Easy butter toffee recipe for a homemade treat that’s crunchy, buttery, and utterly addictive—perfect for candy lovers! Don’t think that making candy is too hard! It’s not, and this guide will help you make the best butter toffee to share with family and friends–it’s the perfect food gift!

White plate with butter toffee and pecans.

There’s something special about homemade butter toffee. It’s the kind of treat that makes folks’ eyes light up and brings out all the smiles. And the best part? You can whip up a batch of this buttery, chocolatey goodness right in your own kitchen.

No candy-making experience? No problem. Our recipe breaks it down into simple, doable steps. Even if it’s your first time making candy, this recipe is simple enough that we promise you can do it! So roll up your sleeves and get ready to make some English toffee that may just become your new signature sweet.

We have some other great homemade candy recipes, too. Be sure to check out our Halloween Pretzel Bark or Oreo Truffles.

This toffee recipe is a perfect gift idea for friends! We also love gifting this Brownie Mix in a Jar. Wrap these with pretty ribbons and place them in a basket for a lovely, consumable gift. Another gift favorite, or just something I like to keep around for my morning coffee, is this Pumpkin Biscotti. With its nice drizzle of white chocolate, it’s perfect for dipping!

How to prevent toffee from separating

It happens to the best cooks—you’re making toffee, and you see the dreaded oily separation of sugar and butter. Sometimes, you can add a little water and coax it back together, but usually, you have to toss it and start over. So, how can we prevent that?

Start with a heavy bottom pan. This is essential for even heat conduction. 

Be sure you use real butter. 

Mix the butter and sugar over low heat until the butter is fully melted and the sugar is completely dissolved. This may take up to 10 minutes. Then, turn the heat to medium. You want to have gradual temperature changes, nothing abrupt.

You can also rub a little butter around the edges of your pan to help prevent sugar crystals from sticking. 

Stop stirring once the toffee mixture reaches around 200°. 

What to do if butter toffee separates

If your toffee separates, don’t give up right away! Remove it from the heat and stir constantly until the mixture (hopefully!) comes back together. Then, gradually return to heat, stirring constantly. You can try whisking in a couple of tablespoons of hot water, which can sometimes bring the mixture together. Start with one tablespoon and add another if necessary, but don’t add more than 2-3 tablespoons. 

If you’ve poured the candy out and it separates, it’s too late to save it for butter toffee. But you can still allow it to cool and solidify, then wipe off the excess oil and crush it into pieces for ice cream topping.

White plate of chocolate covered toffee.


  • Unsalted butter – salted butter works fine in this recipe, too. 
  • Granulated white sugar – some recipes call for brown sugar or light corn syrup, but we prefer regular white sugar.
  • Melted dark chocolate for a rich, velvety topping.
  • Pecans – finely chopped and toasted.
  • A splash of vanilla extract to bring all the flavors together.
  • Salt to enhance all the flavors.


  • You can use milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate if you prefer. 
  • Substitute pecans with almonds or walnuts.
  • Sprinkle some toffee bits on top instead of nuts. 
  • Leave off the nuts and opt for chopped candy canes for a festive twist.

While chopped nuts offer that classic toffee crunch, we always like to mix things up with a second batch. For those who prefer a simpler yet equally tantalizing version, we sprinkle just a touch of sea salt over the melted chocolate.

It’s a beautiful contrast that brings out the buttery flavor of the toffee and the richness of the chocolate. This nut-free alternative is just as addictive and a surefire hit for anyone who loves that sweet, salty combo.

So don’t hesitate to double up on your toffee-making—after all, one batch with nuts and one with sea salt means something for everyone to enjoy!

How to make butter toffee

Prep the pan. Use foil to make a shell with sides on another baking sheet. Alternatively, you can use a silicone baking mat. I don’t like to use parchment paper with this recipe, but that’s my personal preference. 

Toast the nuts. Chop the pecans and spread them on a baking sheet, then pop them in the oven for 6-8 minutes to toast them lightly. 

Cook sugar. Combine butter and sugar on low heat in a heavy saucepan. Once the butter is fully melted and incorporated with the sugar, turn the heat to medium and stir occasionally until the thermometer reads 200.

Then, stop stirring and allow the mixture to cook until the temperature is 300°. The toffee should be a nice golden brown at this point.

Add vanilla. Carefully stir in the vanilla extract with a wooden spoon. The sugar mixture will sputter!

Spread. Pour the toffee mixture and spread it in an even layer in your prepared pan using an offset spatula.

Add chocolate. Finish your butter toffee with melted chocolate and a sprinkle of nuts or sea salt.


  • Use a candy thermometer for the best results every time.
  • A heavy bottom pot is critical for an even cooking process.
  • Aluminum foil or a silicone baking mat will keep your toffee from sticking to the pan.


Can you freeze this recipe? Yes, absolutely. We like to break up the butter toffee into pieces and freeze the pieces on a baking sheet overnight. Use a bag or other airtight container for storage.

Can you make it ahead? This toffee keeps for a couple of weeks, so it’s the perfect way to get some of your holiday gifts out of the way early.

How to store? Keep your butter toffee in an airtight container to maintain freshness.

With the holiday season around the corner or just for an everyday sweet treat, this butter toffee recipe is about creating homemade candy that everyone will love. It’s a great recipe that promises delicious toffee, perfect for sharing or savoring solo.

So, if you’re looking for your next kitchen adventure, it’s time to turn up the heat to medium-low and start your toffee cook!

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5 from 2 votes

Butter Toffee

Easy butter toffee recipe for a homemade treat that's crunchy, buttery, and utterly addictive—perfect for candy lovers!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 20 pieces
Save This Recipe



  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt


  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • ¾ cup pecans, finely chopped
  • Coarse sea salt


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Prep the pan. Using heavy duty aluminum foil, create a shell with 1-inch high sides. Place foil shell on a baking sheet. Alternatively, you can use a silicone baking mat. I don't like to use parchment paper with this recipe, but that's my personal preference.
  • Toast the pecans on a baking sheet in oven for 7-8 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned.
  • In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, cook butter, sugar, salt, and water on low heat until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly.
  • Increase heat to medium and stir occasionally until temperature reaches 200°F. Allow to cook without stirring until temperature reaches 300°F.
  • When the mixture is dark golden brown and 300°F, immediately remove the pan from heat. Carefully stir in the vanilla (it will sputter so wear an oven mitt) and mix well.
  • Pour the hot mixture into the foil shell and use an offset spatula or a large spatula to spread but don’t try to get it all the way to the edge or it will be too thin. You will need to do this immediately because the toffee starts to set as soon as you pour it out. Cool at room temperature for 45 minutes or until hard.
  • Meanwhile, melt the chocolate according to package directions. Spread the melted chocolate over the cooled toffee and sprinkle with the pecans, pressing lightly to set the pecans.
  • You can omit the pecans and sprinkle instead with coarse sea salt. I usually do a batch of both.
  • Allow to set at room temperature at least 1 hour or until the chocolate is set. Break toffee into pieces. Store covered at room temperature for up to 1 month.


Serving: 20pieces, Calories: 211kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 1g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 2mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 14g
Course: Candy
Cuisine: American
Calories: 211
Keyword: butter toffee, english toffee
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UPDATE NOTES: This post was originally published December 23, 2014, and on December 31, 2023, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.

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About the author

Hi, I’m Lucy! I’m a home cook, writer, food and wine fanatic, and recipe developer. I’ve created and tested hundreds of recipes so that I can bring you the best tried and true favorites.

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5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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