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How to Make Caramel Pecan Turtles

Caramel pecan turtles homemade are here! With a sprinkle of sea salt for a sweet and savory nut treat, they are a family favorite dessert we love. Melt store bought pieces or this is How to Make Caramel with Condensed Milk to make from scratch.

Pecan Turtles

In the world of sweets there are few treats as delectable and indulgent as candy turtles. These delightful candies, often enjoyed as a special treat or given as a gift are the perfect blend of flavor and texture. Let’s talk about caramel turtles; their history, ingredients, and the joy they bring to our taste buds. (affiliate links present)

Caramel Pecan Turtles

The origin can be traced back to the early 1900s. While there are several stories surrounding their creation, one of the most widely accepted accounts attributes the invention to a confectioner named Johnson’s Candy Company in Chicago. The name comes from the candy’s appearance, as its cluster of chewy caramel, pecan halves, and chocolate roughly resembles that animal’s shape.

Can you make pecan turtles with dulce de leche? Yep! We showed you here how to make Instant Pot dulce de leche with a few cans of sweetened condensed milk, that is it. It will need to set a bit more with this so you can dip and have it hold it’s shape but just as delicious.

Turtle Candy with Pecans

Pecan Turtle Clusters

The joy of thee babies lies not only in their taste but also in the anticipation of savoring each layer. With every bite, you experience the rich, buttery caramel blending harmoniously with the nutty crunch of nuts, enrobed in melted semi sweet chocolate.

The occasional sprinkle of sea salt elevates the flavors in these pieces and our Pecan Fudge. Creates a symphony of sweet and savory notes that dance on your palate.

  1. At the heart of every turtle lies halved pecan clusters, which not only adds a rich, nutty flavor but also provides a satisfying crunch. Chocolate Candy with Nuts can be varied with really any variety too, change it up a bit if you like to create a few different choices.
  2. A generous dollop of soft, buttery store bought or homemade caramel is carefully placed atop the pecan. This sweet and chewy layer adds a delightful contrast to the crunchy pecan.
  3. The pièce de résistance is the smooth and velvety coating of chocolate that enrobes the caramel and pecan. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or a combination of both are common choices, catering to various taste preferences.
  4. Some modern variations like ours adds a sprinkle a touch of sea salt on top. This creates a perfect balance between sweetness and salinity.

Turtle Candy with Pecans

These bites are more than just a candy; they are a moment of pure delight. Whether enjoyed as a personal indulgence or shared with loved ones, these have earned their place in the pantheon of timeless sweet treats.

Pecan Turtle Clusters

Caramel Clusters

Unlike Crockpot Peanut Clusters there are 3 ingredients to these. They are stickier than the other and sometimes it is nice to make both so everyone has a choice. Over the years with the crowns in my mouth I haven’t been able to enjoy this sticky sweet nearly as often so the other is a close second.

  1. Begin by carefully placing whole pecans on a parchment lined surface, ensuring they are evenly spaced.
  2. Cook the caramel until it reaches the desired consistency which should be soft and gooey, yet sturdy enough to hold its shape. Spoon a dollop of caramel over each pecan, allowing it to gently cascade down the sides.
  3. Melt chocolate in microwave or stove, type of your choice but I love semi-sweet chocolate chips and gently pour it over the caramel covered pecans. The chocolate should flow smoothly, covering the caramel and pecan entirely.
  4. Allow the to cool and set, either at room temperature or in a controlled cooling environment. Once they are firm, remove them from the baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sometimes these homemade turtles often feature a decorative drizzle of a different color of chocolate or a sprinkle of sea salt like our Pecan Shortbread Bars for extra wow. They can be beautifully packaged in boxes or tins, making them a delightful gift for any occasion.

Caramel Pecan Turtles

Chocolate Covered Caramels

If you need to know how to store pecan turtles we have instructions for you here. Same would apply if you are packaging these up for gifting to neighbors or having at your Christmas cookie exchange.

  1. If your Pecan Turtles are freshly made, let them cool completely at room temperature before storing them. This will help prevent condensation inside the container, which can make the candies sticky.
  2. Use an airtight container or a tin with a tight-fitting lid to store your Pecan Turtles. You can also use a resealable plastic container or a vacuum-sealed bag.
  3. Place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper between each layer of Pecan Turtles to prevent them from sticking together. This is especially important if you have multiple layers of candies.
  4. Store in a cool, dry place for 2-3 weeks. Room temperature is usually fine unless your kitchen is particularly warm. Avoid storing them in direct sunlight or near a heat source, as this can cause the caramel to become overly soft or melt.
    • Refrigeration is generally not recommended because it can alter the texture and taste of the candy. The moisture in the refrigerator can cause the caramel to become too firm, and hard to chew.
  5. If you want to store for an extended period, consider freezing them. Place the candies in an airtight container, separating the layers with parchment paper, and then wrap the container in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Label the container with the date.
    • When you’re ready to enjoy them, remove them from the freezer and let them come to room temperature before eating. This will help preserve their flavor and texture.

While they can last for several weeks at room temperature when stored properly, they are best enjoyed within a few weeks to a month to ensure the best quality and taste.

Chocolate Covered Caramels

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the typical mom
Pecan Turtles
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Pecan Turtles

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword candy, caramel, chocolate, pecan, turtles
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 197kcal
Author The Typical Mom




  • Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and make 12 pecan clusters by placing 3 to 4 pecan halves together in spots on the baking sheet. Melt your caramels in a medium saucepan with the milk.
  • Once melted place a dollop of caramel over each cluster of pecans on the baking sheet. Let the caramel set for 10 minutes.
  • In a bowl, melt the chocolate chips at 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring in between each time until completely melted and smooth. Dip each cluster into the melted chocolate until completely drenched.
  • Place back on the parchment paper and sprinkle with a little coarse salt. Repeat with all the caramel clusters and place in the refrigerator until the chocolate is hardened. Enjoy your pecan turtles or package away in a sealed container.


Nutrition Facts
Pecan Turtles
Amount Per Serving (1 oz)
Calories 197 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Trans Fat 0.03g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 4mg1%
Sodium 245mg11%
Potassium 71mg2%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 21g23%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 47IU1%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Calcium 48mg5%
Iron 0.4mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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