The perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and smoky, Honey Chipotle Lime Cashews are roasted to perfection and completely addictive, making them a fantastic gift or a tasty party snack!
How was your Christmas, friends? I hope it was fabulous. Ours was relaxing and low-key, which is just what we needed after a whirlwind December. And now we’re counting down to 2016. How the heck is that already here? Seriously, the older I get, the faster the years fly by. It’s a bit alarming to be quite honest, but it makes me all the more determined to embrace the present and savor every moment.
You know what else I’ve been savoring? (How’s that for a segue?) These Honey Chipotle Lime Cashews! They’re sweet. They’re spicy. They’re smoky with a hint of lime. AND THEY ARE POSITIVELY ADDICTIVE. As in, I polished off an entire batch pretty much by myself in an embarrassingly short period of time. Because, you know, blog testing purposes. Consuming copious of amounts of cashews in an effort to ensure quality control is a small sacrifice to make for my loyal readers. 😉
In addition to the amazing flavors co-mingling on these nuts, they are a snap to make. A mixture of honey, brown sugar, lime juice, chipotle powder, and salt are tossed with whole cashews, which are then baked until glazed and toasty. In fact, the only effort that this recipe really requires is occasionally stirring the cashews while they cook and frequently stirring them as they cool (so as to minimize sticking). But that little bit of work is well worth it when you taste the final results!
If you’re not already familiar with chipotle powder (my bottle actually says Chipotle Chile Pepper) you should remedy that, STAT. It’s my favorite way to add a subtle smoke to recipes without relying on something like liquid smoke (of which, quite frankly, I’m a little leery because I’ve never understood exactly how smoke can be transformed into a liquid???). Chipotle powder is simply ground-up, smoke dried jalapeños. Hence, it boasts a nice bit of heat in addition to its smokiness, which lends these cashews a delightfully spicy kick. You can tweak it up or down depending on your preferences, but don’t leave it out!
Balancing out the spicy, smoky chipotle powder in this recipe is sweet honey. You want to be sure to cook these nuts long enough so as to dry them out a bit (but not too long, as they can go from perfectly toasted to charred in mere minutes), and you definitely want to be sure that you stir them every 8 minutes while cooking and then almost continuously as they cool. I also like to scoop the nuts onto a clean, cool, rimmed baking sheet as soon as they come out of the oven for all of that aforementioned stirring action, which leaves behind any excess honey and cuts down on their ultimate stickiness.
One thing I noticed about these nuts is that they seemed to become less spicy and more sticky as the days went on. So if they’re not going to be eaten soon after making them, just be prepared for subtle changes in their flavor and texture. Nevertheless, believe me when I say that we enjoyed them just as much on day 3 as on day 1.
So to sum things up, I highly recommend throwing together a batch of these Honey Chipotle Lime Cashews for your New Year’s Eve festivities…or to jazz up a salad…or for your college football bowl game munching…or for your one-last-hurrah-before-the-January-diet-starts snacking. They’re easy to make and they’re just plain yummy…AKA, the perfect way to close out another (whizzed-by-at-the-speed-of-light) year. Happy New Year, y’all!
Honey Chipotle Lime Cashew Recipe
Honey Chipotle Lime Cashews
- 32 ounces whole roasted unsalted cashews, about 6 1/2 to 7 cups
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as canola, plus more for oiling pan
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder, ground chipotle chile pepper
- 2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a large (such as a 12x18x1-inch) rimmed sheet pan and set aside.
- Put cashews in a large bowl. Mix in canola oil. In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together brown sugar, honey, lime juice, chipotle powder, and salt. Pour over cashews and toss to evenly coat. Spread cashews onto prepared sheet pan.
- Bake for 24 minutes, stirring every 8 minutes. At that point, bake for a few more minutes until nuts are glazed and golden brown (total baking time will probably be between 25 and 30 minutes). Remove pan from oven and use a slotted spoon or spatula to transfer nuts to a clean sheet pan. Stir every minute or two until nuts are cooled. Taste and season with additional salt, if desired. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- You may add more or less chipotle powder depending on how spicy you'd like your nuts.
- Stirring frequently while baking and cooling is the key to minimizing stickiness. Once cool, don't pack cashews down into their storage container or they are more likely to stick together in clumps.
Adapted from Food Network
More Tasty Nut Recipes
- Cinnamon Sugar Candied Pecans
- Holiday Honeycrisp Salad
- Chocolate Coconut Almond Granola
- Pecan Praline Honey Butter
- Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole