You’re going to love this easy toffee recipe! Perfectly crunchy with the best roasty-toasty flavor! Made in minutes with just 6 ingredients.

Shards of toffee stacked in a fluted tart pan.

Winding down towards the holiday finish line over here!

I’ve shared so many holiday classics over the last few weeks, especially for your cookie exchange! Have you had a chance to try my Mexican wedding cookies yet? Or my almond biscotti or oatmeal cranberry cookies? All so traditional and nostalgic…

But today is all about how to make toffee!

I absolutely adore toffee, don’t you? That toasty, caramelly-flavor, and the crunchy crumbly between your teeth that just melts like butter in your mouth… swoon!

And I love how quick and easy it is to make, with just a handful of pantry staples.

If you’re craving a last-minute treat, this toffee recipe has got your name written all over it!

Toffee recipe, prepared and presented in a vintage loaf pan lined with newspaper.

WHAT IS TOFFEE?

Toffee is a type of candy or confectionery that is very similar to caramel, only crispy-crunchy.

It’s often made with nuts and chocolate, but it doesn’t have to be.

The color can range from tan to deep amber, and it has a toasty, burnt sugar flavor, with a very rich, buttery back note.

When made well, it can be snapped into shards, and has a pleasant crunch that crumbles between your teeth and melts over the tongue in the most delicious way.

Toffee is also very much like butterscotch, but whereas butterscotch is made with brown sugar, toffee is made with white sugar that’s been caramelized.

WHAT IS TOFFEE MADE OF?

Toffee, in and of itself, has just 5 simple ingredients:

  1. Butter
  2. Sugar
  3. Water
  4. Salt, and
  5. Vanilla

These come together, along with heat, to produce the most magical result!

A lot of times, chocolate and nuts are added, but those are purely optional. I will say however, that the three together make an incredibly scrumptious combination!

Overhead image of thick shards of homemade toffee, lined up in an antique loaf pan, surrounded with greenery and ribbon.

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE TOFFEE

This recipe comes together very quickly, with just a handful of pantry staples, so if you’re looking for a last-minute holiday gift, it’s a great choice!

Start by toasting the nuts. Just toss them into the bottom of a 9×9 pan, in an even layer, and pop them into the oven until fragrant.

Placing pecans in an even layer to toast in the oven.

This brings out their essential oils & aromas, so they become extra crunchy and extra flavorful!

Then, toss butter, sugar, water, and salt into a large pot and set it over medium heat.

Butter, sugar, water, and salt in a large pot.

Once it comes to a boil, you can start stirring it so that it cooks evenly.

Toffee mixture coming to a boil.

Clip on a thermometer, and keep your eye on it.

Clipping a candy thermometer to the side of a pot.

After a little while, it should start to take on the color of peanut butter.

Cooking toffee to the color of peanut butter.

As soon as it hits 295 degrees F, take it right off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Be careful- it’s extremely hot and bubbly!

Once the vanilla’s been incorporated, pour it over the nuts. It will start to harden almost immediately.

Pouring hot toffee mixture over toasted nuts.

Next, just sprinkle on the chocolate. I’ve seen chocolate chips used, but I prefer to use chopped chocolate from a baking bar. Chips usually contain stabilizers that can make melting tricky.

Sprinkling chocolate over hot toffee.

Cover the pan with foil to trap the heat, and allow it to sit until the chocolate gets melty.

Then smooth everything out into an even layer.

Spreading melted chocolate over homemade toffee.

The final step is to sprinkle on some finely chopped nuts, for garnish.

Garnishing homemade toffee with crushed nuts.

Ta-dah! That’s your toffee recipe made!

Once it’s completely cooled, it can be cut into bars or snapped into shards and enjoyed!

VARIATIONS ON THIS RECIPE

As you can see in the recipe card below, I used pecans and milk chocolate in this recipe. But that’s not the only way to make toffee! You can use any kind of nut, or any kind of chocolate, or leave one or the other (or both!) out entirely!

Try making your toffee with semisweet, bittersweet, or white chocolate instead.

Or try using a different kind of nut. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamias
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts

Any of these would work beautifully.

Or, if you’d like to make a nut-free version, try substituting the nuts for an equal amount of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pretzels, or crushed up crackers.

IS TOFFEE GLUTEN-FREE?

This recipe is 100% gluten-free, so if you’re thinking of making it for someone with an allergy or intolerance, it’s a great option.

It’s also vegetarian, but since it contains butter it is not vegan. I have not tried making it with any kind of butter substitute, so I can’t say for sure how that might work.

But it is also egg-free!

TROUBLESHOOTING: WHY DID MY TOFFEE SEPARATE?

If you cook your toffee too quickly, or don’t stir it often enough as it’s boiling, you might see the butter separating from the sugar. Sometimes you can bring it back together by whisking vigorously, but sometimes it’s just too far gone.

Be sure to cook it gently over medium heat; extreme temperature swings can definitely cause problems! And stir it often once it’s come to a boil.

HOW TO STORE

Keep your toffee in an airtight container at room temperature, and it should last for several weeks at least.

It can also be frozen. It should keep in the freezer for one month, if not longer.

Homemade toffee stacked in a metal dish with ribbons and greenery in the background.

A FEW MORE OF MY FAVORITE CANDY RECIPES:

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Toffee Pin 1

Toffee Recipe Pin 2

What is Toffee Pin 3

How to Make Toffee
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Cooling Time:
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 35 mins
 

You're going to love this easy toffee recipe! Perfectly crunchy with the best roasty-toasty flavor! Made in minutes with just 6 ingredients.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to make toffee, toffee, toffee recipe, what is toffee, what is toffee made of
Servings: 16
Calories: 248 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1 cup nuts , roughly choopped (I used pecans)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces chocolate , roughly chopped (I used milk chocolate)
  • 2 tablespoons nuts , finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and place the roughly chopped nuts in the bottom of a 9x9 pan* that's been lined with parchment.

  2. Toast the nuts in the oven until fragrant (approx. 5 to 10 minutes).

  3. Place the butter, sugar, water, and salt in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.

  4. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot.

  5. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and begin to turn brown.

  6. Continue to cook, stirring, until the candy thermometer registers 295 degrees F.

  7. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla, then pour the hot mixture over the toasted nuts.

  8. Top with chopped chocolate and cover with foil until the chocolate has melted (approx. 5 minutes).

  9. Spread the chocolate in an even layer, then top with finely chopped nuts.

  10. Allow the chocolate to cool and harden, then break into pieces and serve.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

*Toffee can be made in a different sized pan, but the final result may be thicker or thinner depending. 

Nutrition Facts
How to Make Toffee
Amount Per Serving (1 2 1/4-inch piece)
Calories 248 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 31mg10%
Sodium 113mg5%
Potassium 85mg2%
Carbohydrates 19g6%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 16g18%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 355IU7%
Calcium 12mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.