Sweet and Nutty: Irresistible Southern Pralines Recipe

Have you ever tasted a Southern praline? If not, then you are in for a treat that will tantalize your taste buds and satisfy your sweet tooth. This easy Southern pecan pralines recipe is a candy confection that you won’t be able to resist. The pralines candy is made of pecans, sugar, butter, and evaporated milk. It’s the perfect combination of creaminess and crunch that will have you coming back for more.

Southern pralines have a long history ingrained in the culture of places like Louisiana and New Orleans. These pralines have been passed down through generations, and people still flock to get their hands on these delicious treats. The recipe ingredients are simple: brown sugar, granulated sugar, 2 cups of Southern pecans, evaporated milk, unsalted butter, corn syrup, heavy whipping cream, and vanilla extract. These pralines sweet candy is best made with fresh ingredients in an old-fashioned way.

In this article, we will be sharing the secrets to making creamy pecan pralines that everyone will love. Whether you are new to making candy or have some experience under your belt, our step-by-step instructions will provide you with everything you need to know to make the best Southern pralines.

So don’t wait any longer! Follow along as we show you how to make this classic Southern dessert that has captured the hearts of many.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Pralines
Southern Pralines

If you’re looking for a sweet treat that embodies the essence and traditions of the south, then this Southern Pecan Pralines Recipe is the one for you! Picture this: creamy caramelized pecans, coated in a buttery sugar mixture that melts in your mouth with every bite. This recipe will undoubtedly satisfy your sweet tooth and transport you to the charming streets of New Orleans.

But why will you love this recipe, you might ask? Well, for starters, it’s easy to make! You only need a few simple ingredients to whip up these heavenly treats. You don’t need any fancy cooking skills or techniques that only professionals can master. All you need are some pecans, sugar, butter, evaporated milk, and some spices like cinnamon and vanilla extract.

Another reason why you’ll love this recipe is that it’s versatile. You can enjoy them as an after-dinner dessert, serve them as a tasty snack at parties, or simply savor them during your afternoon coffee break. And here’s an idea: try adding chopped pecans on top of ice cream or stirring them into oatmeal for a delightful breakfast treat.

Finally, pralines are not just a dessert, they represent the Southern culture and history as well. In Louisiana, pralines were originally made with almonds back in the 17th century before pecans became more abundant in the region. Later on, the candy became a staple at Mardi Gras and other celebrations around New Orleans.

Therefore, indulging in these creamy pecan pralines means indulging in rich Southern history and culture. So go ahead and give this easy Southern Pecan Pralines recipe a try! Trust me; after just one bite of these sweet candy confections made with pecans, sugar, butter form dairy; you won’t be able to resist their irresistible charm!

Ingredient List

 Sink your teeth into these sweet and buttery Southern Pralines
Sink your teeth into these sweet and buttery Southern Pralines

Let’s get started with the Pralines Recipe Ingredients. To make these Southern Pecan Pralines, you will need to gather the following ingredients:

1. Pecans

You can’t make pecan pralines without, well, pecans! You will need 2 cups of pecan halves for this recipe. Be sure to pick out good quality pecans that have a fresh aroma and aren’t too old.

2. Brown sugar

Brown sugar is the key ingredient that gives the pralines their distinctively beautiful color and buttery-rich flavor. For this recipe, use 1 cup of packed brown sugar.

3. Sugar

Practically all candy confection is made with sugar, and pecan pralines are no different. You will need 1 cup granulated sugar to sweeten up the praline pecans.

4. Butter

Butter adds a rich dairy flavor to the southern pralines recipe. For best results use 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks).

5. Evaporated milk

Evaporated milk brings a creamy texture and silky consistency to this easy southern pecan praline recipe. Use 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk, or one can.

6. Corn syrup

Corn syrup provides sweetness and helps prevent the formation of crystals in the candy mixture while it cooks. Use 1/4 cup light corn syrup.

7. Vanilla extract

Finally, use some high-quality vanilla extract to bring depth and complexity to your homemade southern pralines candy. You’ll need 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

Make sure you have all of these pralines recipe ingredients before you get started!

The Recipe How-To

 Perfect for satisfying those sweet cravings
Perfect for satisfying those sweet cravings

Now that we have all of our ingredients ready, let’s start making some delicious Southern Pralines!

Step 1: Preparing the Pecans

  • Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Spread 2 cups of pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast them for 8 to 10 minutes until they are fragrant and lightly browned.
  • Once toasted, remove them from the oven and chop them coarsely.

Step 2: Making the Praline Mixture

  • In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 ½ cups evaporated milk, and 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter.
  • Stir constantly with a whisk until the mixture comes to a full boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 8 minutes until it thickens.
  • To check if the mixture is ready, use a candy thermometer and make sure it reaches a temperature of 238°F (114°C). If you don’t have a candy thermometer, test the mixture by dribbling some of it into a cup of cold water – if it forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from the water, it’s ready.

Step 3: Adding the Pecans

  • Once the praline mixture is ready, take it off the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and half of the chopped pecans you toasted earlier.
  • Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until you feel the mixture starting to thicken and lose its gloss.
  • Add in the remaining pecans and keep stirring until thickened even more.

Step 4: Shaping and Letting Cool

  • Using two teaspoons, drop spoonfuls onto wax paper or a greased surface, making sure to separate them.
  • Let them cool and harden for about 10 minutes.
  • Once firm, you can remove the pralines from the wax paper or surface using a spatula.

And voila! Your delicious homemade Southern Pecan Pralines are ready to be devoured. Keep them in an airtight container and enjoy as desired.

Substitutions and Variations

 A classic Southern indulgence that never gets old
A classic Southern indulgence that never gets old

When making Southern Pralines, there are a few substitutions and variations that you can use to give the recipe a unique spin. One of the most popular substitutions for pecans is using walnuts instead. While these nuts are not traditional for this recipe, they still add a nutty flavor and texture that complements the sweet praline candy.

If you’re looking for a variation on the classic Southern Pecan Pralines, try adding some cinnamon to the recipe. This spice adds a warm and cozy flavor that pairs well with the brown sugar and pecans. You can also experiment with adding different types of extract flavors, such as almond or maple extract.

For those who want to create a dairy-free version of this sweet candy confection, you can replace the evaporated milk and butter with coconut cream and coconut oil. This substitution gives the candy a creamy texture without any dairy products.

Another way to vary this recipe is to make it into praline bars by pouring the mixture into a baking dish and cutting it into pieces once it has set. You can also sprinkle chopped pecans on top of the mixture before it sets to add some crunch.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try making Louisiana-style pralines by substituting some of the granulated sugar with light corn syrup or using sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated milk. These variations will give your pralines a creamier texture and a distinctive taste that’s reminiscent of New Orleans’ famous sweet treats.

Whatever variation you choose, just be sure to follow the recipe closely, especially if using a candy thermometer. With these substitutions and variations in mind, you’ll soon have your own perfect recipe for creating the best Southern Pralines imaginable.

Serving and Pairing

 The aroma of caramelized sugar and pecans will fill your home
The aroma of caramelized sugar and pecans will fill your home

Once your southern pecan pralines are ready, it’s time to enjoy them! These delectable treats are perfect on their own or accompanied by a cup of hot coffee or tea. The rich sweetness of the pralines pairs well with a bold roast or smooth black tea.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try pairing these pralines with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an indulgent dessert. The creamy texture of the ice cream complements the crunchy pecans and sticky sweetness of the confection.

For those who love a little kick in their sweets, you can try adding a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. The warm spice adds depth to the flavors and elevates the taste experience.

When entertaining guests, display your southern pecan pralines on a platter along with other southern sweet treats like sweet potato pie or peach cobbler. This creates a lovely and cohesive dessert spread that highlights the best of Southern cuisine.

Remember to savor each bite slowly and take in the flavors of this iconic Southern candy. Whether you’re enjoying them alone or sharing with friends and family, these pralines are sure to be a crowd-pleaser!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 These pralines are a great addition to any dessert table
These pralines are a great addition to any dessert table

Once you have mastered the art of making these delectable southern pralines, you might want to whip up a batch or two in advance so that you can savor them whenever the urge strikes. Thankfully, pralines store perfectly and can remain fresh for a relatively long period.

To make these delightful treats ahead of time, let them cool down completely before storing them away in an airtight container. You can freeze them if you like, but if stored correctly in the refrigerator, they can last for up to two weeks.

When it comes to reheating your pralines, it’s best to heat them in the microwave for 15 seconds at a time until they are warm and gooey. However, be sure not to overheat your pralines as they can often become too soft and lose their texture.

If you’ve had your southern pecan pralines stored away for too long and find that they are no longer as fresh as they used to be, don’t worry! Simply pop them in the oven on low heat and keep a close eye on them while they warm up. The sugar will begin to caramelize once again, thus taking your taste buds on an even sweeter journey.

A helpful hint when working with leftovers is to crush your pralines into smaller pieces and sprinkle them over ice cream or French toast. This will ensure that there is absolutely no waste and that every little morsel of this sweet candy confection is savored till the very last crumb.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Indulge in the richness of the South with every bite
Indulge in the richness of the South with every bite

When making Southern Pralines, there are several tips and tricks that can ensure perfect results every time. Here are some of my tried-and-true tips to take your pralines to the next level.

Firstly, make sure you have all the ingredients ready before starting. Southern Pralines can be finicky, so it’s important to have everything prepared in advance. Measure out your ingredients precisely, as even small discrepancies can affect the final outcome of the candy.

Next, invest in a reliable candy thermometer. This will help you achieve the perfect temperature for your pralines. Soft ball stage (235-240°F) is ideal for creamy pralines while hard ball stage (250-265°F) will result in a crispy, crunchy praline texture.

While cooking the mixture, be sure to stir consistently and evenly, reaching all corners of the pot or pan. This will prevent any burning or scorching of the candy and ensure that the mixture cooks evenly. If any sugar crystals form on the pan’s sides or bottom, use a pastry brush dipped in water to dissolve them.

Once you’ve added pecans to your praline mixture, pay careful attention to them as they roast and cook. You want them to be perfectly toasted without being overdone. Do this by keeping an eye on them and adjusting the heat accordingly.

To achieve that classic Southern Praline flavor, use fresh pecans from a local source if possible. The type of pecan used can also affect the final product’s flavor profile. Southern Pecan halves work well in this recipe since they’re smaller and will distribute more evenly throughout the candy.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors and textures – add cinnamon or vanilla extract to enhance flavor or try using brown sugar instead of granulated sugar for a richer taste. By following these tips and experimenting with variations, you’ll be on your way to creating the best homemade Southern Pralines anyone has ever tasted!


Before concluding this recipe guide, let’s take a brief look at some frequently asked questions that might answer any doubts or confusions regarding the southern pralines recipe. These questions range from basic queries about the ingredients to substitutes that can be used in case of unavailability. Let’s dive straight into it.

What are Southern pralines?

Pecan pralines are a popular Southern treat that combines pecans, sugar, butter, and a dairy ingredient. The dairy component can be milk, cream, half-and-half, evaporated milk, or buttermilk, depending on the recipe.

What are New Orleans pralines made of?

This recipe for a New Orleans praline is a classic and widely used in the southern-style cooking. The base ingredients used are sugar, milk, butter, and pecans. Whether you’re in the French Quarter or in the coziness of your own kitchen, this recipe will guide you step-by-step on how to create a delicious batch of pralines.

Why are my pralines not getting hard?

When it comes to making candy, achieving the correct consistency is crucial, and temperature plays a vital role in achieving that. However, it is essential to ensure that the candy thermometer is precise, as inaccurate readings could lead to the candy not setting correctly. Additionally, factors such as humidity and altitude can also impact the final outcome of the candy.

How do you keep pralines from being grainy?

When it comes to making pralines, it’s important to pick the right day. It’s best to choose a day with low humidity and no rain in the forecast. On a humid day, your candy may end up with a slightly sugary and gritty texture, I learned this from personal experience. Therefore, it’s best to avoid making pralines on such days.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Southern Pralines Recipe is a must-try for anyone who loves the classic praline candy or has a sweet tooth. With its rich, creamy taste and decadent caramel flavor, it will take you on a journey to the old-fashioned, Southern-style baking. This dessert will be perfect for any occasion, from after dinner treats to gift-giving during holidays.

Moreover, it’s easy to follow recipe instructions and requires only a few ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. With simple substitutions and variations options available, you can make it your own and tailor it to your taste. Whether you prefer to use brown sugar or granulated sugar, regular milk or heavy cream, there are plenty of ways to experiment with the recipe.

Lastly, don’t let the fear of not getting the perfect consistency hold you back from creating this sweet candy confection. Follow my tips and tricks for perfect results: using a candy thermometer for accurate temperature reading or cooling the mixture before adding pecans to help them stay intact. Also, if you need to store leftover pralines, keep them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks, or freeze them for longer preservation.

So what are you waiting for? Gather your ingredients and start whipping up some delicious Southern Pralines now! I guarantee that once you try these creamy pecan delights, they will quickly become one of your favorite sweet treats.

Southern Pralines

Southern Pralines Recipe

People in the know pronounce this "praw-leens". A deliciously flavored candy from the Southern chapter of the United States Regional Cookbook, Culinary Arts Institute of Chicago, 1947. Cooking time approximate.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Southern US
Servings 24 pieces
Calories 165.4 kcal


  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup cream or 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pecans (halved or chopped)


  • Cook sugar, butter and cream together to 237F on a candy thermometer or to soft ball stage.
  • Add cinnamon and nuts; beat until nearly cold.
  • Drop from the dip of the spoon onto buttered platter, marble slab or onto waxed paper.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 1010gCalories: 165.4kcalCarbohydrates: 27.4gProtein: 0.4gFat: 6.6gSaturated Fat: 3.3gCholesterol: 16.1mgSodium: 27.7mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 26.6g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Candy, Dessert, Easy, Egg-free, Free Of..., Fruit, Inexpensive, Low Protein, Nuts, Sweet
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