RECIPE: Vanilla Pralines

This is a very old family recipe, from a great great grandmother. As the the story goes, this recipe is historically made in a cast iron Dutch oven, but any large sauce pan or sturdy pot should do. These are rich! Pralines are part of Cajun family celebrations year round. One reason is certainly that they are stove top made and don’t require turning on the oven… Ha. Unless you toast the nuts first.

As far as praline recipes go, this one is fairly forgiving.


  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pecans, toasted or raw


Combine sugar, buttermilk, corn syrup and salt in a very large pan (it will expand
considerably) and bring to a nice rolling boil.

Add baking soda, stir and cook until soft ball stage. (235-238° F on Candy thermometer is the “soft-ball” stage. That means that when you drop a bit into cold water, it will form a soft ball.)

Remove from heat and add vanilla. Beat until color changes and candy thickens.

Nut Option: Stir in half of the pecans and top with the rest, or top with all if you prefer some non-nut versions.

Quickly drop by teaspoons on a well greased cookie sheet, foil, wax, or parchment paper before candy hardens. Top with pecans.

Let them firm up and enjoy!

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