What are Jordan Almonds?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Jordan almonds are almonds which are toasted and then covered in a hard sugar shell, which is traditionally white or pastel colored. Many people are familiar with Jordan almonds in the form of wedding favors, although they are also used at other holidays in some regions of the world. The sweets are a form of dragée, confectionery which consists traditionally of nuts covered in a hard shell. In addition to being edible, a dragée also has symbolic meaning, although these meanings vary around the world.

Early Jordan almonds were sweetened with honey rather than sugar.
Early Jordan almonds were sweetened with honey rather than sugar.

The exact origins of Jordan almonds are not entirely clear. Candied nuts have been given out at Middle Eastern weddings for centuries, and it is certainly possible that Jordan almonds are rooted in Middle Eastern tradition. By the Middle Ages, sugared almonds and similar sweets were very common at weddings, especially in Italy and France. These early Jordan almonds would have been sweetened with honey, rather than sugar, which was not widely available until later in history.

Some couples give Jordan almonds as wedding favors for guests.
Some couples give Jordan almonds as wedding favors for guests.

According to some traditions, Jordan almonds are given out at weddings because they symbolize the bittersweet nature of marriage, along with wishes for sweetness and well being for the couple. Almonds themselves tend to be slightly bitter when they are first harvested, while the candy coating tempers the bitterness with sweetness. In the Middle East and parts of Italy, Jordan almonds are also believed to be borderline aphrodisiacs, promoting fertility and a happy conjugal life.

In many cases, Jordan almonds are given out in odd numbers, since an odd number cannot be split in two. This represents a hope that the marriage will succeed, and that the couple will stay together despite the bittersweet trials which they may face. Jordan almonds may also appear at important events like anniversaries, birthdays, and graduations, with an assortment of colored coatings depending on the event. Metallic coatings, for example, are often used for anniversaries.

Many grocers and candy suppliers sell Jordan almonds. When the almonds are being used as wedding favors, they can be wrapped in small bags and tied with ribbon, or they may be scattered on the tables of a reception. The almonds should be stored in a cool dry place, so that the candy coating does not melt or become distorted, and they are generally good for around six months to a year. Using an airtight container is also an excellent idea, as almonds can start to taste slightly stale and bitter if they are exposed to excessive air during storage.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


I do like candied almonds but I think it requires some strong teeth. The sugar coated ones are tasty but can be kind of tough to eat. I like chocolate covered Jordan almonds better.


I got Jordan almond favors at a wedding once. There were five different colored almonds in each favor. We were told that each almond had a different meaning. I think they were- happiness, children, health, a long life and wealth.

This must be an Italian tradition because the bride was Italian. But I thought that it was a great idea. I might have Jordan almond favors at my wedding reception too.


The only place I can find Jordan almonds is an Italian patisserie in my area. I'm familiar with them from Europe and decided to get some as a gift when I found out that a close friend was going to have a baby boy.

I bought a blue candy bag with a blue teddy bear attached to it and put the Jordan almonds inside. My friend really liked them. She found it to be really cute and she liked eating them too.

The good part about Jordan almonds is that they are good for you. It's a great excuse to have some candy :)


my moms fave candy! delish!

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