Table of Contents
  1. Watch how to make this English toffee:
  2. English Toffee Recipe

In the world of candy making, toffee is the pinnacle. And English toffee is rich and buttery, has a good crispy snap, and yet is somehow easy to eat. The defining factor of English toffee is the thick layer of chocolate slathered on top with a generous dusting of toasted nuts. Hungry yet?

At its base, toffee is just a mixture of butter and sugar. And even though it seems like a simple ingredient, the amount of butter makes a huge difference and is what distinguishes a toffee from a brittle. There is more butter in toffee, which is what gives it its more pliable texture when compared to brittle.

The mixture is slowly cooked together until a hard crack temperature is reached, at 290°F. The ingredients are simple but the results can vary, depending on the execution.

Over the years, I’ve had lots of problems with toffee. The process is easy – how hard could a combination of butter and sugar that’s heated to a hard crack stage really be? But on the way to this temperature, I’ve often had the mixture separate. Soon after the butter and sugar would start to boil, the butter would separate from the sugar and the result would be an oily mess. No thank you!

Top down view of silver baking pan filled with broken pieces of toffee covered with chocolate and nuts with pan of chopped nuts sitting on wood surface

For years this perplexed me! Sometimes it would work and other times it wouldn’t. After trial and error, I’ve discovered there are a few things that lead to toffee failure:

  • One of the major culprits can be abrupt temperature changes. A constant, even heating environment leads to the best results.
  • The use of a thin saucepan as opposed to a heavy-bottom variety. Thin pans do not heat evenly and do not cook the toffee well. I know it can seem trivial to read a recipe that urges the use of a heavy-bottom saucepan, but in the case of toffee, it’s very important.
Top down view of English toffee sitting on top of other pieces of toffee all in a silver baking pan

After years of trying different tricks, the best thing I’ve learned is to add corn syrup. A little corn syrup doesn’t add moisture but does help stabilize the mixture. It helps the mixture heat up evenly and cook properly. Now, every time I make English toffee, it comes out perfect as long as I follow these three steps:

  • use a heavy bottom saucepan
  • heat it up slowly
  • add a little corn syrup
Hand holding piece of toffee topped with chocolate and nuts with extra toffee in background with greenery as well

Watch how to make this English toffee:

Top down view of broken pieces of English toffee piled on top of each other and sprinkled with chocolate and nuts

English Toffee

4.32 from 44 votes
This English toffee recipe is a rich, buttery treat that's the perfect amount of crispness. Sprinkled with chocolate and chopped pecans, it's a delicious holiday dessert!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 30 mins
Servings 120 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 6 oz dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Butter a 9×13 baking sheet pan. Set aside.
  • Have an instant-read thermometer ready or fit saucepan with a candy thermometer.
  • In a heavy-bottom four-quart saucepan, combine butter, sugar, and corn syrup. Over low heat, bring to a boil, stirring slowly. Continue to boil until the mixture reached 290°F. It will be a light amber color and smell like caramel and butterscotch.
  • Remove from heat, add in the vanilla, and pour into the prepared baking sheet pan. Let cool for one minute and sprinkle with ¼ cup chopped nuts over the entire mixture. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let sit until melted, about two minutes. Spread the chocolate evenly with an offset spatula. Sprinkle with remaining chopped nuts. Let cool completely, about four hours.
  • Once cooled completely, break into desired pieces. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to one month. If in a warm climate, store in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 21kcalCarbohydrates: 1.9gProtein: 0gFat: 1.5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.4gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 4.1mgSodium: 10.1mgPotassium: 0.5mgFiber: 0gSugar: 1.9gVitamin A: 12.9IUVitamin C: 0mgCalcium: 0.5mgIron: 0mg
Course Candy
Cuisine American
Difficulty Easy
Method Cooking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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52 Comments

  1. What brand name is your baking pan. I’ve made this for years…..never knew about the corn syrup!!
    Thank you for that😍

  2. Thank you for the toffee recipe hope you have a great holiday loved the rolls you did with your mom that was very special I do not have mine any more she has passed and that brought back memories and remember moms are always right

  3. Going to try this. I have not had much luck w/
    English Toffee before but maybe the Corn Syrup is the trick.
    I enjoy your videos and love your Farmhouse.

  4. Will be making this for Christmas!! Looks real easy and good! Like your recipes. First time watching you and I like you. Keep putting recipe on face book. Thank you!!

  5. Love toffee! 💗 Will be making this for Christmas to share along with homemade nut roll, spritz cookies and snowballs.

  6. 5 stars
    I watched your video which was very good. The toffee looks yummy! The only question I have is the instructions say unsalted butter but you say in the video to use salted butter so which one is it?

  7. Thank you for sharing Your how to make toffee. I am slow to decorating for Christmas but I will plan on making toffee soon. Btw: love your farmhouse🌲Kathleen

  8. Hello. In your video you say to use dark chocolate chips, but in the written recipe , it says to use semi sweet. Could you please clarify and also if you could recommend if possible the brand you prefer I would really appreciate it.

  9. Hello. In your video you say you use salted butter, but in the written recipe it says to use unsalted butter. Can you please clarify which to use? Thank you.

    1. Sorry about the typo, the recipe is updated correctly! I write recipes that can be used for both salted or unsalted butter. If you chose to use unsalted then add salt to the recipe if you use salted omit any salt!

  10. I’m making this today. It looks so easy and will make a great Christmas treat for friends! I absolutely love your videos and the way you present them. Love your farm, too. You have simplified life’s pleasures at a time when things are so crazy. Your recipes are wonderful and so are all of the other things you show us how to do – think Christmas wreath! You are my “go to” web site now, and I’m telling everyone I know about you. Move over Martha Stewart! You have competition!

  11. I made this the other day…I’ve tried making it before and it was a disaster, but this was so easy. I purchased an instant read thermometer—-don’t know how I’ve managed so long without one. Delicious!!!

  12. I really want to make this delicious looking toffee this weekend. However, my children are both allergic to nuts. I was thinking perhaps I could substitute pretzels? In that case I would use unsalted butter. What do you think?

  13. Just made this toffee today! It’s still cooling so I haven’t tried it yet, but I cannot wait to try it! Thank you! I love your videos. Merry Christmas!🎄🎄🎄

  14. 5 stars
    I must say for first try at making homemade candy it came out pretty good. Very easy recipe all went just has your video lesson showed, my only problem was getting temp up to 290 it took longer then 20mins so not sure what I did wrong. I will definitely make again practice makes perfect. Really enjoying your recipes you make sure to explain clearly and all the extra tips make for successful results! Thank you for all you do I’m a big fan, watched your Rachel Ray demonstration, you are a natural! Keep up all you do I expect to see you with a cookbook and your own spot on food network someday ❤️

    1. I’ve tried making toffee this Xmas and this will be my 5th attempt but this time using this recipe. Each time it’s gotten better but I seem to have the same problem that you have with it taking more than 20 min for it to reach 290 degrees. It will stay at 250 for awhile so I raise the heat thinking that’s what I’m supposed to do to do to get it to 290 because if I don’t it will take longer and I’m worried the toffee will be too hard

  15. Where can I get an instant read thermometer like the one you use. Can’t wait to try this candy recipe. Love your videos.

  16. I just made this and had some difficulty but it still turned out great. The butter separated from the sugar before it came to a boil and it took almost 2 hours for it reached 290 degrees. I was able to mix the butter into sugar to save the recipe. For future attempts, how often should this be stirred? Should it be stirred continuously until butter/sugar/corn syrup are thoroughly combined? Should it be stirred periodically until it reaches the desired temperature? Any hints you have are greatly appreciated! I enjoy your videos and your spirit!

  17. I made your English Toffee today after watching the video a few times and I must say that my husband and I think this is the best toffee ever. Going to do the peanut brittle tomorrow and then the sponges, That one is my favorite, Thank you for the reicpes

  18. In your recipe details it says 290 but above that in your story it says 310. I followed the instructions for 2 batches at 290
    Both batches are soft 😩

  19. 5 stars
    This recipe was FABULOUS! I couldn’t stop eating it. I had to because I didn’t want to break a tooth! Love your videos! You always make me laugh & smile! Thank you and keep making more!!❤️

  20. I made English toffee today, but as soon as I poured it into the prepared cookie sheet the butter separated. It did harden, but it’s too thin and messy. I used an All Clad saucepan, but I have a glass electric stove, so after waiting for it to boil on low for more than 40 min, I raised the temp to med. Could that be the problem? Also, I used dark Karo syrup instead of light.
    All your other recipes always turn out great. Help!

  21. 5 stars
    Do you think tjis will work with plant based butter?? And what brand are your chocolate chips the don’t look like the average store brand. But yet smaller than the baking melts. I can’t have it but figured I’d start making some of your candies for my new neighbors

  22. My friend told me about you and I’m so happy to now be following you. I will be making this toffee today with my daughter. My mom was a fabulous cook/baker. She passed when my daughter was 4months old. When I bake, I know my mom is with me. She would be proud. Thank you for sharing your love for your mom, grandma, your farm and of course cooking and baking♥️

    Merry Christmas!
    Pamela

  23. Everything was going well….until it wasn’t! Cooked on low for over an hour. We have same stove and pan Stirred entire time It took well over an hour to come to temp. Started to separate mid way through but I persevered! Needless to say it didn’t work, and just got worse . I will try again. Good thing I didn’t waste my nuts and chocolate on it. I’ve moved on to nuts! 🤞🏻

    1. Tried it again today and SUCCESS! I rewatched the video and I think I was stirring too much. I let it sit a bit longer

  24. The chocolate chips did not melt! So, I’ll try to melt the chips separately, then pour it over the cooled toffee and nuts that are still sitting in the pan, and hope for the best!

  25. 5 stars
    Excellent and easy recipe. It is amazing how fast this candy comes together.
    I have made 4 batches of this toffee this season. I printed out the recipe as I will be making this every year! Family loved it! Thanks Kaleb and Merry Christmas!

  26. 5 stars
    Made This and It’s Perfection!!….so quick & easy…Thank You so Much for Sharing & Teaching Us. This is goint to be a traditional add to My Winter Treats for the family….{{hugs}}

  27. First try and the butter separated. Followed all directions so maybe it was just a little too hot? Anyway still tastes great. I will try again

  28. Made this for first time and turned out great!!! Now requests coming in for another batch. I love following you on facebook.

  29. Watching your “How to Freeze Corn” video inspired me. I went right out to our local farmers market and got busy. Today, I watched the “Pepper Relish” video. Trust me when I say. I will be making relish tomorrow.

  30. The toffee was amazing. I tried the Carmel recipe. I did not know at the time that high altitude (6,700 ft) that you need to lower the temperature as it will be hard not soft. My number 1 question on both recipes IS:
    Is the butter at room temperature before you put it in the pan ( both recipes) or right from the fridge. Thank you for answering my question.

  31. 5 stars
    This has become my favorite English Toffee.
    Have made it three times this year and will be making again in October to take to my family when I visit.

  32. Hi Kaleb! Love your videos. And the English Toffee one was especially helpful. I just finished making a holiday test batch & it turned out perfect! After reviewing other recipes I decided on yours & will look no further. It was a little stressful preventing it from separating but it worked out. I did line my pan with non stick foil vs butter. I should have stock in that company. Use it often. And I gently melted a combo of chocolate chips in the microwave, using half semi sweet & half milk chocolate vs sprinkling. Thanks so much for your videos, great recipes & tips, and the entertainment. I look forward to more.