Bourbon & Brown Sugar Mixed Nuts

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | September 20th, 2022 | Appetizers, Desserts, Recipes

Nicely sweet with a hint of liquor, these Bourbon & Brown Sugar Mixed Nuts are utterly irresistible. Double the recipe, if you need to share.

Walnuts and pecans covered in a brown sugar and bourbon crust

Bourbon & Brown Sugar Mixed Nuts

Michele Pesula Kuegler

Transform a bowl of mixed nuts from so-so to sweet & bourbon-y

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Course Snack

Servings 8 people



  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 2 cups pecans & walnuts
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 Tb. bourbon



  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Melt butter in large saucepot over medium heat.
  • Add nuts, stir well to coat.
  • Add brown sugar, stirring until coated.
  • Add bourbon. (Mixture will bubble.)
  • Stir frequently for 3-5 minutes or until the sauce changes from liquid to grainy.
  • Pour nuts onto prepared baking sheet. Using spatula, spread into thin layer.
  • After 2 minutes, separate clusters using hands. (Mixture should be cooler)
  • If nuts still are sticky, they can be baked for 5-10 minutes in a 350 oven.


These nuts will have an almost sandy coating on them when done. While not shiny and sleek, it allows you to get more sweetness, butteriness, and bourbon in each bite.

Keyword mixed nuts

When I initially made this recipe, I used the nuts as an appetizer. However, they’re far more versatile than that. Because they have a delightfully sweet coating they can work both as contrast in a group of appetizers, but they also can be part of a dessert tray. On an evening when you have a bigger meal but want a sweet way to end the night, these Bourbon & Brown Sugar Mixed Nuts fill the role well. Get a double serving of bourbon, by making this simple Bourbon Sugar. Put a spoonful in your coffee or tea, and your hot beverage is extra delicious.

To learn more about this recipe, originally published in May 2017, keep reading.

Of the two new bourbon-based recipes, this is my favorite. (The other recipe being Chocolate & Bourbon Truffles.) It’s not often that it happens, but when I was making this recipe, I actually said aloud, “Oh my!” That would be in my kitchen, alone, on a weekday morning. Yes, I do lots (and lots) of recipe testing, but I definitely don’t speak out loud for most of them. I definitely like a recipe, if I find it worth sharing, but only special recipes get a verbal acknowledgement.

What I liked about these mixed nuts is the indulgent nature of them. They’re well coated in sugar, have a buttery note, and deliver the essence of bourbon. For me, they really presented themselves as a special treat. However, I found it hard to walk away from them. Knowing that they wouldn’t be part of a meal in the next few days, I actually put them in the freezer to keep them out of sight. (The good news is that they kept very well in the freezer, and I didn’t sneak any out of there. Double win!)

How do I know that these are something special? My willpower. I have cast iron willpower. I can walk away from a pastry at a morning work meeting, ignore the yogurt covered pretzels on the counter, and turn down an offer of a second glass of wine, but these mixed nuts have me negotiating. “Just two more pecans, then I’ll close the bag.” It’s been one of the most tempting recipes I’ve made.

This is a simple recipe that’s worth the effort. Sure, it adds a bunch of calories to a bowl of pecans and walnuts, but it also adds oh so much flavor. For an indulgent treat (perhaps while watching the Kentucky Derby) this is the recipe you need.

It’s also the recipe that’s made my willpower meet its match. Who knew that butter, brown sugar, and bourbon could be my Kryptonite?


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