Homemade Toffee Bits Recipe - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Candy | Dessert

Homemade Toffee Bits Recipe

By Tessa Arias
  |  
December 8th, 2020
4.75 from 44 votes
4.75 from 44 votes

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.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

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.

I adore toffee.

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

chopped up copycat Heath toffee bits on parchment paper

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

Such as a chocolate chip cookie, blondie, brownie or even banana bread recipes. 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 baking gifts during the holidays or Christmas!

How to Make Homemade Toffee Bits

What are toffee bits?

Just what it sounds like! Bits of crunchy sweet toffee 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 the chocolate & toffee bits which you may not always want.

But trust me, this homemade toffee recipe is even tastier than the Heath toffee bits!

Only 3 ingredients 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

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!
process collage showing how to make homemade toffee bits

Recipes That Use Toffee Bits:

4.75 from 44 votes

How to make
Homemade Toffee Bits

Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Setting Time 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
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.

Ingredients

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

Directions

  1. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. 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.

  3. If the mixture separates at all, remove from heat and whisk vigorously until recombined. Return to heat and continue cooking.
  4. 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.

  5. 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.

Recipe Video

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. 
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Keyword : how to make toffee bits, toffee bits, toffee bits recipe

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating




  1. #
    Sheryll Kjos — November 30, 2022 at 12:58 pm

    Is It ok to use swerve brown sugar in this recipe?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 30, 2022 at 2:17 pm

      Hi Sheryll! No, I don’t believe that will work. This recipe is very specifically written as toffee can be a finicky beast! Sugar substitutes typically won’t perform the same way as real sugar, especially in toffee/caramel/butterscotch and such, that are based entirely on the structure and moisture that only real sugar can provide. Feel free to experiment and see what happens, and let us know how it goes!

  2. #
    Jessica — November 28, 2022 at 4:34 pm

    Would using dark brown sugar affect this recipe?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 29, 2022 at 1:47 pm

      Hi Jessica! We haven’t tried that, and the extra moisture content in dark brown sugar may prevent this toffee from setting properly. Feel free to try it out if you’re in the mood to experiment, but we recommend sticking with light brown sugar for best results 🙂

  3. #
    Claudia Pacheco — November 16, 2022 at 6:31 am

    if I only have European butter how can I make toffee bits?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 16, 2022 at 10:51 am

      Hi Claudia! We have not found a way around this ourselves, unfortunately! You’re more than welcome to experiment and see if you van get it to work with butter you have available, but we haven’t personally heard of too much success using butter much past 80% butterfat 🙁

  4. #
    Esther — November 13, 2022 at 11:10 pm

    These were unbelievably easy to make and so delicious! I didn’t have a candy thermometer. I just held my instant read thermometer in the saucepan from time to time to check the temp and it worked great!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 14, 2022 at 11:55 am

      So glad to hear that, Esther!!

  5. #
    V — November 11, 2022 at 6:56 am

    This looks delicious & I came across your recipe bc I want to make saltine toffee bark (sometimes called Christmas crack) with a thick layer of crunchy toffee & no chocolate – so just a layer of saltines with the toffee on top. Do you think this recipe would work for that? All the actual recipes for it never have a thick enough layer of toffee & add chocolate on top.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 11, 2022 at 9:55 am

      Hi V! We haven’t tried that, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work! Let us know how it goes if you give this a try 🙂

  6. #
    Monica P — November 7, 2022 at 8:58 am

    These toffee bits taste really good and were easy to make. I don’t have a candy thermometer so I just had to eyeball it…next time I would probably invest in one just to take the guesswork out of the equation. I think this would be a great recipe to have a video of – the pictures were helpful but any time I have to make decisions based on consistency I get nervous going of a description or still image. Still would recommend and it’s nice to know I have this option – I can get toffee bits in my area but they aren’t always easy to find.

    • #
      Monica P — November 7, 2022 at 9:00 am

      Also FYI to other bakers – I initially took it off the stove too early and it didn’t harden, it was more like a chewy caramel candy. I just peeled it off the parchment and put it back in the pan to remelt and it worked like a charm! So if you make the same mistake I did, all is not lost!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 8, 2022 at 9:39 am

      Hi Monica! There is a recipe video on the post – almost right at the top, just below the heading that says ‘Recipe Video’. Don’t click the button right at the top that says Watch Video – those buttons aren’t working right now and we are working on fixing them, so in the meantime, just scroll down a teeny bit and you’ll see it! I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed these toffee bits! 🙂

  7. #
    Forrest Sentell — October 28, 2022 at 7:52 am

    I tried to make this two times and it was a flop both times.
    The brown butter toffee cookies are great, but I will have to just continue buying heath brand toffee

    • #
      Emily — October 28, 2022 at 2:59 pm

      Oh no! I’m sorry to hear you experienced issues, but hopefully I can help figure out what happened! What seemed to be the issue?

  8. #
    Amy — September 27, 2022 at 2:43 pm

    My toffee is still fairly soft after waiting for way more than 20 min. Did I do something wrong? Or can I just stick it in the freezer to harden more quickly?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — September 29, 2022 at 7:59 am

      Hi Amy! Unfortunately, if your toffee has not hardened within 20 minutes or so, it likely won’t harden at all, I’m sorry to say! It’s possible the mixture didn’t get quite hot enough. Alternatively, it could be an issue with your ingredients – primarily the butter you used. This recipe has not worked for our readers when using European-style butter, or butter that’s over about 80% butterfat content. The extra fat in these types of butter cause the mixture to separate, and/or prevents it from setting up correctly. Hopefully this toffee will still taste good enough to snack on for now, and I’m sure you’ll nail it next time! Good luck and happy baking 🙂

  9. #
    Persefoni — September 24, 2022 at 11:15 pm

    Hello, I want to make this recipe but I only have access to 82% +butter, as I live in Europe. Is there something I can do to make it work? Thank you in advance!!!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — September 26, 2022 at 1:49 pm

      Hi Persefoni! Unfortunately, we have not had success making this toffee with European-style butter at all 🙁 One of our readers recently mentioned that she had success using European butter, melting about 2 Tablespoons more butter than the recipe states, then, once melted, she carefully tilted the pan and skimmed 2 Tablespoons of the clear fat (ghee) into a separate bowl. We have not tested this theory at all, so I cannot speak to whether or not it works, but this reader says it worked for her! If you wish to roll the dice, you can give her method a try – otherwise, I would recommend researching another recipe, sorry! Good luck!!

      • #
        Persefoni — September 27, 2022 at 9:08 am

        Thank you so much for your reply. I really appreciate it!

      • #
        Care H — November 19, 2022 at 9:22 am

        I see people using European butter have challenges in the fat separating. I live in Europe (the Netherlands) and was able to make the toffee successfully. I read you can add a little corn syrup as it apparently helps stabilize the mix. I used a Tbsp for this recipe and it worked ok. For those in the the Netherlands wondering where you can buy corn syrup, the local Asian markets (i.e. the Toko) and expat stores sell it.

        • #
          Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 21, 2022 at 12:17 pm

          Great tip!! Thanks so much for sharing – we’ll have to try this ourselves sometime 🙂

  10. #
    Sara — September 13, 2022 at 6:02 pm

    This really was as easy as the recipe describes! I bought a candy thermometer, which I’m glad I did because I’m not sure I would have known when it was done otherwise. I made this to make the toffee chocolate chip cookies, but here I am eating toffee by itself!

  11. #
    Jennifer H — September 4, 2022 at 9:51 am

    Can you make this with plant butter to make it dairy free?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — September 6, 2022 at 9:47 am

      Hi Jennifer! I’m sorry, we don’t with dairy-free substitutions, so I cannot tell you for sure – but I honestly doubt it would work! Feel free to experiment and give it a try, though!

  12. #
    Denise Harty — September 3, 2022 at 2:47 pm

    We don’t have toffee bits where I live so I made these. turned out perfectly. Thanks for the recipe!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — September 6, 2022 at 9:41 am

      Yay! So glad to hear that, Denise!

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