These classic buttermilk pralines are perfect for your holiday candy plate

Southern Kitchen
Recipe courtesy of Jean Elder
Buttermilk Pecan Pralines

This is part of Southern Kitchen's 12 Days of Cookies and Cocktails series, which runs daily through Christmas Eve. Each day, we'll pair fun festive cocktails with classic cookie recipes. These Buttermilk Pralines go great with this Dasher Cocktail featuring coffee, caramel and pecan flavors.

About the recipe

Pralines are not too difficult to make plus taste great, so you have to try these buttermilk pecan pralines for your next family get-together. Trust us, you’ll be happy you did.

There is one tricky step: spooning the hot candy onto the paper just after it starts to become cloudy. At this stage, the candy will begin to harden, and you have to move quickly to get it all out of the pot.

Use two spoons: one to scoop it out of the pot and one to push it off the first spoon onto the paper. If it hardens to the point that it no longer pools onto the paper, stir in a very small amount of water and continue. If worse comes to worst, you can always return the candy to the stove and reheat it slightly, then stir it until it starts to cloud and continue spooning it onto the paper.

Although the corn syrup adds some stability and prolongs the stage before it hardens, it also adds a slightly chewy texture to the cooled candy. If you prefer a crispier praline, omit the corn syrup.

If you’ve never made pralines before, cut the recipe in half the first time to get the hang of it.

Serves: 50

Hands On Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


3 cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup light corn syrup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups pecan halves


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, buttermilk, corn syrup, butter, baking soda and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage or 236 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Remove from the heat and stir in the pecans. Using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture by hand until the mixture just starts to turn cloudy. Quickly drop the mixture in small spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet (see description). Let cool completely before serving.


Per piece: 96 calories (percent of calories from fat, 31), trace protein, 17 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 3 grams fat (1 gram saturated), 1 milligram cholesterol, 62 milligrams sodium.