Basic Old Fashioned Toffee Recipe


I love making sweets more than most things.  For starters, if you turn up to a friends house with kilo of toffee & a smile, I can guarantee you will be a hit.  There's something about homemade sweets that makes people as gooey and warm as the product itself.  Maybe it's because it's not a well known recipe.  Maybe it's because it's seen as a specialist area.

It's really not.  All you need is a heavy bottomed saucepan (a big one at that), a sugar thermometer (They are about £7 and you can buy them in the supermarket!) and a wooden spoon.  Oh and the ingredients, but we'll get to that part....

I'm gonna place a little more emphasis on the wooden spoon part.  One of the first batches of toffee I made, I used a brand new plastic coated spoon.  I gave the pot a few stirs and suddenly it was just a handle and my toffee had swirls of plastic through it.  Not in any way edible, and a waste of a batch!  It took 4 hot boils to get the plastic off the bottom of my saucepan too.


Working with sugar is brilliant.  No, it's not healthy, no it's probably not good for your teeth, but it's a real thrill when you turn out your first batch of Toffees or caramels and people enjoy them.  Then you can move on to working with other sugar based confections.  Like Marshmallows, or fondants.  The possibilities are endless once you master the basic premise.

So let's start with a basic chewy toffee recipe:

You will need:
400g caster sugar
400g Golden Syrup
300g unsalted butter
500ml whipping  cream
200g dark soft brown sugar
250ml evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Line a baking tray (around 30 x 40) with greaseproof paper.

In a large saucepan, combine the sugars, butter, golden syrup, evaporated milk & whipping cream.  On a high heat, cook them until the mixture combines & the sugar is dissolved.

It should rise slightly & start to bubble, monitor the temperature with a sugar/candy thermometer.  This is an essential item of Sugar making to get it at the right stage.  Heat the mixture until it reaches "firm ball stage" which is around 245° F–250° F.  Make you you are constantly stirring.  Sugar burns very easily and once one part is burnt you'll find your whole pot takes on that taste.

Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract and pour into the tray.  Leave to cool completely and firm up.  This can take between 2 hours and 8 hours depending on different factors.  When set, remove from the tin and cut into squares, wrap individually with greaseproof paper.

OR if you prefer a harder toffee, like myself, replace the last couple of stages with this: 

Cook for an extra couple of minutes until it reaches "Hard ball stage" which is around 250° F–265° F.  When it's set, which will take around the same amount of time, whack with a rolling pin instead of cutting!

Once you've mastered basic Toffee, you can move onto amazing recipes, and get creative with your own ideas!


  1. Brilliant thank you

  2. Wickedness - pure wickedness. Hmmmmmmmmm

  3. This is awesome!! Good read..

  4. Sounds great recipe Emma. How much golden syrup should be used?

  5. Hi Emma. Is that definitely evaporated milk? It looks like condensed milk in the pan...
    The toffee looks yummy! I'm going to try it tonight x

  6. Hi Emma. Is that condensed milk or evaporated milk? It looks like condensed milk in the photo! The toffee looks yum. I'm going to try it tonight! x

    1. I'm wondering the same - is that condensed milk? I uses to make toffee like this when I was a kid, and sell it at boot sales - love to make it again (but I'm pretty sure my lost recipe used condensed milk)

    2. Hi Lisa! You can use either, but evaporated makes it softer. :)

  7. Although sugar does burn, in this recipe there is no need to worry about that happening because if anything is going to get burnt it will be the milk, (which burns at a much lower temperature than sugar). Or more specifically, the milk proteins in the cream and evap. You have to be very careful about this. Once its burnt, the whole batch is ruined.

  8. Why caster sugar? I mean, caster sugar is way more expensive than regular granulated sugar. Have you actually tried replacing the caster sugar for regular? I have. Wanna know the results?

  9. Hi. I used to make toffee like this when I was a kid and sell it at car boot sales... but I'm pretty sure it used condensed milk rather than evaporated milk... can anyone confirm as I lost my recipe and I'd love to make this again.

    1. Hi unknown, I found from my tests that evaporated made a softer toffee, which is what I preferred but everyone is different. Hope that helps!

  10. Hi Emma, I made this without a thermometer because to be honest I couldn't afford to spend the money on one. It turned out better than I thought although I took it off too soon and it is too soft. how can I reheat it and harden it up? I've read adding water but I don't know if it's for the same kind of toffee/caramels.


  11. Wow that is a fork'n'good recipe. 11/10.


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