Homemade Toffee Bits Recipe (2024)

Tessa’s Recipe Rundown

Taste: Sweet, nutty, and delicious.
Texture: Perfectly crunchy with a slight candy chew.
Ease: Just 3 ingredients and 15 minutes prep and cook time.
Pros: Such a fun DIY!
Cons: None.
Would I make this again? Absolutely, I like to make a double batch and sprinkle them on everything I bake for weeks.

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I adore toffee.

Like butterscotch, toffee seems to be caramel’s forgotten cousin. To me, it deserves as much adoration as caramel. Maybe more!

Homemade Toffee Bits Recipe (1)

As much as I love a buttery toffee recipe on its own, my favorite is when it’s added to something already delicious.

It’s the perfect addition to a chocolate chip cookie, blondie, brownie or even banana bread. Or sprinkle the toffee on cupcakes, French toast, or ice cream. Plus, you likely already have the simple ingredients on hand to make it from scratch.

Bonus: this toffee recipe is also a great treat for giving as delicious holiday gifts during the holidays or Christmas!

How to Make Homemade Toffee Bits

What is Toffee?

Toffee is a crunchy, sweet, buttery, cooked sugar candy, similar to caramel and butterscotch. These three classic dessert components seem very similar – so how do they differ?

  • Caramel: Based on white granulated sugar. Typically, butter, milk/cream, and vanilla are added for flavor and to produce a thick, creamy caramel. Caramel can be heated less for a sauce consistency, longer for a chewy soft caramel, or even longer for a crunchier hard caramel. I have a recipe for caramel sauce here.
  • Butterscotch:Similar process to caramel, but made with brown sugar instead of granulated white sugar. Cream and vanilla are also often added. I have a recipe for butterscotch sauce here.
  • Toffee:Just like butterscotch, toffee starts with brown sugar – but the difference between butterscotch and toffee is the temperature it’s heated to. Toffee is cooked longer to a much higher temperature – all the way to the ‘hard crack’ stage. This means that toffee will harden completely as it cools, and can then be cut or broken into pieces, to be added to other delicious desserts, or simply enjoyed by itself!

What are Toffee Bits?

Just what it sounds like! Bits of crunchy sweet toffee, chopped or broken into pieces about the same size as chocolate chips.

Can’t You Just Buy Toffee Bits?

Yes, you can buy them in the baking aisle under the Heath brand. However, they can be difficult to find in some regions and stores. Additionally, many stores only carry chocolate-covered toffee bits, which you may not always want.

But trust me, this homemade toffee recipe is even tastier than the Heath version! Plus, no preservatives or artificial flavors in these homemade sweet morsels!

Only 3 Ingredients Are Needed for Homemade Toffee Bits:

  • Butter (make sure to use American unsalted butter – European butter has too much butterfat and the toffee will separate)
  • Light brown sugar
  • Salt
Homemade Toffee Bits Recipe (2)

Why American-Style Butter Only?

European-style butter (such as Kerrygold) contains a higher butterfat percentage, compared to American-style butter. This lack of water content in European-style butter results in the toffee separating, and/or refusing to set fully. Any butter over 80% butterfat will cause these issues and unfortunately, we have yet to find a way to make this recipe work with butter containing higher percentages of fat. If you are successful in creating a hard toffee using European-style butter, please let us know in the comments below.

How to Make DIY Toffee Bits From Scratch:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Then, add the sugar and salt and whisk until combined. Continue whisking for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture looks like melted peanut butter (reference the picture below). Make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan or pot.
  3. Pour the toffee onto the prepared baking sheet pan, allowing it to spread. Let cool for about 20 minutes.
  4. Use a mallet, rolling pin, or heavy object to crack the batch of toffee into small bits.
  5. You can now use your toffee pieces to amp up the flavor in cookies, brownies, streusel toppings, sprinkled on top of vanilla ice cream, you name it!
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Tips for Making Toffee:

  • Before you start the recipe, line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. It’s best to do this first because you will need to pour the finished toffee onto the prepared pan immediately.
  • If your toffee burns on the bottom or you’re having trouble with the toffee separating (and you’re using American-style butter!), try a thicker-based heavy saucepan. Pans with thinner bottoms will heat too aggressively and may cause separation or scorching.
  • Never step away from the toffee while it’s on the stove. It can burn quickly.
  • Do not try to touch or taste the sugar while it’s cooking, as it will be extremely hot.
  • Separated toffee can sometimes be saved by removing the saucepan from the heat and whisking vigorously until it comes back together into a smooth mixture.
  • A candy thermometer is so helpful in making toffee. This is my favorite candy thermometer.
  • Make sure to let the toffee cool completely before you break it into bits and store it.

How to Store Toffee Bits

Once cooled and cut or broken into pieces, freeze in an airtight container or zip-top bag for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw at room temperature before enjoying or adding to cookie dough, streusel or other baked goods.

Recipes Using Toffee Bits:

  • Browned Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Chocolate Coffee Toffee Crunch Muffins
  • Salted Caramel Toffee Cupcakes
  • Caramel Apple Streusel Pie

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How to Make

Homemade Toffee Bits

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes mins

Setting Time: 20 minutes mins

Cook Time: 10 minutes mins

Total Time: 35 minutes mins

Review Print


Just 3 ingredients and 15 minutes and you have DIY homemade toffee bits from scratch! They’re absolutely amazing in cookies, brownies, streusel toppings on muffins or pies, or just as a sweet snack.


  • 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted American butter*
  • 1 cup (200 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt


  • Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

  • In a heavy-bottomed small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar and salt and whisk vigorously for one minute until combined. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture looks like melted peanut butter and a candy thermometer reaches 295 to 305°F, about 10 minutes.

  • If the mixture separates at all, remove from heat and whisk vigorously until recombined. Return to heat and continue cooking.

  • Immediately and carefully pour the hot toffee onto the prepared baking pan, allowing it to spread into an even layer. Let cool and harden for about 20 minutes.

  • Place the sheet of toffee on a cutting board or in a zip top bag. Use a mallet, rolling pin, or heavy object to crack it into small pieces. You can also cut into bits with a sharp serrated knife. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Show us!If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a picture and share it on Instagram with #handletheheat so we can all see!

Recipe Notes

*Don’t use European-style butter (82% butterfat+) in this recipe. It contains too much butterfat and will cause the toffee to separate.

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

Homemade Toffee Bits Recipe (2024)
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