Bacon Cashews only have four ingredients, and they're a total snap to make. Eat them on their own or use them to top soups, salads, or your favorite bowl!
Often, when I tell someone that I'm vegan, after they ask me how I live without cheese, they wax poetic about loving bacon. Y'all, I get it. Bacon tastes good. That salty, smoky, savory crunchiness is addictive (literally!)
But you don't have to harm animals and clog your arteries to indulge in some bacon-y goodness. These bacon cashews can bring all of that good, bacon flavor in a healthier, cruelty-free package.
PSST! Got an air fryer? You can use it to cook your bacon cashews in about half the time. Check out my recipe for Air Fryer Bacon Cashews for that full recipe.
Flavoring Bacon Cashews
So, remember last week, when I said that Darrol Henry dips his cashews into BBQ sauce? Obviously, I was curious about how they tasted, so I tried one. Delicious! They actually tasted slightly bacony to me at first, and I thought, "Oh my gosh. What if I made bacon cashews?"
Of course, there are no bacons in these cashews. The secret ingredient to these crunchy, rich, smoky bacon cashews is liquid smoke.
I used to be afraid of liquid smoke. It seemed like a fake ingredient to me, but after seeing it in lots of recipes and doing some research on how to make it, I've laid my fears to rest.
It turns out it really is made from smoke!
You might not think about it when you taste it, but bacon is also slightly sweet.
Since it was my molasses-y homemade BBQ sauce recipe that gave me this idea in the first place, I am using molasses to add sweetness and depth to this recipe.
If you can't find blackstrap molasses at the store, you can substitute maple syrup, but I really feel like the molasses gives this recipe a distinct flavor that's worth the hunt.
Don't burn your cashews!
If you've never roasted your own nuts, you're in for such a treat! It's super easy to do, and the results make the house smell amazing. And fresh, smoky roasted bacon cashews, still warm from the oven are a real delight.
Unlike most oven recipes, you do need to keep an eye on these cashews while they roast toward the end of the baking cycle.
Roasted nuts darken slightly when they're ready, and the line between not done and overdone is thin. Keep an eye, and don't skip the stirring. It's key to preventing a burnt mess!
Bacon Cashews: 4 Ingredients, Less than 30 Minutes
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a large bowl, toss together all of the ingredients, making sure to coat the cashews really well (and really evenly!).
- Spread the cashews out on on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper. If there’s any liquid left in the bowl, use a spoon or rubber spatula to scrape it out, and drizzle it over the cashews.
- Bake for 16-20 minutes, stirring every 4 minutes, being especially careful to check the cashews on the edges of the pan. Those will burn first, so make sure to stir thoroughly each time. During the last 4 minutes, I recommend checking on these babies every minute or two, to prevent burning. You don’t have to stir every minute, but definitely check in. The variance in baking time depends on a lot of things. Whole cashews will need more time, halves and pieces will need less (maybe even less than 16, so keep a close eye!). Humidity in your kitchen will also impact cooking time. Your bacon cashews are ready when the pan is on the dry side, the cashews have darkened a bit, and the house smells amazing. If you taste one while it’s cooking, don’t worry if it’s a little bit chewy – like coconut bacon, these bacon cashews will get crunchier once they’re cooled. Trust me: I burnt my first batch, because I was waiting for them to get crunchy. Don’t be like me!
- Let them cool to room temperature – about 10-15 minutes – then transfer to your storage container of choice. DO NOT store them until they cool completely, because then you'll get condensation in your container, and that will make your cashews moldy.
- Your bacon cashews will keep for up to 2-3 days in an airtight container at room temperature. And, I’ll be honest, I kept mine for a full week and lived to tell the tale. But officially, I am saying 2-3 days.