Praline Paste Recipe

People tasting praline paste for the first time tend to fall to their knees and weep for all the wasted years. For while it is an ingredient, it’s also a spread in its own right, a sweet nut butter with strong caramel overtones. You’ll need to resist the urge to keep spooning it into your mouth until it’s gone. The formula is elementary: 1-1 sugar to nuts by weight, but most people like to divide the proportion of nuts between blanched almonds and hazelnuts. So let’s say, for purposes of argument, you wanted to make a pound of praline paste for a mid-day snack. You’d use:

8 ounces (1 cup plus two tablespoons) granulated sugar
2 ounces (1/4 cup) water
4 ounces (1 cup) blanched almonds (113 grams)
4 ounces (1 cup) hazelnuts (peeled makes the best presentation)

Place the nuts on a sheet of lightly greased parchment paper or a silpat. Then simply add the water to the sugar in a small saucepan and heat it over high heat, swirling until the mixture turns to caramel. Dark amber is usually the degree most pastry makers cook to, though you can go darker for a stronger flavor. Pour the caramel over the nuts and allow the mixture to cool completely. Then break the praline into pieces and grind them as finely as you can in a food processor until a paste forms. It won’t be as smooth as commercially-made praline paste, but the flavor will be, well…you’ve got to try this stuff to believe it. If you want to absolutely go nuts, add in:

2 ounces melted dark chocolate

…during the final blending step.

47 thoughts on “Praline Paste Recipe”

  1. btw: how hard is this on the blades of my food processor? I’ve heard that grinding sugar is pretty tough on blades — do you find you need to buy new blades with frequency? (can they be sharpened?)

    1. You know I’ve never really thought about that. I don’t do this terribly often, but it stands to reason that at some point food processor blades would need to be sharpened and/or replaced. Hmm….

      1. I have found this to be pretty rough on the old food processor. I crush the chunks of nuts and caramel ijn a heavy ziplock freezer bag with a meat tenderizer until the pieces are pretty small. I put the all ready crushed praline in the food processor and go from there. It SEEMS to eliminate much of the wear and tear on the blade

          1. Honestly, I have a spate blade on hand for just such “processes”. I’ve actually busted blades before on things that should have been broken down a bit first. So take Ed’s (and my) advice and bust it up into smaller chunks first. I have also seen this processed with the paddle attachment of a kitchenaid. Works.

  2. I love your website!! But I have a question because I tried to make praline paste tonight and botched it and my food processor exploded. I got a stronger food processor tonight, threw in the broken pieces of the cooled caramel and almonds (I couldn’t find hazelnuts) and it would never turn into a smooth paste. I added a tablespoon of peanut oil and it looked like it was starting to get more smooth but not creamy. I turned my back for a minute and returned to find a rather milky liquid settling on the top and the praline was really gummy, almost like a gritty, hard taffy. What did I do wrong?

  3. I had never been in a internet´s place like yours: From the begining you related the taste of this awesome recipe, in a way anyone can resist; and the comments tought me many things I should be aware of. For all this, THANK YOU, I LOVE YOUR BLOG!

    1. Thank you, Marina! I love to do this, especially when someone sends me such wonderful comments!


      – Je

  4. I was looking for a praline paste recipe to use between macaroons, when I found yours.
    BUT (and it is a big but) I’m from Denmark and we don’t know ounces from bounces, so how much in grams? And how much water in centilitres? Please, please, please :-)

  5. Hi Joe, your whole blog is awesome. Thanks for your praline recipe. We made it tonight and it is delicious. We have just managed to squirrel some away for later, having taken to the larger amount with spoons…
    There was no need to melt the chocolate for the last addition, as the paste was still very warm in the food processor and melted the chunks within a couple of turns of the blade. I would like confirm that blanching the hazelnuts and almonds in boiling water with some bicarb soda was very effective for removing the skins, and much tidier than roasting and rubbing – primarily because you can do it all in the sink!

    1. I’ll remember that, Kathy!

      Thanks and yeah, you’ve got to watch yourself around this stuff. It disappears fast!

      – Joe

  6. Hello!
    I attempted making this yesterday, but no matter how long I processed the nuts and caramel it did not become a paste. I did add the nuts into the caramel instead of pouring it on top of them, and there might have been a tiny bit of crystallization as a result. Also, I used chopped hazelnuts instead of whole ones. Do you think that the crystallization would have caused it not to become a paste?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hey Tammy!

      If it’s a sandy sort of consistency, try adding a few drops of oil to the mixture and process it again. Tat should do the trick. My feeling is that while the crystallization might cause some graininess in the final product, it shouldn’t have inhibited the blending very much.

      – Joe

  7. I made this for a Paris Brest and found the praline a little sweet although overall it worked well. I would describe this more of a praline flour rather than paste as it was not bonded together or spreadable – more grainy in texture. It worked well for what I needed though as i blended it with pastry cream. Thanks for sharing it!

    1. Interesting. It should definitely process into a paste. Perhaps a little more time in the food processor would do it, help liberate the oils. Otherwise it could be that the nuts were on the dry side, in which case you can always add a few drops of peanut oil to bring the whole thing together.

      Glad it worked for the most part, Pamela!

      – Joe

  8. I made this tonight to use for truffles , I didn’t see the part about the chocolate until reading another comment but it was amazing without it. The only mistake I made was to add it to the truffle mixture instead of keeping it as a paste . My Thermomix made a paste of the praline in 90 seconds smooth as.
    Thanks for the recipe 😉

  9. Is there a good emulsifier or stabilizer to add to help prevent separation? Maybe lecithin?

    1. HI Evan!

      I can see where that would be desirable, since the grinding process liberates so much darn oil…and it pools up fairly quickly. An emulsifier is a possibility, I haven’t tried it myself. The thing you might try before you set out to add lecithin is whipping it a little with a hand mixer. I’ve stabilized nut butters this way in the past, by simply making sure the oil is well broken up and distributed. Homemade peanut butter stay stable for weeks after doing that. Try it and let me know if it works for you!


      – Joe

  10. I’m curious as to how the taste and texture would be altered if you toasted the nuts? Would that affect the way the paste comes together?

    1. Hi Theresa!

      That’s a common step for a praline paste. You’ll be impressed with the results. Try it, just don’t over-toast!


      – Joe

  11. Love this blog. Thank you Joe! I made the praline paste and it was terrific. I cut up a couple ounces of unsweetened baker’s chocolate and added it to the processor as a last step. It
    added the chocolate flavor with no additional sweetness. It was gobbled up immediately. How long is the shelf life (assuming I can avoid the temptation)? And should it be refrigerated?

    1. Thanks Ellen! I’m very glad it worked so well for you. Praline paste keeps well at room temperature for at least a week. The fridge is fine too, maybe preferable since you don’t want to forget about it in your kitchen cabinet (eventually the nut oils will go rancid).

      Thanks for the comment!

      – Joe

  12. Hi Joe! You had me with your opening sentence and I knew this site was going to be good! Looked up Praline paste for a recipe in the gorgeous Bouchon Bakery book and am very excited I can crack on with it now! I think I may be elevated somewhat in the eyes of my kids if I make this for spread too! Am going to settle down tonight and browse through your blog with a glass of vino – thank you!

    1. Hello Pippa and welcome!

      My girls will empty the dishwasher in exchange for praline paste on toast, if that gives you a sense for its power. Let me know how yours goes!


      – Joe

  13. Help!! I’ve just spent all afternoon roasting/boiling/skinning/peeling almonds and hazelnuts, made the praline, put it in my vitamix and just as i thought it was looking like a paste I took it out, and then right before my eyes it went like a hard taffy. I tried to rectify it by putting it back in the food processor and it just goes to a crumb and then back to the hard taffy. What did I do wrong?!! So disheartened!!

    1. Hey Gabrielle!

      Hard taffy you say. That’s odd. Can you send a picture to my email?

      – Joe

  14. Hi Joe,

    I am very excited about trying this one! Just had a ques, how much praline paste will this recipe make? Also, I wanted to make hazelnut praline paste, will it be okay to follow the recipe with just hazelnuts (double the amount)?


    1. Hello Sunanda!

      I believe this will make about two cups once the nuts are ground down. And yes, you can make this with all hazelnuts. No problem!


      – Joe

  15. Hello,

    Would LOVE to make this, but I like to do a lot at once and keep it on-hand. How long would this keep in a pantry/fridge/or even the freezer?

    1. Hi Hilary!

      Praline paste keeps for several weeks in the refrigerator and you can freeze it for several months. Knock yourself out! 😉


      – Joe

  16. Please help. I just made this and followed the quantities to the letter except I changed proportions of hazelnuts to almonds. 8oz sugar, 8oz nuts to 2oz water). But there was nowhere near enough caramel to cover the nuts, even close. Should I make more caramel and add to the mix before bunging in food processor or will it all blend out in the end…

    1. Hey Vanessa!

      If it were me, I’d make more caramel, then add the existing praline to it, melt it all down — without cooking it any more — re-pour and proceed as normal. Make sense?

      – Joe

  17. Ok should I make a half batch of caramel dya think (4oz sugar)
    When u say add existing to it and melt it down, how do I do that without cooking it anymore? Sorry I’m a newbie at this lol
    Ps it was castor sugar I used; surely that wouldn’t have made the difference! Or would it?
    I just want to make a paste to add to my ice cream for my husband as he is a fanatic for praline…

  18. I don’t know how I found your blog, but you’re an absolute God send. Literally every weird little question I want to ask is here and explained. I did my happy dance and clapped. You have taken the fear out of so many scary recipes for me. All this hard work deserves praise, a lovely payrise and a hiatus… but please don’t stop writing. You’re brilliant. Thank you so much. Before I keep going on… I actually have one question. What about pistachio paste? Same way?

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