Roasting nuts increases their flavor tenfold. Learning how to toast pecans is an essential skill that will take your recipes to the next level.

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: There are three easy methods to choose from: microwave, oven, or stovetop.

How long it takes: 5 to 10 minutes, depending on which method you choose
Equipment you’ll need: oven (or toaster oven), microwave, or skillet
Servings: Toasted pecans keep well so toast as many as you like.

Toasted pecans on a spatula.
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Toasted pecans are flavorful, crunchy, and healthy. Whether you’re eating them by the handful or tossing them onto a salad, pecans can be part of a healthy diet. They contain protein, fiber, and nutrients (Healthline).

Pecans are a delicious topping for oatmeal (try Instant Pot steel cut oats or crockpot oatmeal) and yogurt with fruit. They add that special something to grain bowls and salads. Chopped pecans can transform plain white rice or quinoa.

Why Toast Pecans?

  • Better Flavor: Roasting or toasting any nuts or seeds gives them a richer, nuttier flavor. It takes away the raw green flavor which sometimes can be slightly bitter.
  • Better Texture: Toasted pecans are crunchier. They have a crisp texture, similar to anything else that’s toasted (think croutons).
  • Better Color: Roasting pecans turns them into a beautiful shade of golden brown.
  • Easy to Do: You get all of that goodness from pecans (better flavor, better texture, better color!) simply by toasting them. It’s so easy and I’ll show you three easy methods to toast pecans. You’ll want to put this how-to in your cooking toolbox.

Toasted Pecans In Baked Goods

You may be wondering if you should toast pecans before adding them to your favorite bread or muffin recipe. The answer is Yes! When pecans are encased in batter, there’s lots of moisture and no air circulation. The pecans get hot but they don’t get toasted. That means they won’t have that  yummy toasted flavor or crisp texture. However, there’s one exception. If the pecans are sprinkled on top of a baked good, it’s better not to toast them first because they may get too brown.

Toasting Other Nuts and Seeds

All three methods work for any type of nuts or seeds. Sliced almonds, walnuts, and pecan halves are pictured but you can also toast whole almonds, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, and so on.

Note: Roasting times will vary depending on the size of the nut or seed so I don’t recommend toasting more than one kind of nut at a time.

Check out how to toast pine nuts, how to toast almonds, and how to toast walnuts for more specific instructions. Watch future posts to learn more about toasting various types of nuts and seeds.

Incidentally, If you love almonds, be sure to take a look at my recipes for olive oil roasted almonds, cinnamon roasted almonds, rosemary roasted almonds, and smoky roasted almonds. So many choices!

Three types of toasted nuts on a pan.

Do You Need to Add Butter or Oil?

You can toast pecans without butter or oil. Nuts have natural oils which are flavorful and good for you so it doesn’t make sense to mask that flavor with added butter or oil. Sometimes, nuts that are toasted for snack mixes have added butter or oil to help seasoning adhere.

Can You Toast Pecans in Air Fryer?

I don’t advise toasting nuts or seeds in an air fryer. There’s a lot of air flow in an air fryer. Nuts and seeds are too lightweight and tend to fly around inside the air fryer.

How To Toast Pecans (3 Methods)

Toasting Pecans on the Stovetop

Choose a skillet that’s large enough to arrange the pecans in a single layer. Heat them over medium low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. When they are golden brown and smell toasted, remove the pan from the heat. Immediately pour the pecans onto a plate to cool, arranging them in a single layer.

Toasting Pecans in the Microwave

Choose a plate that is microwave safe and large enough to spread the pecans out in a single layer. Microwave at 100% power for a minute, and stir the pecans. Continue to microwave in 30 second increments, stirring each time, until the pecans are golden. Transfer to another plate to cool.

Pecan halves on ap late.

Toasting Pecans in the Oven (or Toaster Oven)

It’s important that the oven is preheated to 350ºF before you put the pecans in to toast. Arrange the pecans on a small rimmed baking sheet. If you want, line the pan with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup.

Bake the pecans for 7 to 10 minutes or until they are golden brown. Stir them at least once during the baking time because the pecans on the outer edges will brown more quickly than the ones in the center.

Immediately transfer the roasted pecans to another plate to cool.

Pecan halves being toasted on a sheet pan.

Tips For Success

  • Pay attention! It doesn’t take long for pecans to go from golden brown to burnt. Watch them closely and pay attention to how they look and smell.
  • Stir frequently. Move the pecans around so they brown on all sides. This is especially important with the microwave method. Microwaves tend to heat unevenly.
  • Remove them from the pan to cool. It’s tempting to just set the pan of pecans to the side to let them cool but that’s a mistake. The hot pan will continue to toast the pecans and they will get a scorched flavor. Pour them out of the hot pan onto a plate or another flat surface, making sure they are spread apart for good air circulation.

Helpful Tip

Always taste pecans before toasting them or adding them to a recipe to make sure they don’t have a rancid or bitter flavor. If the pecans smell strong or have a chemical odor, they probably have gone bad and should be discarded.

FAQs

Is it better to toast pecans whole or in pieces?

You can do either, but pecan halves toast more evenly than chopped pecans. If your recipe calls for chopped pecans, toast the halves first, then chop the pecans once they are cool enough to handle.

Embellish the Pecans

Toasted pecans are tasty without any embellishments but if you add a few spices and a little sweetener, pecans become truly amazing. Wondering how you can make toasted pecans into a memorable snack or appetizer? Here are a few recipes for you:

Pecan half held in a hand.

Storage Tips

How long do toasted pecans last? You can rest easy knowing that toasted pecans will keep nearly as well as raw pecans. Toast a big batch and they will be conveniently ready the next time you bake or have a craving for nuts.

  • Cool the pecans completely before storing them. They should be at room temperature to prevent condensation from forming on the inside of the container which causes the pecans to spoil more quickly.
  • Refrigerate: Place the pecans in an airtight container or clean glass jar. Refrigerate for up to 6 months.
  • Freeze: Store the pecans in a freezer-safe container. Pecans can absorb moisture and/or smells from the freezer so it’s important to wrap them well. They’ll keep for up to 9 months. Thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes or so.

More How-Tos

Recipe

How to Toast Pecans – three methods!

4.50 from 8 votes
Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 6 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Roasting nuts increases their flavor tenfold. Learning how to toast pecans is an essential skill that will take your recipes to the next level.
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Ingredients 

  • 1 cup raw pecan halves or chopped pecans (see note)

Instructions 

Stove Top Method:

  • Place the pecans in a dry frying pan (no oil or water needed) in a single layer.
  • Turn the heat to medium-low and toast the pecans until fragrant and golden brown, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
  • Immediately transfer the toasted pecans to a plate, arranging them in a single layer. If you leave them in the hot pan, they will continue to cook and may scorch.

Microwave Method:

  • Spread pecan halves in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate.
  • Microwave on full power (100%) for 1 minute, stir, and then continue to microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until pecans are fragrant and golden brown. The microwave tends to heat unevenly so it’s important to watch them closely and stir them frequently.
  • Transfer to pecans to another plate to cool, arranged in a single layer.

Oven Method (or Toaster Oven):

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • Spread pecans in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper or foil, if desired.
  • Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring at least once halfway through, or until golden brown. The pecans along the edges of pan will brown more quickly than in the center of the pan, so it’s important to move them around.
  • Transfer the pecans to a plate to cool, arranging them in a single layer.

Notes

  • Pecan halves toast more evenly than chopped pecans. If your recipe calls for chopped pecans, for best results, toast the halves first, then chop the pecans once they are cool enough to handle.
  • Storage: Both raw and toasted pecans should be stored in either the refrigerator or freezer to keep them from becoming rancid.
  • Toast larger amounts. If you prefer, toast more than 1 cup of pecans. The oven method works best for larger batches.
  • Toast different nuts or seeds. All 3 methods can be used to toast other types of nuts and seeds, too. Adjust cooking times according to the size of the nut or seed.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoon, Calories: 86kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Potassium: 51mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 0.5g, Vitamin A: 7IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 9mg, Iron: 0.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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2 Comments

  1. Deby says:

    3 stars
    It would yhelp if you gave the temp of the oven!!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      It’s included in the recipe, but I’m guessing you were looking in those post. We updated that to make it more clear.