Chewy Texas Pecan Pralines

You’ll love this easy recipe for chewy Texas Pecan Pralines! These are creamy and gooey, just like the one’s you’ll get at Lamme’s Candies™ in Austin, Texas.

If you’ve never had one of these nutty, buttery, sugary concoctions, you’re in for a real treat!

And if candy making seems intimidating to you, this is one candy recipe you’ll be able to master…it’s all about the time and temperature!

And there’s no baking involved.

Making homemade pecan pralines is easy as making microwave peanut brittle or homemade marshmallows!

What is a praline?

In the South, a praline is typically a caramel-type pecan candy. Some are chewy and some are more brittle, but the essence of the praline is that it’s a cluster of pecans candy coated in a sugary, buttery concoction which generally doesn’t include chocolate. 

Since the pecan tree is the State Tree of Texas, it only makes sense that there are many variations of this throughout the state. 

Pecan pralines are usually served at state-wide Mexican restaurants at check-out, like El Fenix™ and El Chico™.

At these restaurants, you’ll find individually wrapped pecan candies and they’re usually a little brittle – not chewy. 

Why this pecan candy recipe works

I’ve researched many praline recipes and generally, the ingredients and proportions are about the same; however, this recipe is timed EXACTLY, with detailed-instruction regarding the two key elements in making chewy Texas pecan pralines – time and temperature.

Note: these are ooey, gooey pralines. If you want a crisper praline, let the sugar mixture cook for an additional minute.

Pecan praline on plate.
Gooey sugary buttery nectar surrounding Texas pecans!

Pecan pralines are a wonderful “small dessert” – I usually make them around the Fall or at Christmas when Texas pecans are in season. 

Minimal Sugar Crystallization 

Excessive stirring and agitation increases sugar crystallization. Crystallization is what causes some pecan pralines to be harder than others.

When the sugar mixture is minimally stirred, the sugar forms millions of tiny crystals, which ensures the caramel-like candy will be smooth and creamy.

Using a wooden spoon also helps minimize sugar crystallization, as well as using a low heat (low heat relative to candy-making.)

Corn Syrup

The inclusion of corn syrup (light or dark) into the pecan praline recipe ensures chewiness and body, and helps prevent sugar crystallization. Corn syrup helps give the candy a “caramel” texture.

Texture

The texture of the pecan praline is determined by how the sugar molecules settle and cool. The more stirring and agitating results in larger sugar crystals which in turn, harden upon cooling

With minimal stirring, this recipe results in a chewy pecan praline. If you want a firmer praline, let the mixture sit one additional minute.

Time

It doesn’t take long for this concoction to get to the boiling point of 212ºF, but it does take a little while to reach 246ºF. Keep the heat on medium and allow the mixture to increase in temperature on its own. 

If you turn the heat up, you run the risk of reaching the hard-boil stage (250ºF) and then, your pralines will be hard – not chewy.

Temperature

The temperature is critical in the praline recipe. You want to keep the mixture in between the soft ball and firm ball stage for at least 3-minutes. The soft ball stage is 235ºF – 240ºF and the firm ball stage is 245ºF – 250ºF.

Do not let the mixture get to 250ºF at any point. I did and the pralines turned out hard as a rock – like a hard candy.

What you’ll need

You will need a candy thermometer for sure; make sure it’s an accurate one, too.

Other than that, you’ll need light brown sugar, granulated sugar, light corn syrup, butter, a pinch of salt, vanilla extract and pecan halves.

Chewy pecan praline ingredients labeled.

Yield

This recipe makes 12 – 14 pecan pralines, depending upon how big you scoop them out. If you’re making pralines for a big group, use 12 servings as a rough estimate per this recipe.

You’ll probably have one or two before you serve them:)

How to make chewy pecan pralines

Put all the ingredients except the vanilla and pecans in a large dutch oven. Make sure to use a heavy-bottomed pan because we’re gonna heat the pecan candy mixture to 246ºF. 

Attach the candy thermometer to the dutch oven (make sure it’s not touching the bottom of the pan.)

Bring the mixture to 246ºF for 3-minutes. Stir only 1-2 times.

Remove from heat and let rest for 4-minutes. Do not stir during this time.

At the 4-minute mark, add vanilla and pecans; mix with wooden spoon; oil tablespoon and scoop out onto a lightly oiled baking pan, oiled parchment paper, wax paper or a silicone baking mat.

Where did praline candy originate?

Pralines originated from the French. The initial candy was more like an almond brittle, but when the French immigrants arrived in Louisiana, almonds were not as plentiful as pecans, so the recipe changed a bit. 

What’s the difference between a praline and a brittle?

A praline is a dense, caramel-like candy where a brittle is lighter and crunchier.

Brittle recipes do not include corn syrup (because that increases the moisture content) but they do include baking soda.

Baking soda is used in a peanut brittle to increase the alkalinity of the sugar mixture, resulting in a more porous and harder product.

Pralines, on the other hand, most always include corn syrup and no baking soda. The light corn syrup creates a creamy and smooth texture versus a brittle texture.

What’s the difference between Louisiana pralines and Texas pralines?

Depends on who you ask! First of all, folks in Louisiana call ’em “praw-leens” and folks in Texas call ’em “pray-leens.” Second, you’ll find a discrepancy among Southerner’s in general on how to pronounce “pecan.”

Some say “pee-can,” some say “puh-kahn” but no matter how you pronounce either of these,you’ll find both chewy and not-so-chewy pecan pralines in both states.

Generally speaking, Louisiana pralines are more crisp and brittle than Texas pralines, which are chewy, creamy and gooey, but you’ll find both crispy and chewy pralines across both states.

In Texas, most Tex-Mex or Mexican restaurants have a big bowl of individually wrapped pecan pralines at the checkout. 

There’s some famous candy makers in both states – in New Orleans, you’ll find Aunt Sally’s™ pecan pralines as a top seller and in Austin, Texas, you’ll find Lamme’s™ Candies as one of the favorites!

Cooking Tips

  • Use an accurate candy thermometer
  • Read the instructions 3 times; read the recipe notes 3 times
  • This is an advanced candy recipe; if you’re not experienced with candy-making, be aware that exact times, exact temperatures and the humidity of the cooking environment may affect the outcome of the pralines.
  • Do not let the sugar mixture get to 250ºF; keep it steady at 246ºF
  • If you’re cooking on an electric stove, you may have to lift the dutch oven up off the heat occasionally – be sure and have some heavy duty hot pad because that pot gets hot!

Storage 

  • Store your pecan pralines in a dry container; place a piece of parchment or wax paper between layers
  • Do not serve chewy pralines on a paper doily – and don’t ask me how I know this:)
  • Pecan pralines will last for up to 10-days if properly stored.

Freezing

When stored in a freezer, air-tight container, pecan candies or pecan pralines will last up to 2 months in the freezer.

Variations

Use any nut you like: walnuts, macadamia, Texas pecans or a combination

These chewy Southern pecan pralines come together in no time and make a lovely hostess gift, dessert or just a sugary surprise!

Clusters of pecan pralines onn decorative plate.

Once you learn how to make these chewy Texas pecan pralines, you’ll be making these often! They make a great hostess gift, too!

If you make this recipe, please scroll down and leave a comment and rating! I love to hear from you!

Clusters of pecan pralines onn decorative plate.

Chewy Texas Pecan Pralines

Chewy, gooey Southern pecan candies that melt in your mouth!
4.78 from 9 votes
Print Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cajun, Creole, French, Louisiana, Southern
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Resting time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Yield: 14 pralines
Author: Anecia Hero

Equipment

  • Large heavy bottom pan
  • Candy thermometer
  • Timer
  • Wooden spoon
  • Baking Sheet
  • Parchment or wax paper -or-
  • Silicone mat

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • spray oil for pan
  • spray oil for spoon

Instructions 

  • Place large dutch oven on medium high heat; add butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, heavy cream, corn syrup and salt; stir gently until sugars dissolve; USE A WOODEN SPOON AND DON'T STIR TOO MUCH
    4 tablespoons butter, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1 cup granulated sugar, ½ cup heavy cream, 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • Place candy thermometer in mixture (make sure it's not touching the bottom of the pot); bring the mixture to a boil; allow the mixture to continue to cook until it reaches 246ºF; DO NOT STIR THE MIXTURE WHILE IT'S COOKING
  • Once the mixture reaches 246ºF; cook it for 3 minutes; DO NOT LET THE MIXTURE GO ABOVE 246ºF; See Recipe Notes
  • After 3-minutes, remove the dutch oven from the heat and let praline mixture sit, undisturbed for exactly 4 minutes. (during this time, spray oil on a big tablespoon and spray pan with parchment if necessary)
  • At the 4-minute mark, add the vanilla and pecans; stir gently once or twice with a big wooden spoon; DO NOT OVERMIX
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 cup pecan halves
  • Working quickly, spray oil on large tablespoon; scoop a tablespoon of the pecan mixture onto oiled sheet; repeat until all the mixture is gone (you may have to spray the spoon more than a few times)
    spray oil for pan, spray oil for spoon

Notes

Note:
These are gooey, stick-to-your-fingers pralines. If you want a slightly firmer praline, let it sit for 5-minutes undisturbed instead of 4-minutes.
Using a wooden spoon inhibits crystallization, which results in a harder candy. 
You want to maintain the mixture at 246ºF for 3-minutes. DO NOT STIR THE MIXTURE DURING THESE 3 MINUTES.
If you’re using an electric stove and the burner keeps going up and down, lift the dutch oven off the stove and turn the heat down a little.
If you let the mixture go above 246ºF at any time, the pralines will not be chewy; they will be hard.
During the 4-minute resting period, DO NOT STIR THE MIXTURE. As noted above, if you don’t want a gooey candy, let it sit for an additional minute undisturbed. Then add the vanilla and pecans. 
This is an advanced candy recipe; if you’re not experienced with candy-making, be aware that exact times, exact temperatures and the humidity of the cooking environment may affect the outcome of the pralines.

Nutrition Estimate

Serving: 1pralineCalories: 232kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 1gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 47mgPotassium: 59mgFiber: 1gSugar: 32gVitamin A: 272IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 1mg
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6 Comments

  1. 3 stars
    I used two of the most accurate thermometers on the market and did the recipe exactly as written, and the pralines came out too soft and runny . The taste was absolutely fantastic and I will make them again but increase the temperature 3 degrees for the final three minute cook and let them set for 5 minutes Instead of four before spooning out. Also add a teaspoon of Torani Salted Caramel Syrup really makes all the difference in the world.

    1. In the post under Storage:

      “Storage 

      Store your pecan pralines in a dry container; place a piece of parchment or wax paper between layers

      Do not serve chewy pralines on a paper doily – and don’t ask me how I know this:)

      Pecan pralines will last for up to 10-days if properly stored.