Caramel Pecan Turtle Candy

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Homemade Turtle Candy . . . these decadent little clusters beat any caramel turtles you can buy at the store!

Homemade Turtle Candy is easier than you think! Everyone loves these caramel pecan turtles!

Turtles have always been one of my favorite candies. The crunchy pecans, the chewy caramel, the melt in your mouth chocolate. Simply incredible. I don’t know why I never thought to make a homemade version before now.

Chewy homemade caramel makes these the best turtle candies ever!

Guys, this homemade turtle candy is amazing. Way better than any store bought turtles I’ve ever tried!

Homemade turtle candy - these caramel pecan clusters are irresistible!

Don’t be intimidated about the candy making process, these turtles are really quite simple to make. You start by toasting your pecans. Toasting makes a huge difference in the flavor of the finished product, so don’t skip this step. Just place your pecans on a cookie sheet and bake at 350° for about 10 minutes. They will smell amazing!

Toasted pecans for turtle candies

Arrange the pecans in clusters of 3-4 on baking sheets lined with silicone baking mats. If you don’t have them, you can use waxed or parchment paper sprayed with non-stick spray.

how to make turtle candy

As soon as your caramel is ready, immediately spoon the hot caramel on top of the clusters, making sure each pecan is covered with some caramel. Don’t worry about perfection, just work fast. If the caramel starts to set up, you can pop it back on the stove for a minute or two.

homemade caramel pecan turtles

You can wait for the caramel to set up, or just add the chocolate now. Just melt the chocolate and oil in a small glass bowl in the microwave at half power, stirring often. Then spoon a small amount of chocolate on top of each turtle. Use the back of your spoon to make a little swirl in the chocolate as you lift it.

chocolate covered caramel pecan clusters

The hardest part is waiting for the chocolate to set up. Be patient, it can take awhile. Mine weren’t totally set up for a couple of hours. Of course, you don’t have to wait that long to eat one! 🙂

Chocolate caramel pecan turtles

You can tell they are set up when the chocolate loses its shiny luster.

Caramel Pecan Turtle Candy - chewy, crunchy, and melt in your mouth deliciousness in every bite!

Now you can go ahead and dive right in. Mmmmm.

Recipe for the best caramel pecan turtle candy ever! So easy and so yummy!

Turtle Candy:

Yield: 3-4 dozen clusters

Turtle Candy

Turtle Candy
Homemade Turtles Candy recipe - Baked pecans covered in a delicious homemade caramel and topped with with melted chocolate! These treats make perfect neighbor gifts for the holidays!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 3 cups whole pecans
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk (half of a 14oz can)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 tsp vegetable oil or shortening


  1. Place pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for about 10 minutes or till lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool. Arrange in clusters of 3-4 on silicone liners or parchment paper.
  2. Combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a 6 quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.
  3. Continue cooking and stirring till mixture reaches 235-240 degrees. I like to use the ice water test, it's more accurate. Drop a small spoonful of the hot caramel into a bowl of ice water. When you take it out, you should be able to roll it into a ball. Then it's done.
  4. Quickly spoon the caramel over the pecan clusters, making sure caramel is touching each of the pecans. Let sit to harden.
  5. Melt the chocolate chips and oil in the microwave at half power, stirring often till smooth. Spoon chocolate on top of each layer of caramel. Let sit for 1-2 hours, or till hardened.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 187 Total Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 11mg Sodium: 45mg Carbohydrates: 21g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 19g Protein: 2g

-Recipe inspired by Jamie Cooks It Up!

For more treats perfect for the holidays, check these out:

Chocolate Chip Pecan Caramels
Caramel Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate Caramel Truffles- 4 ingredients, so good!
Easy Oreo Mint Chocolate Candies
Recipe for Oreo Mint Chocolate Candies. A simple and delicious Christmas candy recipe.


Chocolate Caramel Pecan Turtles - Baked pecans covered in a delicious homemade caramel and topped with with melted chocolate! These treats make perfect neighbor gifts for the holidays!


  1. Eileene Keating says:

    I made these last night! I used the mini muffin forms, with pam spray. They demolded very well, and fit perfectly, for gifting, in the mini muffin papers. I wish I could attach pictures I took, but can’t do it here. This was great…and as usual, taste great also.

  2. Hi Kara!

    This recipe is THE BOMB in my house. My daughter was quite livid with me when I made a batch to take to work for a cookie exchange. Thanks for the great recipe but not so much for the family strife! 😀

    Question, your recipe says to immediately spoon the caramel over the pecans. My caramel always seem a bit too wet if I were to do it immediately. I do let it sit a bit then spoon but it still spreads more than I expect. Any tips I should know to make this part go better? I follow the ice water and temp method but it always seems to wet to spoon right away. It typically sets up nicely though. Would love any hidden tips or tricks.

    Again thank you for an awesome recipe!

    • Haha, glad they were such a hit at your house. My kids do the same thing when I send treats to work with my husband. 😉
      If the caramel seems too runny at first, you can definitely just let it cool for a few minutes. Just don’t wait too long, you don’t want it to set up in the pan!

  3. Eileene Keating says:

    I made these, and had a difficult time keeping the clusters together in a uniform size. The recipe tastes great. I am wondering if I used a form of some kind (cup cake liners, cup cake pans for example) and spray them with stick free stuff, would that work? (put toasted pecans in them, and build from there). Anyone try this? Opinions? Advice?

    • I think if you buttered some mini muffin pans, it would work just fine. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out!

    • I actually like the imperfection of turtles. That’s what makes them so great! But I can’t see any issues with using a muffin tin to make them more uniform.

  4. For caramel layer, I combined a 13 ounce bag of caramels and 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream. Worked perfect!

    • Thanks so much for sharing the tip, I’ve had several readers ask about using caramels. I appreciate it, and I’m glad to hear it worked!

  5. The nutrition facts that are posted on lil lunas page can not be correct. 6200 calories in one serving? Do you know what it really is? Thanks.

    • Haha, that’s crazy. Maybe that’s the amount of calories in the entire batch. I updated the recipe with the nutrition information. If you make 40 clusters, each cluster has about 187 calories.

  6. lauren grebinski says:

    This recipe along with the photos are just ripped off from this site: If you want to post other peoples stuff at least give them credit. Kara likely never even made these and is answering quesitons about making, etc…

    • Actually Lauren, if you read to the bottom of the post at Lil’ Luna, you will see that I am actually a contributor to her site, and this is my recipe and my photos that I posted there originally.
      Kristyn is one of my dear friends, and she knows that after sharing my recipes on her site, I will share them on my own a few months later. As a blogger, I would never steal photos from another blogger, and I do my best to give credit when I am inspired by another post.
      I am glad to see that you are looking out for other bloggers, and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  7. Monica Bell says:

    Can I use regular caramel and melt it?

    • Regular caramels set a bit harder, so you would need to add a bit of cream or milk to them when you melt them. I’m not sure how much, so it might take a bit of experimenting, but it should work.

  8. Can you just melt caramel squares or do youhave to make it.

    • It won’t taste quite the same, but you can use caramel squares. You will need to add milk or cream when you melt them so that the caramel will not set up so hard.

  9. Hi Kara,

    I made these yummy delights for the holidays last year and was really pleased. Planning to make some more this weekend. Thanks for sharing the recipe with us!

  10. Southern Girl says:

    Unless you just picked your pecans up from your front yard, like I do, I would not leave store bought pecans in for 10 minutes. They are too dry and will burn. Keep an eye on them at 5 minutes. Great recipe

    • Thanks for the tip! Mine must have been pretty fresh because they took 10 minutes, but it’s a great idea to start checking them at 5 minutes. There’s nothing worse than burning an entire pan of nuts!

  11. Nettie wall says:

    Hi Kara, we really enjoy your turtle recipe. Its delicious 😋.

  12. Thank you for posting this recipe! I tried these last night and they are wonderful!

  13. Brandy Therrien says:

    My Carmel never set up like in the pic..Seems a little thinner so it kind of ran. Suggestions?

    • You just needed to cook it a little longer. That’s why I prefer the ice water test instead of a candy thermometer. You can see how thick it is and cook longer if needed. I have a harder time getting great results with just a thermometer for caramel.

  14. Can the turtles be frozen? Looks so so good! Thankyou Mabel

    • I have never frozen candy before, but you could give it a try. I recommend just freezing a few at first to see how they turn out. Good luck!

    • Hello,

      I used this recipe during the holidays and froze some. IMO, freezing did not affect the taste. I shared with co-workers and they enjoyed them.

  15. Hi Kara,
    Thanks so much for this recipe. I have made chocolate turtles for years using melted caramel candy squares then dipping in chocolate. Great to eat, but more trouble to make
    I love your recipe and method. Definitely in my Christmas candy line up this year.
    Thanks for your wonderful blog. I follow you all the time and love your down home recipes.
    Happy fall.

    • Thanks so much for the kind words Sylvia! I really hope that you enjoy this method. We sure do!

    • For the toffee and turtle recipe, does it matter what type butter; salted, unsalted or margarine? Thanks. Recipes sound delicious. Cannot wait to try.

    • I use salted butter, but unsalted would work as well. Margarine has a higher water content, so it doesn’t work in candy recipes. At least in the recipes I’ve tried. 😉

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