Spiced Holiday Nuts for the Season.

If you have ever visited our home, you know that we always have a bowl of pistachios on our kitchen island for guests to enjoy, and for impromptu snacking that's way better than grabbing a sweet treat. But during the holiday season I will jump at the chance to "spice" things up a little and this little nut recipe is no exception.

I got the inspiration for this recipe by recalling an episode of Barefoot Contessa on Food Network a few years back, and I remember thinking at the time how simple and delicious they looked. So I did a little digging and tested out a few variations to get the combination of flavors I was looking for. Another benefit of this recipe? It leaves your house smelling wonderful all. day. long. 

Rosemary does really well in our garden all year long, so I always have a fresh supply of it on hand to use for recipes like this one. I love giving food gifts for the holidays, especially something that people will actually be excited to eat and enjoy. This year I gifted a package of these nuts in a medium sized canning jar tied with a twine string. The jar was finished off with a small wooden spoon for serving and a sprig of rosemary on the outside. 

Even though I'm not huge on spicy foods, these had the perfect balance of flavor and heat. I added the juice of half an orange to balance out the cayenne, and because I just love the flavor of oranges in the winter.

ingredients for spiced holiday nuts recipe / heirloomed

Spiced Holiday Nuts

These nuts are both salty and sweet, with a kick of heat.


  • 3 cups unsalted, whole cashews
  • 3 cups shelled pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne powder
  • Juice from half an orange
  • 1 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • kosher salt


How to cook Spiced Holiday Nuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 375. Place the plain nuts on a baking sheet and let warm in the oven for 10 minutes. While the nuts are warming, mix together the fresh rosemary, brown sugar, cayenne, salt, juice and butter in a bowl. Then, toss the warmed nuts into the rosemary mixture and fully coat, baking for an additional 10 minutes and stirring often. Serve warm.
  2. Typically, I'd want to put parchment on my cookie sheet for easier cleanup, but when roasting the nuts it works best to put them directly on the pan to ensure that they turn out nice and crispy, just make sure to grease the pan well.
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I'd love to know some of your favorite food gifts for the holidays!