Southern Pecan Pralines are a rich, decadent candy treat. Each bite is a perfect blend of creamy, buttery southern goodness that’s too good to pass up. Here’s how to make pralines quickly and easily at home.
How to Make Pralines – Quick Tips
Southern Pecan Pralines are a fairly simple candy to make at home. While easier to make than divinity, they do have a few things in common with this other popular candy.
Tips for Making Pecan Pralines
To Roast or Not to Roast?
Some people use raw pecans in pralines and others like them roasted. Roasting brings out the pecan flavor, but many people prefer the texture of unroasted pecans.
To roast pecans, place them on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes. Stir frequently. They’re done when they turn a slightly darker shade and start to smell wonderful. Watch them closely and don’t let them burn!
Wait for Dry Weather
Try to avoid making pralines on a humid or rainy day because they may not set up properly.
Use a Candy Thermometer
Use a candy thermometer. Pralines are cooked to 240 degrees or softball stage. You reach softball stage when a drop of the sugar syrup is dropped into a glass of water and forms a soft ball. It’s a lot easier to use a candy thermometer than to use the water glass method.
The syrup will heat up quickly once it reaches the softball stage. If it reaches the hardball stage, your pralines will end up hard and stiff instead of creamy and sugary.
Once the pralines reach the softball stage, it’s time to move quickly. Remove them from the heat, add in the vanilla and stir until the pralines feel like a thick syrup.
Pralines should spread out a little (not a lot!) when you drop them onto the waxed paper. They will harden as they cool. Move quickly because the pralines will continue to harden in the bowl.
How to Make Pralines
It’s best to have all of the ingredients together and ready before you start. Once you get underway, you’ll have to move fast.
Mix the granulated sugar, brown sugar and milk together in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Once the sugar dissolves, add the butter and pecans.
Cook over medium heat, but stop stirring. Allow it to cook until it reaches 240 degrees or softball stage.
Remove from the heat and add in vanilla.
Stir well until it starts to thicken and has a matte finish. It should start to feel like a heavy syrup. You don’t want to let it get too thick or it won’t spread out easily. It will harden quickly as it cools.
Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Allow to dry and cool.
I’m not sure how long these can be stored. They’ve never lasted more than a few days around here. They do freeze well, at least for a few days. I’ve tried hiding a stash in the back of the freezer, but those went pretty fast, too.
Southern Pecan Pralines go great with coffee, vanilla ice cream and just about anything else you can think of. They’re a wonderful treat and a great snack.
Southern Pecan Pralines
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 ½ cups pecans chopped or halves, roasted or unroasted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Mix the granulated sugar, brown sugar and milk together in a saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
- Once the sugar dissolves, add the butter and pecans.
- Cook over medium heat, but stop stirring. Allow it to cook until it reaches 240 degrees or softball stage.
- Remove from the heat and add in vanilla.
- Stir well until it starts to thicken and has a matte finish.
- Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Allow to dry and cool.
If you’re looking for more candy and pecan recipes, check out our recipes for pecan divinity and candied pecans.