My Toffee Recipe makes buttery, crunchy homemade toffee after just 15 minutes on the stove. I’m including lots of tips so you can feel confident making this candy at home. Recipe includes a how-to video!
A Foolproof Toffee Recipe
I know firsthand how frustrating a failed batch of toffee can be. Many, many batches of ruined candy made their way through my kitchen on my journey to discover perfectly crisp, buttery toffee perfection. Fortunately, after plenty of trial and error, I’m finally proud to share the BEST toffee recipe. Today’s post includes plenty of tips, tricks, and straightforward, easy steps!
One of the most important tips I can give you for this recipe is to use a candy thermometer! While you can skip the thermometer for my family’s favorite chocolate fudge or potato candy, please DON’T do so here. A reliable candy thermometer will make all the difference with your final result, so please use one.
Also, if you’re new to making candy or haven’t made it in a while, remember that you must be patient when cooking candy. During my research process, the temptation to bump up the heat to speed up the process was real, and often my most fatal mistake. Take it slow!
Why use my toffee recipe:
- Cooks in just 15 minutes!
- Thoroughly tested to produce perfect toffee, every time.
- Requires just six ingredients and NO corn syrup!
- Customizable; use whatever nuts or chocolate you like, or leave them out.
What You Need
You only need six simple ingredients to make my toffee recipe (seven if you count water!).
- Butter. I like to use unsalted butter and add salt myself for better control. If you want to use salted butter, read my salted vs unsalted butter post for the proper substitution.
- Sugar. We’re using regular granulated sugar here and NO corn syrup!
- Vanilla. Some toffees are made without vanilla extract, and I don’t understand why. Vanilla adds such a nice flavor to this (or any) toffee recipe, and I can’t imagine making it without it! We’ll be adding the vanilla after the toffee is removed from the heat to preserve its flavor (if added to soon it will simply evaporate out).
- Chocolate chips. This recipe is a rare instance where I actually prefer milk chocolate chips, but semi-sweet would work too.
- Almonds. I love adding nuts to my toffee, but if you want to make yours nut-free, you certainly can. If choose to add nuts, you can use whatever kind you like (toasted pecans would also be great!).
SAM’S TIP: This toffee recipe works best if you have all of your ingredients ready before you begin. Once your toffee reaches 305°F, it’s time to move. You won’t have time to go scrambling to your spice cabinet to measure out your vanilla, find that rogue measuring spoon in your kitchen drawer, line your pan with parchment, chop your almonds…you get the idea. Be prepared and set yourself up for success from the beginning. I also recommend reading through the whole recipe at least once and even watching the video before you begin.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Toffee
- Bring on the bubbles – Stir together butter, sugar, water, and salt over medium heat until the mixture boils. Use a wet pastry brush to sweep any sugar crystals back into the pot during this time.
- Cook the candy – Once boiling, attach a candy thermometer (don’t let it touch the bottom!) and keep stirring as the mixture turns golden. Remove from heat and add vanilla once the toffee reaches 305F.
- Assemble the layers – Pour the toffee into a parchment-lined pan scattered with almonds. Let this sit for 5 minutes, top it with chocolate chips, and cover with foil. After 5 more minutes, smooth the chocolate evenly over the top of the toffee and sprinkle on additional nuts and salt.
- Cool, crack, and enjoy! Let your toffee cool completely before cutting or breaking apart.
SAM’S TIP: While your mixture makes its way to a boil, you may notice some sugar crystallizing on the sides of the pan. Use a lightly dampened pastry brush to nudge these sugar crystals back down into the pan (demonstrated in the video below). You can stop doing this once your mixture comes to a boil.
SAM’S TIP: Do not try to speed up your toffee making process by turning up the heat! You you will risk burning your toffee and will have start all over again. Have patience!
Frequently Asked Questions
This usually happens when the toffee mixture is heated too quickly or at too high of a temperature. Make sure to use medium heat (or medium-low) and go SLOW! Have patience and don’t crank up the heat.
Store your toffee in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. It will keep this way for several weeks (which makes this toffee recipe perfect for gift giving!).
Some people will argue that they can make perfect toffee just fine without a candy thermometer. They may use the hard crack test to see if it’s done (drizzling a small bit of the candy into a cup of cold water), or they’ll just know it’s done by the color.
However, for most of us, a candy thermometer is a critical tool for making perfect candy. I highly recommend using one for this toffee recipe! It will come in handy with many other candy recipes, too, (like my peanut brittle or peanut butter fudge!).
This toffee recipe makes a GREAT homemade gift alongside my cookie mix in a jar and candied pecans!
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
- ½ cup coarsely chopped almonds*
- 1 cup (2 sticks ) unsalted butter cut into pieces (226g)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
- ¼ cup water (60ml)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1-2 Tablespoons finely chopped almonds for topping, optional
- Flaky sea salt for topping, optional
- Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper and scatter coarsely chopped almonds evenly over the bottom. Set aside.
- Combine butter, sugar, water, and salt in a medium-sized pot over low heat. Meanwhile measure out your vanilla extract and have it ready nearby.
- Stir ingredients frequently over medium heat. During this time (only before boiling), use a wet pastry brush to brush down the sides where any sugar may settle on the side of the pot to prevent sugar crystals.
- Once butter is melted, increase heat to medium and continue to stir frequently until mixture comes to a boil (this may take a while, have patience and do not turn up the heat or you will ruin your toffee).
- Once the mixture comes to a boil, attach your candy thermometer. Make sure that the point of the candy thermometer is not touching the bottom of your pan.
- Continue to stir occasionally, the mixture will slowly thicken and will turn a more yellow hue as it cooks, and cook to hard crack (305°F/151°C).
- Once toffee reaches 305°F/151°C, immediately remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract (careful, it bubbles and steams a bit).
- Pour mixture evenly into your prepared pan over the almonds. Allow to sit for 5 minutes and then sprinkle chocolate chips evenly overtop the mixture. Cover with foil and allow to sit another 5 minutes, then remove the foil and use a spatula to gently spread chocolate chips evenly over your toffee.
- Immediately sprinkle with additional finely chopped almonds and flaky sea salt, if desired. Allow to cool completely at room temperature before breaking and serving.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
Absolutely delicious! Once again Sam, I followed your recipe and the results were as expected: delicious! Thank you!
This recipe turned out perfect, but I made too much. Can I freeze the toffee?
Hi Lisa! It should freeze fine in an air tight container for up to 3 months. 🙂
I followed your recipe exactly, including keeping the temperature coming up slowy and stirring almost constantly. When it hit 305 (on my brand new thermometer) I immediately poured it into my pan, but unfortunately the toffee had turned darkish brown. I’m waiting to try it when it cools, but I think it’s burned. I may try it again and take if off the stove at 300 degrees.
O no! I’m so sorry this happened! I wonder if the thermometer is off even though it’s brand new. 🙁
I make this English toffee every year could not be More pleased with the way it comes out
So when do you add the vanilla????
Step 7. 🙂
My kids like their toffee with chocolate on both sides. Any recommendations how to do that?
Hi Jessica! I haven’t tried it so I’m not sure exactly how it would work. I think you could potentially make it with chocolate then flip it and put chocolate on the other side after it has set but I’d be worried it may slide off. 🙁
My toffee separated after I removed it from the heat and added the vanilla. Do you know why this is? I’ve never used vanilla in my toffee, but I’m also just having an off year for toffee. Learning to problem solve, so that’s the silver lining!
Hi Sunny! I’m so sorry this happened! The toffee mixture may have been heated too quickly. 🙁
I have made toffee for years. Most frustrating thing I make until I bought the thermometer you recommended. Thank you thank you!!!!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
That’s so wonderful to hear! It truly does make a difference. Enjoy your toffee, Cindy ❤️
I can’t wait to try this. What us the best way to store this? How long will it keep?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We hope you love it Sharon! If you scroll down to the FAQ section, you’ll find answers to both of your questions ❤️
ANITA Bonno BERNARD
When vanilla is added to hot toffee it separates. I ruined a double batch.
I’m sorry this happened, Anita! I talk about how this recipe is tough to double in the post so it sounds like something went wrong somewhere along the line. 🙁
ANITA Bonno BERNARD
My bad! I realized I forgot to add a bit of Golden Treacle (inverted sugar syrup) which might have prevented it! Plus I didn’t read that warning about doubling. However I put the chocolate and nuts on top anyway and it actually has a pretty good texture and flavor, so It won’t go to waste. Changing to 4 stars!
This tiff is delicious! I followed the recipe exactly, it turned out perfect!! The candy thermometer did not work, but I took the advice from another comment and cooked it until it was the color of peanut butter. I just brought it to a group of friends and had to send them the recipe, they loved it. Thank you.
At around 280 degrees, my butter seemed to separate from the toffee and it stayed that way. Any thoughts and suggestions?
Hi Susan! This can happen if it’s heated too quickly. 🙁
I’ve saved many batches by adding a couple teaspoons of water (or more if needed) to the toffee when it has separated. As it boils off, the toffee comes back together.
I’ve made this recipe 6x now! Comes out perfect every time. Trick is- keep stirring often! I use milk chocolate and pecans. After it’s completely done I put it directly into fridge ( covered) and leave overnight. This way it’s still crunchy but not “stick to your teeth like super glue crunchy.”. This is a fabulous recipe! Love it. Get so many compliments – everyone is addicted! Just have to have patience and sometimes have to adjust heat so it’s just a low simmer. Then wait for it to reach 305 on candy thermometer. .
I’m so glad you enjoy it so much, Laura! 🙂
For those saying that the cooking temperature is too high that may be the case for your altitude. When cooking candy at different altitudes the higher the altitude, the lower the temperature that you would cook the candy. To calculate your temperature for candy making bring a pan of water to a rolling boil and check the temperature of the water. Water boils at 212 F so if your boiling point is 205 F then you would subtract 7 degrees from whatever stage of candy making that you are doing. Hard crack is 300-310 so minus 7 degrees would be 292-303. The temp I cook Toffee to is about 280 degrees any more and it will burn. We live over 6000 feet above sea level though.
I feel that you temp is a little high. My sugar was burnt although I cooked slow. In researching other recipes most were between 285 and 300 degrees.
Hi Pam! The recipe is correct as written, toffee ought to be cooked to hard crack for best results and in my own research I found this temperature yielded the best results. Candy can be a little tricky though so I feel your pain regardless!
I make toffee a couple times a year trying different recipe versions..
I substituted 1/2cup of butter for canna butter, and pretoasted my chopped walnuts then cooked according to the recipe and let me tell you..WOW! In my humble opinion, its thee best recipe I’ve tried for toffee thus far! I didn’t feel like 305• was too high at all! Maybe because I had room temp butter? . Definately saving.
I am so glad you enjoyed it so much, Paula! 🙂
How long does it take the chocolate to firm up after the toffee cools down?
Hi Laura! There are a lot of variables at play here. Mine typically firms up completely within an hour or two. 🙂
My toffee turned out great, but it’s been several hours and the chocolate has still not set completely. I finally was able to crack it and store it, butI am wondering if you might know why this happened and how to remedy next time?
Hi Erica! Unfortunately you just have to wait for the chocolate to harden. There isn’t really a quick fix for it. I’m glad you enjoyed it though. 🙂
I just made this for the first time ever! It’s cooling, we’ll see how I did in an hour or two.
I made this for the first time today and it turned out perfectly!!! Thank you for the detailed instructions and video – very helpful!! I highly recommend this recipe (it really helped to watch the video prior to starting). Thank you!
I’ve had three great batches. Three batches where butter broke after adding the vanilla. I’m at high altitude so I have three questions.
1. Should butter be room at room temperature in full sticks?
2. Should butter be cold right from the fridge or cubbed from the fridge.
3. Does room temperature make a difference?
Anyone at high altitude (5,700 ft) can answer. Great recipe but it’s sad wasting the 🧈 butter.
Hi Kathy! Typically the butter breaks if the candy is heated too quickly. The butter doesn’t need to be at room temperature or very cold, either will work and I’ve made it both ways without issue. I am hoping someone who has experience making candy at high altitude can chime in with more advice, though!