’t have so many nooks and crannies! So to make candied almonds, follow the same recipe but use only 1 tablespoon maple syrup and leave out the water, then air fry for 6 minutes instead.
Once these candied walnuts have fully cooled, you can store them in an airtight container (like a jar or sealed plastic bag) and either leave out at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or store in the fridge for 1 month. You can also store them in the freezer for up to 2 months in a freezer-safe container.
If your nuts start to go soft, you can re-heat them in the air fryer for a few minutes to get rid of the excess moisture and allow them to crisp up again.
The glaze on these nuts will harden as they cool down so you may find that they go harder and crispier once they are cold. If they are really soft, then it is possible that the air fryer basket was a little overcrowded and they steamed and didn’t crisp up enough. Put them back in the air fryer in two batches for a few minutes each batch until they go more crispy.
Soaking walnuts gets rid of the phytic acid which can prevent your body from accessing the vitamins and minerals in the walnuts. It is not essential if you have a balanced diet but if you want to power up your walnuts to make them super nutritious, you can soak them overnight before air frying them. You will need to adjust the cooking time though as you then have more water to remove in the cooking process. Reduce the heat to 150°C / 300°F and cook for 20 minutes, shaking a few times during cooking.
The great thing about this recipe is that because there is no butter or egg white, there is not much to go off. The walnuts will eventually go rancid so it is best to use these candied walnuts within 2 weeks (if left out at room temperature) or within a month (if left in the fridge) but you will certainly taste or smell if it has gone rancid as it is a very strong distinctive flavour!
📖 Recipe 📖
Easy Air-Fryer Candied Walnuts
- 1 Air Fryer
- 100 g 1 cup walnuts (uncooked, unsalted)
- 1½ tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon water
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pre-heat the air-fryer to 180°C / 350°F.
- Mix all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. (make sure the walnuts are well coated on all sides)
- Pour onto a small baking tin and spread the walnuts out into a single layer, then place in the pre-heated air-fryer. Air-fry for 8 minutes, mixing the walnuts with the sticky syrup on the tray half way through the cooking time.
- Remove from the air-fryer and stir the walnuts again using a silicon spatula to ensure they are well coated in the sticky syrup. Then immediately scrape them out onto a plate lined with parchment paper and try to spread them out into a single layer. Leave to cool completely.
- Once cooled, store in an airtight container and use as desired.
- If you don’t have a baking tray that fits in the air fryer basket, you can line the air fryer basket with parchment paper and pour the walnuts directly into there. Do not pour them straight into the basket without lining it because you will lose all of the sticky syrup that you want the walnuts to cook in and you will end up with a very sticky mess in your air fryer!
- Make sure not to overcrowd your air fryer and only air-fry in a single layer. Otherwise, your nuts will steam rather than air-fry and they will not get crispy. If your air-fryer basket is small or you are doing a bigger batch, it is better to mix the walnuts with the syrup ingredients in a big bowl but then cook them in smaller batches rather than put them all in together.
- You can try this recipe with other nuts as well. Almonds and pecans work particularly well.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a ⭐ star rating ⭐ on the recipe card!
If you like this air fryer candied walnuts recipe, you may like these other delicious vegan and gluten-free snack and treat recipes too:
Or check my air fryer recipes catalogue for other delicious vegan food to cook in your air fryer.