New Orleans Pralines

New Orleans Pecan Pralines on Plate
caelmi / Getty Images
  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Servings: 15 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
216 Calories
11g Fat
30g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 15
Amount per serving
Calories 216
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 9mg 3%
Sodium 8mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 1g
Calcium 30mg 2%
*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.)

Pralines are sweet confections made primarily out of sugar and nuts. This hard candy is then sometimes ground and used as filling in other candies, but it stands by itself as a delightful treat. In New Orleans, praline is an institution. Brought to Louisiana by French immigrants, the recipe quickly adapted to the plentiful amounts of pecans in Louisiana, swapping the original almonds and hazelnuts for the local Southern nut, also adding cream or evaporated milk.

Our praline recipe produces sweet, slightly crumbly brown sugar candies loaded with toasted pecans. It's important that the pecans are well-toasted so they impart maximum flavor and crunch to the candy. But more importantly, use a candy thermometer to make sure the sugar is cooked to the right temperature. Otherwise, you might end up with a gooey mess on your hands.


  • 1 cup sugar (white)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter (cubed)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans (toasted and coarsely chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. 

    New Orleans pralines ingredients.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Alternatively, use a silicone mat on top of the baking sheet.

    Prepare baking sheet with foil and cooking spray
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  3. In a medium saucepan combine the white sugar, brown sugar, and evaporated milk. Warm up the mixture over medium heat.

    Combine sugar, brown sugar, and evaporated milk in saucepan
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  4. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Once all is well mixed, insert a candy thermometer. Cook the candy, stirring occasionally until the thermometer reads 240 F.

    Stir until sugar dissolves
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  5. Once the proper temperature is reached, remove the pan from the heat and drop the cubes of butter on top, without stirring. Allow the sugar mixture to sit for 1 minute.

    Add butter to sugar and milk mixture
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  6. After 1 minute, add the vanilla extract and the pecans. Begin to stir smoothly and constantly with a wooden spoon. Soon after the candy will begin to thicken and appear lighter in color.

    Add vanilla and pecans to mixture
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  7. Continue to stir until the candy starts to hold its shape. It should still be easy to stir, but don't overdo it, as pralines quickly go from fluid to rock-solid.

    Continue stirring until pralines start to harden
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  8. Once the confection has a lighter opaque-brown color and is holding its shape, work quicky and drop small spoonfuls of the candy onto the prepared baking sheet. Because the pralines will start to set in the saucepan you need to spoon out the candy as fast as you safely can. If the candy stiffens before you’re done scooping, add a spoonful of boiling hot water and stir until it loosens, then continue scooping until you have formed all the pralines.

    Drop spoonfuls of praline mixture onto baking sheet
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  9. Allow the candy to fully set at room temperature, for about 30 minutes. Store the pralines in an airtight container at room temperature.

    Allow pralines to cool to room temperature
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  10. Enjoy!

Use Other Nuts

  • Although you need pecans to call this confection a New Orleans praline, the same recipe works well for other nuts. Simply swap the pecans for roasted almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, or even peanuts.
  • If you want to make a special praline for someone with a nut or peanut allergy, use pepitas or sunflower seeds to give the mixture that great crunch.