Pecans Praline - House of Nash Eats (2024)

There is nothing like old-fashioned Southern Pecan Pralines! This melt-in-your-mouth treat is a cross between a cookie and a candy and it's loaded with crunchy pecans, butter, and fabulous brown sugar flavor.

I also have a Chocolate Pralines version! If you love making homemade candy to share with friends and family, be sure to also check out myEasy Homemade Peppermint Bark,Old-Fashioned Homemade Peanut Brittle, and English Toffee!

Pecans Praline - House of Nash Eats (1)

On our recent trip to Savannah, Georgia, one of the first things we did was stop at River Street Sweets and pick up a couple of classic southern pecan pralines. The sweet smell of caramel and fudge and chocolate beckons you in off the street and the moment you walk in the door you are offered samples of their famous pralines.

The classic pecan praline is my favorite, but you guys, you can also get a chocolate pecan praline too and they are divine.

There are actually two candy shops right there on River Street in Savannah, and I actually preferred the chocolate pecan pralines from Savannah Candy Kitchen, just down the block from River Street Sweets. But River Street Sweets made my favorite classic pecan pralines.

We even made multiple trips between the two stores over the weekend just to double-check. Because research. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

I wanted to share southern pecan pralines as part of my American Eats series representing Georgia since it produces more pecans than any other state in the nation. If you love pecans, you might also want to try my classic pecan pie or these decadent pecan pie cheesecake bars.

Pecans Praline - House of Nash Eats (2)

Quick Praline Recipe History

But pralines actually came to the USA from French chefs in Louisiana first and are often associated with New Orleans. From there they spread throughout the South and can be found all over in Georgia, South Carolina, and other southern states.

There is also a chewy version from Texas that my friend Kelly from Kelly's Kitchen Creation makes and sells. Kelly sent me a box of her chewy pralines last year and they are heavenly. You can order a box of them here and she will ship them to you. That's not an affiliate link and she didn't sponsor this post. I just think the world of Kelly and wanted to share since her chewy Texas pralines are totally different from these southern pecan pralines.

What is a Pecan Praline?

Southern pecan pralines are a sweet candy confection that is made with pecans, sugar, butter, and some form of dairy. I've seen pecan praline recipes using milk, cream, half-and-half, evaporated milk, and even buttermilk.

I haven't tried every option in my pecan pralines recipe, choosing instead to stick with evaporated milk while recipe testing, but I'm pretty confident that you could sub in equal amounts of a different dairy choice and still have you pralines turn out just fine.

What do pralines taste like?

Pralines have a wonderful texture that melts in your mouth. They are firm and have a snap when you break them, but they aren't crunchy (beyond the crunch of the pecans) or hard.

While pralines are most typically made with pecans, they started out being made with almonds historically. It wasn't until the recipe arrived in America from France that pecans became the nut of choice for this sweet treat.

Pecans Praline Ingredients

  • Pecan halves - You don't need to toast the pecans first, but if you store your pecans in the freezer (like I do), be sure to let them sit out at room temperature for an hour or two before adding them to the praline mixture.
  • Sugar - The combination of brown sugar and granulated sugar gives these pralines their classic flavor.
  • Salt
  • Evaporated milk - Half-and-half, cream, or even whole milk can be used (and you might see them in other recipes), but evaporated milk gives me the best, most consistent results.
  • Salted butter
  • Vanilla extract

How to make Pecan Pralines

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, evaporated milk, and butter in a heavy pot over medium heat.
  3. Cook and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugars dissolve and the mixture comes to a boil.
  4. Continue to cook until the temperature reaches between 235-240 degrees F on a candy thermometer (affiliate link) (soft ball stage), then immediately remove from heat and allow the praline mixture to cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the vanilla and pecans, beating by hand with a wooden spoon just until the candy begins to lose its glossiness and thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. If you beat too long, the candy will seize and start to crumble. If you don't beat it long enough, then pralines won't set properly and will stay soft and sticky.
  6. Work quickly to drop heaping tablespoons of pecan praline mixture onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. I find that it works best to use a cookie dough scoop. If the mixture begins to harden before you have a chance to scoop all of the pralines, add a teaspoon of hot water at a time and stir until you can scoop again.
  7. Cool completely until pralines are set and firm. Store in an airtight container on the counter for 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months.
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Praline Pecans Recipe Tips

  • Use a candy thermometer. Like with most candy recipes, a good candy thermometer is crucial to getting the temperature of the ingredients just right so they set properly. I have always used a basic, cheap candy thermometer (affiliate link) and it works great.
  • Have some very hot water on hand in case your pralines begin to seize. I found when recipe testing that it was very easy to overbeat the mixture and it seemed start setting up sooner than I anticipated. But stirring in a couple of teaspoons of very hot water totally saved my batch of pralines.
  • You might want to just plan on making this recipe more than once. Having extra ingredients on hand can save you a lot of frustration if this is your first time making pralines. I made 3 or 4 batches before I felt good about how my pralines were turning out, although I hadn't actually tried an authentic pecan praline before and wasn't totally sure I had nailed the texture. I was also worried about the little bit of bloom you can see in the photos and wondered if that meant I had still overmixed or overcooked the pralines. But then we went to Savannah and it was very validating to see that even the pecan pralines at River Street Sweets had a similar bloom on top of their pralines. I'm a pretty confident baker, but candy and sweets are definitely more of a challenge for me, which I was reminded of when making these pralines. Give yourself some grace if your batch doesn't turn out perfectly the first time and try again!
  • Don't worry if you don't get it right on the first try! If your batch doesn't set properly and are gooey, use it as an ice cream topping or chill and roll into 1-inch balls and dip in chocolate to make truffles! Or if they set too fast and you have crumbly pralines that can't be saved with the hot water trick, just roughly chop them up and add them to slightly softened vanilla ice cream (so good!).

How long do pecan pralines last?

Pecan pralines will last up to 2 weeks when sealed in an airtight container, although I definitely prefer them fresh. Heck, I prefer them still warm while they are setting up!

Can pecan pralines be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze your pralines, just like you can freeze fudge or caramels. Be sure to place them in an airtight freezer safe bag and they will last for up to 2 months in the freezer. (Yeah right, they won't last that long because they will all be eaten long before that point.)

Just allow them to thaw in the fridge overnight before eating.

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How to use Praline Pecans

We like to makes pecan pralines to deliver to friends in small cellophane bags or boxes during the holidays. They are a great choice for a cookie exchange even because they are similar in size and shape, even though they are a candy instead of a cookie.

You can also chop them up and add them to a dessert cheese ball, ice cream, a batch of caramel corn, or even mix them into cookies or brownies if you wanted to use them in a recipe.

Pecan Praline Recipe FAQ

What is the difference between a pecan and a praline?

A pecan is a type of nut while a praline is a type of candy that is made with sugar and nuts. While pecans are the most common type of nut used in pralines, almonds or hazelnuts will work too.

Are candied pecans the same as praline pecans?

Most any good Southerner knows that pecan pralines and praline pecans are not the same thing, despite the confusingly similar names. Praline pecans and candied pecans are individual sugared nuts that are much closer to each other than the melt-in-your mouth patties or discs that are the pecan pralines we are making with this recipe. You could grab a handful of praline pecans and pop them into your mouth one-by-one whereas with a pecan praline you would pick up one of them and eat it more like a cookie, even though it's a candy. Confusing? Yes, but let's just go with it.

Why are pecans called pralines?

Pecans and their candied version, pralines, are so intertwined as to have become synonymous to some folks, I suppose. You could probably get away with throwing in sugared pralines into a recipe that call for regular old pecans and it would still turn out.

What to do with failed pralines?

If your pralines don't turn out just the way you wanted them too, all is not lost. You might be able to save them just by stirring in some very, very hot water if the pralines are seizing because they were stirred too much. I've had great success with this approach because this is my number one mistake. If all else fails and the pecan pralines got too crumbly and dry, you can still sprinkle them over ice cream or mix them into homemade vanilla ice cream for a delicious treat.

More Candy Recipes To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

  • Old-Fashioned Divinity (another southern candy recipe that I make every year at Christmas)
  • Grandma Nash's Best Butter Almond English Toffee
  • Easy Homemade Rocky Road Fudge
  • Old-Fashioned Homemade Peanut Brittle
  • Easy Homemade Peppermint Bark
  • Peppermint Bark Caramel Corn
  • Brigadeiro Recipe from my friend Aline at Brazilian Kitchen Abroad

More Favorites from House of Nash Eats

  • Steak Kabobs
  • Buckeye Candy
  • Orzo Pilaf Rice
  • Creamy Risotto Recipe
  • Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe
  • Chicken and Dumpling Soup Recipe
  • Recipe for Clam Chowder
  • Asian Cabbage Slaw
  • Homemade Strawberry Cupcakes
  • Street Corn
  • Reuben Recipe
  • Recipe for Watergate salad
  • Deep Dish Quiche
  • Homemade Graham Cracker Crust
  • Best Corn Muffin Recipe
  • Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
  • Grilling Salmon in Foil

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

Pecans Praline - House of Nash Eats (5)

PrintPinRate

Southern Pecan Pralines

4.91 from 141 votes

Amy Nash

Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 10 minutes mins

Total Time 20 minutes mins

Course Dessert

Cuisine American

Servings 16 -20 servings

There is nothing like old-fashioned Southern Pecan Pralines! This melt-in-your-mouth treat is a cross between a cookie and a candy and it's loaded with crunchy pecans, butter, and fabulous brown sugar flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar packed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup evaporated milk or half-and-half
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pecan halves

Instructions

  • Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper and set aside.

  • In a medium-size heavy pot, combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, evaporated milk, and butter. Cook and stir with a wooden spoon over medium heat until the sugars dissolve and the mixture comes to a boil.

  • Continue to cook until the temperature reaches between 235-240 degrees F on a candy thermometer (affiliate link) (soft ball stage). Remove from heat and allow the praline mixture to cool for 5 minutes.

  • Stir in the vanilla and pecans, beating by hand with a wooden spoon just until the candy begins to lose its glossiness and thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. If you beat too long, the candy will seize and start to crumble. If you don't beat it long enough, then pralines won't set properly and will stay soft and sticky.

  • Work quickly to drop heaping tablespoons (I use a small cookie dough scoop) of pecan praline mixture onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. If the praline mixture begins to harden in the pan, add a teaspoon of hot water at a time and stir to keep the mixture loose enough to scoop and drop.

  • Cool completely until set and the pralines have reached room temperature. Store in an airtight container on the counter for 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months.

Video

Notes

Some people prefer to chop their pecans. I leave mine whole just like the pecan pralines at River Street Sweets.

Adapted from AllRecipes.

Nutrition

Calories: 296kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 97mg | Potassium: 129mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 176IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 1mg

Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

More States I Have Visited in my American Eats Series

AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNew JerseyNew YorkOregonPuerto RicoSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTexasUtahWisconsin

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About the author

Pecans Praline - House of Nash Eats (10)

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Pecans Praline - House of Nash Eats (2024)

FAQs

How to fix pralines that didn't set? ›

sometimes I have no idea why they won't harden. But if your pralines are still gooey after 30-40 minutes, you may have to scrape them back into the pan and heat them again. Add a tablespoon of milk, melt the sugar, and as before, stir constantly while you bring them to a boil.

Are praline pecans good for you? ›

Being that pecans are the main ingredient; the snack contains essential vitamins & minerals, can aid in long-term heart health, can be enjoyed by gluten intolerant consumers, can provide a high number of antioxidants, and can supply a large amount of protein & fiber.

How long do pecan pralines last? ›

Pecan pralines last up to three weeks. So it is better to consume the pecan pralines in the first two to three weeks after you make them. After three weeks, the pralines will not go bad but the sugar will begin to re-crystallize and so they will lose their delicious creaminess and will get a little harder to chew.

What is the flavor of praline? ›

What Is the Taste of Praline? Pralines are a sweet, creamy and nutty confection that tastes like caramelized nuts with a soft, fudgy texture.

How to soften pecan pralines? ›

Since the problem is mostly that the sugar in the pralines gets hard and crystallized, you might try softening them the way you'd soften hard brown sugar. Place a terracotta sugar saver in the container or something else that's slightly damp, like a few slices of apple or a slice of fresh bread.

Why won't my homemade candy harden? ›

If the sugar mixture is not cooked to the proper temperature (the hard-crack stage 300-310° F {149-154° C.} or if you are working in a kitchen with high humidity, chances are your candy is retaining too much moisture.

What do pecans do to your body? ›

Raw pecans pack a 1-2-3 punch of protein, healthy fats, and fiber that can help keep you energized and satisfied. Pecans are a good source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which help lower blood pressure. Most of the fat found in pecans is a healthy type called monounsaturated fat.

Is it OK to eat pecans every day? ›

“Eating a handful of pecans each day can help satisfy cravings for unhealthy snacks and provide a nutritious boost to any meal. Furthermore, pecans can also be included as part of a healthy diet when combined with other nutrient-rich foods in moderation.”

Are too many pecans bad for you? ›

Like many other nuts, pecans contain a high percentage of fat and can lead to diarrhea if too many are eaten in a short amount of time. Over-consumption may also lead to digestive issues like gas and bloating.

Can pralines go bad? ›

They contain no preservatives and are best consumed within a week of purchase. They never go “bad,” but after a week or so the sugar starts to crystalize and they lose the characteristic snap that you enjoy when biting them.

Why do pralines turn white? ›

Why are there white spots on my pralines? The white spots are a natural process called crystallization. Because our pralines are made with NO preservatives, the white spots occur over time as the cooked sugar returns to its original crystal form.

Why are my pralines gritty? ›

Avoid The Humidity

Plan to make your pralines on a cool, dry day. If it's humid or rainy, as it was the first time I made pralines, the candy might end up with a more sugary, grainy texture.

What's the difference between a praline and a pecan? ›

What is the difference between a pecan and a praline? A pecan is a type of nut while a praline is a type of candy that is made with sugar and nuts. While pecans are the most common type of nut used in pralines, almonds or hazelnuts will work too.

What the heck is a praline? ›

praline, in French confectionery, a cooked mixture of sugar, nuts, and vanilla, often ground to a paste for use as a pastry or candy filling, analogous to marzipan; also, a sugar-coated almond or other nutmeat.

Are praline pecans the same as pecan pralines? ›

For one, pecan pralines are a patty-shaped candy made from pecans and several other ingredients, typically sugar, butter, and cream. Praline pecans, on the other hand, are individual pecan nuts with a praline-flavored coating.

Why did my praline crystallise? ›

Sometimes, as syrup boils, sugar starts to form back into crystals, which turn hard and cloudy. Crystallisation can be caused by stirring, or a grain of something other than sugar getting into the pan, or often just bad luck.

Can you overcook pralines? ›

Pralines should be cooked to 236°F (soft ball stage) so that it is still pliable when it cools and so it maintains the smooth sandy texture typical of pralines. This is impossible to determine without a thermometer, and if you overheat the sugar, you are guaranteed to make pralines that are too firm and grainy.

Does homemade pralines need to be refrigerated? ›

Allow the pralines to cool completely, then store between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container. They will keep at room temperature, stored in a cool and dry place, for at least five days or longer.

Does humidity affect making pralines? ›

2) Altitude and humidity can impact your results. Higher altitudes may need to cook things a touch longer than lower altitudes. Don't try to make these if it's raining or snowing or overly humid outside–they won't set up. 3) Sometimes candy just doesn't work out.

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