Crispy Citrus-Candied Pistachios Recipe

These crispy candied pistachios make great use of homemade fresh lemon syrup.

Photographs: Vicky Wasik

Why This Recipe Works

  • Fresh Lemon Syrup is almost pure sugar, giving the pistachios a super-crisp candy shell.
  • A light coat of organic powdered sugar prevents the sticky roasted pistachios from clumping as they cool.
  • Organic powdered sugar has a subtle toffee flavor that's not too sweet.

This recipe takes advantage of Fresh Lemon Syrup, which doesn't contain any added water or juice, helping the pistachios toast up extra crisp and crunchy. The syrup's subtle acidity brightens the darker notes of the roasted nuts and caramelized sugar, keeping the overall flavor fresh and light, perfect for sprinkling over spring salads and fruity desserts, or just snacking out of hand.

March 2016

Recipe Details

Crispy Citrus-Candied Pistachios Recipe

Active 5 mins
Total 20 mins
Serves 3 to 4 servings
Makes 5 ounces

These crispy candied pistachios make great use of homemade fresh lemon syrup.


  • 5 ounces (1 cup; 140g) shelled pistachios (see note)

  • 1 1/4 ounces (2 tablespoons; 35g) Fresh Lemon Syrup

  • 1 ounce (1/4 cup; 25g) powdered sugar, preferably organic

  • 1/8 ounce (1 tablespoon; 4g) freshly grated lemon zest (optional)


  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350°F. Combine pistachios and lemon syrup in a small bowl, stirring to coat. Spoon onto a rimmed aluminum baking sheet lined with parchment (not waxed paper or aluminum foil). Toast pistachios until deep amber in color, 12 to 15 minutes; the acidic syrup browns dramatically, which makes the pistachios difficult to judge by eye, but don't mistake this for burning.

  2. Sift powdered sugar into a medium bowl and whisk with lemon zest, if using. Add hot pistachios and toss to coat. Set aside until cool and crisp, about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months at room temperature.

Special Equipment

Rimmed aluminum baking sheet


To my surprise, this recipe works equally well with raw or roasted pistachios, so use whatever's easiest to find, or try pecan halves instead (these are better raw). Other nuts, like almonds and hazelnuts, aren't porous enough to absorb the syrup, so they won't crisp up the same w

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
281 Calories
16g Fat
31g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 281
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 163mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 18g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 6mg 28%
Calcium 41mg 3%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 366mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)