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Old-Fashioned Pecan Candy Recipe


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 4 tablespoons light cocoa
  • 1 (6-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chopped pecans


  1. Prepare Pan: Butter a medium-sized saucepan before starting to prevent the candy from sticking.
  2. Combine Ingredients: In the buttered saucepan over medium heat, mix together the sugar, butter, cocoa, and evaporated milk. Stir well to combine.
  3. Bring to Boil: Bring the mixture to a hard boil over high heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
  4. Boil: Once the mixture reaches a hard boil, reduce the heat to medium and continue boiling for 8 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.
  5. Add Pecans: After boiling for 8 minutes, add the chopped pecans (or any other nuts of your choice) to the mixture. Stir to incorporate.
  6. Turn off Heat: Turn off the heat and immediately add the vanilla extract. Stir well to combine.
  7. Pour and Cool: Pour the hot mixture into a buttered pan or dish and allow it to cool for about 20 minutes.
  8. Cut: While the candy is still slightly warm and pliable, but not completely set, use a knife to cut it into desired shapes and sizes.
  9. Finish Cooling: Let the pecan candy cool completely until firm before serving or storing.


  • This old-fashioned pecan candy makes a delicious sweet treat for any occasion. It’s perfect for holiday gatherings, potlucks, or as a homemade gift for friends and family.
  • Feel free to customize this recipe by adding different nuts, such as walnuts or almonds, or by adjusting the amount of cocoa to suit your taste preferences.
  • Store the cooled pecan candy in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks. Enjoy!

Tips for Perfect Old-Fashioned Pecan Candy:

  1. Use Fresh Ingredients: Make sure your ingredients, especially the pecans, are fresh for the best flavor and texture in your pecan candy.
  2. Stir Constantly: When boiling the mixture, stir constantly to prevent burning and ensure even cooking.
  3. Butter the Pan: Buttering the saucepan before starting will help prevent the candy from sticking to the bottom and sides as it cooks.
  4. Timing is Key: Boil the mixture for exactly 8 minutes as specified in the recipe. Overcooking can result in a candy that’s too hard, while undercooking may lead to a softer texture.
  5. Add Nuts Carefully: Be cautious when adding the pecans or any nuts to the boiling mixture. Stir them in gently to avoid splashing and burns.
  6. Cut While Warm: It’s easier to cut the pecan candy into pieces while it’s still slightly warm and pliable. Once it cools completely, it will harden and become more difficult to cut.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

Q: Can I use unsalted butter instead of salted butter?
A: Yes, you can use unsalted butter if you prefer. Just be sure to adjust the saltiness of the candy to taste by adding a pinch of salt if desired.

Q: Can I use dark cocoa instead of light cocoa?
A: Yes, you can use dark cocoa for a richer, more intense chocolate flavor. Just keep in mind that it may alter the color and taste of the pecan candy slightly.

Q: How should I store the pecan candy?
A: Store the cooled pecan candy in an airtight container at room temperature. It will keep well for up to two weeks. Avoid storing it in the refrigerator, as moisture can cause the candy to become sticky.

Q: Can I use other nuts instead of pecans?
A: Yes, you can use other nuts such as walnuts, almonds, or cashews in place of pecans if you prefer. Just be sure to chop them to a similar size for even distribution throughout the candy.

Q: Can I double the recipe?
A: Yes, you can double the recipe if you need to make a larger batch of pecan candy. Just be sure to use a larger saucepan and adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure proper boiling and setting of the candy.