The best pralines are sugary, creamy, and filled with pecans. They are not, however, pray-leens. They’re praw-leens (or pecan candy to some New Orleans natives). While the flavor profiles are similar, if you’re not from New Orleans you might not know that pralines are very different from praline or pecan praline-flavored things.
Creole-style pralines are thin, circular or oval mounds of soft sugar candy studded with pecans. According to NewOrleansHistorical.org, “Pralines are thought to have originated in seventeenth-century France when the chef of César, Duc de Choiseul, Comte du Plessis-Praslin coated almonds with sugar…The French settlers in Louisiana brought the praline tradition with them…African-American cooks working in the French colonists’ kitchens transformed the sugared-almond praline. Because of their abundance, pecans replaced almonds and milk was added. The final product was a sweet, creamy patty filled with pecans.” African American women are to thank for the modern-day praline (much like they are to thank for almost everything else in American history).
The texture is so unique and they’re absolutely delicious. I lived in New Orleans growing up and go back regularly to see friends and family (and, more importantly, to eat). Pralines are one of the things I miss when I’m not in New Orleans, so I’m glad to see that they are now readily available online. As a person whose eaten a lot of pralines, these are the pralines I think you should be buying.
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- Aunt Sally’s Creamy Chocolate Creole Pralines
Speaking of other flavors, Aunt Sally’s Creamy Chocolate Creole Pralines are also good. They taste like pralines with a hint of chocolate. They’re still chewy and creamy and full of sugary flavor. A chocolate praline is not traditional, but it is good. I wouldn’t choose it first, but I am definitely a fan and would eat, I don’t know, one thousand of them if I was offered? And you would too.
Credit: Merc / Royal Praline Company
- Aunt Sally’s Classic Creole Pralines
Aunt Sally’s Classic Creole Pralines are also very, very good. They’re creamier in texture and more chewy than Loretta’s. It’s different but still delicious. These are the only pralines on the market that I would buy online other than Loretta’s. They don’t taste like a knock-off, they taste like their own delicious version of a praline. Plus, they sell them on multiple websites including Amazon, so they’re easy to get in many different flavors and pack sizes.
Credit: Merc / Amazon
- Loretta’s New Orleans Authentic Pralines
I thought I was just biased because these are my family’s pralines of choice. But upon tasting pretty much every praline you can buy online, I’m thrilled to report that I’m right. Loretta’s are the best pralines. They are sweet, the pecans are huge, and they have the perfect texture that rides a line between lusciously creamy and pleasantly grainy. This might not make sense if you’ve never had a praline, so you’ll just have to trust me and try them for yourself. And if you don’t trust me, listen to the Queen of Bounce herself, Big Freedia! Ms. Loretta passed away last year after her battle with cancer. She will be greatly missed by the entire city of New Orleans, but her legacy will live on through her incredible business and delicious food.
Credit: Merc / Loretta’s
Best of the Best
Other Products We Tried: La Belle, New Orleans Candy Company, Royal Praline Company, New Orleans Praline Factory
Thoughts? Questions? Complete disagreement? Leave a comment!