Homemade Southern Pecan Pralines
Enjoy a taste of the south with these Homemade Southern Pecan Pralines. They’re perfect little treats loaded with creamy, caramelized sugar and just the right amount of toasty pecan crunch.
One of my favorite southern sweet treats has always been Pecan Pralines. Everyone who tries them falls in love and rightfully so — they’re SO good!
In pralines, you have a subtle tang of buttermilk, toasty notes from the pecans, and the sweet, luscious flavor of homemade caramel. The perfect trio! In this post I’ll go step-by-step to show you how to make these mouthwatering delicacies at home yourself!
Pardon me while I toot my own horn, but you won’t find a better Southern Pecan Praline recipe than this one. These candies are soft, chewy, and delicious! What makes these best is that they’re made with both sugar and a smidge of corn syrup which helps keep the sugar from crystallizing and results in a more tender texture.
I think pralines are generally associated with the south. According to online sources, they evolved from recipes brought to Louisiana by French settlers from Canada and became a treasured part of our southern comfort foodways.
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.
❤ Why We Love This Recipe
- Because pecans and caramel.
- Easy to make and everyone loves them!
- Great homemade Christmas candy gift for family and friends.
🍳 Equipment You’ll Need
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All you need for making pralines is a large saucepan, a candy thermometer, and a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. One-pot clean up!
🥘 About the Ingredients
- Sugar (You’ll need both white, granulated sugar and corn syrup.)
- Corn Syrup (Light corn syrup such as Karo brand.)
- Buttermilk (Whole buttermilk, not reduced fat.)
- Pecans (Shelled, chopped pecans.)
You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.
🥄 How to Make Southern Pecan Pralines
Cook the Sugar Mixture
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 (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer (about 10 minutes).
Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
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Stir in the nuts, butter and vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon until mixture just begins to lose its shine and begins to holds its shape. This will take anywhere from 4 to 6 minutes.
Form the Pralines
Working quickly, drop the pralines by spoonfuls onto wax paper. Let stand until completely cool and set. Makes about 24 pralines.
👉 About the Corn Syrup
If you’re turning up your nose at the idea of using corn syrup, hear me out. There’s only 1 1/2 tablespoons of it in the recipe and it’s there to keep the granulated sugar from crystallizing. Besides, sugar is sugar, so if you’re going to make homemade candy, you may as well go all in.
In the case of pralines, texture is a big part and while you can make the caramel from just white sugar, unless you’re greatly experienced at candy making, you can easily run into problems. The addition of corn syrup is the easiest way to get a true southern style praline with less chance of messing it up.
🍚 Storage Information
When stored at room temperature in a closed container, pralines will last up to two weeks. They can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to two months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
❗ Recipe Tips
- You can substitute any type of nuts you like in pralines. Although pecans are traditional, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, cashews, and more all work very well.
- To make pralines nut-free, simply omit the nuts completely.
- Consider using sunflower seeds instead of nuts for a different nut-free version.
❓ Frequently Asked Questions
There are several reasons why pralines may be grainy but the most likely is that you’ve either under cooked or overcooked the sugar. Pralines should be cooked barely to the soft ball stage (234 F on a candy thermometer – or use the cold water method if you’re comfortable with that). Also, you may not have stirred the caramel mixture long enough for it to “lose its shine.”
Runny pralines typically happen when the sugar mixture isn’t cooked long enough. Make sure you take the mixture to the soft ball stage and that you accurately measure the ingredients.
HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?
I’d LOVE to know what you thought!
Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked it!
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Homemade Southern Pecan Pralines
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ½ cup buttermilk (whole, not reduced fat)
- 1 ½ tablespoons light corn syrup
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup pecans chopped and toasted
- 1 ½ teaspoons butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Combine the sugar, buttermilk, corn syrup, baking soda and salt in a heavy bottomed, large saucepan.
- Cook over low heat until the sugar has dissolved, stirring constantly.
- Continue cooking over low heat and stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 234 degrees (soft ball stage) 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 and hold its shape (anywhere from 4 to 6 minutes).
- Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper.
- Let stand until completely cool and set.
- When stored at room temperature in a closed container, pralines will last up to two weeks. They can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to two months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
- Substitute any type of nuts you like. Although pecans are traditional, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, cashews, and more all work very well.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.
— This post was originally published on December 19, 2011. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.
No way is it “pray-leen”.. if you’re from Louisiana.. it is “Praw-leen” without exception.
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!!!
You’re welcome, Sonya! So glad you enjoyed the recipe.
no further comment ! thanx
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 !
Your pecan pralines look delicious! I have never made pralines before, but I can see that I really need to correct this oversite.
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.
So glad you liked them, Barbara!
We love us some good Southern treats! Thanks for sharing the tasty pecan recipe.
I love pecan pralines. Living in Texas most of my life, they just seem like a staple to me!
wow these look so awesome! Southern favorite!
Yum! Do you take orders?
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.
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. :))
Should be fine, Barbara. They might be slightly less rich tasting but still quite delicious.
I could eat bushels of these! MmmMmm ;D
I might have to stop over for a few of these this holiday season. Enjoy your family and have a wonderful Christmas! :-)
indeed it is ‘pray-leen’…..one 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)…
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! ;)
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!!
Yes indeed southern all the way. Enjoy the grand kids. GREG
These look delish!!! Great idea to add to my holiday goodies!
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 :)
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 :-)
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.