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Butter Toffee with Pecans Recipe

This classic homemade butter toffee recipe tastes even better than Grandma’s! Perfect for holiday gift-giving. No candy thermometer necessary. 

Close up shot of multiple pieces of butter toffee sitting on top of each other

When December 1st rolls around, I immediately shift into treat and candy making mode. Nothing gets me in the holiday spirit faster than whipping up some treats to give out as gifts!

Butter toffee is a classic Christmas-time treat, so I thought I’d share my recipe with you.

If you’re intimidated by making candy – don’t be! I’m going to give you easy, step by step instructions so that you can successfully make homemade toffee!

A white reusable plastic container filled with pieces of butter toffee candy


  • Butter – Use salted butter to avoid separation. 
  • Pecans – Pecan halves are used for the nuts in this toffee. You’ll want to chop them up. 
  • Brown Sugar – This recipe uses light brown sugar. 
  • Chocolate Chips – You can use either semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips. I prefer semi-sweet. Milk chocolate will make your toffee sweeter. 
  • Vanilla – A bit of vanilla extract gives this toffee’s flavor a little more depth. 

Overhead shot of 5 white bowls, each holding an ingredient for butter toffee (butter, vanilla, brown sugar, pecans, chocolate chips)

How To Make

To make the toffee, we’ll start by putting the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan. Simmer it over low-medium heat. You’ll need to stir it about every 30 seconds, so be sure to stay by the pan the entire time. (While you’re making the toffee, be sure to preheat the oven and toast your pecans.)

Overhead view of a sauce pan filled with melted butter and brown sugar

You’ll know the toffee is ready when it is goopy and bubbly (see photo below). This should take about 25-30 minutes. If you’re using a candy thermometer, the mixture should be 290F.

Overhead view of a sauce pan filled with butter and brown sugar that has turned rich brown and is bubbling

Prepare a 9×13 baking pan by coating it with non-stick spray, or lining it with parchment paper. Add the pecan halves and bake for 4 minutes, stir, then bake another 3-4 minutes until they’re nice and toasted.

Overhead view of a 9x13 pan lined with parchment paper and a layer of pecan halves on the bottom

When the toffee is ready, pour it over the top of the pecan halves. Quickly spread it to cover the entire pan. (Be sure to move quickly because the toffee will harden fast.) The toffee mixture will be very hot, so be careful.

Overhead shot of a 9x13 pan with the melted brown sugar and butter toffee mixture on top of pecan halves

Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the toffee. Let them sit there for about five minutes so that they become warm and soft.

Overhead view of a 9x13 pan filled with butter toffee ingredients, a layer of chocolate chips on top

Use a non-stick spatula to spread the chocolate chips across the top of the toffee.

Overhead view of a 9x13 pan with a layer of warm chocolate chips that have been smoothed over with a silicone spatula

Allow the toffee to cool completely. This will take at least 5 hours, but I like to let mine sit overnight or for at least 8.

Cut pieces of homemade butter toffee are displayed stacked on top of one another on to of parchment paper

Once it has cooled, use a knife to break it apart into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Butter Toffee with Pecans

    • Author: Jessica Pinney
    • Prep Time: 5 Minutes
    • Cook Time: 30 minutes
    • Total Time: 35 minutes
    • Yield: 15 1x
    • Category: Dessert
    • Cuisine: American
Close up shot of multiple pieces of butter toffee sitting on top of each other


1 ½ cup of pecan halves, chopped

1 ½ cup of salted butter

1 ½ cup of brown sugar

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray.

Sprinkle the pecans in an even layer in the pan and bake for 4 minutes. Stir, then back again for another 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and set it aside.

Add the butter to a large saucepan along with the brown sugar and vanilla extract. 

Simmer over low-medium heat and stir every thirty seconds to prevent burning.

Once the toffee mixture looks goopy and bubbly, it is ready (see photo in post above). This process will take 25-30 minutes, but don’t rush it or the sugar will start to burn.

To check if the toffee is ready, add a drop of it to a glass of ice-cold water. Once cooled, it should be hard and crunchy instead of soft and chewy.

Once the toffee is ready, carefully pour it over the pecans and quickly spread it out as it will start to harden. (The toffee will be extremely hot so be careful.)

Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the toffee and let it sit for 5 minutes. Spread the melted chocolate out over the toffee then let it cool completely for 5 hours or overnight.

Once it has cooled completely and set up, break the toffee with a knife and serve.

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


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