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Are you secretly jealous of that one friend who has a special recipe that everyone loves, and everyone always requests that they make for parties?
Be envious no more – you’ll soon be that person, once you introduce your company to these spicy toasted nuts!
Val always makes her ridiculously fresh tomato bruschetta for every summer party, Andy has his lineup of crispy chicken wings for game day gatherings, and Ellen is known around the neighborhood as The Hummus Queen with her rotating collection of bean dips.
But you’ll soon gain the fame and popularity you’ve always desired.
Don’t settle for the store-bought afterthought of a can of salted and toasted nuts when you can make your own spicy, flavor-packed mix.
Few people consider the bowl of mixed nuts to be an artisanal masterpiece, which is why going all in – and all out – with a homemade version is such a crazy-fun shocker.
A few hearty splashes of your favorite vinegar-based hot sauce stirred in at the end is the final KO, the big and spicy punch that will make the crowd go wild!
Use whatever nuts you prefer, in whatever ratio you desire. You can’t go wrong with any combination of almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, peanuts, walnuts, or cashews.
This recipe is a great gift idea during the holidays with a stellar storage quality. Because they can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 weeks, you can make a double batch in advance to divide and distribute at every get-together throughout the season.
Your friends and family members who chase after savory, sting-the-nostrils snacks will quickly fall in love – the mix’s hot and feisty personality will be seared into their memories!
So prepare yourself to be the one with the most heavily requested recipe for many years to come.
Val, Andy, and Ellen won’t know what hit them!Print
For a snack with a fiery kick, make our quick and easy recipe for stovetop spicy toasted nuts, tossed and toasted with garlic, warming spices and hot sauce.
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
- 2 cups raw unsalted mixed nuts
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil (such as vegetable, canola, or grapeseed)
- 2–3 teaspoons vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Frank’s), to taste
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt until combined without any lumps. Set aside.
- Add the nuts to a large dry skillet and place it over medium heat. Toast the nuts while stirring occasionally, for about 3-5 minutes. Set the nuts aside on a plate.
- Return the pan to medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, sprinkle in the spice mix. Toast the spices, stirring constantly with a spatula until very fragrant, about 30-45 seconds. Decrease the temperature if necessary to avoid burning the spices.
- Add the toasted nuts back to the skillet and stir for about 30 seconds to coat in the spiced oil. Stir in the hot sauce to coat. Continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly just until coated well.
- Immediately remove from heat and transfer the nuts to the prepared baking sheet. Check for seasoning while still slightly warm, adding more salt as needed. Spread them out in a single layer to cool completely before serving or storing.
Spicy toasted nuts may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 8 minutes
- Category: Nuts
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Snacks
Keywords: nuts, spicy, stovetop
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
Measure and whisk together the ground cumin, garlic powder, ground cayenne pepper, and salt in a small bowl.
If you use 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne these will definitely be on the spicier side! If you want to tone down the heat, only use 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or adjust to suit your tastes.
Measure 2 cups of assorted nuts and place them in a large, dry skillet. Make sure they are raw and unsalted, since you will be toasting and flavoring them for this recipe. For the freshest option, you can crack whole nuts.
Measure the oil and hot sauce in two separate small bowls. A vinegar-based hot sauce like Tabasco or Frank’s is ideal for a subtly sharp zing!
And don’t forget to prepare yourself for this recipe! All of the ingredients will cook very quickly and need to be moving constantly in the hot pan to prevent burning – so be prepared to stay focused and give them your full attention for just a few minutes of fast cooking action!
Step 2 – Toast the Nuts
Place the skillet with the nuts spread out in a single layer over medium heat on the stovetop. Tossing occasionally, toast them for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the pieces are slightly browned in spots and fragrant.
Transfer them to the plate and set aside.
There will be some skin or flakes of nuts remaining in the pan. To prevent these small pieces from burning, wipe the pan out with a dry paper towel before moving on to the next step.
Step 3 – Toast the Spices
Return the pan to the stovetop over medium heat. Add the oil and heat it up – you’ll see it shimmering when it’s ready.
Sprinkle in the spice mix and stir the spices constantly with a spatula until very fragrant. This will only take about 30 to 45 seconds.
Ground spices will brown and then burn very quickly, so you may need to reduce the heat to low from this point through the final steps of the cooking process if the oil is too hot.
The spices will continue to cook in the next few steps, so it’s important to monitor how quickly they are toasting now, to prevent them from burning and becoming bitter.
Step 4 – Combine Nuts, Spices, and Hot Sauce
When you start smelling the spices, immediately add the toasted nuts to the skillet.
Stir constantly for about 30 seconds, just until everything is completely coated in the oil.
Immediately stir in the hot sauce, continuing to stir constantly for no more than 2 minutes, just until the hot sauce is thoroughly combined with the other ingredients.
The mixture will not be wet, and the coated pieces should look dry at this point.
Step 5 – Cool and Serve
Quickly remove the pan from the heat and pour the nuts onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread them out in a single layer with your spatula.
Allow them to cool completely before serving and storing, for about 20 minutes. While they are still warm, you can also taste one to see if more salt is needed, sprinkling another pinch or two over the pieces if desired.
Once they have cooled, you can store them at room temperature in an airtight container or bag for two to three weeks.
A Special Spicy Delivery!
What are the best ways to package this mix and give it as a gift?
Glad you asked – I have a few ideas that I think you’ll love.
A charming option would be to package a scoopful or two in mini mason jars, or cellophane confectionary bags tied tightly with colorful string or a ribbon.
Use these clear 4-by-9-inch cellophane bags that are available from Amazon. Or better yet, embody the playful vibe of a festival or carnival by using cone-shaped clear cellophane bags, also available on Amazon.
If you’re exchanging edible gifts this year and you’d rather have the recipient of your present be surprised by what’s inside, opt for small cardboard gift boxes, like this colorful holiday-themed set with adorable bows on top, available on Amazon.
You’ll be the ultimate gift master with any of these options, but I’m sure you have other ideas – what will you choose to do? Do you like this spicier, hurt-so-good rendition of mixed nuts, or would you prefer something sweeter, like our maple-spiced version? Let’s exchange gift ideas and opinions in the comment section below!
While I tend to play around with almonds and walnuts in lots of recipes, a forever constant in any batch of spiced nuts I make is the pecan. This delicious variety is a versatile ingredient in so many recipes, especially when you’re cooking and baking during the holidays.
For more festive recipes featuring pecans, try these Foodal favorites next:
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Lorna Kring on December 16, 2015. Last updated on December 2, 2022.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is a full-time cheesemonger and specialty foods buyer living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.