Spiced Pecans – Gluten-Free Holiday Treat

Pecans with a Southwest twist for all your gluten-free friends. This is also for your friends that might have to watch their diet due to gout or kidney stones. Pecans are one of the few tree nuts that have not been shown exacerbate those conditions.

Use Up Old Pecans First

The new crop of pecans is coming in, so this is a wonderful way to use the older, less flavorful ones. Old ones are not “bad” exactly, they are just nowhere near as flavorful and succulent as the latest crop. Like all foods, over time flavor is lost. Some people say this is because the life force (chi) is going out of the product.

If you purchase your nuts in the store, they warn you about this, and recommend refrigeration.

So what to do with these older pecans? My holiday favorite – spiced pecans. They are incredibly easy to make – not to mention way too easy to eat!

Preparation Tips

Tip 1. I make these in the microwave. It is best to NOT double the batch.
Tip 2. Do NOT skip the stir steps. Burned pecans are the result – and while the birds adore them, it is an awfully expensive treat to give them.
Tip 3. If you have parchment paper, line the cookie sheet with it. It makes clean-up easier.

This is what burnt ones look like. Don’t do this.

Spiced Pecans

2 cups nuts
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons chili powder (your choice of how hot a variety to use)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of clove powder
2 teaspoons white sugar
1 /2 teaspoon coarse salt

1) Melt the butter in a broad, flat microwave dish, like a glass pie plate.

2) Add the nuts and stir to coat well with butter.

3) Sprinkle on the chili powder, cinnamon, and pinch of clove.


4) Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove. Stir.

5) Repeat step 4 once – or possibly more. What you are doing here is toasting the nuts.

Carefully sample one hot nut. Does it taste toasted yet or is it simply a hot raw nut? Depending on your microwave and your nuts, 2 minutes might be enough, but you might need 2 and 1 /2 minutes, or even 3. Keep your nose tuned, and if you smell scorching, stop! Tip them out of that hot dish ASAP to cool them quickly and stop the cooking.

6) When you remove the toasted hot nuts from the microwave, sprinkle with white sugar and coarse salt and stir in.


7) Cool before storing. I tip mine out onto a cookie sheet and start the next batch in that same buttery spicy microwave dish.

Finished product. Sweet and spicy and crunchy and altogether tasty!

Enjoy & Gift

You can purchase little cellophane “goodie” bags to gift these in, or wrap them up in plastic wrap and tie a pretty bow. Most of my friends and family now know to return all canning jars so they can get more tasty goodies from me. A nice pint jar of these treats can make a pretty gift.

Gift boxes or tine are nice – but may I suggest lining the inside with something that will prevent any oils from ruining the container.

When you gift food, or even something topical like home-made lotion, it is always best to include a list of ingredients. Just in case someone does have an allergy.

Need some Stocking Stuffers?Garden Help?

savor-honey-bookMay we suggest our dandy little cookbook?   Using Honey in New and Savory Ways offers 36 pages of tips for using honey in your cooking, as well as in all manner of dishes.

Price is what you would pay on Amazon – only when you buy from us you get a signed copy – and you help support some local Southwest folks!
From the review:
“Honey is for more than desserts and this book can help! Using honey in cooking savory dishes helps engage all your taste buds and adds a layer of added flavor to everyday dishes – plus holiday fare.”

Legal Notes

© Article copyright Savor the Southwest // Jacqueline A. Soule. All rights reserved. You must ask permission to republish an entire blog post or article. Okay to use a short excerpt but you must give proper credit. You must include a link back to the original post on our site. No stealing photos.


The authors of this website have researched the edibility of the materials we discuss.  However, humans vary in their ability to tolerate different foods, drinks, and herbs. Individuals consuming flowers, plants, animals, or derivatives mentioned on this site do so entirely at their own risk. The authors on this site cannot be held responsible for any adverse reaction. In case of doubt please consult your medical practitioner.

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