It’s light, it’s crunchy, it’s buttery, it’s covered in chocolate nuts. What more could you ask for from a simple English Toffee recipe?
What is English Toffee?
English Toffee is often called butter toffee. The Americanized version is made of equal parts butter and sugar.
If you’ve ever eaten a Heath candy bar you’ve already had toffee. There’s a distinct crunch to the toffee part that comes as a result of the two (and only two) ingredients in the toffee layer–butter and sugar. Yep, that’s it. Just two ingredients.
It’s what’s on top that sets this toffee recipe apart from, say, a brittle. This toffee has a luscious chocolate coating on top, and the Americanized version also has finely chopped nuts. (I suspect the British would be appalled by the nuts.)
English Toffee. . .or Buttercrunch?
If I’m being completely honest, this recipe should be called Buttercrunch since the flavor comes from butter and granulated sugar. (Yum!)
True English Toffee depends on pure cane sugar or even brown sugar for flavor. Some versions of it call for Molasses.
Both versions–English and American–call for a chocolate layer on top. As I mentioned above, the British would forego the nuts. (We Americans love pecans, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and so on.)
The History of Classic English Toffee
When did toffee first become popular? Good question!
This candy dates back to the early 19th century. The word “toffee” first appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1825. To put this in perspective, most candies go back further in time.
Even though toffee is a newer candy, it has certainly left its mark. That distinct crunch, the buttery flavor, that layer of chocolate on top. . .it’s divine!
Stovetop English Toffee Ingredients:
You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. These are simple ingredients you likely have on hand.
- salted butter
- (granulated) white sugar
- milk chocolate chips
- finely chopped nuts (pecans, almonds, or other)
- pinch salt (if you opt for unsalted butter)
You will need to have a heavy saucepan for this recipe.
How to Make English Toffee
This one is so very easy! Start by preparing a baking dish with parchment paper. You’ll want to make sure the edges of the paper come up the sides.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and stir well.
Bring to a boil and lower heat. Place candy thermometer into the pan.
Allow it to cook stirring only a couple of times until candy thermometer reaches 285 degrees. (Soft-crack stage.) Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir.
The cooking process is easy as long as you get the temperature right. (Too high and it will burn. Too low and the temperature won’t rise.) For sure, you don’t want to let it get to the hard crack stage!
Remove from heat and pour sugar syrup into prepared pan. (It’s similar to the color of peanut brittle!) Make sure you pour in an even layer.
Allow to rest for a few minutes until toffee is set but still warm.
Cover with chocolate chips. As they melt, smooth them down to cover the toffee.
Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Make sure they’re settled into the chocolate so they don’t fall off when you eventually break the toffee into pieces.
This is a great time to place the toffee in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes for the chocolate to set up.
As soon as this crunchy English toffee has cooled, lift the paper from the pan.
break it apart into pieces. You want to make sure the chocolate is completely firm before attempting this.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
What to Expect from this Delicious Treat
I am so in love with Buttercrunch, y’all. It’s a delightful homemade candy. It’s sticky on the teeth and you’ll need to use your toothbrush when you’re done eating, but it’s so worth it.
First of all. . .that crunch! It’s not like my peanut brittle. It’s more tender. But the sticky quality makes the crunch even more fun. It’s a rich buttery toffee and you taste the butter. . .for sure!
Then there’s the layer of chocolate. If you’re a fan of sweets like my Homemade Turtles or my Twix cookies you’re going to love this flavor profile. The toffee is similar to toffee in taste and the chocolate coating is lovely.
Of course, I love those nuts of top. I think I’ve already establish in a zillion other recipes that I’m crazy about most every kind of nut.
All in all, this is a delicious sweet treat!
Variations on this Delicious Toffee Recipe
This recipe is great but I’m always looking for ways to mix things up! Here are a few of my best suggestions for this toffee recipe. (These are great options!)
- You can use any kind of chocolate on top that you like: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, semi-sweet, espresso, and so on. You can also go way out of the box and use something like cinnamon chips or butterscotch chips instead of chocolate. (Yum!)
- Other nuts are great! Almond butter crunch is divine!
- Want to go even farther out of the box? Why not! Add some toasted coconut to the top of the melted chocolate along with the nuts. Delicious! This is especially fun if you choose chopped almonds or macadamia nuts.
- You can give this crunchy toffee a holiday feel by adding red, green, and white sprinkles in place of the nuts. Talk about festive!
- Speaking of the holidays, why not use mint chocolate chips on top of the toffee? That might be a fun twist!
- Not in the mood to cook your toffee? If you saw my peanut brittle recipe you’ll notice that I have a chocolate covered brittle that calls for pecans instead of peanuts. It’s delicious and is made in the microwave. It’s much like this toffee recipe but a lot easier to make. The texture is a bit more brittle-like, but that’s not a bad thing.
Questions People are Asking about English Toffee
Is English toffee the same thing as butterscotch?
Sort of. Only English toffee is cooked longer.
What’s the difference between English toffee and regular toffee?
English toffee has butter, which gives it that rich, buttery flavor.
Why isn’t my toffee hardening properly?
Because you didn’t cook it long enough. It has to fully reach the soft crack stage.
Other Candies from Out of the Box Baking
We’ve got a lot of sweet candies to offer. Here are a few favorites:
Easy Homemade Turtles: If you love the combination of caramel, chocolate, and pecans, have I got an easy treat for you! These classic Turtles are a no-bake recipe. In fact, they’re easy that the kids can help you!
Soft Christmas Peppermint (Old-Fashioned Butter Mints): In this post I’m going to show you how to make luscious soft Christmas peppermints, also known as Butter Mints. They’re perfect for Christmas or any time of year.
Easy Peanut Butter Snowballs: If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas candy, one rich with flavor, you’re going to love these delicious snowballs!
Check out this White Chocolate Candy Corn recipe from Back to my Southern Roots. It looks delightful!
That’s it for this post, y’all! Thanks for stopping by!
See this recipe at
About the Author
Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.
- 1 cup salted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1 cup finely chopped nuts (pecans, almonds, or other)
- pinch salt (if you opt for unsalted butter)
- Start by preparing a baking dish with parchment paper. You'll want to make sure the edges of the paper come up the sides.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and stir well.
- Bring to a boil and lower heat. Place candy thermometer into the pan.
- Allow it to cook stirring only a couple of times until candy thermometer reaches 285 degrees.
- Remove from heat and pour into prepared pan.
- Allow to rest for a few minutes until toffee is set but still warm.
- Cover with chocolate chips. As they melt, smooth them down to cover the toffee.
- Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Make sure they're settled into the chocolate so they don't fall off when you eventually break the toffee into pieces.
- This is a great time to place the toffee in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes for the chocolate to set up.
- As soon as toffee has cooled, break it apart into pieces. You want to make sure the chocolate is completely firm before attempting this.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature.