Buttery and Flaky Praline Pecan Scones Recipe

Filled with a generous amount of crunchy, caramelized praline pieces, these buttery pecan scones will make you fall in love at first bite. While this recipe might scream "fall baking," I love to make them any time of year. A good scone always goes well with a cup of coffee, feels right at home served for brunch and disappears quickly at a bake sale!

Two stacked praline pecan scones.

Praline Pecan Scones Were Best Sellers at my Bakery (Here's why)

We served two rotating flavors of scones every day at my former bakery.  These buttery pecan scones were customer favorites and flew off the shelves early in the morning (apologies to the late risers.)

  • Flaky with a bit of crunch: The toasted pecans in the pecan praline bring added crunch to the soft and flaky pastry.
  • Perfectly sweet: While scones are never overly sweet compared to other baked goods, some can err on the bland side. The pecan praline swirled throughout the dough adds a bit of sweetness to every bite.
  • No icing required: Thanks to the praline filling, these delicious scones stand on their own with no need of icing or even powdered sugar. You can sprinkle a little coarse sugar on top before baking for garnish, but I don't think even that is necessary.
Praline pecan scones on a baking sheet.

What is the Best Way to Make Scone Dough?

There are several theories on the best way to achieve "perfect scones."  I have tried all of the following for my scone recipes and have found that there is very little difference in the results, so long as you keep a few important rules in mind:  Keep your small pieces of butter COLD, and, don't overwork the dough.

Option one: Food processor

This option is probably the easiest and is definitely one of the cleanest. Pulse the blades of a food processor to cut the butter until it is the size of small peas, 8-10 times. Then you transfer the mixture to a large bowl and mix in your liquid.

Option Two: Cheese Grater

I like this option because it keeps the small pieces of butter uniform, but it requires a little extra effort on your part. Use a box cheese grater to grate VERY cold (preferably frozen) butter into long pieces. Toss the pieces with your dry ingredients before adding your liquid.

Box grater for grating butter.

Option Three: Pastry Cutter / Pastry Blender

This is the method my mom (and probably my grandmother) always used for pastries like pie crusts. A pastry cutter has curved sharp metal blades attached to a handle (see photo below) so that it can pick up and cut the cold butter cubes into small pieces. To use it, you push the metal strips down into the butter and flour, eventually cutting up the butter and mixing the two ingredients together before adding the liquid.

Option Four: Your Fingers!

If you want to avoid cleaning extra tools and equipment, use your fingers to rub the cold butter into the dry ingredients. The colder the butter, the more effort this will take, but there is something very satisfying and organic about using this method to make your scones!

Ingredients and Special Equipment

Ingredients for scones.

Praline Ingredients

  • Light brown sugar: lightly packed
  • Unsalted butter
  • Whole milk: heavy whipping cream may be substituted
  • Vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Salt
Close up of praline pecans for scones.

Pecan Scones Ingredients

  • All purpose flour: Substitute your favorite gluten-free flour blend for gluten-free scones, or use half whole wheat flour for an earthier, heartier scone.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking powder / baking soda
  • Salt
  • COLD unsalted butter: It is important to keep your butter cold when mixing it into your pastry dough, as cold butter pieces create the flaky air pockets upon baking. To ensure cold butter, I recommend cubing the pieces and then freezing them for 10 minutes prior to adding them to the flour.
  • Buttermilk: If you don't have buttermilk, you can make a substitute by mixing 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or cider vinegar with enough milk to yield one cup of liquid. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes, until it begins to thicken, and then use as directed!
  • Egg and whole milk (mixed in a small bowl for the egg wash): heavy cream can be used instead of milk.
Pastry cutter to mix scone dough.

Special equipment

  • Pastry cutter / pastry blender (Pictured above, optional -- See section above on methods for mixing scone dough)
  • Parchment paper
  • Pastry brush: For brushing egg wash onto the scones.
  • Bench scraper (optional), for gathering dough on your work surface. 

Step by Step Photos and Instructions

Prepare the Praline Pecans

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, milk, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly so the sugar dissolves.

2. Add the chopped pecans to the mixture and continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

Finished praline pecans.

3. Drop the mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls onto lined baking sheets; allow to cool completely.  When the pralines have hardened, break into small chunks or roughly chop.

Prepare the Pecan Scone Dough

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.  Place oven racks in the upper and lower thirds positions. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Scatter the cold butter pieces over the flour mixture. 
  3. Using your pastry/dough blender, cut into the flour mixture using downward turning motions, until the butter pieces are the size of peas (see section above on alternative ways to mix scone dough.)

4. Stir in the chopped praline pieces.  

5. Add 1 cup (250 mL) ofthe buttermilk, mixing until just combined.  Add more buttermilk, if necessary, 1 tablespoon (15 mL) at a time, until the dough starts to come together in large clumps.

6. Transfer dough onto a lightly floured surface or a cutting board and gently knead a few times to bring the dough together.  Divide the dough in half and pat it into two rounds, about 1-inch thick.  Using a sharp knife, cut each round into 8 equal-size wedges and place the wedges on a prepared baking sheet.  These are LARGER scones.  Feel free to cut the rounds into 12 wedges for smaller scones. 

7. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash and, if desired, sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Bake the scones for 20-25 minutes, rotating positions halfway through the baking process, until they are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean. Allow the pecan scones to cool 10 minutes and then serve warm or cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

Stack of two buttery praline pecan scones.

FAQ and Troubleshooting your Praline Pecan Scones

How far in advance can I make scones?

The scone dough can be prepared 1 day in advance and refrigerated, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.  You can also pre-cut the scone shapes and freeze them in an airtight container for up to 1 month.  Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed.   Fully baked scones can also be frozen, tightly wrapped, for up to one month.  Thaw at room temperature and reheat in a 300 F oven for 10-15 minutes. 

What is the correct texture for my scone dough?

The best scones have a dough that is evenly moist and a little sticky, but not overly sticky and wet.  If the scone dough is too dry after adding your wet ingredients, then add up to a few tablespoons more of your liquid, a little bit at a time. Don't worry if your dough seems a bit crumbly when patting it into disks and for best results be careful to not overwork the dough. Overworked dough will result in tough, not light and flaky, scones.

How do I tell when my pecan praline mixture is ready?

After your pecan praline mixture has come to a boil and thickened, test for readiness by dropping a small amount onto a very cold plate that has been chilled in the freezer. The praline mixture should spread slightly but then stop and firm up.

Praline pecan scones on a baking sheet.

I love making Homemade Scones. try a few More Of My Favorites:

Tried this recipe and loved it? Take a photo and tag me on Instagram or give it a review!

Stack of two Buttery Praline Pecan Scones.

Praline Pecan Scones

These Southern-inspired flaky pecan scones feature a crunchy, caramelized, sweet praline filling distributed throughout the buttery dough. They were a top seller at my bakery and usually flew off the shelves long before the late-risers arrived for breakfast!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 16 scones
Calories 470 kcal
5 from 34 votes
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Equipment

  • 1 dough blender (optional, see post above for alternatives)
  • 1 pastry brush
  • 1 Bench scraper (optional, for gathering dough on your work surface) 

Ingredients
 
 

Pralines

  • 2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon salt
  • cups chopped pecans

Scone Dough

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 10 ounces cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • cups cold buttermilk (plus more, if needed)
  • 1 large egg mixed with 2 tablespoon whole milk (egg wash)

Instructions
 

Praline Pecans

  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, milk, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly so the sugar dissolves.
  • Add the chopped pecans to the mixture and continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • Drop the mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls onto lined baking sheets; allow to cool completely.  When the pralines have hardened, break into small chunks or roughly chop.

Scones

  • Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.  Place oven racks in the upper and lower thirds positions. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  • In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Scatter the cold butter pieces over the flour mixture.
  • Using your pastry cutter / dough blender, cut into the flour mixture using downward turning motions, until the butter pieces are the size of peas.
  • Stir in the chopped praline pieces. 
  • Add 1 cup (250 mL) ofthe buttermilk, mixing until just combined.  Add more buttermilk, if necessary, 1 tablespoon (15 mL) at a time, until the dough starts to come together in large clumps.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead a few times to bring the dough together.  Divide the dough in half and pat it into two rounds, about 1-inch thick.  Using a sharp knife, cut each round into 8 wedges and place the wedges on a prepared baking sheet.  These are LARGE scones.  Feel free to cut the rounds into 12 wedges for smaller scones. 
  •  Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash.  Bake the scones for 20-25 minutes, rotating positions halfway through the baking process, until they are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean. Allow the scones to cool 10 minutes and then serve warm or room temperature.

Notes

Make Ahead
The scone dough can be prepared 1 day in advance and refrigerated, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.  You can also pre-cut the scone wedges and freeze them in an airtight container for up to 1 month.  Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed.   Fully baked scones can also be frozen, tightly wrapped, for up to one month.  Thaw at room temperature and reheat in a 300 F oven for 10-15 minutes. 

Nutrition

Calories: 470kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 330mg | Potassium: 152mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 529IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 2mg
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36 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    WOW!!! That's looking so delicious. My children will surely love to eat SOUTHERN PECAN PRALINE SCONES as they love to eat various dishes. Thanks for sharing amazing recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    Oooo! Pecan pralines and scones in one! I found your blog by following a trail from this sweet collection on Sugar Rush! Good thing I found them in time to celebrate Mardi Gras! Thanks!

  3. Thanks so much, Ingrid!  This recipe is one of my favorite (its REALLY rich, but so worth it.)
     
    Enjoy!

  4. 5 stars
    Hi Julie, I was really glad that I've found your blog. I was looking for a wonderful recipe to prepare this weekend because my friends are coming. And, I am now excited to make this recipe. It's perfect and easy.

  5. 5 stars
    I was so impressed with your appearance on the show with your fabulous recipe. That is how I found your blog. Thanks for sharing your recipes and even though this is a bit belated, congratulations! janet in nc

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Julie, Thanks so much for the scone recipe. I can't wait to make them. After all, they still are my favorite scone. Congratz again on winning URS. Maybe you can meet up with Karen and me for coffee when I come to town. It would be great to see you again. I mean, before you become the Next Food Network Star!!!

    Take Care, Ellen

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Julie! I saw your episode of URS and had to pop in to say hi! Congratulations! I'd love to be on the show some day, mostly to meet Guy, I admit! I'm a huge fan! 😀

    I'm definitely going to try both of your recipes soon!

  8. 5 stars
    Julie! Great job on URS, and thanks for posting the behind-the-scenes stuff. My husband always laughs at me when I watch a cooking contest on TV and say, "I know her! Well, I haven't actually met her, but I know her!." And you even got to plug your blog! Congrats!

    You were so pretty and poised on TV that it's not crazy for you to dream of your own show. How about The Next Food Network Star? That's how Guy got his start, after all.

    And I'm so making those scones for Mardi Gras. They look delicious.

  9. 5 stars
    The recipe looks really good. Scones with pralines are really yummy. I've made a few recipes with pralines and they always make a great compliment to any food.

    Ms Recipe

  10. 5 stars
    Julie...congratulations on your win!! That is so very exciting! I know what you mean about being nervous when people try a winning recipe...but I am sure your cakes are fabulous and I can't wait to try!

  11. 5 stars
    So your cupcakes were a hit! I couldn't find the espresso powder, so I had to leave it out, but they still turned out yummy! Fortunately it was cold here yesterday (we often can't make an all butter buttercream here)so the buttercream held up really nicely. And I loved that my 4 year old could help by putting the whoppers on top (I think she may have ate a few too).
    Thanks Julie!!!!

5 from 34 votes

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