Best Southern Pralines Pecan Recipe

These are seriously the BEST Southern Praline Pecans! With the amazing flavor of brown sugar and butter, these are pure heaven! A little bit candy and a little bit cookie, they melt right in your mouth!

collage of The Best Southern Pecan Pralines Pinterest

Southern Praline Pecans Recipe

I have been SO darn excited to share this Pecan Pralines recipe with you guys! After testing them for weeks with the help of my mother-in-law (a self-proclaimed pecan praline lover who tastes them wherever she goes), I’m telling you that these are the BEST Pecan Pralines. I’m completely addicted.

So What Makes Good Praline Pecans?

Well I imagine that may vary based on who you ask. And depending on the recipe you try or the shop you buy them from, they’re all different. There are a fair number of pecan pralines that I would describe as being quite firm – even hard – and I’m really not into that version.

And then there are some that are more grainy or even super chewy.

Personally, I like something that’s right in the middle of all of that. Not too soft, but definitely not hard. Not grainy and not chewy, but again, not hard. And definitely melt-in-your-mouth with lots of butter and brown sugar/caramel-y flavor.

What you will find in common between the various recipes is that pecan pralines consist of these main components – pecans, sugar, butter and milk or cream of some sort. There are a few additional things in these pralines that contributes to their flavor and texture and makes them a step above the rest.

Best Southern Pecan Pralines Recipe with bite takenBest Southern Pecan Pralines Recipe

Ingredients for Praline Pecans

  • Sugar/Brown Sugar – After testing various versions of these, we found the white sugar and brown sugar combination to be the best. When using all brown sugar, we ended up with a grainy and unappealing texture. When using all white sugar, you have to use baking soda to get it to caramelize and the flavor just isn’t quite the same. The combination of the two was the best – you get that classic brown sugar flavor, but without the graininess.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream – You could use any number of options here. Milk, half and half, cream (as I used), buttermilk and even evaporated milk all worked well. I liked the extra creaminess and straight forward flavor of the cream, but I also really liked the evaporated milk. It gave a unique flavor that was also very nice.
  • Butter – Adds totally necessary flavor that really adds to these pralines. It also helps to keep the pralines from getting too firm after sitting for a few days.
  • Baking Soda – While not totally necessary, this ingredient is key for me with these pralines. It not only enhances the brown sugar and caramel-y flavor and color, it also keeps them tender. If you leave it out, you’ll have a firmer praline. And finally, it contributes to helping the sugars dissolve fully, so that you don’t have a grainy praline.
  • Pecans – Clearly necessary here.
  • Salt – For flavor. Never underestimate the power of a little salt.
  • Vanilla Extract – Also for flavor.

Rows of Best Southern Pecan PralinesSouthern Pecan Pralines stacked

How to Make Southern Praline Pecans

  1. To make these Southern Pecan Pralines, you’ll first want to set up your parchment paper and have a tablespoon sized scoop ready to go. Once your mixture is ready, it can firm up quickly, so you don’t want to not be ready.
  2. Add everything to a sturdy pot except for the pecans, salt and vanilla extract. Heat it all over medium heat, stirring regularly. It’ll melt and seem like it’s taking it’s time getting going, but it will finally begin to boil.
  3. When the mixture foams up and beings to boil, stir constantly until it reaches 236 degrees. You will want to have a candy thermometer or something similar handy. Candy is sensitive to temperature.
  4. Once it’s at the right temperature, remove the pot from the stove and add the pecans, salt and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously with a rubber spatula for about 3 1/2 minutes. The mixture will begin to thicken and the longer you stir it, the thicker it will get. The thicker it gets, the firmer your pralines will end up. It may take 2-3 times of making these to get comfortable with knowing that it’s the right consistency, but generally the 3 1/2 minute mark works well.
  5. Finally, drop heaping tablespoons of the mixture onto the parchment paper and let them cool and firm up. You can spoon a praline or two and see if you like the amount they spread and if they spread too much, just stir them for a little longer.
  6. At this point, you just have to let them firm up. That’s probably the hardest part for me. They are so good, I just want to eat them all! They will be firm enough to handle within an hour, but do firm up more as they sit overnight.

pile of Pecan Pralines

Tips for the Best Praline Pecans

Use a candy thermometer. You want to make sure you have the right temperature or your pralines will not turn out correctly.

Have plenty of ingredients on hand. While I’m hopeful these will turn out great the first time around, they often take people 2-3 times to get just right.

Work quickly when scooping out the pralines, so the mixture doesn’t firm up too quickly.

Enjoy them!! These are seriously SO good! No store bough pecan praline will ever be the same after trying this homemade pecan praline recipe and they don’t take long to make. It’s a must! And if you need a little extra help, check out my video of the process below.

And last, but not least – this is the first in a series of cookies (even though this is kind of a candy) that I’ll be sharing over the next few weeks as we head towards Christmas. I’ve got some super fun things coming and I can’t wait to share them with you!

More Great Candy and Cookie Recipes

Pecan Caramel Turtle Candy Bars
No Bake Salted Caramel Coconut Macaroons
Quick and Easy Chocolate Fudge
White Chocolate Cranberry Fudge
Easy Salted Caramel Sauce


Read transcript

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southern pecan pralines recipe with bite taken
Recipe

Best Southern Praline Pecans

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: about 24 pecan pralines
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These are seriously the BEST Southern Praline Pecans! With the amazing flavor of brown sugar and butter, these are pure heaven! A little bit candy and a little bit cookie, they melt right in your mouth!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (207g) sugar
  • 1 cup (225g) packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tbsp (56g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/4 cups (212g) pecan halves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Set out parchment paper for making the pralines on and have a tablespoon sized scoop handy and ready to go.
2. Add everything but the pecans, salt and vanilla extract to a medium pot and heat over medium heat. Stir regularly until it begins to foam and boil.
3. When it begins to foam and boil, stir constantly until it reaches 236 degrees.
4. Remove from heat and add the pecans, salt and vanilla extract.
5. Stir vigorously with a rubber spatula for 3 1/2 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken. The longer you stir, the thicker the mixture gets. You don’t want it to get too thick, or it’ll be hard to scoop the pralines and they’ll dry more firm.
6. Quickly drop heaping tablespoons of the mixture onto parchment paper and allow them to cool and firm. If the mixture is too thin and spreads more than you want, stir a little bit more. If the mixture starts to cool too much as you’re scooping, place it back on the warm burner (but don’t turn it on) and let it keep the mixture warmer. I find it helps to stir the mixture after every few scoops.
7. When pralines are cool and firm, store in an airtight container.

Keywords: pecan pralines, southern pecan pralines, praline pecans, pecan praline recipe, how to make praline pecans

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Recipe rating

193 Comments
  1. Addie

    Today was my first attempt at making pralines. I researched so many recipes but this one sounded like everything I love about pralines. I tripled the recipe but still kept it precise. This recipe is the most buttery, creamy, most perfect praline I have ever had. I love that you use both butter and salt. There is nothing missing from this recipe. You don’t taste it and think it could use a little something else or something more. Most importantly is that I was able to make a perfect batch on my very first time ever making pralines.

  2. Catherine

    Instructions are spot on. I veganized this recipe with vegan butter and Silk whipping cream. Fabulous taste. Thanks for this recipe!

  3. Kathy Biagi

    Bravo!!! Great recipe! I haven’t made pralines in a long, long time, but was invited to a Creole Christmas, so…. Your recipe and directions looked solid and I was not disappointed! Very grateful to have found it. Love the baking soda addition. I researched a little beyond your site and decided not to skip it! The stirring time was spot on as were all of your helpful tips. The texture and flavor of these pralines are the best that I’ve ever made. They are so creamy and smooth. I did add a shy TBLS of corn syrup as I’m afraid of candy like this crystallizing, but other than that, followed pretty much to the letter. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Merry Christmas!!!

  4. Kelly

    Fantastic! The base got to the temperature quickly, so have everything on hand! I got about 30 out of it

  5. Mike

    My daughter and I followed this recipe precisely, and they came out perfect the first time! Actually, we toasted the pecans lightly in the oven first, because we always toast our pecans before we do anything with them. The second time we followed your recipe, we added a tablespoon of cinnamon, and boy was that great.

  6. Andretta

    After looking up a few recipes for making pralines, I’m glad i made the right choice with this one right here! They came out perfectly on the 1st try!!

  7. Becky

    All my life I have wanted to make pralines but I didn’t because I thought it would be hard. This recipe was perfect in all that it explained. Thank you!

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t tried it to be able to say. I know candy can be a little fussy sometimes. It would be worth a try though.

  8. Kenny

    It was the best I have ever ate. They came out creamy and delicious. They did not have a grainy taste at all. Fast and easy recipe.

  9. Tammy Wilson

    I LOVE this recipe! I have never made candy before, so I was expecting nothing spectacular.
    Wow! Very pleased.
    Incredibly easy to follow
    instructions…simple ingredients, with delectable gourmet results!!!
    Thank you for sharing!

  10. Janice

    Fantastic pralines! I grew up in Texas and this was my favorite dessert when we went out to eat at the Mexican restaurant. I now live in New England and do not find them easily

  11. Jolanta

    Please, could you tell me for how long (approximately), I should cook all that goodness? Don’t have thermometer.
    Thanks, Jolanta

  12. Keith Isaman

    A total failure! Used half & half. The end result was a crumbly blotch that ended up as candied pecans instead of pralines. I’ll stay with my tried and true recipe with evaporated milk and all brown sugar with adding baking soda at the end.

    1. Jennifer Clark

      Unfortunately half and half is not a proper substitute for heavy whipping cream. My mom worked for years to find the best praline recipe and this one is the best! I wish you’d at the very least try one time to follow this recipe the way its written. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

    1. Lindsay

      I’d do a quick search of the “soft ball stage”. You basically drop a bit of mixture into very cold water to test it.

    1. Lindsay

      They honestly keep really well and should be good for a week or two. They’re probably *best* during the first 3-4 days though.

  13. Martha Reimer

    I have been looking for a GOOD recipe for pralines and this is it! Easy to make and they are buttery, smooth, and melt in your mouth candy. So glad I found a recipe that mimics the pralines I used to buy in Charleston, SC

  14. Jill

    Just made a batch. I’m completely sold! Even though the battery on my thermometer died while stirring, and I used the cold water method, they are perfect. I think I’ll roast the pecans next time. Thank you!

  15. Nell

    I just made these for the first time and they were still slightly grainy. I reached the correct temperature so I am wondering what I did wrong? Would love some feedback. Otherwise they were great!

    1. Lindsay

      All stoves can run a little bit differently. I might try to lower the heat a little bit so that it comes to temperature more slowly and see if that helps.

  16. Patricia Dasilva

    I love theses pralines, I add a dollop of dark chocolate on top, and use mini cupcake pans, when making my family and friends love them

  17. Bill

    The first time I followed the recipe exactly but found the pralines were still a little grainy and sugary. Went from 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda to a full teaspoon and that fixed the graininess on the 2nd batch. Now, for my 3rd batch, I roasted the pecans first and used a larger proportion , 3+ cups. Overall this is an excellent and simple recipe and I thank the originator.

  18. Kelly

    I followed the recipe exactly but used half and half. They turned out perfect. I always make pralines and cream ice cream at Thanksgiving, so some of these will be used in that…. YUM

  19. Alexis

    Amazingly good! It was my first time making candy, so I adjusted expectations accordingly. I was so surprised to get a creamy praline bursting with flavor that just melts in your mouth. I will definitely be making these again. Thank you!

  20. Marietta Laurencell

    I want to put the praline top of my sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving. Would this work for that?

  21. Peggy

    My friends are going to love this Christmas since these candies will be gifts. Great combination that I had not thought of. Video is a great help. Thanks for your time to post this terrific recipe.

  22. Angelica

    I remember having Pecan pralines when I was a child and a family friend made them and I fell in love with them. Ive been dreaming of them ever since and their is my first time having them in 18 years! They were amazing. Thank you!

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12