New Orleans Pecan Pralines

Oh, let me tell you about the heavenly indulgence that is New Orleans Pecan Pralines! These delightful treats are a beloved Southern confection, featuring a perfect blend of rich, buttery caramel, crunchy pecans, and a touch of sweet magic.

The pralines are expertly crafted to achieve a smooth and creamy texture that simply melts in your mouth, leaving behind a symphony of flavors that will have you coming back for more. Whether enjoyed as a snack or a dessert, these decadent treats perfectly encapsulate the essence of indulgence and Southern charm.

Ingredients Needed for This Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups pecans (halves or chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Serves approximately 18-20 pralines.

Instructions for Making New Orleans Pecan Pralines

  1. Toast the Pecans: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 8-10 minutes until they’re fragrant and slightly darker. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. Combine Sugars and Milk: In a medium-sized saucepan, mix the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and milk. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  3. Add Butter and Boil: Add the butter to the saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir constantly to prevent burning. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to stir until the mixture reaches 238-240°F (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer.
  4. Final Mix: Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract, salt, and toasted pecans until everything is well combined.
  5. Form the Pralines: Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Allow them to cool and harden for about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Enjoy: Once the pralines are cool and firm, they’re ready to be enjoyed. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

Tips for Perfecting the Recipe

Understand the Sugar Temperature: Achieving the perfect texture for pralines largely depends on cooking the sugar to the right temperature. Using a candy thermometer is crucial. The soft ball stage (238-240°F) is where you want your sugar mixture to be. If it’s too low, your pralines will be too soft; too high, and they’ll be too hard.

Stirring is Key: From the moment your sugar and milk mixture starts to boil, stirring constantly is important. This prevents the sugar from crystallizing too early and ensures a smooth, creamy texture in the final pralines.

Toast the Pecans: Don’t skip toasting the pecans. This step enhances their flavor and adds a deeper, nuttier taste to your pralines, complementing the sweetness of the sugar mixture.

Use a Heavy-Bottomed Pan: A heavy-bottomed pan is essential for making pralines. It ensures even heat distribution, reducing the risk of the sugar mixture burning.

Test Your Candy Thermometer: Before you start, test your candy thermometer in boiling water to ensure it reads 212°F. An accurate thermometer is vital for candy making.

Patience with Cooling: After dropping the praline mixture onto parchment paper, let them cool and harden without disturbance. They need time to set properly to achieve the classic praline texture.

Serving Suggestions

With Coffee or Tea: New Orleans Pecan Pralines make a delightful accompaniment to a hot cup of coffee or tea, especially in the afternoon. Their sweetness pairs wonderfully with the bitterness of coffee or the subtlety of tea.

As a Dessert Garnish: Crumble them over ice cream, use as a topping for cakes, or incorporate them into your dessert platters. Their crunch and flavor add a sophisticated touch to simple desserts.

Gift Giving: Packaged in a pretty box or tin, pralines make a lovely homemade gift for holidays, hostesses, or any special occasion. They’re a thoughtful way to share a taste of Southern hospitality.

Party Favors: Small bags of pralines can serve as charming party favors for weddings, showers, or birthday celebrations, offering guests a sweet memory to take home.

Storage Tips

Airtight Containers: Store pralines in an airtight container at room temperature. They’ll keep for up to 2 weeks. Ensure they’re completely cool before storing to prevent condensation from softening them.

Separate Layers with Wax Paper: If stacking pralines in a container, separate layers with wax paper to prevent them from sticking together.

Avoid Humidity: Humidity is the enemy of pralines. Store them in a cool, dry place. If you live in a particularly humid environment, consider storing them in the refrigerator, though this might alter their texture slightly.

Freezing: For longer storage, pralines can be frozen. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then place them in a zip-top freezer bag. They can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before enjoying.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did my pralines turn grainy? Graininess can occur if the sugar crystallizes. This can happen from stirring too vigorously after the syrup has reached the soft ball stage or from undissolved sugar crystals on the side of the pan. To prevent this, brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush while the sugar is dissolving.

Can I use half-and-half instead of milk? Yes, you can use half-and-half to make pralines. It will make them richer and creamier.

My pralines didn’t harden. What can I do? If your pralines are too soft, it’s likely the sugar mixture didn’t reach the correct temperature. You can try reboiling the mixture, ensuring it reaches the soft ball stage, then try forming the pralines again.

Can I make pralines in advance? Absolutely! Pralines can be made in advance and stored following the storage tips mentioned above. They’re perfect for preparing ahead of time for events or gifts.

Can I use different nuts? While pecans are traditional for New Orleans Pralines, you can experiment with other nuts like walnuts or almonds. Keep in mind the flavor profile will change.

No-Bake Coconut Pecan Praline Cookies

5 from 1 vote
No-Bake Coconut Pecan Praline Cookies 1
No-Bake Coconut Pecan Praline Cookies are a delightful treat that combines the crunchiness of pecans with the sweetness of coconut and pralines in a no-bake form, perfect for when you want a delicious cookie without turning on the oven.


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • Pinch of salt


  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine granulated sugar, evaporated milk, corn syrup, and unsalted butter. Stir continuously until the mixture comes to a rolling boil. Allow it to boil for 1 minute without stirring.
  • Remove the saucepan from heat. Stir in the vanilla extract, chopped pecans, shredded coconut, and a pinch of salt until everything is well coated and mixed.
  • Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Use the back of the spoon to slightly flatten each cookie.
  • Allow the cookies to cool and set at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes. For quicker setting, you can place them in the refrigerator.
  • Once set, the cookies are ready to enjoy. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

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