These Southern Buttermilk Pecan Pralines are rich, creamy, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious!  The addition of pecans is the perfect complement to these sweet blissful bites!

Southern Pecan Pralines.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of biting into a Buttermilk Pecan Praline, you’ve truly been missing out on a great indulgence. These pralines are rich and creamy, and they melt in your mouth. The pecans are the perfect complement to these blissful bites of goodness!

Pralines are very popular in New Orleans, but you don’t have to go to New Orleans to enjoy this ever so addictive candy.  You can make them right in your own kitchen, and guess what?  They aren’t hard to make.  Do you remember my post on Pecan Praline Fudge?  Well if you liked it, you’re really going to love these pralines.

How to make buttermilk pecan pralines, Part 1

  1. Add the buttermilk, sugar, salt and baking soda to a large saucepan and mixing with a wooden spoon to combine.
  2. Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly, then reduce the heat to medium-low, (#4 on an electric stovetop).
  3.  See picture #3. The candy is about halfway done. See how the baking soda makes it foam up?
  4. Cook the candy to a soft ball stage, 234 degrees. The candy should be a dark caramel color. Remove the candy from the heat.

Candy Thermometers

Don’t be intimidated by a candy thermometer.  Now to answer the question that I can hear you asking, “Cindy, why are you using two candy thermometers?”  Well, I was actually using a digital thermometer, a thermometer that is always dead-on accurate, but sometimes I like testing some of my cheaper glass thermometers at the same time…sort of an easy way for me to check the calibration on them. 

Candy thermometers are not hard to use at all, but it is important to make sure that your candy thermometer is calibrated correctly.  Don’t think for a second that they are accurately calibrated right out of the package, even the most expensive ones.  To see how to easily calibrate your candy thermometer, click here.  

How to make buttermilk pecan pralines, Part 2

  1. Immediately place the pan in cold water. Add the butter and vanilla, but don’t stir. Leave the pan in the water until the candy becomes lukewarm.
  2. Using a wooden spoon, mix the candy for about 1 minute to make sure the butter and vanilla are totally incorporated.  As you can see, the candy is thin and a darker caramel color.  It’s also very shiny.  Now start beating the candy by hand with the wooden spoon. This is the only hard part of making this candy…elbow greaseOkay, a quick tip here…I beat the candy for about 1 minute, then I allowed it to rest for about 20 seconds, then beat it again, and let it rest again.
  3. Keep beating. See the picture #3. The candy has started to become lighter in color here and it’s losing just a little bit of its shine.
  4. Keep beating. See picture #4. The candy has almost lost all of its shine.  Some people make the mistake of beating this candy until it has become very dull looking before stopping the beating and adding the pecans.  The problem here is that the candy wants to set up too quickly before you can drop it by spoonfuls onto the wax paper.  I stopped beating the candy when it still had just a little bit of shine, but I could tell it was becoming a little thicker in texture.
  5. Add the pecans and mix to combine.  The candy in this picture has a little bit of shine and is the perfect consistency to drop by tablespoons onto wax paper.  The candy will finish losing the shiny gloss as it sets.

Drop the candy by tablespoons onto waxed paper. As you can see, the candy loses the glossy look as it sets up. You need to drop this candy fairly quickly. Don’t worry about how messy it looks when you drop it. The little stringy pieces will be left behind when you remove the candy from the waxed paper.

Southern Pralines.

If you want to see all of my candy recipes click here.

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Southern Buttermilk Pecan Pralines

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  • Author: Cindy Gibbs @ My Country Table
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35
  • Yield: 24 1x
  • Category: Candy
  • Method: Cook
  • Cuisine: American


These Southern Buttermilk Pecan Pralines are rich, creamy and melt-in-your-mouth delicious!  The addition of pecans is the perfect complement to these sweet blissful bites!


Units Scale
  • 1 cup buttermilk, not low fat
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons real butter, unsalted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pecan halves


  1. Line two cookie sheets with wax paper and set aside.
  2. Combine the buttermilk, sugar, salt and baking soda in a large heavy sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Clip a candy thermometer on the side of the pan and continue cooking over medium low heat (#4 on an electric stove), stirring constantly, until candy reaches 234 degrees on the candy thermometer. Due to the addition of baking soda, this candy does not test well in cold water. It foams up and separates.
  3. Remove pan from heat and add the butter and vanilla. Do not stir. Place pan in a sink of cold water and allow to cool to lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Test by placing your finger in the candy. When it’s just warm, remove the pan from the water.
  4. Beat candy by hand until it becomes slightly thick and creamy, about five minutes. I beat it for a minute, then stop and let it rest for a few seconds, then beat it again. It will start to slightly lose its shiny, glossy appearance.
  5. Do not wait until the candy has lost all of its glossy appearance or it will set up too quickly before you can drop it onto wax paper. The candy will finish turning once it’s dropped onto the wax paper.
  6. If you do over beat the candy and it begins to set up in pan, add a few drop of hot water and beat it with a wooden spoon until it’s smooth again.
  7. Add the pecans and mix to combine. Immediately drop onto wax paper, using a tablespoon.
  8. Allow candy to set for at least two hours. You will notice the candy losing its remaining glossy look and turning to a satiny sheen while it sets.
  9. Store candy in an airtight container.


  • Yield is about 1 1/2 pounds. Serving pieces depends on size of dropped candy. I used a slightly heaped tablespoon to drop them.
  • Total time does not include cooling and beating.
  • It’s important to cook this candy to 234 degrees. I see many pictures of this candy posted, where it has been under cooked. When it’s undercooked the result will be a sugary brown candy. The candy should be a lighter golden color and have a very creamy texture.
  • If the bottom of candy is slightly sticky after two hours, flip pieces over and allow to set a few minutes until bottoms are dry.