Homemade English Toffee Recipe

English Toffee is a classic holiday candy that’s buttery, nutty, and rich thanks to a combination of almonds, walnuts, and milk chocolate. Make it in a brownie bite pan to get the cutest toffee bites—perfect for gifting!

I love making candy every holiday to give as gifts and serve to guests. If you’re new to candy, start with our easy rocky road fudgehomemade turtles, and peanut butter cups.

Stack of three pieces english toffee.


Why You’ll Love This English Toffee Recipe

Thanks to one of my besties RHONDA (hey girl!), who shared this awesome English toffee recipe with me years ago. It became a tradition for us to have a holiday candy-making day with our oldest daughters, Natasha (on the left) and my daughter Alyssa (on right).

We usually gave the girls the job of rolling Peanut Butter Buckeyes and wrapping homemade caramels…you know, the “chores”!

Here’s what makes this English toffee one of my favorites:

  • English toffee is typically made in an 11×7 pan, but a few years ago I found a silicone brownie bite pan and it’s all I use now. No more slicing toffee, just pop the toffee bites out and you’re good to go—easy, neat, perfectly portioned pieces!
  • If you like Heath Bars, this homemade English toffee is like that, but so much better than store-bought. It’s rich, buttery, and much more nutty.
  • Not everyone is a baker! If you struggle to get your Christmas cookies looking just right, switch to candy—it’s a lot easier to make, with fewer details to manage. No more struggling with icing or cookie cutters!

Important Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make english toffee.
  • Unsalted butter – There are three dominant flavors in English toffee: butter, nuts, and chocolate. Spring for a good butter!
  • Margarine – You may say, “CAN I USE ALL BUTTER?” The answer is yes. However, I find I get reliable results, with no separation of butter and sugar, when I use half margarine. The flavor is still amazing!
  • Kosher salt – Salt is important for adding balance to this recipe. If you’d like, you can also sprinkle flaky sea salt on top of the melted chocolate.
  • Vanilla extract – Aside from the butter, toffee is also vanilla flavored. Use a high-quality pure vanilla, not imitation. Our homemade vanilla would be perfect.
  • Milk chocolate – Again, high-quality is important here!
  • Nuts – You’ll need both unblanched whole almonds and finely ground walnuts.

How to Make Homemade English Toffee

Step by step photos showing how to make english toffee.

Prep the Almonds: On a foil lined baking dish or in a silicone brownie bite pan, arrange the almonds in a single layer.

Make the Toffee Mixture:

  • In a heavy pan, combine the butter, margarine, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Cook over medium-high heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the butter melts. Bring mixture to a rolling boil.
  • Continue boiling and stirring for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the candy turns the color of almonds (or reaches about 300 degrees, if you have a candy thermometer). 
  • Pour the toffee mixture over the almonds. (If you’re using the brownie bite pan, I use a small metal scoop to get toffee into each bite, working quickly!)
  • Cool completely.

Finish: Spread the melted chocolate over top of the cooled toffee, then sprinkle with the ground walnuts. Once the chocolate sets, remove from the brownie pan or cut the English toffee into pieces.

Step by step photos showing how to make english toffee bites.

Recipe FAQs

Why does my butter separate when making toffee?

Using thin lined saucepans can cause butter to separate. A heavy bottomed saucepan can manage the heat better. The second reason may be from heating the butter and margarine too quickly. Keep the pan over medium to medium-high heat. Don’t crank the heat up for the sake of bringing it to a boil faster.

Can I use all butter in toffee?

The reason I like to use half butter and half margarine when I make English Toffee is that I find I get more reliable results, without any separation of the butter and sugar. The flavor is still amazing! You can use all butter if you prefer.

Why does my chocolate fall off the toffee when I cut it?

This is most likely due to excess butter on the toffee surface. Before adding your chocolate, be sure to wipe the top of your toffee with a dry paper towel to absorb any excess butter.
If it still feels a little “greasy”, sprinkle a small amount of cocoa powder or crushed nuts to the top before adding your chocolate. This should help!

Individual bites of english toffee.

More Holiday treats

Holiday Candy Recipes

See all Candy recipes

English Toffee

4.66 from 70 votes
By: Aimee
English Toffee is a classic holiday candy: buttery candy poured over almonds, topped with milk chocolate and walnuts. Make it in a brownie bite pan to get the cutest toffee bites – perfect for gifting!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 24 bites

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup margarine
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounce milk chocolate melted
  • 1 cup unblanched whole almonds
  • 1 cup finely ground walnuts

Instructions 

  • On a foil lined baking dish (11×7)- or in a silicone brownie bite pan (with 24 bites)- arrange almonds in a single layer. Set aside.
  • In a heavy pan, combine butter, margarine, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Cook over medium-high heat with a wooden spoon until butter melts, stirring constantly. (REALLY STIRRING CONSTANTLY)! Bring mixture to a rolling boil.
  • Continue boiling (AND STIRRING) an additional 5-7 minutes until candy turns the color of almonds (about 300 degrees). Pour over almonds. If using the brownie bite pan, I use a small metal scoop to get toffee into each bite, working quickly!
  • Cool completely.
  • When candy is cooled and set (about 2 hours), spread chocolate over top of toffee. Sprinkle generously with ground walnuts. If doing both sides, use only half of the chocolate and walnuts. Allow top to set before flipping over and doing bottom. When set, pop out of silicone pan and store in a airtight containers. OR cut into pieces. ENJOY!

Notes

  • Tip- when I say stirring, I’m talking taking that wooding spoon and whipping it! haha!! I have an electric stovetop and turn my heat on 7…and it remains on 7 through the entire boiling process.
  • If you choose to scoop into brownie bite pan vs. pouring into a baking pan, your butter might separate a little bit by the time you get to the 20th scoop! Don’t worry about it. I use my scooper to slightly stir as I take a scoop of toffee.
  • Many will ask WHY DOES MY BUTTER SEPARATE? This can be from using cheaper, thinner lined saucepans. It could be from heating the butter and margarine too quickly.
  • You may say, “CAN I USE ALL BUTTER?” The answer is yes. However, I find I get reliable results, with no separation of butter and sugar, when I use half margarine. The flavor is still amazing!
  • If you’d like, you can add the chocolate and walnuts to both sides of the toffee. To do it this way, use only half of the chocolate and walnuts for the first side. Allow the top to set before flipping over and doing bottom.
  • Oh, and breaking English toffee into pieces will leave you some shards on your cutting board. SAVE THESE. They are delicious on vanilla ice cream.
  • See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece, Calories: 239kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 54mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 16g
Course: Candy
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!


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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

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Posted on December 12, 2023

Comments & Reviews

  1. Should this toffee be hard? I’m not sure if I boiled it long enough. It’s harder but it’s not super crunchy

  2. Since I started using cold butter my toffee never separates. Maybe I am just better after making it for so long if it does separate it still tastes good on ice ream. I also use a thermometer adjusted to my 5000 ft elevation 280 degrees. I also pour the vanilla in at the very end. Your ingredients are exactly the same as mine except I used pecans.
    Love the idea of molds.
    Toffee is the most requested of the holiday treats I make and I make a lot.

  3. These are amazing. Thank you so much for posting this! I have actually been holding onto this recipe since last year. I did follow the recipe exactly, and they turned out perfect. A couple of notes I will add:
    1. I used a 6.5 quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven
    2. Using the ratio to make them look as pictured, this actually made about 50 (pleasant surprise!)
    3. I tried putting them in the mold BOTH using a cookie scoop and using a batter dispenser – definitely recommend the batter dispenser, this made it go super fast!
    4. I used a brownie bite silicone mold with 40 holes, definitely would recommend!!

  4. I’ve been making toffee for over 45 years… and not just plain…pina colada, peanut butter and espressoso are some…so here are some tips. Butter should be at room temp and stirring while cooking should be consistent. If you add chocolate while toffee is hot enough you won’t have separating. And never use margarine as the chemicals can effect the separating and flavor. Real candy makers don’t use articial anything! Use salted butter and eliminate added salt step. And in addition you don’t need a thermometer… when toffee starts boiling and steam comes out of bubbles, it’s done! You can keep cooking if you want a darker color.

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