Caramelized Almonds

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A hint of sweetness with tons of crunch, caramelized almonds are a deliciously nutty and easy salad topping.

Caramelized Almonds on parchment with forks

Caramelized Almonds

Salad toppings range from savory to sweet for me. While corn chips are my go-to for a savory salad, caramelized or glazed nuts are perfect for lighter salads.

Especially those with fruits paired with a light vinaigrette, like this Orange Parsley Salad. (If you haven’t tried that one yet, put it on your list to make soon. It’s been a huge hit with everyone who has tried it.)

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Do you know what often makes the difference between an everyday salad and the fancier salads that we are willing to pay for in restaurants? A couple of minutes in the skillet and a spoonful of sugar.

That is all that is required to transform a handful of plain sliced almonds into a slightly sweet and crunchy topping perfect for any salad!

sliced almonds in storage container

Candied Almonds for Salad

It never fails to make me grin when I serve a salad and the first question I hear is, “where did you get these nuts?” These almonds taste better than any salad toppings you can buy in a store and they cost a whole lot less as well.

Yes, you can buy sweetly glazed nuts in the store but trust me when I say they take just minutes. Bonus it makes your house smell amazing as well. Like you spent hours preparing dinner.

Just a few minutes is all it takes to make your salad extra special.

Orange Parsley Salad with almonds

The number one tip when making caramelized almonds is to just keep stirring. The goal is to get them toasted in color and crunchy with sugar. The sugar can and will scorch if you don’t keep it moving. So just keep stirring, it won’t take long.

I like to keep a container of glazed almond slices in an airtight container in my pantry or in the freezer. They will keep nicely for at least a couple of weeks in the pantry and months in the freezer.

almonds with sugar in a skillet

How to Make Candied Almonds

  1. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When it is just starting to foam, add the almonds and stir to coat them with butter. When the almonds are hot and slightly toasty, sprinkle with the sugar and stir constantly as it melts onto them. This should only take a few minutes.
  2. After the sugar has caramelized and the nuts have turned slightly brown, remove from the heat and immediately pour the almonds out on a piece of parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  3. Using two forks (because the almonds will be very hot!) separate them to prevent them from clumping as they cool. Once cool, store in an airtight container.
Sugared almonds on the stove

I often find myself snacking on them or adding them to other recipes and dishes. The sweet toasted taste is so good for topping oatmeal like this peach cranberry and almond oatmeal.

Candied walnuts are another sweet nut to keep on hand for topping salads, muffins, and other treats.

Spinach Orzo Salad is filled with cranberries, creamy goat cheese, tender pasta, and plenty of fresh spinach before being tossed in a tangy sweet dressing. Top this one with candied almonds for an even more amazing salad.

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sliced almonds in storage container

Kitchen Tips: How To Caramelize Almonds

5 from 2 votes
A hint of sweetness with tons of crunch, caramelized almonds are a deliciously nutty and easy salad topping.
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Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes
Servings: 8 (1) tablespoon servings, about ½ cup worth

Ingredients 

  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon sugar *

Instructions

  • In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. When it is just starting to foam, add the almonds and stir to coat them with butter. When the almonds are hot and slightly toasty, sprinkle with the sugar and stir constantly as it melts onto them. This should only take a few minutes.
  • After the sugar has caramelized and the nuts have turned slightly brown, remove from the heat and immediately pour the almonds out on a piece of parchment paper or a silpat mat.
  • Using two forks (because the almonds will be very hot!) separate them to prevent them from clumping as they cool. Once cool, store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Notes

* You can use 2-3 tablespoons of sugar, but I like them a bit less sweet for myself.

Nutrition

Calories: 49kcal · Carbohydrates: 3g · Protein: 1g · Fat: 4g · Saturated Fat: 1g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Monounsaturated Fat: 2g · Trans Fat: 0.02g · Cholesterol: 1mg · Sodium: 4mg · Potassium: 50mg · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 2g · Vitamin A: 16IU · Calcium: 18mg · Iron: 0.3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

{originally published 3/30/13 – recipe notes and photos updated 10/17/22}

almonds for salad topping

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Joy Bee says

    Great tip. I'll keep this in mind next time I make salad. I've mastered candied pecans (pecans tossed in maple syrup and roasted) they make a great topping too. This will be my next adventure. Thanks for the idea.

  2. Tina Shariat says

    I love salads and have just asked myself why I have never done this before! Thank you so much for this simple and amazing topping….so delicious!5 stars