December 11th, 2013

Best Toffee Ever

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I have tried many, many toffee recipes over the years. Quite a few of them have been complete failures (and I have a funny feeling it wasn’t the recipe). This really is the Best Toffee Ever, and it’s perfect for sharing with family and friends this holiday season!

Luckily, I’ve learned a few things from my mistakes, and I’ve also found a tried and true toffee recipe, which helps make up for any “human error.” 


Here are a few of my favorite toffee making tips:

  • Use a large, heavy pot. This is definitely one of those times it’s best to follow the advice of Julia Child and “always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need.”
  • Melt butter and sugar over medium-high heat, whisking the WHOLE time (the constant whisking is very important).
  • Bring your toffee to a steady, but NOT rolling boil, at about medium heat, and continue to stir constantly.
  • When your thermometer says 285 degrees, drop a bit of toffee into some ice water…it should be brittle. If so, it’s done!

I’ve had several people tell me they don’t use a candy thermometer when making toffee. They just cook the caramel until it’s the color of peanut butter. I haven’t tried it, but it seems to work for a lot of people.

That’s it! You’re ready to make some delicious toffee. And once you’ve perfected your toffee making technique, you’ll really be able to impress your family and friends with your delicious homemade candy.

It really is worth all that whisking and stirring!

Be sure to save this recipe for the Best Toffee Ever to your favorite Pinterest board for later.


Best Toffee Ever

Best Toffee Ever

Preparation 10 min Cook Time 15 min Total Time 25 mins
Serves 12     adjust servings

Old fashioned toffee topped with chocolate and chopped nuts.


  • 2 cups butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped almonds (optional but recommended, toast almonds before adding to toffee)


  1. Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  2. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly until the butter is melted. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture has reached 285 degrees F (137 degrees C).
  3. Remove toffee from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. (If desired, you can sprinkle some of the nuts on the baking sheet before pouring on the toffee).
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top, and let chocolate soften for a few minutes. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer. Sprinkle with chopped almonds.
  5. Refrigerate until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

Recipe Notes

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2 reviews

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Who Dished It Up First: Adapted from



  1. Yummy! I can’t wait to try this! Thanks for the recipe! Have a blessed day, HUGS!

  2. Beautiful photo, drool-worthy recipe. I’m beside myself.

  3. I’ve only made toffee once. It was good. I will give your recipe a try since it is the “best toffee ever”. I can’t pass that up!

  4. Pinned this and definitely making it!

  5. Sounds very simple.. thanks for the recipe 🙂

  6. OMG_my daughter just sent me this recipe. She said the girls at work thought it was better than almond roca-I’m so making this. thank you.

  7. it looks yummy!

  8. I LOVE toffee! It’s such a great gift this time of year too…looking forward to trying yours! Lovely!

  9. I am a toffee addict – especially during the holidays and I’m super excited that I have everything needed for this recipe so I can try it tonight!

  10. Do you add almonds to the toffee mix before adding the chocolate chips? Looked like there was some mixed in in the picture.

    • You can add some into the toffee if you like Anna (right before you pour it onto the baking sheet), which I do sometimes, or you can just sprinkle them on top. Either way is fine.

  11. Anna Goodenough says:

    I made this the other night. It was so good! The flavor was the best toffee I’d ever had for sure! My texture was off though. I used a candy thermometer and brought it up to the right temp, but when it hardened, it was still kind of soft. It was firm enough to pick up, but it kind of melted in your mouth. It was still amazing, but definitely not toffee texture. I talked to someone else who is really good at making toffee and she said that she doesn’t even use a thermometer. She just cooks it until its the color of peanut butter (mine was lighter in color than peanut butter for sure). I will try that next time (or maybe I just need to buy a new thermometer?).

    • It is probably an altitude problem. Use the ‘thread test’ recommended above the recipe (drop a drip in ice water and see if it is the texture you want), which is more reliable. To ‘set’ your thermometer to YOUR altitude, boil water and see what temperature your thermometer reads. 212 degrees F (100 Celsius) is at sea level. Use your ‘difference’ from 212 to always adjust your cookbook recipes that much higher. However, internet recipes are at the author’s altitude, and so you should use the thermometer as a guideline … “oh, goody, can almost stop stirring” … and the test, or visual as the proof.

    • Glad you liked the flavor Anna. I’ve always thought candy making is tricky and I often have to make a recipe a few times before I get it right. I usually err on the other side and burn it though! I know there are ways to test your thermometer to make sure it’s accurate (I’m sure you could find a tutorial on Google). Altitude can also be an issue. Dropping some in ice water is also a helpful trick. I’d love to know any tips you come up with if you make it again.

      • Mine turned out to thin and not as dark., I did use thermometer .. You called for a large baking pan think a 9x 13 would be better to make it thicker .. It did not harden as much either.,

        • You could certainly use a 9×13 pan Sherry. Candy making can be really tricky sometimes. For me it works to take it off the heat right at 285, but you might need to go to 290. All kinds of things can make a difference, like altitude, and candy thermometers can vary too. I definitely recommend dropping some of the toffee in ice water when it reaches 285. That should give you a pretty good idea of what the final product will be like. If it’s too soft, you can always keep cooking it a little bit longer. Hope that helps. There are also some helpful comments above this in the thread too. I find I often have to make a candy recipe more than once to get it just right for my climate/altitude/thermometer, etc. Good luck!

          • What size pan makes it the correct thickness?

          • There really isn’t a set size of pan you need to use Sherry. You can make the toffee as thick or thin as you would like. I use a large cookie sheet, just to make sure I have plenty of room, but I don’t spread the toffee all the way to the edges. I just spread it until it’s the thickness I like. If you want to spread the toffee to the edges of the pan and make a perfect rectangle, I think 9×13 would be a good size. Mine looks more like a big blob before I break it into pieces. So there really isn’t a correct thickness, just whatever your personal preference is.

    • Donna Schroer says:

      I’ve been making toffee for over 60 years, using a similar recipe but no vanilla and I spread pecans over my baking sheet & then drizzle the hot toffee over those. The thinner you can spread the toffee, the easier it is to break up & the more brittle it will be. I didn’t use a thermometer for years but watched for the color to darken & allowed about 15 minutes for cooking. If I do use a thermometer I go closer to 300 degrees & just on the verge of burning. My coated Circular pan works better than my old stainless steel as it doesn’t burn as easily. CONSTANT stirring is only necessary towards the end so it doesn’t burn. I also add chopped pecans over the chocolate after it’s spread & then frost the other side after it’s cooled with melted chocolate & the ground nuts. A baking pan would make the toffee too thick & not easy to work with. I like to use some peanuts or cashews in place of the pecans once in awhile. This is great for gift giving but just remember NOT to pour it too soon!!!! Also, too big a pan would be too hard to handle for pouring. I have always used a 3 qt size & it gets close to the top but with careful heat & stirring it works. I yours failed you are not alone. About half the people I give the recipe to get it right the first time & if it’s soft or sugary you have not cooked it long enough. Better to burn a little than pour too soon! Good Luck!!!

      • Angela Pelletier says:

        hi, I heard someone saying to use brown sugar instead of regular sugar. Is that correct? mine didn’t get that brown color and the butter separated from the sugar, what did I do wrong?

        • Donna Schroer says:

          I’ve always used white sugar. Sometimes the butter & sugar DO separate toward the end of cooking but if you just continue to cook it wii go back together again. I’ve been using a higher heat the past few years & it hasn’t been separating. Not sure if this is why. I also use a bit more than the 2 cups of sugar & add a TLB of water to the pot. You MUST get it to the darker color & even if there is a little butter on top when you pour it, it shouldn’t make a difference. My sister blotted hers with a paper towel.

  12. I made this and just posted about it. I would love for you to stop by and see. Thanks so much for sharing this awesome recipe.

  13. I just made this using organic cane sugar and think half the butter would work if you want to sub this sugar in likely because it is more grainy? I had to pour a lot of butter off butter off and really re-work it with the cane sugar. Just an FYI for anyone looking to make it this way… That aside – I love this toffee!

  14. Carrie Stenger says:

    salted or not salted butter?

  15. I tried making this and the butter separated during the boiling process. I was whisking the whole time, not sure what happened. I couldn’t get it to come back together and had to toss it out. Any ideas about what could have gone wrong?

    • Candy can be really finicky. I have had my toffee separate too, but I do have the most success with this recipe. If you were whisking the whole time, some other things that can cause toffee to separate are the quality of your saucepan–some can cause hot spots and it’s important for things to come to a boil at a steady, even rate. Along those same lines, you don’t want to heat things up too quickly. If you used medium heat, it might be helpful to try medium low next time. This article has some really good tips if you decide to try again, even some tips for saving toffee that has separated. Good luck!

      • K Chilano says:

        I’m not going to waste any more time or ingredients on this recipe. I cooked it on medium-low setting and it was at a rolling boil while stirring constantly. Like I said, I’ve made toffee before and it was fine.

  16. K Chilano says:

    I’ve made many different recipes for toffee before and thought I’d try this “best ever” recipe. Well, it did not work. I cooked the butter, sugar and salt exactly as specified to 285*. As soon as I removed from the heat and added the vanilla, the butter separated from the sugar and no amount of mixing made it blend together. I ended up with a full cup of melted butter after I poured it off of the toffee. Another thing. the sugar was still grainy. So I wasted a full pound of butter and 2 cups of sugar. FAILURE.

  17. Just made this and it is awesome! I’m going to try it with pistachios next! My first try didn’t come put very good because I didn’t cook it long enough.I read the comments and someone said she took it off the stove when it reached the color of peanut butter.Thank you very much because the second try was perfection!

    • Thanks Wanda! Toffee is tricky. I had to make it once or twice myself before I got it just right. I think that’s how it goes for most people….and I think the peanut butter comment was awesome. That has helped me get it just right too! And pistachios are a great idea!

  18. Nope. Didn’t work at all.

    I had a cup of clarified butter and a 5×6 piece of liquid sugar/butter at the end.

  19. How long can it be stored?
    I’d love to make some to give for Christmas, but want to give extra time to make sure I don’t have to make a second batch

    • It will be good for at least a few weeks, so you are fine at this point to make it for Christmas. The biggest issue now would be eating it all before then. 🙂

      • Donns Schroer says:

        I live in Florida where it can get humid, so I keep mine in sealed containers in the fridge. Humidity causes the toffee to get soft & sticky. Some friends have hidden theirs in the freezer, only to find it months later and it is still good. I make it all during the month of December.

  20. I don’t know…I ruined 4 batches with this recipe. They all separated before goal temp. I researched toffee making, and found a number of incorrect instructions in this recipe. I used the cooking method found here, and it came out perfectly the first time, using the recipe from this site. Just had to outsource for cooking instructions.

  21. I have been making candy for 50 years and this is the worst recipe ever. Inconsistent, greasy, and not right. Yuck!!

  22. I have never made toffee before. I’m more a baker than candy maker so this was my very first try for toffee. It was PERFECT! Everyone raved over this deliciousness. So much so, in fact, that i have to make more. I used the “cook it until it is the color of peanut butter” method, which was about 5 min more than the recipe suggested. Thank you for this recipe! Follow the link to my pinterest page and you can see a picture! Look for the board “Things I’ve Made”

    • Thanks so much Angie! I’m thinking the “color of peanut butter” is great advice, especially since things like altitude and humidity can effect the cooking time. The peanut butter method seems to work every time! 🙂

  23. When it comes to making toffee, you either can or you cannot. I cannot. After a couple years go by, I try again. With this recipe, I grabbed a bigger pot than I would’ve because that’s what the recipe said. I think that was my downfall. The temperature never reached 285 and the butter eventually separated from the sugar. Down the disposal it went. The second attempt, in regular old pot, was better, reached 285, and made it to the pan. But I don’t think it’s right. Well, we’re eating it anyway. I need to stick to cookies!

  24. I changed the name of the board on Pinterest. If you want to see my toffee pic, it’s now on the board “My baking obsession”


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