I’ve done all the trial and error to make the perfect southern pecan pralines, so you can make them with ease! I’m sharing all the tips I’ve learned along the way so you can feel confident while following my 5 easy steps.

pecan pralines arranged in a pile in christmas tin with red tissue paper

What is Pecan Praline Candy?

Pecan praline candy is a Southern sweet known for its soft, creamy texture and rich, caramel-like flavor. It’s made from brown sugar, butter, cream, and pecans, and is popular in New Orleans and beyond.

These candies can be spooned or dropped onto a surface to set and typically feature a pleasing contrast of smooth, sweet candy and crunchy pecans.

Pecan pralines have regional variations and are enjoyed during holidays and special occasions. They are available both as homemade treats and in commercial offerings at candy shops and specialty stores.

pecan pralines arranged in a grid on baking sheet

Why You’ll Love this Recipe for Pecan Pralines

  • Rich and Decadent: Pecan pralines are known for their rich and decadent flavor, and this recipe allows you to recreate that indulgence at home.
  • Caramelized Sweetness: The combination of brown sugar, butter, and pecans creates a delicious caramelized sweetness that’s hard to resist.
  • Simple Ingredients: This recipe typically uses simple and readily available ingredients, making it accessible for home bakers.
  • Homemade Delight: Making pralines at home can be a rewarding culinary experience, and the homemade touch adds a special charm when sharing them with friends and family.
pecan pralines arranged in a pile in christmas tin with red tissue paper

Pecan Candy Recipe Ingredients

  • granulated sugar
  • brown sugar
  • heavy whipping cream
  • milk
  • unsalted butter,
  • chopped pecans
  • salt
  • vanilla extract

How to Make Pecan Pralines

  1. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Prepare 2 pans.
  2. In a 4 quart pot (that’s about a medium sized pot) with a candy thermometer clipped on the side, combine the sugar, brown sugar, heavy cream, milk and butter. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 236º F (soft ball stage).
  3. Add in the chopped pecans, the mixture will drop about 10º F – constantly stir the mixture until it reaches 236º F again. Quickly add in the salt and vanilla extract, the mixture will bubble up, remove the pot from the heat, and stir constantly for 3 minutes.
  4. Continue to stir the mixture while using a cookie scoop to drop pralines onto the prepared baking sheets. The best way to do this is to get a buddy to stir the mixture while you scoop! And the key is that you have to move FAST while scooping. Once the mixture cools too much, it will become crumbly and won’t form nice pralines.
  5. Allow the pralines to fully crystalize before removing them from the baking sheet. This could be 20 minutes up to 2 hours. It really depends on how long the mixture was cooked. Once set, store the pralines in an airtight container on the counter.

Pecan Pralines Recipe Tips

Do I Need a Candy Thermometer to make Pecan Pralines?

First things first, I do not recommend making pralines without a candy thermometer. It’s crucial to the cooking process to get the temperatures pretty exact.

I know it can be a bummer when a recipe calls for a candy thermometer because I wouldn’t consider it a standard kitchen tool. But they are pretty cheap and then you can use it for certain caramel or fudge recipes and for making homemade fried donuts.

The Secret to Delicious Pecan Pralines: Practice!

Second, I would plan to buy enough ingredients to make this recipe twice. I made this recipe FOUR times before I felt comfortable with the process. The actual making of the recipe is really hands on and the steps happen fast, so I recommend planning ahead and getting more then enough supplies in case you need to make another batch.

Third, be kind to yourself! I make desserts for a living and there was definitely a learning curve involved for me, so take your time, and like I said, buy enough supplies for multiple batches!

Once you nail it, you’ll get to reap the benefits! These pecan pralines are buttery, sugary with a nice crunch and highly addicting!

Troubleshooting Pecan Pralines

If you undercook the praline mixture, it won’t crystalize and you’ll end up with caramel like pralines.

If you overcook the praline mixture, you’ll end up with a crumbly, dry mixture that won’t clump together.

And if you get it just right, you’ll have pecan pralines! We hope our video recipe will help guide you through this recipe. Be sure to read over the instructions carefully before you begin and get everything set up, that will ensure that you know what you are doing, helping you make the best pralines!

Praline Candy Recipe Storage

To store praline candy properly:

  • Keep it in a cool, dry place at room temperature, away from heat and direct sunlight.
  • Store in an airtight container with layers separated by parchment paper.
  • Avoid refrigeration and freezing, as they can affect the candy’s texture.
  • Check for spoilage periodically, and consume within a reasonable time to maintain freshness.

Pecan Pralines Candy Recipe FAQs

What is the difference between pecans and praline pecans?

Pecans and praline pecans are related but distinct in terms of their preparation and flavor:

Pecans: Pecans are a type of nut, specifically a species of hickory tree native to North America. They are known for their sweet and buttery flavor, making them a popular ingredient in a wide range of dishes, including pies, salads, and baked goods. Pecans can be eaten on their own as a snack or used in both sweet and savory recipes.

Praline Pecans:Praline pecans, on the other hand, are pecans that have been coated with a sugary, caramelized glaze. This glaze typically consists of brown sugar, butter, and sometimes cream or milk. Praline pecans are often used as a confection or a topping for desserts like ice cream, cakes, and pies. They have a sweet, crunchy, and slightly caramelized outer layer, which adds a delightful contrast to the natural flavor of the pecans.

What’s the difference between praline and candied?

“Praline” and “candied” are terms often used in the context of sweet treats, particularly nuts or confections. While they can be related, they refer to slightly different methods and results:

Praline: “Praline” is a term often associated with a type of sweet confection or candy that typically involves coating nuts (such as pecans or almonds) with a sugary, caramelized glaze. Pralines are often made by caramelizing sugar and sometimes butter, then mixing it with the nuts. The resulting confection is sweet, crunchy, and may have a slightly caramelized flavor. Pralines can be eaten on their own or used as toppings for desserts.

Candied: “Candied” is a more general term used to describe a method of preserving or sweetening a variety of foods, including fruits, peels, or nuts. To “candy” something involves cooking it in a sugar syrup until the sugar crystallizes and forms a sweet, glossy coating. Candied fruits and nuts are often used as ingredients in baking, desserts, or as garnishes. Candying can also refer to the process of preserving or sweetening foods to extend their shelf life.

Why are my pecan pralines gritty?

If your pecan pralines turn out gritty, it’s likely due to sugar crystallization issues. To prevent grittiness:
-Ensure complete sugar dissolution by thoroughly mixing it with the liquid.
-Wipe down the sides of the pot to dissolve any sugar crystals.
-Control the temperature carefully using a candy thermometer to avoid overcooking.
-Stir at the right time, typically after reaching the desired temperature.
-Allow the pralines to cool gradually at room temperature, avoiding rapid cooling.
-Use fresh ingredients, especially sugar.
-Avoid disturbing the pralines once poured onto a baking sheet to prevent the formation of sugar crystals and grittiness.

More Candy Recipes

Recipe for Pecan Pralines (Pecan Praline Candy Recipe)

4.34 from 9 ratings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 20 pralines
I’ve done all the trial and error to make the perfect southern pecan pralines, so you can make them with ease! I’m sharing all the tips I’ve learned along the way so you can feel confident while following my 5 easy steps.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, diced (1/2 stick)
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Prepare 2 pans.
  • In a 4 quart pot (that’s about a medium sized pot) with a candy thermometer clipped on the side, combine the sugar, brown sugar, heavy cream, milk and butter. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 236º F (soft ball stage).
  • Add in the chopped pecans, the mixture will drop about 10º F – constantly stir the mixture until it reaches 236º F again. Quickly add in the salt and vanilla extract, the mixture will bubble up, remove the pot from the heat, and stir constantly for 3 minutes.
  • Continue to stir the mixture while using a cookie scoop to drop pralines onto the prepared baking sheets. The best way to do this is to get a buddy to stir the mixture while you scoop! And the key is that you have to move FAST while scooping. Once the mixture cools too much, it will become crumbly and won’t form nice pralines.
  • Allow the pralines to fully crystalize before removing them from the baking sheet. This could be 20 minutes up to 2 hours. It really depends on how long the mixture was cooked. Once set, store the pralines in an airtight container on the counter.

Notes

Be sure to read the post before making the pralines, I give a lot of helpful tips!
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Author: Beth
Calories: 201kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 67mg, Potassium: 73mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 21g, Vitamin A: 173IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 28mg, Iron: 1mg
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