This is the BEST homemade English Toffee Recipe, hands down! This is such an easy and QUICK treat to make for the Christmas holidays. You don’t even need a candy thermometer!

English Toffee Recipe with Almonds

English Toffee

Originally posted December 22, 2017

Eric is re-washing the sheet pan that he just washed, because there was still butter on it from making this toffee recipe on it today. (Toffee’s got a lot of butter. Or maybe he was just trying to wash the pan with olive oil like I did that one time.)

We have two sheet pans, one that is 10 years old and the other one I just bought a few months ago (I really don’t know how I got by with just one actually.) Eric told me that the poor new sheet pan was probably traumatized when it got settled in our kitchen. Like, if there was a kitchen version of Toy Story. New Pan Guy comes in all sparkling and clean, thinking it’s going to be a jolly time in this new home. Then he sees the state of the other pans and is struck with terror, “Oh my gosh, what did she DO to you??” I am Sid in this story.

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Toffee recipe

How is Christmas prep going? Are you all done shopping? Sent the Christmas cards? Planned the menu? Lit up the house and tree?? (There is so much to do, I love it all!) Have you passed out neighbor gifts yet? Lucky for you I’ve got a last minute solution: stellar homemade toffee takes about 15 minutes start to finish. Yes, real toffee, no cheat stuff. This is real candy and it’s really amazingly easy, I promise.

How to make Toffee

English Toffee recipe

The thing about candy is that there are some ground rules. Things like, use a heavy pot, don’t let sugar granules get on the edge while cooking, and totally concrete instructions like, “When it reaches an amber color.” I’m sorry but when was the last time you saw what color amber actually was.

It sounds intimidating but it’s really not that bad. Here’s the breakdown: use a heavy pot so that your candy cooks evenly. Don’t get sugar granules on the edge of the pan or it could crystalize the candy (meaning it won’t turn into toffee). And finally, stop cooking when it looks like peanut butter, not amber, silly.

Hard English Toffee

Okay, okay, so I’m an annoying color-test hypocrite. But really…the peanut butter color test totally works. There is NO PEANUT BUTTER in this recipe, I repeat, this is not Peanut Butter Toffee. This is another Aunt Shirley recipe, and her instructions include no temperature levels, but instead say to get out your jar of peanut butter, set it next to the stove, and when the candy in the pot turns the same color as the peanut butter, it’s done.

English Toffee Recipe

I made this 4 times, and it worked every time. I also checked with a candy thermometer. The temperature you want is between 285 and 300 degrees. Check the recipe below for all the details. I use a plain old candy thermometer that you can pick up at any store, but I want to try out this digital one. (Santa? Can you hear me??)

How to make toffee

Pour that sugar right in the middle.

Making English Toffee
candy thermometer toffee recipe

I like my toffee to stop cooking right in between soft crack and hard crack stages.

toffee recipe - peanut butter color

See?? It looks just like peanut butter!

Toffee recipe
toffee with chocolate
How to make toffee with nuts

English Toffee Recipe

Have I scared you off?? Come baaaack! This English toffee recipe is totally worth making, even if you have to remember a few pesky rules. I still remember the first time I had homemade English toffee. It was a neighbor gift from my friend Joan at our old house. She had dozens of little bags of toffee to hand out to friends, and I think I ate our family’s whole bag without sharing (sorry Eric). I fell in love with homemade toffee that day and now I’m so happy to be able to make it on my own!

English Toffee with almonds

Merry Christmas everyone! Let me know if you try out the recipe, I love hearing from you!

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One year ago: Swedish Sour Cream Twists (Layered Yeast Cookies)
Two years ago: Overnight Biscuits and Gravy Casserole << Christmas morning, make it!
Six years ago: Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup (like from Olive Garden)


Homemade Toffee Recipe

4.92 from 12 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 25 pieces
This is the BEST recipe for English Toffee, hands down! This is such an easy and QUICK treat to make for the Christmas holidays. You don’t even need a candy thermometer! 


  • 1 & 1/2 cups salted butter, (3 sticks)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 & 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 & 1/2 – 2 cups sliced almonds*


  • Start by coating an 11×17 inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Or use your fingers to coat it with a bit of butter. You can use parchment paper if you want but I actually found that it wasn’t necessary.
  • Add the 1 and 1/2 cups butter to a HEAVY 3 quart saucepan. (You need good quality pots for candy-making.)
  • Melt the butter over medium heat until almost melted, then add the water, sugar, and salt. Be sure to add the sugar to the CENTER of the melted butter (see photo). Don’t let the sugar touch the edges. If you have even just a few granules of sugar on the edge of the pot, it could crystalize the whole pot of candy, meaning that your mixture will not get hot enough to reach the hard crack stage, which is what you need for toffee.**
  • Turn the heat up to medium high and get yourself a long sturdy wooden spoon. You’re going to have to stir for the next 10 minutes or so, so gear up. If you skipped the greasing the pan step before, you lose 10 preparation points. Because now you have to stir. Get someone else to prep the pan. (Or do it VERY quickly in between stirs!)
  • Stir for about 10 minutes. If you have a candy thermometer, attach it to the edge of your pot, but even if you have one, I would still get out a jar of peanut butter and set it next to the stove with the lid off to see what color it is. When the candy reaches the color of peanut butter, it is ready to be poured into the pan. (There is NO peanut butter in this recipe!! Don’t add it to the pot! You just want the color!)
  • I tested this recipe with and without a candy thermometer, and my toffee looked like peanut butter at about 285-290 degrees F. Hard crack stage is 300 degrees, and you can certainly go that high if you want. See, there is wiggle room, even in candy recipes! I would rely more on the color of the toffee though. The peanut butter trick really does work great.
  • Remove the pot from the stove and QUICKLY pour it into the prepared pan, scraping the edges. Use a spatula to spread it out as soon as possible. You don’t need to go to the edges of the pan, although you can.
  • Immediately sprinkle the top of the toffee with 2 cups of chocolate chips. Use your judgement to see if you want to add another 1/2 cup. I’m kind of a chocolate addict so…
  • Wait 4-5 minutes for the chocoalte chips to melt. If you were too slow and your chocolate isn’t melting, then stick it in the oven at 350 for 2-3 minutes, or however long it takes to get the chocolate chips just barely melted. Then use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate to the edges of the toffee.
  • Sprinkle right away with sliced almonds. You can use your hands to gently press the almonds in; whichever ones are not touching melty chocolate are just going to fall right off. 
  • Let the pan cool for 1-2 hours. You can speed this up by sticking it in the fridge, but if you do this will MUST wait until the toffee returns to room temperature before breaking it up, otherwise it will be too brittle and just break into sad toffee crumbs. 
  • Once the chocolate is completely set, break up the pan. You can lift up the edge of the whole sheet of toffee and break it up, or use a butter knife to help you make cuts (although once you get started, it really does work better to break up with your hands. Snap off pieces to your heart’s content. It’s so satisfying.)
  • Store in a ziplock or tupperware on the counter. Try not to eat it all at once.


*You can use any kind of nut that you like! Traditional English Toffee has nuts that have been chopped by hand, usually almonds, pecans, or walnuts. I think they would all taste amazing! I want to try walnuts next. My neighbor made English Toffee for me with sliced almonds one time and I became obsessed, so that’s why I chose to do it. Plus, hello, super easy, open the bag and dump.
**My mother-in-law Kris told me about the two methods she uses to make SURE there are no sugar granules on the edge. One is to cover the pot for a minute or two right when the mixture reaches a boil. This will cause steaming on the edges of the pot, melting the sugar (then uncover and stir, stir!). The other solution is to use a damp pastry brush to wipe the edges of the pot. I’ve never tried either method because I was pretty careful on all of my 4 tests for this recipe that I did not get sugar on the edge of the pot. But Kris has made a LOT more candy than I have, so trust this tip. 
This hasn’t happened to me, but it is a common problem for the butter to separate from the toffee (like a layer of melted butter on top of the caramel, while still in the pot, that won’t mix in). This is the result of rapid temperature changes (thin, flimsy pots have hot spots. No bueno.) and also from not stirring enough. So get a heavy pot and be ready to stir for 10 minutes or so. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 327kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 170mg | Potassium: 202mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 349IU | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Eastern European
Calories: 327
Keyword: best, english, homemade, snack, toffee
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

More Christmas candy ideas!

Caramel Nougat Pecan Rolls << I adore these!

Caramel Candy Pecan Roll from The Food Charlatan

My Mom’s Fudge << a classic.

My Mom's Fudge from

Sticky Sweet-and Salty Chex Mix:

Sticky Sweet-and-Salty Chex Mix (Christmas Crack) from The Food Charlatan

More toffee from blog friends!

Better Than Anything Toffee from Mom on Timeout
Sea Salt Pecan Toffee from Barefeet in the Kitchen
Saltine Toffee with Pecans and Toffee Bits from Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen

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  1. How far in advance can the toffee be made and still taste fresh? Thinking of making some as party favors and I know I’ll get busy a few days before the party.

    1. This is the perfect treat for making ahead Shawn! Toffee will stay fresh for about a week. Keep it well sealed! Enjoy!

  2. Can you add the nuts to the toffee while its still in pan? I prefer the pecans to be IN the toffee instead of on top. Just wasnt sure if it affected the hardening process. Thank you for your time.

    1. I haven’t tried it Shannon but that is a great idea! I don’t think it would have a negative effect. Let me know how it goes!

  3. This was great toffee.  I wanted to make sure it was the best I could make so I used Kerrygold butter, Ghirardelli choc. chips and I’d found a recipe for sweet, salty, spicy pecans which I made.  Crushed several of them and sprinkled them over the top while choc. still warm.  Yum to the 10th degree. 

  4. I confess I was VERY skeptical that the color test would work: I didn’t want it either sticky (undercooked) or rock hard/burned (overcooked)–I have done both! But I set out my peanut butter jar, and was very careful, and it is excellent–best I’ve ever made! I also sprinkled 12 oz. chocolate chips over a Silpat on my baking sheet and poured the toffee over that, modifying Judy’s comment: that also turned out wonderfully. Thank you!

    1. I feel like I’m really missing out on extra chocolate in my life by not adding that layer of chocolate on the bottom! I’m totally trying that next time. I’m so glad the peanut butter test worked out for you! It sounds crazy but it works every time! Thanks for commenting Jacquelyn :)

  5. My toffee came out a tad soft.  But I used cashews.  Maybe that’s why?  I let it set and then cut it with a pizza cutter and it was fantastic.  Just not hard and crunchy.   More like a sugar daddy Caramel sucker.   Everyone loved it.  
    Any ideas for the next batch? 

    1. Hi Sandra! If it was soft that means it wasn’t cooked long enough. Try the peanut butter test, or use a candy thermometer with the suggested temperatures next time! I’m glad it was still tasty. Love the idea of using cashews!

  6. Instead of using chocolate chips I use Hershey bars. Yes, it is a bit expensive but oh so much better. I chop pecans or walnuts, depending on my mood, and spread over pan. Then, I lay the Hershey bars over the nuts. Next, pour cooked toffee over Hershey bars. Let set. I receive so many compliments on this. It is so yummy!

  7. This toffee looks beautiful. I think it would make a great dessert garnish too- maybe broken pieces on top of a cake.

  8. My mother in law taught me how to make toffee when I was a newlywed and I make some every Christmas. Her recipe calls for almonds in the toffee and walnuts on top…delicious! She always went by color, too, though I’ve never used the peanut butter test but will from now on! I had some trouble a few years ago and finally discovered it was because I used unsalted butter. The consensus on the Internet seemed to be that the salt helps stabilize the candy. So I always use salted butter and add a little salt. Thanks for your awesome recipes!

    1. Oh interesting Laura! I didn’t know that about the salt! I always use salted butter so I’ve never had issues, thanks for the info. I want to try adding nuts to the pan before pouring the toffee next time! Sounds so good!

  9. Oh, I never tried anything like this to be honest – must be extremely good ^^ Thanks a lot for sharing it with us, although it doesn’t seem easy to prepare. Wish me luck, hopefully I will manage!

  10. Can you give any comments to sticky toffee? I have been making toffee for years, same recipe, and sometimes it is a bit sticky. Usually it is crunchy, just like eating a heath bar. Don’t understand why this occasionally happens

    1. You know Becky, I think that this probably just has to do with the temperature, it either being too low or too high when you take it off the heat. Do you always use a thermometer? Do you judge by color? Maybe try sticking with the thermometer if you are having inconsistent results. I will double check with the candy makers in my family!

        1. Ours did the same thing..? Bc of that there were some ‘pools of butter when we poured it onto the cookie sheets. We spooned/drained what we could. It still hardened fine and tasted sooo good!!  Making it again tonight:)

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