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Holiday Spiced Pecans

Recipe and Photography by Kelly Yandell



An appetizer bowl of these addictive, sweet and spicy pecans is a great way to get the party rolling, whether you’re celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival, as they do in China, or having a crowd over for Thanksgiving. (Prepare these a day early and make lots; they’ll keep for up to a week.) Chop them and add a little zest to your salads or use in this simple canapé: top apple slices with a dollop of goat cheese and a sprinkle of pecans. Whether whole or chopped, these zesty morsels are irresistible!

  • 1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg (white only)
  • 2 ½ cups pecan halves
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel or kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 250°F.

In a small bowl, combine first five spices and sugar. In another medium bowl, whisk the egg white until it is frothy. Add the spices to the egg white and whisk to combine.

Add the pecans to the mixture and toss until nuts are evenly coated. Pour coated pecans onto a parchment-covered rimmed baking sheet and place in oven. After 30 minutes, remove from oven and turn the pecans with a spatula, stirring so they will cook evenly. Return to the oven and cook for a final 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle salt over hot pecans. Stir to keep nuts from sticking to paper. Cool on the baking sheet for at least 30 minutes. Store in an airtight bag for up to a week.


Available in most food stores, Chinese Five Spice Blend is a mix of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan peppers and ground fennel. The blends can vary, and some contain salt and other ingredients, as well.

Kelly gets her pecans from both The Pecan Shed in Wichita Falls (her hometown) www.pecanshed.com and Valley Pecans in Chillicothe, www.valleypecans.com. More of Kelly’s recipes can be found on her food blog, The Meaning of Pie, www.themeaningofpie.com

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KELLY YANDELL is a writer and photographer based in Dallas. She has contributed to Edible Dallas & Fort Worth since 2011. Her website (themeaningofpie.com) celebrates practical dishes and comfort foods, while her photography portfolio can be found at kellyyandell.com. Kelly is an attorney and is the vice president of the Advisory Board of Foodways Texas, an organization founded by scholars, chefs, journalists, restaurateurs, farmers, ranchers, and other citizens of the state of Texas who have made it their mission to preserve, promote and celebrate the diverse food cultures of Texas.

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