Sweet and Spicy Red Chile Pecans

Red Chile Pecans roasted with a slurry of maple syrup and New Mexico red chile powder #redchile #New Mexico #pecans | mjskitchen.com


When you live in a state that is one of the top three pecan producers in the U.S., why buy pecans from anywhere else.  On a yearly basis, Bobby and I go through about 20 pounds or more of New Mexico shelled pecans.  Last week I bought my first 5 pounds of the year from the New Mexico Pecan Company and just couldn’t resist making a couple of batches of these red chile pecans.

We love these pecans!  They’re spicy, but not too much, and just a little sweet.  The spiciness comes from a medium hot Dixon or Chimayo red chile powder and the sweetness from maple syrup, as well as a bit from the chile.  With only five ingredients (one being the pecans), these red chile pecans are SO easy to make, but the problem is, they are addicting.  This makes them disappear as fast as you can make them.  Of course the solution to that problem is to make a double batch and that’s easy to do.

If you need another reason to make these red chile pecans (which I doubt, but just in case), I’ll give you several.  Pecans contain potent antioxidants, a plethora of minerals (e.g., potassium, manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium), thiamin (B1), and fiber.  Yes, they are high in fat, but over 50% of the fat content is monounsaturated.  Less than 9% of the fat comes from saturated fats.  They are relatively low in sugar compared to some other nuts, but taste sweeter.  For a complete breakdown of the nutrition of pecans, check out these charts from nutritionvalue.org.


Sweet and Spicy Red Chile Pecans

Red Chile Pecans roasted with a slurry of maple syrup and New Mexico red chile powder #redchile #New Mexico #pecans @mjskitchen


Roasted Maple and Red Chile Pecans
5 mins
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Red chile pecans make a nice little snack - slightly sweet, a little spicy, and totally addicting.

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"*" See Kitchen Notes for more information or links to special ingredients.

Course: Red Chile, Snack, Vegan
Cuisine: New Mexico, Southwestern
Yields: 2 cups
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ's Kitchen
  • 1/2 pound pecan halves* (generous 2 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. medium to hot red chile powder*
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  1. You'll need a sheet pan large enough to spread 2 cups of pecan in one layer.

  2. Preheat oven to 275° F.

  3. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, maple syrup, chile powder and sea salt.  Once well blended, add the pecans.

  4. Using a spatula, stir the pecans to coat evenly with the chile/maple mixture.

  5. Spray or wipe the sheet pan with oil.
  6. Spread the seasoned pecans out in one layer in the sheet pan.

  7. Place pecans in preheated oven. In 10 minutes, remove from oven and stir the pecans. They will be moist and sticky.  Return to the oven.

  8. At this point, stir the pecans every 5 minutes until done.  With each stirring you'll see the pecan coating getting less and less sticky and the pecans starting to roast or darken.

  9. After 25 minutes, the pecans should be nicely roasted, drier, and easy to separate.  If still sticky, return and roast another 5 minutes.

  10. Transfer to mixing bowl, and stir with spatula to separate and cool.  Let pecans cool in the bowl, stirring occasionally to keep them from sticking together. 

  11. Once cool, transfer to an airtight container and enjoy! 

Kitchen Notes

Pecans - Pecan halves are better than pecan pieces, but if pieces are what you have, then don't hesitate to use them.  However, cut the roasting time by 5 - 10 minutes.


Amount of pecans - If you are looking for a hint of sweetness and a hint of spice, then increase the amount of pecans to 3/4 cup.  Keep the other ingredients and instructions the same.


Red Chile Powder - For this recipe, I use New Mexico powders, specifically Dixon Red Chile Powder or Chimayo Red Chile Powder.  Both of these powders have a slightly sweet finish which works nicely with the maple syrup and the sweetness of the pecans.  For a little more spiciness, throw in 1/2 tsp. of a hotter chile powder such as cayenne or serrano.


If you don't have  New Mexico chile powder, other chile powders could be used - Kashmiri,  Serrano, Korean red chile, murupi amerela, or whatever you like.  Chipotle would yield a very smoky and very hot pecan.  Also, you could use a blend of chile powder for a more complex flavor profile. Just be careful not to use a bitter tasting chile or one with a bitter finish. What you taste in the chile is what you taste in the final product.


This is a good recipe to play around with different flavors.  Have fun!



Red Chile Pecans make a nice healthy afternoon snack.  They are also a great snack to take on road trips or throw in the lunch box.  If you are looking for more healthy snacks, then check out these out.

Apple, Walnut and Raisin Snack

Masala Chex Mix

Sweet and Spicy Pepitas

Spicy Roast Chickpeas by Kitchen Riffs

Persian Style Candied Almonds with Lime by Ahu Eats

Quinoa Crispies (with Truffle salt) by The Wimpy Vegetarian


Parting Shots

Pecan groves of southern New Mexico.

Rows of pecan trees in the Hatch Valley in southern New Mexico | mjskitchen.com

Flood irrigation is used to water the trees.  Because New Mexico is prone to droughts and water restrictions, many farmers are working on ways to reduce the amount of water needed for flood irrigation.

Flood irrigation to water the pecan trees | mjskitchen.com


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41 Responses to “Sweet and Spicy Red Chile Pecans”

  1. Sissi February 19, 2018 at 3:36 am #

    Pecans are in a way a bit exotic here. They are more expensive than walnuts for example and not found in every shop, so somehow I tend to forget their existence. Thank you for sharing these photographs because frankly I’ve never seen pecans grow!
    Your spicy pecans of course look absolutely delicious to me. I must remember to buy some and prepare these chile snacks. Together with spicy pepitas!

    • mj February 19, 2018 at 9:07 pm #

      Thanks for your comments Sissi! The house the I grew up in in Louisiana had a pecan tree and my grandmother who lived, not far away had 3 – 4 pecan trees. Therefore, pecans were plentiful growing. When I actually had to start buying pecans, I was shocked at the price, but I’m sure they are still cheaper here than where you are. Of course since I became addicted to them as a child, I’m willing to pay the price. 🙂

  2. steve manuel February 17, 2018 at 5:27 am #

    I’ve been following MJ’s Kitchen for a long time and am always astounded at the culinary gems found on each page of this incredible website………..Bravo

    • mj February 17, 2018 at 4:58 pm #

      Thanks so much Steve! All of your comments and emails are greatly appreciated!

  3. Debra Eliotseats February 15, 2018 at 7:04 pm #

    I made some green and red chile spiced pecans for Christmas (from a NM Magazine recipe) but I love the maple syrup angle here.

    • mj February 17, 2018 at 4:56 pm #

      Thanks Debra! I’m going to be trying green chile ones next.Thanks for letting me know where you found your recipe.

  4. Liz February 15, 2018 at 6:06 pm #

    Oooh, I could easily become addicted to these sweet-salty gems!! Lucky you living near to pecan groves 🙂

    • mj February 17, 2018 at 4:56 pm #

      Thanks Liz! I’m nibbling on some now. 🙂

  5. Abbe@This is How I Cook February 15, 2018 at 4:29 pm #

    Totally addicting! I love these and can never stop at a handful! So glad you posted them!

    • mj February 17, 2018 at 4:55 pm #

      Thanks Abbe! I know right? I can’t stop eating them either.

  6. Tamara February 15, 2018 at 4:12 pm #

    What better combination than red chile and pecans? You’ve really got me missing the Land of Enchantment! I would totally love these in a spinach salad (yes, that’s the way my brain works)… Great recipe MJ!

    • mj February 17, 2018 at 4:55 pm #

      Thanks so much Tamara! They are great in a salad and today I add some to a tuna salad. Awesome!

  7. Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) February 15, 2018 at 7:51 am #

    Did I know that NM grew Pecans? I remember seeing large pecan groves around Tucson years ago. What beautiful big trees. And yet another NM food product to haul back with me next trip. Which is in a few weeks by the way. Yay. And I’ll be sure to try this recipe – you know me that that Chimayo Powder.

    • mj February 17, 2018 at 4:54 pm #

      Yes we do! In fact, last year we outproduced Georgia who is normally the number one producer. The top 3 are Georgia, NM and Texas. Most of the groves are in southern NM, but everything I drive south, I see more and more groves popping up along I-25 just south of ABQ. With the lack of rain and snow we’ve had this year, it’s going to be interesting to see how it affects our pecan and chile growers. Hope you enjoy your trip to New Mexico!!!

  8. 2pots2cook February 15, 2018 at 3:13 am #

    It is not that easy to find pecans over here. I managed to find the last batch in Hungary so there are several packages in my pantry left … Since I am a great admirer of your kitchen twists, this is something I will gladly make and try….. It seems that I will take another trip to Hungary sooner than planned 🙂 Thank you dear MJ.

    • mj February 17, 2018 at 4:49 pm #

      It’s interesting how ingredients change in different parts of the country. Out of curiosity, what types of nuts are more commonly available in your area? This recipe doesn’t have to have pecans. You could use something else. Thanks for your comment!

  9. Miriam - londonkitchendiaries.com February 15, 2018 at 2:57 am #

    What a healthy treat and I love the combination of sweet & spicy! They look so incredibly delicious, need to make a batch soon!

    • mj February 17, 2018 at 4:46 pm #

      Thanks Miriam! Yep…sweet and spicy is a favorite combo of mine as well.

  10. Kelly@InspiredEdibles February 14, 2018 at 9:22 pm #

    Look at those pecan groves! 20 pounds a year sounds like a lot but as I think about it, we probably come close to that in our walnut intake. It’s easy to do when you eat them on the daily. I can imagine these spiced beauties being irresistible – just the right bite without too much love 🙂 and you can’t beat the simplicity. What a lovely little keeper.

    • mj February 17, 2018 at 4:45 pm #

      Thanks Kelly! True on the the amount of nuts. I’m probably underestimating because we do eat them almost every day. Walnuts are your pecans? Interesting. I back with walnuts, but very seldom use them for snacking. Probably because of the access to pecans. 🙂 It would be fun to try this recipe with walnuts. I might just have to do that. Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.

      • Kelly@InspiredEdibles February 18, 2018 at 12:56 pm #

        We eat walnuts in our porridge every morn 🙂 for this recipe, I’d go with your pecans! Looking forward to trying.

  11. Raymund February 14, 2018 at 5:38 pm #

    Now where is the beer! this is so perfect with it

    • mj February 17, 2018 at 4:39 pm #

      Definitely to be served with beer!!

  12. Evelyne CulturEatz February 14, 2018 at 2:08 pm #

    Oh I never saw a pecan grove before. I have to say I envious of your easy access to pecans! I love them but they cost and arm and a leg here. And sweet spicy nuts like this are such a fabulous snack!

    • mj February 17, 2018 at 4:38 pm #

      Thanks Evelyne! Unfortunately, I don’t think pecans are cheap anywhere, but I’m sure I pay less than you. 🙂

  13. Jan February 14, 2018 at 7:40 am #

    How I love pecans!! They sure wouldn’t last long at our house. I could see them topping a green salad or chopped up in a chicken salad. Great recipe MJ!

    • mj February 14, 2018 at 12:52 pm #

      Thanks Jan! Oh I do love the idea of putting them in a chicken salad! Need to do that soon before we eat this double batch. 🙂 Wait, I have 4 more pounds. I’ll just another batch. 🙂

  14. April J Harris February 14, 2018 at 7:36 am #

    I was so interested to see the pecan groves, MJ! I think pecans are one of my favourite nuts and I love how you’ve served them here. I’m glad they are good for us because I wouldn’t be able to stop eating them! Pinned. Please do pop by and share with the Hearth and Soul Link Party if you have time. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • mj February 14, 2018 at 12:51 pm #

      Thanks April! The pecan groves are pretty amazing especially when you are driving them miles of them. Until I got on the back roads, I had no idea that NM had some many groves. When they are leafed out, the groves are gorgeous! I will pop by your site. Thanks!

  15. Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today February 14, 2018 at 2:45 am #

    Sweet and spicy is my favourite combo. I do have pecans and I am curious 😀 Tomasz will be very happy for this snack 😀

    • mj February 14, 2018 at 12:50 pm #

      Thanks Marta! The sweet and spicy is my favorite combo as well. 🙂

  16. Angie@Angie's Recipes February 13, 2018 at 10:31 pm #

    Sweet and spicy…what a great combo of flavours! Bet these are not only delicious, also very addictive, MJ.

    • mj February 14, 2018 at 12:49 pm #

      Definitely addicting! 🙂 Thanks Angie!

  17. Deb|EastofEdenCooking February 13, 2018 at 6:10 pm #

    What a stellar snack! I’m daydreaming about how great these sweet and spicy pecans would be with ice cream, just wow.

    • mj February 14, 2018 at 12:49 pm #

      Thanks Deb! I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t be great on top of ice cream or even churned into it. I make a pecan chocolate ice cream during the summer. Bet that would be good with these pecans. Thanks for the idea!

  18. John / Kitchen Riffs February 13, 2018 at 5:56 pm #

    I’ve been using a lot of medium-hot Dixon chile powder lately. Love the stuff! Love pecans, too, but haven’t put the two together. Yet. 🙂 Terrific recipe — thanks.

    • mj February 14, 2018 at 12:47 pm #

      Thanks John! Yes, the Dixon chile is quite tasty and add a nice flavor to these pecans without making them hot.

  19. Su Anne February 13, 2018 at 5:53 pm #

    These are yummy, yummy. yummy. They are the perfect thank you gift for folks whose dietary restrictions are a mystery to me, my two closest neighbors that avoid gluten for instance. Decades ago Pasqual’s would make them at Christmas. I tried several times to come up with a good recipe and failed. Your recipe is great! Thanks MJ!

    • mj February 14, 2018 at 12:46 pm #

      Thanks Su Anne! So glad you like them!!! Yes, they do make a nice little gift. BTW – The was the first time I had ordered pecans from the NM Pecan Co. It’s out of Las Cruces. Really, good pecans. Meaty and tasty. They have a sale going on for a 5 pound bag.

  20. Nadalyn February 13, 2018 at 4:55 pm #

    I don’t think even a double batch would last as long as it takes to make them around here, but it would be nice to try! They look and sound scrumptious.

    • mj February 14, 2018 at 12:44 pm #

      Thanks Nadalyn! I know what you mean! I read the other day that nuts help to improve absorption of calcium. Like I really needed another reason to eat pecans. 🙂

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