Easy Creamy Pecan Pralines

Easy Creamy Pecan Pralines recipe, cookies on a white plate

The Spruce / Emily Baker

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Rest Time: 30 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 20 servings
Yield: 20 pralines
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
159 Calories
8g Fat
21g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20
Amount per serving
Calories 159
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 11%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 8mg 3%
Sodium 27mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 20g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 28mg 2%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 62mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

New Orleans-style pralines are sweet and nutty confections of sugar, evaporated milk, butter, and pecans. Not only are they incredibly delicious, but they are also super easy to make. Pecans, butter, and brown sugar are the main ingredients for these delectable candies. 

The method for making these pralines is similar to making basic fudge, but they are spooned onto waxed or parchment paper to make small free-form patties. Simply combine and boil the candy ingredients to the soft-ball stage, stir in the nuts, then form and let set. Don't let any technical candy-making terms deter you. The only equipment you need is a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the ingredients.

You might be surprised to know that pralines and other types of fudge and caramels freeze well, so these pralines can give you a head start on any holiday candy making. They are also a sweet treat you can enjoy year-round.

"If you are looking to make candy at home, I think this is a great place to start. This recipe is very straightforward, does not require any fancy equipment, and will make you feel like you are your own homemade candy shop." —Tracy Wilk

Easy Creamy Pecan Pralines Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, chilled

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, dark or light

  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk

  • 1 1/2 cups pecans

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Easy creamy pecan pralines ingredients

    The Spruce / Emily Baker

  2. Lay an 18-inch sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper on the countertop.

    Waxed paper on a marble countertop

    The Spruce / Emily Baker

  3. Cut the butter into small pieces. Place the pieces of butter on a plate and put the plate in the freezer while you heat the ingredients.

    Cut-up butter on a white plate

    The Spruce / Emily Baker

  4. In a heavy medium saucepan, add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and evaporated milk.

    Evaporated milk, granulated and brown sugar in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Emily Baker

  5. Place the pan over medium heat, whisk to blend, and cook until the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage or 235 F when measured with a candy thermometer.

    Evaporated milk and sugar mixture melted and whisked

    The Spruce / Emily Baker

  6. Immediately remove the pan from the burner and stir in the frozen butter with a wooden spoon.

    Butter added to the sugar and evaporated milk, praline mixture

    The Spruce / Emily Baker

  7. Add the pecans and vanilla and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture is no longer shiny and thickens but is not too stiff. The candy should spread slightly when you spoon it onto the paper.

    Whole pecans in the praline mixture in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Emily Baker

  8. Use a tablespoon to spoon mounds of the candy onto the waxed paper or parchment, making sure that there are pecans in each praline.

    Praline on a waxed paper sheet on a marble counter

    The Spruce / Emily Baker

  9. Let the candy stand at room temperature until firm, about 30 minutes.

    Pecan pralines firming up at room temperature

    The Spruce / Emily Baker

How to Store and Freeze

  • For gift giving, individually wrap the pralines in cellophane wrappers or arrange them in a decorative tin with sheets of waxed paper separating the layers.
  • Store the pralines in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three weeks.
  • Freeze pralines for up to three months in airtight containers lined with waxed paper. Separate the layers with waxed paper or wrap the individual pralines.

Recipe Variations

  • Other nuts can be substituted for the pecans in these pralines, such as pistachios, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds, but it's the pecan nut that distinguishes these sweets as a Southern treat.
  • Replace the evaporated milk with half-and-half or light cream.
  • Toast the pecans before adding them to the candy mixture for deeper flavor.

How Long Does It Take for Pecan Pralines to Harden?

Depending on the mixture and the temperature of your kitchen, pecan pralines will harden in anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half. On average, they will take about 30 minutes to harden.

Are Praline Pecans the Same as Candied Pecans?

Pecan pralines are a cluster candy made with sugar, butter, and milk or cream. They are very sweet and tender. Candied pecans are nuts coated in a butter and sugar mixture and baked until lightly caramelized. The mixture leaves a thin coating on the individual nuts resulting in a lightly sweet, crunchy snack.

Should You Refrigerate Pralines?

There is no need to refrigerate pecan pralines. They will keep for about three weeks in an airtight container at room temperature.