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How To Toast Pecans (And Why!)

How To Toast Pecans (And Why!)

When you regularly use pecans in recipes, you’re probably wondering how to toast pecans to make their flavor more pronounced.

But did you know that there are more reasons to toast pecans (and other nuts) other than just to make them tastier?

When you toast pecans, you not only intensify the nuttiness, you also bring out different layers of flavor.

Toasted pecans are more earthy, buttery, and have caramel notes, and they are not as bitter or sour as raw pecans.

Toasted pecans also have a gorgeous deep brown color, and as we all know, people tend to eat with their eyes first!

Finally, toasted pecans stay crisp even when they are baked in pastries or used to top salads.

The toasting process creates a “barrier” around the pecans and prevents them from absorbing moisture so that they’ll stay crunchy even if they’re coated in dressing or buried in batter.

While people interchangeably use toasting and roasting when it comes to pecans, they are actually two different cooking techniques.

When you toast pecans, you only expose the raw pecans to heat for a short period of time. Only the outside of the pecans are browned, but the nuts are not cooked all the way through.

Roasting pecans, on the other hand, means cooking them for a long period of time. The pecans are cooked all the way through, and you get a deeper, nuttier flavor when you roast pecans.

Hence, all roasted pecans are toasted, but not all toasted pecans are roasted!

Should you toast pecans before using them for baking?

Yes, you should toast pecans before using them for baking. They’ll come out nuttier, more flavorful, and they’ll remain crunchy, whether you bake them into your pastries or simply use them as a topping.

Can you toast pecans on the stove?

Yes, you can toast pecans on the stove! This is the most popular method for toasting pecans because it only takes a few minutes and you’ll get both that nutty flavor, toasted smell, and beautiful color.

To toast pecans on the stove, you need to use a skillet.  Toss the pecans in olive oil and sprinkle with salt, to taste. Heat skillet over medium heat and add pecans, stirring occasionally. Toast pecans until they are browned and fragrant.

  1. Heat skillet to medium-low heat.
  2. Toss pecans in olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Add pecans, stirring occasionally, and toast pecans until browned and fragrant (around 8 minutes)

Can you toast pecans in the oven?

Yes, you can toast pecans in the oven. Toasting pecans in the oven means that you be able to toast the nuts evenly, but you will need to keep an eye on your pecans since they can burn quite quickly.

Preheat your oven to 350⁰F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread your pecans on the baking sheet in a single layer. Toast them in the oven until they brown and become aromatic, around 5 minutes.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Spread pecans on baking sheet in single layer.
  4. Toast pecans in preheated oven until brown and fragrant, around 5 minutes.

Can you toast pecans in the microwave?

Yes, you can toast pecans in the microwave if you need toasted pecans in a pinch. Place the nuts in a microwave-safe plate and microwave them, uncovered, on high for 3-4 minutes. Rotate the plate halfway through to ensure that the pecans toast evenly.

When done, the pecans will have a toasted smell and a nutty flavor, but they will not have that deep-brown color that you would get if you toast pecans on the stove or in the oven.

  1. Place pecans on microwave-safe plate.
  2. Place plate in microwave and microwave on high, uncovered, for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Rotate plate halfway through to ensure pecans toast evenly.

How to store toasted pecans?

After toasting the pecans, allow them to cool to room temperature. Once cool, you can store the pecans in an airtight container or Ziplock plastic bag.

How long do toasted pecans last?

Toasted pecans will last for 1 month in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.

Can you freeze toasted pecans?

Yes, you can freeze toasted pecans as long as you store them properly and allow them to thaw slowly before using them for recipes.

Storing pecans properly means preventing freezer burn or moisture from reaching the pecans, and thawed-from-frozen pecans are nearly indistinguishable from freshly toasted pecans.

Now comes the fun part: How to use toasted pecans

There are so many ways that you can use toasted pecans! You can eat them plain as a quick snack, or you can toss them with other types of nuts and various spices to make a delicious spiced nut mix.

We love using toasted pecans as a topping, particularly for salads and desserts. You can add some toasted pecans to this roasted pear salad for some crunch and to add a buttery contrast to the sweetness of the pear.

The flavor of toasted pecans will also work well with this watermelon and feta salad.

If you’re in a dessert mood, toasted pecans on top of ice cream seems like a no-brainer! Try swapping out the peanuts with toasted pecans in this peanut butter mousse parfait, or better yet, add the pecans with the peanuts!

The salty peanuts work so well with the buttery pecans. For cookie lovers out there, these chocolate chip pecan cookies go perfectly with a glass of cold milk!

Toasting pecans is quick and simple, but you’ll get so much in return when it comes to the flavor, aroma, and color of the nuts.

Luckily, there are three different ways to toast pecans, so you can make toasted pecans in whatever way suits you.

Did we miss any tips when it comes to how to toast pecans? Let us know in the comments! 

How To Toast Pecans

How To Toast Pecans

Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This is how we toast pecans in the oven


  • 1 c pecan halves


    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
    3. Spread pecans on prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
    4. Toast pecans in preheated oven until brown and fragrant, around 5 minutes.
    5. Nuts can burn quickly. Remove pan and use a spatula or tongs to turn and toss the hot nuts.
    6. Add back to oven for an additional 3 minutes, if necessary, watching closely.

Did you make this recipe?

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Susan Newman

Monday 25th of November 2019

Hi, I always bake pecan pies during the holidays. I have never toasted the pecans before. Should I for a pecan pie?


Wednesday 28th of October 2020

I think that it will add a depth of flavor to the nuts in the same way it would for almonds. Just don't burn them, so keep on low heat.

Renee Groskreutz

Monday 2nd of December 2019

We haven't tested that for ourselves but I would sure consider it. We are finding that toasted pecans just add so much to the flavor.

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