16 Sweet And Savory Pecan Recipes To Whip Up This Fall

As seasons shift, certain ingredients take center stage in our kitchens. While fall brings an array of pumpkin-centric dishes, we're huge fans of the humble pecan. These nuts offer not only a delightful texture to an array of dishes but also a distinctive, crave-worthy flavor that resonates with the crisp, cooler ambiance of the season.

While it's easy to conjure images of sweet treats like pecan pie when thinking of these nuts, their versatility extends far beyond dessert. Pecans serve as a remarkable crust for various meats, transforming an everyday main dish into something gourmet. They're equally mesmerizing as the star of some of our cherished fall treats. An essential tip for those hoping to make tasty pecan foods: Always take a moment to check if your recipe requires toasted pecans. This simple step can elevate the nut's flavor profile, so ensure you factor in toasting time when planning your culinary creations.

Stovetop candied pecans

We're head over heels for candied pecans. In fact, they rank as one of our top snack picks whenever we're meandering around Walt Disney World. Here's the best part: whipping up a batch at home is surprisingly straightforward. For this delightful treat, you'll need ingredients that are probably already gracing your pantry. Start with pecans, then gather water, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar.

The magic begins when you mix everything (except the pecans) until the sugar dissolves entirely. Once that's done, in go the pecans. It's crucial to ensure each pecan gets a generous coating, so take your time and be thorough. After you've achieved that perfect glaze, spread them out on parchment paper and let them cool. And guess what? No oven needed! We adore this recipe not only because it's a scrumptious way to enjoy pecans but also because it's a fantastic treat to share with guests.

Recipe: Stovetop Candied Pecans

Pecan-crusted trout

When it comes to baked fish, the idea of coating it with nuts might not instantly spring to mind. However, pecans bring a delightful taste and texture to trout, offering a satisfying crunch. To whip up this dish, you'll need trout and an assortment of ingredients for the crust. Pecans are the star and bread crumbs play a supporting role to achieve that impeccable coating. As for the flavors, rosemary, salt, and pepper are the way to go. An egg acts as the binding agent, ensuring the crust adheres to the trout seamlessly. And don't forget the flour. If dietary restrictions are a concern, gluten-free flour is a perfect substitute.

To begin, run the pecans through a food processor until they reach a fine crumb consistency. Combine them with the bread crumbs and rosemary. From there, the coating process is straightforward: First, dip the trout in flour, followed by the egg, and finally, the pecan mixture. Then, you'll bake it to perfection, aiming for a golden and delightfully crunchy finish.

Recipe: Pecan-Crusted Trout

Salted Caramel Almond Pecan Pralines

Pralines are the stuff of sweet (and sometimes salty) dreams, and we can't get enough of them. While pralines can be crafted with various nuts and their definition changes globally, this almond-pecan combo epitomizes everything we adore about this confection. The journey starts by roasting the pecans and almonds in the oven. Once they become fragrant and take on a lighter brown hue, give them time to cool while you prep the other ingredients.

Next, heat up the remaining components in a pan, ensuring everything melds together beautifully. Then, give everything a good stir before spooning your praline mixture onto a parchment-lined cooking sheet. Allow them to cool and harden, and then they're all done. While these pralines require a smidgen of oven time for roasting the nuts, the overall process is relatively simple. Be sure to keep your mixture below 240°F to achieve that perfect, soft, praline texture rather than a hard candy outcome.

Recipe: Salted Caramel Almond Pecan Pralines

Apple pecan chicken salad

If you have leftover chicken in your fridge and a handful of fresh ingredients, you're on the brink of crafting a delightful chicken salad. Begin by dicing your cooked chicken breasts into bite-sized chunks. Combine this with a diced and cored green apple, crisp celery, a hint of red onion, and aromatic chives. Stir these ingredients with pecan halves, mayo, salt, and a sprinkle of onion powder. The resulting mix is a balance of fresh and cooked components that serve as an ideal sandwich filler.

For those looking to elevate the classic, a touch of Dijon mustard or toasted bread can make all the difference. And if you're in the mood for some cheesy goodness, a slice of melted cheddar on top won't disappoint. It's important to chop your ingredients finely for the best texture, and while we lean towards chopping the pecan halves, the final decision is yours.

Recipe: Apple Pecan Chicken Salad

Classic Pecan Pie

Our adoration for pie knows no bounds, especially when it comes to the classic pecan pie. The delectable taste of pecans combined with the buttery, golden hue is simply irresistible. While the prospect of whipping up such a treat might seem daunting, especially with the challenge of crafting the perfect crust, there's a way to simplify things. Start by using a pre-made crust and give it a quick bake. Next, blend together your pie ingredients and pour them into the pre-baked crust.

The real magic happens during baking. Begin with an initial bake of 10 minutes, then dial down the oven's heat and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes. Once the top takes on that signature golden brown shade, you'll know you've achieved pecan pie perfection, and although some pecan pies have an entirely gooey inside, this one has pecan mixed in for a satisfying crunch in each bite.

Recipe: Classic Pecan Pie

Caramel Pecan Cheesecake Fruit Dip

Planning for a party? Amongst all the finger foods and savory dips, delight your guests with a delectable caramel pecan cheesecake dip that's sure to become the star of your spread. The preparation is a breeze. Start by finely chopping the pecans. Then, blend together the core ingredients: marshmallow, vanilla yogurt, caramel sauce, and cream cheese. We recommend allowing that cream cheese to sit for a bit before combining to make mixing super easy. Transfer this velvety cheesecake blend into a bowl fit for dipping, and sprinkle the chopped pecans on top.

While the pecans are typically garnished on top, feel free to mix some throughout the dip for added crunch. But remember, as guests dip into the bowl, the pecans naturally disperse, creating a delightful texture with each scoop. To complement this creamy and perfectly cream cheesy concoction, serve alongside a variety of fresh fruits. We especially enjoy plump strawberries and green grapes.

Recipe: Caramel Pecan Cheesecake Fruit Dip

Pecan-Crusted Chicken Breast

Chicken, with its versatile nature, can be an excellent canvas for a pecan coating. Unlike the trout, prepping chicken in this style is relatively straightforward. You'll start off by whisking together buttermilk, garlic powder, onion powder, and other chosen herbs to craft a rich marinade. Once you've cut the chicken into your desired pieces, immerse them in this marinade, ensuring they're well-coated. Let it rest in the refrigerator overnight to soak in all the flavors.

When you're ready to cook, you'll need a crumbly mixture of bread crumbs and crushed pecans. Retrieve your chicken from the fridge and coat each piece generously with the breadcrumb and pecan mix. Pop them into a preheated oven, and for safety and perfection, use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the chicken is thoroughly cooked before serving.

Recipe: Pecan-Crusted Chicken Breast

Pecan Sandies

For those who adore pecan pralines but are in the mood for something a bit different, the pecan sandies are a delightful alternative. These cookies boast a minimal ingredient list, letting the flavor of pecans truly shine through. The making process is a breeze. Begin by creaming together butter and brown sugar. Once they meld, gradually add in the flour, flavoring agents, and of course, the star – the pecans. As you mix, ensure that everything is well-integrated, periodically scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Once your dough is ready, shape into balls and gently press them down using the palm of your hand or the base of a glass cup. Upon removal from the oven, while they're still warm, dust them with powdered sugar — as light or as generous as you prefer.

Recipe: Pecan Sandies

Chocolate Turtles

Fans of "The Office" might recall an episode where Michael and Dwight try to woo potential clients with baskets brimming with treats. Notably among these gifts were turtles, and every time we craft these confections, it's hard not to reminisce about this great moment. Unlike certain pecan delicacies, these turtles require no oven magic and feature a relatively simple ingredient list.

To begin, neatly arrange pecan halves on a spacious parchment-lined tray. The next steps involve crafting a luscious caramel layer. In a saucepan, melt butter, heavy cream, corn syrup, and sugar together until smooth and golden. Drizzle this caramel over your pecans, followed by a generous layer of melted chocolate. Allow these layered delights to set and cool with the help of your refrigerator. 

Recipe: Chocolate Turtles

Pecan Pie Muffins

Nothing encapsulates the essence of fall quite like a steaming cup of coffee paired with warm, freshly-baked muffins. And with these muffins boasting flaxseed, you're indulging in a treat that leans towards the healthier side too.

To begin, create a flaxseed gel by combining ground flaxseeds with water. Allow this mixture to sit, turning gelatinous as it does. In a separate bowl, mix your flour, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Once the flaxseed mixture achieves its desired consistency, introduce it to the dry ingredients, along with some oil and molasses, ensuring everything blends smoothly. Spoon this batter into muffin pan liners and bake to perfection — don't forget to let them fully cool. This patience ensures the muffins set, allowing all flavors and textures to meld beautifully.

Recipe: Pecan Pie Muffins

Brown Butter and Pecan Ice Cream

If you're sick of the same old ice cream recipes to prepare with your ice cream maker, consider some brown butter and pecan ice cream. Begin by preparing an ice bath, setting it aside for later. In a large mixing bowl, separate some egg yolks; you'll be integrating more ingredients here, so ensure there's ample space. Over the stove, melt butter and watch it evolve into a deep amber shade, signaling its readiness with a rich, nutty aroma.

In a different saucepan, warm a blend of milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Gradually pour this into the egg yolks, whisking continuously to prevent the yolks from scrambling. Return the combined mixture to the stove until it achieves a slightly thicker consistency. Blend in heavy cream to introduce a velvety texture. This mix then goes into a 1-gallon freezer bag; seal it and submerge it in the earlier prepared ice bath. Once thoroughly chilled, churn it in your pre-frozen ice cream maker. After about 30 minutes, you'll have a creamy ice cream enriched with the decadence of brown butter and the crunch of pecans.

Recipe: Brown Butter and Pecan Ice Cream

Butter Pecan Cake

Fall beckons indulgence, and to combine this with one of our favorite fall ingredients, we love this buttery pecan cake. Ideal for special occasions or simply to delight your loved ones during a family dinner, this cake captures the essence of celebration. Begin by finely chopping your pecans, then meld them with melted butter, creating a nutty, aromatic mixture. In a mixer, blend the foundational ingredients: yogurt, flour, and other staples. Once combined, carefully fold in the butter-soaked pecans, preserving their texture to ensure every bite of the cake has a distinct crunch.

Split the batter between three cake pans, allowing for layers upon baking. Once baked and cooled, generously spread cream cheese frosting between these layers and coat the exterior. To finish,  sprinkle a little bit of pecan on top.

Recipe: Butter Pecan Cake

Classic Snowball Cookies

If you're in the mood for some pecan goodness, classic snowball cookies should be on your baking list. To start, finely chop your pecans — this ensures they blend seamlessly into each cookie bite. 

The rest of the ingredients are familiar favorites: butter, powdered sugar, salt, flour, and vanilla extract. Mix these together until well combined, then shape them into small balls. Once baked to perfection, while they're still warm, roll each cookie in powdered sugar. We suggest placing the sugar in a shallow bowl, allowing for an even, snow-like coating. These cookies not only capture the essence of a wintry treat but also offer a delightful, nutty twist perfect for the autumnal season.

Recipe: Classic Snowball Cookies

Chocolate-Coffee Pecan Pie

The classic pecan pie is undoubtedly a crowd-pleaser, but introducing chocolate and coffee into the mix elevates the dessert to a whole new level. The harmonious blend of the bitterness from the coffee, the sweetness of the pecans, and the richness of the chocolate ensures that this pie stands out from traditional recipes.

Start by pre-baking a store-bought crust just to give it a little head start. Once the crust is slightly cooled, sprinkle chocolate chips across its base. Arrange a layer of pecan halves on top of the chocolate. Now, create a luscious filling by whisking together sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, eggs, coffee powder, and a touch of cinnamon. Pour this mixture over the pecans, ensuring it settles around them. Bake until set. This indulgent twist on the classic is bound to become a new favorite.

Recipe: Chocolate-Coffee Pecan Pie

Kentucky Bourbon Balls

The Kentucky bourbon balls are a quintessential treat that marries the richness of pecans with the warmth of bourbon and the sweetness of chocolate. This no-bake dessert is both decadent and easy to make, although a touch of patience is required.

Start by oven-roasting finely chopped pecans, then allow them to soak in bourbon for several hours to infuse the flavors. After soaking, retain the bourbon and drain the pecans. Combine the soaked pecans with other ingredients to form a mixture that can be shaped into balls. Once rolled, coat these luscious balls in a blend of cocoa powder and powdered sugar for an extra layer of indulgence. Chill them in the refrigerator for a minimum of 20 minutes to firm up. These treats can last for up to two weeks, but we highly doubt these bites will actually make it that long.

Recipe: Kentucky Bourbon Balls

Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan Crust

For those looking to elevate their sweet potato pie game, a pecan-infused crust is the way to go, offering a nutty contrast to the creamy, spiced filling. Start with the crust by blending ginger, pecans, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor. Once finely ground, transfer to a bowl and chill briefly. Afterward, work in cold, cubed butter until it resembles coarse crumbs, followed by a careful addition of ice water to form the dough. Be sure to give it plenty of time to chill before rolling out for your pie.

The sweet potato filling combines the richness of sweet potatoes with aromatic spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Blend these with the usual suspects like sweet potatoes, butter, eggs, sugar, a slew of tasty spices, milk, and a splash of bourbon for a decadent depth of flavor. Pour this mixture into your pecan crust, bake, and watch as your guests are impressed by the perfect fusion of nutty crust and spiced filling. This pie, though slightly more labor-intensive than usual, promises a memorable addition to any festive occasion, especially Thanksgiving.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan Crust