Easy chocolate turtles are delicious morsels of dark chocolate, chewy caramel, and toasted pecans.  They would make a sweet gift for friends at Christmas or Valentines Day.  Learn how to make these fun no bake treats in just a few steps!

Prep Time: 40 minutes
taking a bite from one of the chocolate turtles
Candy, Chocolates, Desserts with No Egg, No Bake Desserts

Easy Chocolate Turtles Recipe

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Do you love the combination of dark chocolate, chewy caramel, and toasted pecans?  It’s such a yummy flavor combination!  If you’re craving a bite of nutty, chocolatey goodness, no worries–you can make up a batch of these easy chocolate turtles to save the day.

chocolate turtles on a plate with flowers

What are chocolate turtles?

Chocolate turtles are a cluster of pecans and caramel covered with chocolate.

What are turtles made of?

Turtles are made up of three basic ingredients: chocolate, caramel, and pecans.  Many home bakers like to add a sprinkle of salt on top for extra flavor.

stack of chocolate turtles with flowers

Why is it called turtle candy?

The candy gets its name from its shape: it looks somewhat like a turtle.  A salesman noticed the resemblance, and the candy was soon marketed as “chocolate turtles.”

Who invented turtles candy?

Johnson’s Candy Company invented the candy in 1918, and it has been sold ever since.

chocolate turtles on a plate

Are chocolate turtles gluten free?

Store-bought turtles are naturally gluten free, although trace amounts of gluten may be present from cross-contamination.  When you make your own, ensure your ingredients are certified gluten free.

How to Store Homemade Chocolate Turtles

  • Store homemade chocolate turtles between layers of parchment or wax paper in an airtight container or cookie tin.
  • If it’s really hot and humid, store in the refrigerator.

stack of chocolate turtles with flowers

Can I freeze chocolate turtles?

  • Yes, you can freeze chocolate turtles in an airtight container or zip-top freezer bag.
  • Separate layers of turtles with a sheet of parchment or wax paper to prevent them from sticking together.
  • Press as much air out of the bag as possible to reduce the chance of freezer burn.
  • Freeze for 2-3 months.
  • Remove from the freezer packaging before defrosting to prevent excess condensation.

How to Make Chocolate Turtles

Gather the ingredients: chocolate chips, soft caramels, pecans, water, and a little salt.

ingredients for chocolate turtles

Toast the pecans at 350 F for 10-12 minutes, until the nuts have darkened slightly and have a nutty aroma.

toasting the pecans for chocolate turtles

Line two 9×13-inch cookie sheets with parchment paper and trace sixteen 3-inch circles on the paper.  Use a cookie cutter or glass as a template.

parchment lined cookie sheet for chocolate turtles

Chop the pecans into smaller pieces and arrange in piles on top of the circles.  Place a cookie cutter over each pile and swirl it gently to make the edges nice and smooth.

piles of toasted pecans for chocolate turtles

Dump the caramels into a saucepan set over medium heat.  Stir occasionally until the caramels have melted completely.  If the caramel is extremely thick, add a tablespoon or two of water.

melted caramel for chocolate turtles

Pour the caramel over the nuts, leaving a border of nuts around the edge.

pouring caramel on top of nuts for chocolate turtles

Pour the chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of gently simmering water, stirring frequently until the chocolate has melted.  Let the chocolate cool for a couple of minutes, then pour it into a plastic sandwich bag and snip off the tip to create a piping bag.  Pipe circles of chocolate on top of each turtle, leaving a border of caramel around the edge.

adding the chocolate to chocolate turtles

Chill the turtles for 10 minutes, then make a decorative swirl on top with an angled spatula.  If desired, sprinkle a little flaky salt on top.

sprinkling salt on chocolate turtles

Chill for another 20 minutes, or until hardened.

holding one of the chocolate turtles

Serve at room temperature for ease of eating.

holding one of the chocolate turtles

Pro Tips

  • Speed up the process by using already chopped pecans.  Take note that chopped pecans will toast quicker than the halves.
  • Remember to unwrap the caramels before you melt them!
  • If the caramel begins to harden while you’re working with it, place it back on medium heat and stir for a minute to melt.
  • Please note that the melted Kraft caramels can be extremely chewy. If you have braces, orthodontic appliances, bridges etc., I’d recommend making a less chewy homemade caramel instead of using the Kraft.
  • Feel free to use milk, semi-sweet, or white chocolate instead of dark.
  • Save any extra toasted pecans left on the cookie sheet for putting on ice cream.

Satisfy your chocolate cravings with these other no bake treats.

buckeyes on a cookie sheet holding a piece of chocolate peanut butter fudge person holding a cookie sheet of no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies

The pleasure of a 5-star review of this chocolate turtles recipe would be greatly appreciated.

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taking a bite from one of the chocolate turtles

Easy Chocolate Turtles Recipe


  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 16 turtles 1x

Description

Easy chocolate turtles are delicious morsels of dark chocolate, chewy caramel, and toasted pecans.  They would make a sweet gift for friends at Christmas or Valentines Day.  Learn how to make these fun no bake treats in just a few steps!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chopped pecans (453g)
  • 18 ounces soft caramels, such as Kraft (518g)
  • 2 tablespoons water (30 ml)
  • 2 cups 60% cacao chocolate chips (346g)
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt or margarita salt, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Spread the pecans on a small cookie sheet and toast at 350 F for 10-12 minutes, checking them frequently to make sure they aren’t burning.  Let the pecans cool briefly.  (If you’re using pecan halves, chop them into smaller pieces.)
  2. While the nuts are toasting, pour the caramels and water into a saucepan and set over medium to medium-low heat, stirring frequently until the caramels are melted and smooth.  Add additional water if the caramel is excessively thick.
  3. While the caramel is melting, fill a saucepan with a couple inches of water and bring to a gentle simmer.  Line two 9×13-inch cookie sheets with parchment paper and trace sixteen 3-inch circles on the paper.
  4. Arrange the chopped pecans in piles inside the circles.  Place a cookie cutter over each pile and swirl it gently to push in stray nuts and make the edges nice and smooth.  Spoon the melted caramel on top of the pecans, leaving a border of nuts around the edge.
  5. Pour the chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl and set over the saucepan of gently simmering water.  Be careful not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the hot water, and keep the steam away from the chocolate.  Stir occasionally until the chocolate is fully melted.
  6. Let the chocolate cool for a few minutes, then pour into a sandwich bag and snip off the tip to create a little piping bag.  Pipe a circle of chocolate on top of each turtle, leaving a border of caramel around the edge.
  7. Chill the turtles for 10 minutes, then use an angled spatula or butter knife to create a decorative swirl on top of each turtle.  Sprinkle with flaky salt if desired; then chill for another 20 minutes, or until quite firm.  Serve at room temperature to make them easier to eat.

Notes

  • The pleasure of a 5-star review for this chocolate turtles recipe would be greatly appreciated.
  • Category: Candy
  • Method: Chilled
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: recipe, ingredients

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8 thoughts on “Easy Chocolate Turtles Recipe

  1. We made the choco turtles yesterday. It was a family enterprise. We had a lot of fun. It was easy to follow the great pictures. The best part was to eat the cookies at the end. I , Grandma of nine, and my sub chefs got a standing ovation. Thank you Emma for such a successful recipe. I put a commentary yesterday but it didnt show up. If it finally does, sorry for the duplication.

    1. No worries, Betty! Each comment left on our site has to be manually approved before it shows up on the website–that’s why your comment didn’t appear right away. Thanks so much for your kind words!

  2. This is a delicious, fun, simple recipe and it turned out wonderfully for me. The combination of the chewy baked pecans and the melted caramel and chocolate is so good! Your children will love these easy and delicious treats!

  3. We made the choco turtles today. It was a family enterprise , many of us cooked together. It was a great success. Your instructions are so easy to follow and we love the pictures of each step. No ambiguities this way. The best part was to eat them Thank you so much from a grandma of 9

    1. Thank you so much, Betty! I’m so glad that you and your grandchildren enjoyed making and eating the turtles! Our family loves the chocolate, pecan, and caramel combination, too. 🙂

  4. I find your giving the measurements in your recipes in grams too, very useful. I weight everything when I prepare baking goods. In that way I am sure that my recipes come top notch. Thank you. I will prepare this recipe soon

    1. Thank you, Betty! I’m glad you found the metric measurements to be helpful. 🙂 Please leave a review of the turtles once you’ve made them!

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