Pecan Turtles Recipe
Pecan Turtles Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Pecan Turtles Recipe

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4.5 7 14
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I made these "turtle-like" concoctions one Christmas for a sweets exchange. My dad saw them on the counter waiting to be boxed up and couldn't believe I made them. He said they looked like they came from a candy shop. That's the best compliment I've ever received. -Carrie Burke Conway, Massachusetts
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 1-1/4 hours + chilling
MAKES:36 servings
Contest Winning Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 1-1/4 hours + chilling
MAKES: 36 servings


  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 cup butter, divided
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 2-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 pounds pecan halves, toasted
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 teaspoons shortening

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (2 each) equals 328 calories, 22 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 18 mg cholesterol, 94 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein.


  1. Line baking sheets with waxed paper; lightly coat with cooking spray and set aside. Butter the sides of a heavy saucepan with 1 teaspoon butter. Cube remaining butter; place in pan. Add the corn syrup, brown sugar and salt. Cook and stir until sugar is melted.
  2. Gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Cook and stir until a candy thermometer reads 248° (firm-ball stage), about 16 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Gently stir in pecans. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 12 minutes.
  3. In a microwave, melt chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Drizzle over clusters. Chill until firm. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: about 6 dozen.
Editor's Note: We recommend that you test your candy thermometer before each use by bringing water to a boil; the thermometer should read 212°. Adjust your recipe temperature up or down based on your test.
Originally published as Pecan Clusters in Taste of Home December/January 2005, p30

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Reviewed Apr. 7, 2016

"These are fantastic and easy to make! I'm asked to make them all the time. And they are great when having a dessert auction for a fundraiser. I make these a lot because of all the requests from my friends and co-workers. Just make sure your candy thermometer is very accurate since that's important to get the right consistency of the caramel when mixing in the pecans. I like to wrap them in the clear treat bags with colorful twist ties."

Reviewed Dec. 16, 2013

"we love these and everyone I give them to just raves about them !"

Reviewed Dec. 10, 2013

"I have been making these for years and this is the top of my gift giving candy box. I see that Debbie had problem with wax paper, which I did too. I started using parchment paper and it has worked so much better. The candies come off easier and no longer stick to the wax paper."

Reviewed Jan. 10, 2013

"Only problem I had with the recipe is that the caramel mix was so hot it melted the wax paper and took me a while to get these unstuck. But it was worth every minute. Made these for after Xmas treats for the neighbors and had rave reviews from all 8 families. Kudos"

Reviewed Feb. 27, 2012

"This is a very simple recipe!! My suggestion is to roughly chop about half of the pecans. The caramel has more places to stick to and doesn't spread quite as much. Also let it cool in the pan for a minute or two before you start scooping. I use my cookie scoop to make semi uniform clusters. Definetly a keeper!!"

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