Homemade Turtle Candy

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

If you’re on the hunt for candies and cookies to give out during the holidays, make sure you include these chocolate turtles! For the best of both worlds, you can also make turtle thumbprint cookies which have all the same flavors as these candies.

Chocolate turtles on a white plate

Chocolate Turtles

I absolutely adore the combination of chocolate, caramel, and nuts. I have a recipe for Chocolate Pecan Caramels that I simply love, and I don’t know why I have never tried making turtles before.

Guys, this Turtles Candy is simply amazing! Better than any turtle candies I have ever purchased. The crunchy pecans, the chewy caramel, the chocolate that melts in your mouth. Simply incredible.

Why are they called turtles? If you use your imagination, the pecans covered in caramel and chocolate look like little turtles. 😉

Step by step pictures of making homemade turtles

How to Make turtle candy

Don’t be intimidated about the candy making process, these turtles are really quite simple to make.

PECANS. You want to start by toasting your pecans. It 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!

CARAMEL. Before you start making your caramel, you want to arrange your pecans into little clusters. I line my pans with silicone liners, but parchment paper would work too. I like to use 3-4 pecans, depending on size.

As soon as your caramel is ready, quickly 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.

CHOCOLATE. At this point, you can let the caramel set up and add the chocolate later. Or you can add it now. When you are ready, 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.

Now all you have to do is wait 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! 🙂

turtle candy Variations and substitutions

I don’t have time to make caramel what do I do? You can use soft store-bought caramels. You just need to melt them in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between them. If the caramels are a bit tough I would add a little spoonful of water to yield a smoother end result. Just pour this over the pecans to solidify them together.

Ways to mix it up?

  • Have the base be a pretzel, top it with chocolate and then with some caramel and a pecan.
  • Top with sea salt to give more contrast in flavors
  • You can also use melted white chocolate on top instead of milk chocolate

Close up of turtle candy on a white plate

How to Store Turtle Candy?

Regardless of whether you’re making these to give to neighbors, or just keeping a stash handy for yourself, 😉 store these at room temperature in a container so the caramel stays soft and no one breaks their teeth on them! 

The flavor combination of nuts caramel and chocolate is always a winner!

for more holiday goodies, try:

Homemade Turtle Candy Recipe

Every bite of these homemade caramel turtles is decadent. A perfect treat for chocolate caramel lovers!
4.85 from 69 votes
Homemade Turtle Candy has a baked pecan base covered in delicious homemade caramel and melted chocolate. The perfect treat for sharing!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Rest 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 36
Calories 172 kcal
Author Lil' Luna


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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Continue cooking and stirring till mixture reaches 235-240°F . 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.
  • Quickly spoon the caramel over the pecan clusters, making sure caramel is touching each of the pecans. Let sit to harden.
  • 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.

Recipe inspired by Jamie Cooks It Up!


These would make an awesome addition to a cookie plate if you’re the type that makes plates of treats for the neighbors during the holidays. 🙂

Thanks for sharing this recipe with us Kara! For more amazingly delicious recipes by her, head over to Creations by Kara!!

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Pin it now to remember it later! Share it with your Facebook friends (you know they’ll love it). Or tweet it to the world. Maybe even email it to your favorite cousin!

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About Kara

Hi! I'm Kara from Creations by Kara, and I'm addicted to creating pretty and yummy things. I love sharing home decor ideas, DIY projects, tasty recipes, and simple tips! I hope that I am inspiring women everywhere to use their creativity to build a better life.

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  1. The first time I made these they came out perfect! 2nd time the caramel wasn’t hard enough even though I could make a ball from the water bath. I just made them again for Christmas and I’m not sure that they will be hard enough again. Can you tell me approximately how long you need to stir it once it comes to a boil? There has to be a more sure proof way of knowing. Keeping my fingers crossed now that they will harden enough to give out as gifts!

    1. I like to use a candy thermometer to ensure it gets to the right temperature. Then I know it’s sure to set up but not be too hard. Target temp for the caramel is 235-240 degrees. So the actual amount of time stirring could depend on how quickly your stovetop heats… I hope that the caramel hardened for your gifts and that they were a hit! 🙂

    1. My favorite chocolate chips are the Guittard ones! Ghiradelli is also really yummy. But any kind of chocolate chip will work.

  2. 5 stars
    This was very good and very easy! I just never know if caramel will turn out for me. This was ready quickly, didnt harden too quickly to work with. I made a second batch since I had the other half of the can of milk. I used some of that for just caramels. My guys are happy. Thank you for a keeper recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    These turned out, but I do not recommend using parchment paper. When I went to pull the turtles off they stuck to the paper. I can’t believe no one else commented on this. I need to invest in silicone liners or next time I will assemble them right on the baking sheet or counter. I will make again. Thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    These are the first turtle candy that I have made. I was nervous making them for the holidays without practicing first. I found this recipe was incredibly easy and they tasted amazing.

  5. 4 stars
    Love your site! I tried these for the first time and the caramel was still a little too soft even the next day. I used a candy thermometer and let the mixture get to about the 240ish mark. I think next time I will try a little less corn syrup. I also found that I had to wait about 10 minutes for the caramel to cool and thicken enough to spoon over the nuts. I followed Natasha’s recommendation and added a little sea salt on top. Yum!

    1. Thanks for sharing what you did for the candy. I’m so glad you love the site! Thanks for being here. 🙂

  6. These don’t look like turtles. You should pour chocolate on sheet put pecans pointing out like feet. Then caramel then chocolate over all. The shape then appears to be a turtle, hence the name. Yours are simply candy not turtles.

    1. It’s pretty typical for the pecans to be layered on the bottom with the caramel and chocolate taking on the “shell” of the turtle on top. Thanks for the suggestion though… that would be fun to try that way as well!

    2. 5 stars
      I think you should make them they way you want. I’ve been eating turtles for over 50 years and I’ve never had them in the shape of a turtle. They qere perfectly fine made as instructed, and EVERYONE knew exactly what they were.

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