Making homemade toffee can be harder than it looks. I’ll show you every toffee fail you can possibly have and how to fix them all. Then, I’ll share my homemade toffee recipe for chocolate-covered toffee with pistachios.

This post is for you for all the times you made toffee from scratch and failed. I tried to make homemade toffee, and I messed up everything possible.

It took three tries…two of which ended up in the trash. I am sharing everything I learned, and a video that shows some of my “bloopers” and tough lessons. If you love chocolate desserts as much as I do, you will want to check out my best gluten free chocolate desserts.

How to Make Homemade Toffee:

Today, we are going to talk about homemade toffee. I love the stuff but had never thought to make it from scratch. I wanted to give it a try, and I found a great toffee recipe here. The recipe by FunkySeaMonkey looked easy enough.

I was naive to think this pistachio toffee candy would be easy to make…I could almost taste the buttery crunch of the toffee! I had great plans to use this toffee as a topping for a dessert I created…not to mention my kids wanted to make teacher gifts with it.

A pot of cooking toffee where the butter separated out. It looks oily.

FAIL #1:

Butter separating out

Here was my first attempt at making this homemade toffee recipe. I had two cups of sugar and two cups of butter. I didn’t realize how important temperature could be. See that buttery oil slick on top of my toffee?

My first batch of toffee started great…I had a pot of boiling toffee. It was browning beautifully. Then, butter happened.

Spreading toffee out on parchment paper after the butter separated out.

The butter separated from the toffee, leaving a big oil slick-looking goo.

You can see it when I dumped the toffee onto the parchment paper. Nothing is more frustrating than when the butter separates from the sugar in cooking toffee!

Common toffee making mistakes:

Here are the mistakes I made on the first batch of homemade toffee:

  • I started with way too high of a heat. (At least, I think this was an issue.) I set my portable cooktop at 260 degrees F.
  • I stirred too quickly. I didn’t realize this could be an issue.
  • I didn’t add a dash of salt. They say you can save a ruined batch of toffee by adding a dash of salt. It didn’t work for me with this batch, but I added a little salt in my second attempt.

To combat these issues, I tossed this batch of greasy, buttery toffee into the trash and started again.

Second attempt at making toffee:

The butter and sugar melting in a sauce pan.

This time, I started with a lower heat starting temperature on my cooking surface. I gradually melted the sugar and butter and heated up my toffee.

A whisk drizzling some hot toffee back into a sauce pan.

Things are thickening up nicely, and the butter is still behaving!

Toffee Making Tips:

I used the whisk, mixing slowly. I think this allowed the sugar to blend into the butter as the toffee mixture heated up.

Cooking toffee in a sauce pan to a golden color.

What color does toffee become when cooking?

The homemade toffee is ready. See the beautiful golden brown color? And the butter stayed mixed in with the sugar. (YAY!)

How to prevent toffee from separating:

  • To prevent separation this time, I gradually used a whisk to mix the toffee ingredients. (I tried not to stir too often, but when I did, I used the whisk.)
  • I slowly cooked my toffee mixture to the perfect 300º F. I started my cooktop at 160º F and gradually increased the temperature to 212º F.
  • My toffee browned beautifully, and I poured it onto the pan.

So far, everything was perfect. The butter didn’t separate, and the toffee looked creamy and delicious—time to add the melted chocolate and pistachios.

Warm pistachio covered chocolate toffee being lifted slightly so you can see the underside.

The chocolate spread perfectly onto the chocolate. You can see how quickly the pistachio toffee hardens. See the underside? I put the tray in the freezer to cool for a few minutes.

Breaking homemade toffee into pieces.

I removed the tray and broke apart the toffee.

And here we have FAIL #2.

The chocolate didn’t stick to the toffee. So now I had a thin chocolate layer broken into bits and a separate toffee layer all broken into bits. Ugh, this is not looking good for chocolate-covered toffee!

I went to Google again to see what could have caused the chocolate not to stick to the toffee.

Why chocolate didn’t stick to toffee:

  • This likely happened because the toffee started to cool before I added the melted chocolate.
  • Some recommend putting the chocolate bits on top of the toffee and letting the heat melt the chocolate.
  • Another recommendation was to dust cocoa powder on top of the toffee just before adding the melted chocolate.

By this point, I was a little over all of my failures!

I did what any person tired of tossing food into the trash would do. I microwaved the chocolate back on! (I didn’t have the heart to toss another batch of pistachio toffee in the trash!)

Homemade toffee with chocolate and pistachios. A hand is holding up a piece.

Here is a video I put together to show you my whole process for making this homemade toffee recipe. I didn’t include the video of the buttery disaster of the first batch, but you can see that in the pictures above!

More easy homemade candy recipes to try:


  1. An easy to read candy thermometer.
  2. A strong whisk to ensure the mixture blends well.
homemade toffee with chocolate and pistachios

Homemade Chocolate Pistachio Toffee

Sandi Gaertner
A homemade toffee recipe with pistachios
Love this recipe?Give it a star rating!
5 from 23 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Gluten Free Candy Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 24
Calories 250 kcal

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 16 ounces dark chocolate
  • ½ cup roasted pistachios
  • dash salt


  • Add sugar, butter, salt, and vanilla to a pot.
  • Cook on medium-low heat until blended. Use a whisk to blend slowly.
  • Gradually increase the heat and let the mixture boil. It should thicken and darken to a golden color.
  • Continue to whisk to blend every few minutes. Mix slowly.
  • Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe dish.
  • When your toffee is a dark golden color and registers 300 F degrees with a candy thermometer, remove and pour onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  • Spread thinly over the parchment paper. Quickly dust lightly with cocoa powder and then quickly add the melted chocolate.
  • Use a spatula to spread the melted chocolate over the toffee. Add pistachios.
  • Refrigerate to cool. When the mixture is hardened, break apart then store the toffee in a container.



Please see the important tips I learned from my fails. I write them up quite a bit in my blog post.


Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.


Serving: 1gCalories: 250kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 2gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 83mgFiber: 2gSugar: 26g
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @FearlessDining or tag #FearlessDining!

Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

Your go-to haven for gluten-free living, where I share hundreds of delicious, family-friendly recipes, helpful gluten-free resources, and allergen-friendly options for everyone!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Instead of throwing out a failed toffee. it can be re-melted slowly with water, milk or similar to make ice cream or pancake syrup, or dissolve and add to cake batter, taking into consideration the quantity of sugar and butter.

  2. If you used chocolate chips, that’s the reason the chocolate didn’t stick. Since chocolate chips are mainly used in chocolate chip cookies, they are also meant to hold their shape and they have ingredients in them to stop them from melting and spreading out. You need to use a melting chocolate with out any waxes or vegetable oils, or a high quality dipping chocolate to stop your chocolate layer from separating from your toffee. Also, it can take up to 10 minutes for your sugar to dissolve. Once it’s been completely dissolved then you can turn the heat up.

  3. Hey! What a great recipe, thanks for sharing it! The batch of toffee I just made turned out beautiful, but a little to hard. Any suggestions? Thanks so much!!!

  4. I made toffee just recently for the 1st time. It tastes good, but the toffee did not harden. I got it to temp the chocolate spread great but I don’t know what I did.

  5. I made several batches of toffee for Christmas but two of the batches were flops. One batch the butter separated and the second was too soft. The problem is, while they were cooling, I spread the batches with chocolate and almonds. Do I need to scrape the chocolate and almonds off to try and re-heat and salvage? Can they be salvaged or should I just discard the batches? Thank you for your help.

    1. Hi Vickie, I don’t think you can salvage when the butter separates. I couldn’t on mine and ended up tossing them. The one that was too soft may have been if your toffee didn’t heat enough when cooking. Toffee can be really frustrating, but once you get it, you can make it much easier the next time. Good luck.

  6. 5 stars
    Hi this looks amazing!
    I’m trying to bake this with dark chocolate but I can’t get the chocolate to temper properly and stick to the base. If I temper the chocolate properly and add to a cooled base it breaks off. If I melt the chocolate on a warm base so it sticks, I get tempering spots and streaks of bloom. Any suggestions?
    Thank you

    1. I had this happen a few times when I was first trying to make this recipe. Did you read fail #2 about midway down in the post? These are the main reasons that can happen, and I mention dusting with cocoa powder to help it adhere. I hope this helps Michelle. Please keep me posted.

      1. Hi Sandi,
        I did see that, thank you. At what point do you add the powder ? I tried it the other day and got bloom in my dark chocolate. Also, what do you use to sprinkle it on? I tried a teaspoon and it didn’t work very well.

  7. I have made toffee many times and have had a few disasters, but usually comes out delicious. Today I got side-tracked and the temp went way above 300. Is my toffee ruined? It handled ok and no separation but it was darker than usual.

  8. I have made toffee before and turned out well. However, this time I had a total fail. The toffee was very grainy and sugar not smooth and hard crack.. Do you think humidity could play a part? Any suggestions would be appreciated.Thanks.

    1. Hi Becky, Toffee can be so frustrating to make. I am not sure if humidity, or using too high a heat, in the beginning, could cause it to be grainy the way you described.

  9. 5 stars
    Thanks for all of the helpful hints! Good to know I can be successful making toffee – this will be a great hostess gift!!

  10. Sandi…I love everything about this post! Way to rock the mistakes and ROCK OUT the great info! You GO girl…can’t wait to make toffee and do it the right way 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  11. 5 stars
    This toffee recipe looks so delicious! It’s okay to fail at recipe development because it is a huge lesson and you’ll never do that again! I love that you pointed out your fails, because blogging isn’t perfect! I can’t wait to make your toffee and now I’ve learned from your mistakes!!

  12. 5 stars
    This is the only time of year that I eat toffee, but I. Red to try making it myself. I love the idea of pistachios on top.

  13. 5 stars
    I absolutely LOVE the idea of how to not cook something, an incredibly helpful post. Toffee looks incredibly delicious too! Thanks for sharing 🙂