These soft and chewy Chocolate Turtles are so EASY to make and include clusters of homemade microwave caramel and toasted pecans, dipped in chocolate. They just may be the best homemade candy around!

Christmas candies and desserts are so much fun!  Chocolate turtles make a great Christmas gift, and so do Homemade Caramels, Easy Truffles, and Chocolate Pretzel Rods.

Chocolate turtles on a white plate with one cut in half showing the caramel pecan inside.

I’ve been experimenting with this recipe because I wanted to make a chocolate turtle with homemade caramel, but I also wanted them to be EASY to make! After some trial and error, let me tell you, these homemade turtles are absolutely my new obsession! They have the perfect chewy soft texture and the right ratio of caramel to pecan and chocolate.

If you are looking for a candy recipe to WOW for the holidays (without any sweat equity on your part!) look no further!  It does not get easier or more delicious than these homemade turtles.

Why I LOVE this recipe:

  • Quick homemade caramel: Most recipes for chocolate turtles use melted store-bought caramels, but this recipe is a winner with a homemade microwave caramel recipe that is just as easy and tastes amazing! .
  • Great for gifting: You can double or even triple this recipe to make homemade candy for friends and neighbors during the holidays!

Easy Homemade Turtles (an overview):

For this recipe you will need:

  • salted butter
  • light-brown sugar
  • granulated sugar
  • sweetened condensed milk
  • light corn syrup
  • vanilla extract
  • pecans
  • chocolate

Chocolate turtles ingredients including pecans, chocolate, sugar, corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk, butter and vanilla.

1. Toast pecans. Use the oven or a skillet to toast the pecans. Chop them and set aside.

2. Make microwave caramel.  Melt butter in microwave then stir in brown sugar, granulated sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup and butter and combine. Return bowl to microwave and cook for about 6 more minutes. Test caramel to see if it’s done (see instructions in recipe card).

3. Stir in vanilla and chopped pecans.

Sugar, melted butter, sweetened condensed milk, and corn syrup in a bowl, then the cooked caramel with chopped pecans added to the bowl.

4. Drop caramel pecan clusters onto parchment paper.  Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet to create individual mounds of caramel candy. (I usually get about 20, but you can make them as small or large as you like). Refrigerate. Cool until set, about 20 minutes.

5. Melt Chocolate.  Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave in a heat proof bowl, stirring every 20 seconds until melted and smooth.

6. Dip clusters in chocolate.  Use a large skewer or a spoon to dip caramel clusters in chocolate and place them on the parchment paper to set up.

Caramel pecan clusters on parchment paper and one being dipped in melted chocolate.

Storing and Freezing Chocolate Turtles:

Store turtles in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.  You can also freeze chocolate turtles for 2-3 months.

Homemade chocolate turtles candy on a marble board.

CONSIDER MAKING THESE CHRISTMAS SWEETS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON:


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Recipe

Chocolate turtles on a white plate with one cut in half showing the caramel pecan inside.
Prep 20 mins
Cook 25 mins
Total 45 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Ingredients
 
 

  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 cup light-brown sugar , packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pecans
  • 16 oz high quality chocolate (I prefer Ghirardelli or bakers brand)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Spread pecans out onto a baking sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes, stirring once, until toasted and fragrant (but not burned!). (Alternately, you can heat them in a hot skillet stirring constantly until they are fragrant, about 5 minutes.)
  • Once cooled, roughly chop the pecans and set aside.
  • Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat liner. Set aside.
  • Place butter in a large microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave until melted.
  • Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and corn syrup and stir well to combine. Fill a small cup with ice and water and set aside.
  • Return bowl to microwave and cook mixture on HIGH power for 6 minutes*.
  • Use hot pads to carefully remove the bowl from the microwave. Spoon a small spoonful of the caramel into the bowl of ice water. Use your fingers to pinch the caramel—it should form into a pliable ball (not too soft, but pliable and not hard.) If it wont come together to form a ball in your fingers, return it to the microwave for an additional 30 seconds, and test again..
  • Stir vanilla into hot caramel. Stir in chopped pecans.
  • Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet to create individual mounds of caramel candy. (I usually get about 20, but you can make the candies as small or large as you like). Refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes.
  • Reserve a handful of chopped chocolate off to the side and melt the rest in a double boiler (I just place a large heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water), or in the microwave in a heat proof bowl, stirring every 20 seconds until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining chopped chocolate that you set aside (this will temper the chocolate to help it set up better).
  • Use a large skewer or a spoon to dip caramel clusters in chocolate and gently remove them to the parchment paper. Allow to set up in the fridge.
  • Store turtles in an airtight container at room temperature, (or in the fridge if you live in a more humid climate) for up to 2-3 weeks. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Notes

Microwave Caramel: My caramel takes about 6 minutes in the microwave, but time may vary depending on the wattage of your microwave.
Use the ice water method or a candy thermometer to test if the caramel is ready. I’ve found the ice water method to be more reliable, but if using a candy thermometer it should register between 238 - 240 degrees.
Chocolate: Make sure you’re using high quality chocolate! I prefer Baker’s or
Ghirardelli brands.

Nutrition

Calories: 303kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 2gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 50mgPotassium: 142mgFiber: 2gSugar: 33gVitamin A: 131IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 1mg

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. Can’t wait to try this recipe for turtles but I am wondering why I need to toast the pecans. Why can’t I just chop them straight from the packaging?

    1. I always toast nuts before adding to my recipe. It brings out the natural oils of the nut and enhances the flavor.

  2. 5 stars
    This is mine and my husband’s favorite turtle recipe. We’ve had a couple different types and we keep going back to this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing.

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