How to Roast Pecans in the Oven, Air Fryer or (*Gasp*) Microwave

If pecans only show up on your table on top of a Thanksgiving pie, you’re really missing out. Not only are they protein-packed like other nuts, they’re also pretty darn delicious. Especially when they’re roasted or toasted to a gorgeous golden-brown. Sprinkle them on salad, use them in a crust or topping on salmon, whip up a batch of sticky buns or snack on them by the fistful. Learn how to roast pecans four different ways, plus what recipes to tackle once you’re a pro.

Are Pecans Healthy?

A handful of pecans is one midnight snack your trainer can get behind. In fact, all nuts are bursting with protein and healthy fats. They’re great for managing cravings and staying full when you’re on the go, plus can even help regulate blood sugar, lower your risk of heart disease and fight inflammation. Just be careful not to overdo it—a quarter-cup should hold you and your munchies over. Have them with fruit or veggies if you’re still feeling peckish.

How Do You Roast Pecans in the Oven?

Whether you’re making trail mix, a crunchy salad topper or breading for chicken or fish, roasting pecans in the oven is the best way to make the nuts evenly flavorful and toasty.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Place the pecans in a large bowl. Drizzle them with olive oil, then toss the nuts until they’re evenly coated.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour the nuts onto the baking sheet in an even layer.
  4. Sprinkle the nuts with salt if desired and bake until you can smell them toasting, about 10 to 12 minutes.

How Do You Toast Pecans on the Stove?

Roasting exposes the nuts to dry, high heat and cooks them all the way through, while toasting means browning them on the outside. But these terms are often used interchangeably. If you only need a handful or two of pecans to, say, toss on a salad, cooking them on the stove will take you from zero to yum fast and you won’t even have to turn on the oven. Skip the butter or oil if you want to keep them as low-calorie as possible, but these fats help make the pecans more flavorful. If you’re planning to snack on them solo, definitely treat yourself.

  1. Add butter or olive oil (optional; about 1 tablespoon for every cup of nuts) to a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Pour in the nuts into the skillet and stir until they’re evenly coated. Spread them out in a single layer so no nuts are overlapping.
  3. Let the pecans toast for about 5 minutes until they’re browned and aromatic. Be sure to stir often so they don’t burn.

How Do You Toast Pecans in the Air Fryer?

If you’re a lucky duck with an air fryer, you’ve likely figured out that it can make pretty much *anything* crispy and delicious. And nuts are no exception.

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 300°F.
  2. Place the pecans in the basket in a single layer.
  3. Set the timer for 6 minutes. Check the nuts when the timer goes off to see if they’re toasted to your liking. If not, put them back in for another 2 to 4 minutes.

How Do You Toast Pecans in the Microwave?

This is arguably the quickest, most hands-off method. It’s best for smaller portions of pecans (like a handful or two, or 1 full cup) that don’t need all the space of a baking sheet. You can also toast shredded coconut this way in a pinch.

  1. Put a layer of raw pecans on a microwave-safe plate.
  2. Microwave on high for one minute at a time until the nuts are browned and aromatic.

How to Store Roasted or Toasted Pecans

Nuts and nut butters are considered non-perishable by the FDA, meaning they have a long shelf-life and don’t need to be refrigerated. An airtight container will keep raw nuts at peak freshness the longest, about four to six months at room temperature or up to one year in the freezer. Once they’re toasted or roasted, they’ll keep for up to three weeks in an airtight container.

Ready to cook? Here are some of our favorite recipes that call for toasted or roasted pecans.

Level up at your next dinner party by setting out a few bowls of Roasted Mixed Nuts. Sick of red sauce? Any-Green Pesto can be made with whatever leafy greens and nuts you have in your kitchen right this minute. This Apple Pecan Arugula Salad will keep you trucking on through your usual afternoon slump. For dinner or your next barbecue, try Pecan Crusted Salmon with Garlic Maple Glaze (it’ll only take you 20 minutes). And for dessert, we’re sprinkling Cinnamon Roasted Pecans over a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.

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taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...