This recipe for Nana’s 3-Ingredient Pecan Log only calls for 3 common ingredients and is a super easy, no-bake treat to share for the holidays!
I’m fortunate to have grown up in a family that doesn’t lack for amazing cooks. And that makes for some delicious food to celebrate the holidays. It’s also helped to create some pretty serious traditions when it comes to food.
Every Thanksgiving, for as long as I can remember, my grandmother has made her Icebox Fruitcake. It’s nothing like traditional fruitcake and is a delicious no-bake dessert made with crushed graham crackers, cherries, raisins, pecans, marshmallows, and one of my favorite ingredients – sweetened condensed milk.
Christmas Day plays host to another food tradition in my family – this Pecan Log. My grandmother shows it up with it every single year.
It only calls for 3 ingredients – vanilla wafer cookies, pecans, and sweetened condensed milk – but quickly and easily creates a delicious, no-bake pecan log.
While the recipe is very easy, it does require a little elbow grease. Getting the ingredients combined can take a little effort. I typically start with a sturdy wooden spoon and then, inevitably, have to use my hands to get everything to come together.
Once combined, you simply divide the mixture evenly in half on large sheets of wax paper. Then use your hands to press the mixture together and for two logs. You could, of course, make smaller logs if you wanted to give them as gifts.
Then simply wrap them in the waxed paper and refrigerate. The time in the fridge will help them firm up and make them perfectly sliceable.
For even more flavor, you can toast your pecans in a 350°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes before chopping and adding to the recipe.
Nana’s 3-Ingredient Pecan Log
- 1 (11-ounce) box vanilla wafers
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 3 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
- Crush vanilla wafers well. (I prefer to use a food processor here.)
- In a large bowl, combine crushed wafers, condensed milk, and pecans. Mix well to combine. This takes some work. I usually start with a big wooden spoon, but then use my hands.
- Divide the mixture evenly and press to form into two logs. Wrap each in wax paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to firm up.
- Slice and serve chilled.
Nutritional values provided are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.
My Christmas Message from 2012…
As I sit here among the twinkling lights of our two (yes, two – long story) Christmas trees, it’s late at night and all is silent throughout the house. With the exception of the blistering wind beating against the windows, all is calm. The floor beneath the trees is overflowing with the most beautifully wrapped gifts. I’m being overwhelmed by the realization of how blessed my little family is.
It wasn’t too many years ago that we were praying for holiday bonuses and piecing together Christmas by fitting $50 on this credit card and $25 on that one. To say the least, I know what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet – especially around the holidays. Certainly, we are not wealthy – not even anywhere close to it. But one thing I’m so grateful for is the perspective that I have having had little.
It’s made me realize that it’s not about the size, number, or price tags of the gifts under our tree. In fact, it’s not about the gifts at all. It’s about the family and friends you share the holiday with. This year a new plaque has found its way to our holiday mantle. It says, simply, “Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” It certainly holds a powerful message.
In light of the tragedy that our country has faced in the last few weeks, I hope that we can all take the time to realize how precious we are to one another. It’s unfortunate that we have to experience tragedy to have the realization, but if this disaster has taught us anything, it’s that our time here is limited no matter how young or old we are. This Christmas, my wish for you is to be able to pull your family closer, hold them longer, and squeeze them tighter.
And no matter where it is or who you’re with, I hope you can find your way home this Christmas.
Merry Christmas, y’all!
I was just on my phone and I come across ur Pecan Log. My mom passed away 22 years ago she was only 52 and I was 25. My mom would bake and cook anything and everything. At the age.of 25 u never expect to loose a mother so you. I really thought i had time to learn what she was baking and cooking. There was this Pecan log she would always make for Christmas and some even had cherries in it and I loved it so much. I tried suffering the internet for the receipt but never had no luck till I come across ur receipt today. I’m almost sure this is how she made it. I’m definitely gonna try and make it. But I really can’t thank u enough for post this. I really thank u from the bottom of my heart ❤️ I’ve been searching for 22 year for this. ❤️❤️❤️xoxoxoxo❤️❤️❤️
Awww! Thank YOU for sharing this with mw, Raydella! Such sweet memories!
This was easy to make and very delicious! I will be making these every Christmas 🎄. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe ♥️
To Stacey and wonderful family. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and bountiful New Year. Wanted to say THANK YOU for all the great recipes, tried many of them. Not only that but thanks for the times you helped me out by answering a question. Means a lot.
Our country, and the world, continues to struggle with various self-inflicted crises and I say a prayer that we can still find the way to real growth and understanding. We are not in charge and never will be. My Christmas message to everyone, put down the phone and the computer, look and listen to your family and friends. Take a breath and walk outside. Look up and not down. To be loved, be loving. To have friends, be a friend. God Bless all.
Merry Christmas, Candyce!
Stacey, Yum. I love Nilla wafers. I am making this tonight!
I wonder can you use Graham crackers instead of Nilla wafers?
Yes, I do think you could, swap the vanilla wafers for graham crackers. Enjoy!
Made these this morning. I added 1/2 teaspoon each of powder ginger and cinnamon, and then a dash of salt. Delicious!!! I divided it into 4 logs so I can gift some to friends. Wrapped in parchment paper, and then plastic wrap to stay secured. This will be a keeper recipe for the holidays!
How creative! Glad it turned out great for you!
When I saw this I IMMEDIATELY thought of my granny’s ice box fruit cake. The only fruit cake I would eat. She has been gone almost 20 years but I can still taste it. Looking forward to make this one and hers this year. Thank you for the memories!
Made a batch of these today. Can these be frozen or best kept refrigerated?
I’ve not tried freezing these. How long do you plan to keep them? They’re usually pretty good in the fridge for a few days.
Easy to make and will be a new addition to my gifting trays for my neighbors
Thanks, Ginny! You’ve got some lucky neighbors!
This recipe takes me back to my childhood! It’s as simple as a recipe can be and so, so good. I found that I can mix this with my KitchenAid mixer and the paddle attachment, and it does a better job than I can do with a spoon or spatula. Once the ingredients are mixed well it gets thick and the mixer will start to struggle some but it will get stiff enough that you can portion it into two logs and it’s easy to form on the waxed paper and you can just roll up the log on the same paper. I just this afternoon found a box of vanilla wafers in my pantry along with the sweetened condensed milk and I had just bought some fresh pecan halves today, so I toasted about 4 cups of them and then used a food processor to chop them up. I did measure out the 3 1/2 c. to have the correct amount of pecans for the recipe. Such a quick and easy treat with minimal ingredients! Thanks for the memory, Stacey!
Thanks for that tips, LaFern! I know some folks will find that helpful! So glad to hear you enjoyed this!
This looks simple and Delish! Thank you for the recipe.
I was so glad to find the recipe for “Nana’s Three Ingredient Pecan Log”! I used to make it a lot but kind of forgot about it. The only problem is that I eat too much of it! Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Ha! Merry Christmas, Carol!
I make a pecan roll similar to this, but I add chopped dates and after I shape them into a log, I roll them in coconut. They are so yummy!
That sounds great!
How long does it stay good in the refrigerator?
I usually keep it for a week to 10 days – maybe a little longer.
Judith A Fox
Hi Stacey and Merry Christmas to you and your family. I have tried many of your recipes, I recently tried apple
chewies, they were 5 star delicious. I plan to try the pecan log and the chewy sugar cookies before Christmas.
What prompted me to leave this comment was the message on your mantle, “Love is what is in the room with
you at Christmas, etc. You are so blessed if you have family to celebrate Christmas with and being human we sometimes forget what’s really important. I lost my daughter last year. We need to appreciate the family we have as no one is promised tomorrow and Christmas is a great time to remember that.
I’m so sorry to hear that, Judith. I can’t even imagine the pain of losing a child. But you are 100% correct. We’ve got to make the best of the time we’ve got.
Stacey, I grew up with this Pecan Log from both my Grandmothers! My mother didn’t have the recipe when I asked about it some years ago. So glad you shared your grandmother’s Pecan Log recipe with us, I’ve got it on my “to make” list to share on candy/cookie platters. I love your blog! You are so genuine and funny and speak to my Southern heart even though I am a Texas girl. All my ancestors were from the South though. Have a very Merry & Blessed Christmas!
Thanks so much, Cheryl! I truly appreciate those kind words. Merry Christmas!
Can u do with peanuts? Add candy coated chocolate like M&Ms?
Sure! I can’t see why that wouldn’t work. The M&Ms might make it a little tougher to cut, but would still be delicious – I’d imagine.
Awesome Stacey! My Mama made this, but she added cherries and called it an Icebox Fruit Cake! My brother and I always stole little bits and pieces! That’s for the precious memory!!!
I need to try it with cherries! Sounds so good!
Is this the same recipe that was also made in milk cartons or old coffee can
I’m not sure. I’ve heard of folks packing my grandmother’s recipe for icebox fruitcake back in the graham cracker box, but I’m not sure I’ve heard of doing that with this recipe.
June V Hardison
I’ve never liked the ones with the nougat inside. THIS is the one I grew up eating!!! Been looking for a recipe forever! Thank you!
Sure hope it will bring back some happy memories!
Do you serve the pecan log on crackers or by it self? Thanks!
You slice it and serve it just like cookies. 🙂
Stacey don’t be mad at me, but I am using your pecan log recipe for the filling to make chocolate dipped pecan balls. Let you know how they turn out. I wanted something special for the filling and you just supplied it for me.
Thank you and may you & yours have a very blessed holiday season.
I think that sounds like an AMAZING idea! Let me know how they turn out.
My grandma used to make something like this but she also added candied green and red cherries and candied pineapple and put it in a loaf pan. She called it a ice box fruit cake. Haven’t had one in years, this recipe brought back a lot of memories.
Do you think the Pecan Log would be OK to mail (packaged well of course)? Would you slice or mail the log with instructions to slice?? Thanks!
I think it would be best to keep it whole and send instructions to slice, but either way should work.
Jennifer | Bake or Break
Yum! I will be making this very, very soon. Merry Christmas to you and yours, my friend!
I’ve been looking for this recipe for year!!! Thank you for posting.
This sounds like a great treat for Christmas. Thank you Stacy for all you do to excite us into cooking for our family and, at the same time, making memories with them.
Merry Christmas to you and your family!
I love this recipe because it is delicious and it reminds me of the days with my dear Mother in the kitchen. Gosh, I miss her!
My grandmother who is no longer with us made this pecan roll all the time and I loved it!! It is simple to make yet sooo yummy! Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas !!
Thanks for this! My sister-in-law used to make this, but she threw a little coconut in there, too — My brother loved coconut. 😉 .
I appreciate all the goodies and stories that you bring us throughout the year.
A most Blessed Christmas to you and yours!
Stacey thanks so much for this recipe. I used to make this YEARS ago and had totally forgotten about it. This is really good and so glad to have it back in my recipe box.