Pecan Pralines

by Lana Stuart on December 19, 2011 · 24 comments

Pecan Pralines from @NevrEnoughThyme

Here we are in the last minute countdown to Christmas, y’all! Are you ready? I’m getting there. Still have a few more things to shop for and a few more recipes to make, but I’m doing pretty good. Best of all – the grandkids are coming tomorrow!! We’ll pick them up after school and they’ll be here until January 2. Yay! That also gives their mom and dad a much needed little break with some quiet time to themselves.

Continuing with my Christmas candy making – the next recipe up is Pecan Pralines. I think pralines are generally associated with the South and, according to online sources, they evolved from recipes brought to Louisiana by French settlers. The original French confection known as “praline” was individual almonds coated in caramelized sugar. New Orleans chefs substituted pecans for the almonds, added cream to thicken the candy and that became what is known throughout the South as pralines. Our pralines have a creamy consistency, similar to fudge.

And, of course, there’s always the debate over whether the word is pronounced “pray-leen” or “prah-leen”.  It’s pray-leens around here :-). Emphasis on the first syllable, please. With a little accent thrown in, too.

To make yourself a batch of southern Pecan Pralines, here’s what you do:

Combine the sugar, buttermilk, corn syrup, baking soda and salt in a heavy bottomed, large saucepan. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Continue cooking over low heat and stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 234 degrees on a candy thermometer (about 10 minutes).

Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.

Stir in the nuts, butter and vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon until mixture just begins to lose its shine. This will take anywhere from 4 to 6 minutes. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper. Let stand until completely cool and set.


Pecan Pralines
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Southern pecan pralines - creamy caramelized sugar with toasted pecans
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup whole (not reduced fat) buttermilk
  • 1 ½ tblsp. light corn syrup
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
  • 1 ½ tsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  1. Combine the sugar, buttermilk, corn syrup, baking soda and salt in a heavy bottomed, large saucepan.
  2. Cook over low heat until the sugar has dissolved, stirring constantly.
  3. Continue cooking over low heat and stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 234 degrees on a candy thermometer (about 10 minutes).
  4. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the nuts, butter and vanilla.
  6. Beat with a wooden spoon until mixture just begins to lose its shine (anywhere from 4 to 6 minutes).
  7. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper.
  8. Let stand until completely cool and set.
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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Zesty Cook December 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I definitely associate pralines with the south, along with most other delicious, indulgent, classic dishes :) How do you suggest toasting the nuts? I usually do mine on a non-stick skillet on low heat until they are golden, but I’ve heard some people do them in the oven.


2 Lana December 19, 2011 at 1:17 pm

I toast them in the oven at 350 degrees. Just takes a few minutes. You know they’re done the moment to begin to smell them :-)


3 Delishhh December 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Just wonderful – i am ready as i am going to be. We eat lots of gravlax and herring during the holiday season so that has to be prepared ahead of time and it’s all marinating :)


4 Liz December 19, 2011 at 2:35 pm

These look delish!!! Great idea to add to my holiday goodies!


5 Sippitysup December 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Yes indeed southern all the way. Enjoy the grand kids. GREG


6 Nancy@acommunaltable December 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm

How fun to have the grandkids!! My oldest just got home from school last week and I am so happy to have him home – it really is what the holidays are all about! It’s a really good thing we don’t live closer Lana – otherwise I don’t think I’d ever make it out of your kitchen – these pralines look delicious!!


7 Shelby December 19, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Lana, I LOVE pralines and have a hard time leaving them alone whenever they are around! I have never made them myself though – something I should try for when the kids visit in a couple weeks – it would make them happy and I wouldn’t every one by myself! ;)


8 Drick December 19, 2011 at 9:05 pm

indeed it is ‘pray-leen’… bite and you’re praying for another…
theses looks wonderful Lana, have fun with the grandkids and have a beautiful Christmas – wishing ya’ll the best (in case I don’t get back here before)…


9 Bunkycooks December 20, 2011 at 8:45 am

I might have to stop over for a few of these this holiday season. Enjoy your family and have a wonderful Christmas! :-)


10 Tickled Red December 20, 2011 at 8:56 am

I could eat bushels of these! MmmMmm ;D


11 Barbara Wiedemann December 20, 2011 at 4:42 pm

I’m making these tomorrow, but I could only get the lowfat milk, so I hope they turn out good. Always used evaporated milk so this will be a new experience. :))


12 Lana December 20, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Should be fine, Barbara. They might be slightly less rich tasting but still quite delicious.


13 Amy December 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Yum! Do you take orders?


14 Lana December 21, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Oh, Amy, I’m afraid I’d never get out of the kitchen if I started taking orders! These little things are very nearly addictive.


15 Alison @ ingredients, Inc. December 22, 2011 at 4:11 pm

wow these look so awesome! Southern favorite!


16 Curt December 24, 2011 at 9:31 am

I love pecan pralines. Living in Texas most of my life, they just seem like a staple to me!


17 Mary @ Green Global Travel January 9, 2012 at 8:47 pm

We love us some good Southern treats! Thanks for sharing the tasty pecan recipe.


18 Alea Milham January 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Your pecan pralines look delicious! I have never made pralines before, but I can see that I really need to correct this oversite.


19 Barbara Wiedemann January 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm

For Christmas I made 2 batches of pralines with evaporated milk, like I had always used, but then I did Lana’s and they were so good, that I ended up throwing out the others. These are the best I have ever tasted. Just be sure and use a big sauce pan. It bubbles up real good. Made another batch last week, better than the first.


20 Lana January 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm

So glad you liked them, Barbara!


21 Candice March 11, 2013 at 11:40 pm

I would chop the pecans first – then drizzle on some real maple syrup, stir and fry in a heavy pan until the liquid disappears. They would probably “candy-up” pretty good in a hot oven too ( but I’d watch them every second as it would only take a second for it to burn). Don’t mind me, I’ve been on a maple syrup kick – especially on sweet potatoes !


22 Candice March 11, 2013 at 11:52 pm

no further comment ! thanx


23 Sonya November 21, 2014 at 10:54 pm

Hi! I just wanted to thank-you for a great recipe!!! I made these tonight and they are delicious! I think I over-chopped my pecans in the food processor, but the toasted flavor still came through. This is a wonderful recipe!!!


24 Lana Stuart November 22, 2014 at 10:03 am

You’re welcome, Sonya! So glad you enjoyed the recipe.


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