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


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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 1x
  • 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!


Scale

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 hand 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

144 Comments
  1. Michelle Carr

    I think that preparation is key. I researched and read recipe several times. Took me awhile to finally try this and had success first time .they taste great,it is very simple to make.thanks

  2. Sasha

    This is the best recipe I’ve tried! I’d like to make an autumn version by adding a maple element. Do you think I would alter the consistency too much if I added maple extract in addition to the vanilla extract?

    1. Lindsay

      I don’t think it would make a huge difference, but you could always leave out the vanilla and add in the maple just to be sure.

    1. Lindsay

      There’s a little recipe card at the bottom of the post. If you’re having trouble finding it, there is a jump to recipe button at the top underneath the title.

  3. Sarah

    I made these for dessert after a shrimp creole dinner for a few ladies last night. They flipped for them (despite the fact that they were ugly as sin.) It was my first time making pralines at high altitude (6300ft). I need to adjust the boiling temperature a little more next time. But the texture and flavors were still incredible. One friend said, “I have a friend who sends me pralines from a special shop in Savannah and these are better.” I mean, that’s high praise! I felt like I did my New Orleans heritage proud. I’ve only been there a few times but my grandma grew up there and Aunt Sally’s is our baseline comparison for all pralines. Even my dad gave the flavor serious praise when I gave him one as a guinea pig. Thanks for a great recipe! Looking forward to perfecting the high altitude effects so they look prettier next time but the buttery/caramelly flavor of these can’t be beat.

  4. Melissa

    This recipe is so easy and delicious. I made 2 batches, 1 without toasting pecans and 1 with toasting the pecans, and I would have to say they both are delicious but toasting the pecans brought it to the next level.

  5. CC

    This is a GREAT recipe. Thanks for sharing. But you actually does NOT say when to add “salt” in your “How To Prepare” section. It’s only if people scroll further to see another section called “Instructions” that it says “salt” in section 4.
    Below, I copied & pasted the exact wording from step 4 in the “How to” section of your article so you can see the omission of the word “salt”. You may want to go back & update/add it for consistency in directions.
    4. Once it’s at the right temperature, remove the pot from the stove and add the pecans 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.

  6. Cindy Duncan

    Wish I could give it 10 stars. Hands down perfect. I tried another recipe first. It turned out grainy. Probably something I did wrong. So I went on a search for another praline recipe. Thank goodness your reviews were so good. And I agree. Creamy, chewy and perfectly perfect. Even better than what used to be my favorite from local Mexican restaurant. Made them for a neighborhood gathering and everyone who tried them loved them. Thanks for the video too. This is the one. The search is over.

  7. JoKeeta

    I have never ever ever had a praline better than these! Girlllll, I can make a fortune from these pralines. Too bad I burned my pinky finger.

  8. Rebecca

    I absolutely love this recipe! This is my go to recipe when I am wanting to share. They melt in your mouth and I have received several compliments. I prefer the heavy cream, but use evaporated milk sometimes. And I add an extra pecans sometimes.

  9. Jennie

    I made these pralines Christmas week and they were heavenly!!!!  We had plenty to share but with a sick husband, I didn’t give any away.  We tucked some into the freezer in a zip lock bag- still delicious. Well, fast forward to this past weekend. I wanted to make them again but had the wrong recipe. I ended up tossing that batch in the trash. I’ve now written Lindsay’s down and put it in my favorites. I can’t wait to restock my supplies and make the yummy ones.  

  10. Marsha Goodman

    I followed the instructions exactly and made the best prallines I’ve ever tasted. This recipe is a keeper!

  11. Barbara Bowles

    These are fantastic to bad people don’t follow you instruction and video, it is so easy. Best instruction you gave was to be prepared before starting by measuring out all the ingredients and having all the needed instruments at the site they will be used in including the candy thermometer and parchment paper and the hot plate. Thanks for being so helpful and complete. 

  12. Mike

    PERFECT!  Being from south Louisiana, pralines are a favorite treat and this recipe is great. They tasted so much like my mom’s (oh course she didn’t use a thermometer, she would test it by dropping it in water to see if it balled up. The thermometer makes it so easy I feel like I cheated.😁). 
    I made two batches and cut back on the pecans on the second batch. The recipe seems to call for too much pecans … you could probably cut that in half (personal preference). 

  13. Kristi Gizinski

    I just made these for Christmas Eve and they turned out absolutely perfect! I followed the instructions to the letter. I’ve tried making these from a recipe I got while visiting New Orleans and that was a failure because they never set up. I used a candy thermometer for this recipe and they are just so fantastic that I will make these from now on. Thank you for sharing your amazing recipe!

  14. Elizabeth Robbins

    Just made these and they are perfect!! Followed instructions exactly. Soooo good! Thank you 😊 💓

  15. Courtney Nippert

    I made this recipe for the first time tonight and they turned out perfectly. I was looking for a recipe that resulted in less gritty pralines and these were it.

  16. lupe

    Love this easy to follow recipe.First time making pralines,taste good but  had issue with pralines sticking to wax paper. 

      1. Patricia Gammans

        They turned out awesome, scooped them into cupcake liners, will see how they travel like that. Fixing to make another batch to mail! And maybe eat…

    1. Rebecca

      Great idea. I used some to place the dried pralines in at work this morning. But I like the idea of pouring it in each liner. I have lots of cupcake liners and was going to donate them–but now will use these for my pralines. 🙂

  17. Julie Gilbride

    These are soooooo good!  Thanks for doing the research on ingredients for the perfect textured and great tasting praline!!!  I used chopped pecans as I prefer them over the large halves and also just had two cups. Also toasted them in microwave first.  Turned out amazing. They melt in your mouth. 

    1. Rebecca

      You did something wrong. I have made this recipe several times–timing, a good thermometer (cheapy from Walmart) to soft ball stage, and watching the video 2-3 times before helps me every time. I sometimes make them a little soft (extra time to firm up 4 hours)–best to start stirring more if that happens to thicken it–but not too long or it will harden in pot. If I mess up, it is because my timing is off. .

  18. Alice Redman

    I just made them and they are the best. I only had about 2/3 cup if half & half so I used evap. milk to make up the diff. Great flavor. I didn’t trust my thermometer so I double checked by testig with soft ball stage and it was good both ways.

  19. KP

    Love your recipes but this one didn’t turn out for some reason.

    I followed the recipe exactly and used a candy thermometer. I took the mixture off the heat when it was 236 and bubbling and mixed in the pecans / salt / vanilla. However 20 seconds after stirring in the pecans the mixture solidified and turned granular and crumbled to the touch. Any idea what went wrong?

    Thanks.

    1. Lindsay

      If you used a thermometer then it sounds like the temperature was probably correct. I wonder if maybe you cooked the mixture over too high of a heat and cooked it too quickly. With some things I find that trying to speed things up by heating it on higher heat can actually negatively affect the result.

  20. juliet mowry

    Why did my new candy thermometer never get past 200???? Stove on med. Finally gave up, stirred in 1/3 of pecans. Candy is grainy. Did not want to waste all of pecans. Darn!!

  21. Beverly Carroll

    I have made these 3 times and they are the best! Also tried another very different recipe that was also great but took longer and involved much more beating time. I love the white sugar and brown sugar combo.

  22. John

    May I ask if that nice, long-handled tablespoon scoop you use in the video is a coffee scoop? I can’t seem to find one like yours and I really like the length of it. Thanks!

  23. LARRY

    One more thing, I find that constant stirring as the mixture heats (scraping sides) may help to keep the sugar from crystallizing.

  24. LARRY

    You’ve made another winner. I subbed double the amount of baking powder for soda (I was out). Otherwise, followed the recipe exactly, choosing to lay the candy out on a parchment paper covered baking sheet, letting it cool, then cutting into squares with a pizza cutter. Great recipe though to use pecans I foraged myself. A digital thermometer is invaluable when making candy! You never have to guess.

  25. Michelle Martin

    Hi Lindsay,
    I’m originally from New Orleans and have been making pralines for 30 years now. This recipe looks great! I usually use evaporated milk but will try the heavy cream variation.  I live in Pittsburgh now and my oldest daughter lives in Louisiana and she is pregnant with her 3rd child. She’s craving my pralines so I’ll be making her a batch and shipping them to her. Do you have any tips on best shipping packing methods for pralines? I’ve done it before but from what I remember they crumbled.
    Thanks so much!
    Regards,
    Michelle

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t ever tried shipping them, so I’m not sure. I could see how they’d crumble though. Maybe try wrapping them a couple at a time?

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!

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