Quick Microwave Toffee: Holiday Treat in 15 Minutes!

If you’re short on time, but still want to make a quick holiday treat, then you’ve got to try this microwave toffee recipe! It’s a simple, six ingredient candy that only requires 15 active minutes to throw together, and there’s no oven required. I love it for those last-minute holiday parties!

microwave toffee recipe dinners done quick featured image

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Toffee is a sweet, crunchy treat that’s perfect for the holidays. It’s made with pantry ingredients, so it’s perfect to throw together in a pinch. You can even dress it up with festive sprinkles for Christmas if you want it to be even more fancy!

A layer of hardened caramel toffee is coated with some creamy chocolate for the perfect bite. Like many recipes, though, you can make it your own with the addition of roasted nuts or other toppings, but I’m a fan of the classic.

It takes just a few minutes to throw this toffee together, and after a brief chill in the refrigerator to harden, it’s ready to whack up and serve! If you don’t have an oven or you aren’t a confident baker, this is a great recipe (and looks equally great on a cookie platter)!

holding up a piece of microwave toffee with sea salt on top

For a salty sweet variation with crackers, make sure to also check out my Christmas Crack Microwave recipe!

Ingredients List

ingredients to make toffee in the microwave
  • ½ cup salted butter (8 Tbsp)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Equipment Note: You’ll need a microwave safe dish that can handle boiling sugar (around 300°F). I do not recommend plastic bowls, even if they’re microwave safe (I’ve melted one this way before).

I use a casserole that’s microwave and oven safe to handle the high heat (but make sure to check manufacturer guidelines for your specific dish)!

Ingredient Tips and Substitutions

  • You can also use granulated sugar or dark brown sugar in place of regular brown sugar. Granulated sugar makes it easier to see the color change to brown, if you do better with visual cues
  • Dark chocolate chips work well too, if you don’t have semisweet
  • Optional nut toppings could be toasted pecans, almonds, or macadamia nuts. Add them on top of the chocolate before it sets (about ¼ cup is good)

Step By Step Instructions

  1. Line a cookie sheet, large casserole dish, or similar flat surface with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside
line a cooking sheet with parchment paper
  1. Grease (I use a little extra butter) a 2-qt (or more) high heat microwave safe bowl (such as a Pyrex measuring cup or a casserole dish), then add the brown sugar, butter, water, and vanilla (do not stir)
add butter, brown sugar, water, and vanilla to a heat safe microwave bowl
  1. Microwave on high for 6 minutes, or until mixture bubbles in the center for around 3 minutes and starts to get a deeper shade of brown (it will also get a kind of “nutty” scent when you open the door). If you have a thermometer, you want it between 300°F – 310°F. Add additional time in small increments to prevent burning it (it generally takes me around 6-7 minutes total in a 1000W microwave, depending how many times I pause and check it)
  2. Using oven mitts (it will be extremely hot), remove the bowl and pour the molten sugar onto the parchment paper lined tray (the butter may separate a bit; this is normal since we’re fast-cooking this, see my notes below in recipe tips). Immediately add the chocolate chips over top of the hot sugar
pour melted sugar over parchment paper and immediately add chocolate chips
  1. As they begin to melt, use a spoon or spatula to spread them out evenly, then top with the sea salt (or chopped nuts or other decorative items if desired)
as chocolate chips being to melt start smoothing things out
  1. Cool in the refrigerator until firm (about 30-40 minutes)
  2. Break into pieces (use your hands or a rubber mallet) and store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 1 week
overhead view of microwave toffee on a christmas plate with festive holiday shrubbery

More Microwave Candy Recipes

Recipe FAQs

How Long Does It Take to Make Microwave Toffee?

The preparation time for microwave toffee varies but usually takes around 10-15 minutes for preparation and cooking.

Factor in an additional 30-40 minutes for cooling time to allow it to harden.

Can I Use a Different Kind of Sugar for Microwave Toffee?

Yes, you can use granulated sugar, brown sugar, or dark brown sugar (or a combination thereof) for variations in flavor.

Sometimes, a small amount of corn syrup is also added.

What’s the Best Way to Store Microwave Toffee?

Store microwave toffee in an airtight container at room temperature in a place away from direct heat or sunlight.

It generally keeps well for about a week, sometimes longer.

Can I Add Nuts or Other Toppings to Microwave Toffee?

Yes, chopped nuts or sprinkles can be added on top of the toffee before it sets for added flavor, appearance, and texture.

Usually, between ¼ and ½ cup is the ideal amount, depending on the size of the pieces.

Why Won’t My Toffee Get Hard?

If your toffee won’t get hard, it didn’t get hot enough during cooking. It should reach 300°F to hit the stage where it will harden.

Generally, this is when it boils and turns light brown. Alternatively, if you have a candy thermometer, you can verify it that way.

What Happens if You Cook Toffee Too Long?

If you cook toffee too long, it will get darker and deeper brown in color, and will take on a burnt taste.

There is no undoing this, so it’s best to cook in small increments of time to prevent this from accidentally occurring.

Recipe Pro Tips

  • Humidity, altitude, and wattage of your microwave can all affect the cooking time. Your best bet to get it right is the use of a thermometer. Candy thermometers are ideal, but you can use a regular meat or other kitchen thermometer as long as it goes up to at least 310°F
  • If you don’t get it to a high enough temperature, it will not harden. But, never fear, you’ll have some delicious soft caramel instead!
  • The butter separation occurs when you “shock” your candy, which is frequent with this fast method (and it can also be affected by humidity). If you get some of this, try to give your toffee a stir and skim the excess off before pouring the toffee into the pan, or just plan to trim the edges off before breaking up the candy later on
stacked up toffee made in the microwave on a red snowflake plate

Storage Tips

  • Store toffee in an airtight container or zippered bag in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat, or in the refrigerator. It’s generally good for about a week
  • It also wraps nicely in cello bags for gifting, or can be placed on a cookie tray or tin and covered in plastic wrap

More Holiday Treats For Your Cookie Plate

Final Thoughts

This quick microwave toffee recipe is the perfect shortcut to making candy, and uses pantry ingredients so it’s great for last-minute surprises!

Would I call it no-fail? No, there’s always ways to mess it up when it comes to making any kind of candy. But, it’s a fast alternative to the traditional stovetop method, and great for anyone who doesn’t have a stove!

Toffee is a sweet treat, offering a caramel flavored crunchy base with creamy chocolate topping. Make it festive with the addition of holiday sprinkles, or just enjoy it as is. It’s perfect with a cup of coffee or tea, and lovely on your cookie platter as a texture alternative to soft treats!

microwave toffee recipe dinners done quick featured image

Microwave Toffee (Bark Style With Chocolate)

This microwave toffee takes 15 minutes or less of active time to put together, and uses pantry ingredients. It’s sweet, crunchy, and perfect for last-minute dessert needs!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Cooling Time 40 minutes
Total Time 52 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Servings 4
Calories 453 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • ½ Cup salted butter (8 Tbsp)
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ Cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ Tsp sea salt

Instructions
 

  • Line a cookie sheet, large casserole dish, or similar flat surface with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside
  • Grease (I use a little extra butter) a 2-qt (or more) high heat microwave safe bowl, then add the brown sugar, butter, water, and vanilla (do not stir)
    ½ Cup salted butter, 1 Cup brown sugar, 2 Tbsp water, 1 Tsp vanilla extract
  • Microwave on high for 6 minutes, or until mixture bubbles in the center for around 3 minutes and starts to get a deeper shade of brown (it will also get a “nutty” scent when you open the door). If you have a thermometer, you want it between 300°F – 310°F. Add additional time in small increments to prevent burning it (it generally takes me around 6-7 minutes total in a 1000W microwave, depending how many times I pause and check it)
  • Using oven mitts (it will be extremely hot), remove the bowl and pour the molten sugar onto the parchment paper lined tray (the butter may separate a bit; this is normal since we’re fast-cooking this, see my notes below). Immediately add the chocolate chips over top of the hot sugar
    ½ Cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • As they begin to melt, use a spoon or spatula to spread them out evenly, then top with the sea salt (or chopped nuts or other decorative items if desired)
    ½ Tsp sea salt
  • Cool in the refrigerator until firm (about 30-40 minutes)
  • Break into pieces (use your hands or a rubber mallet) and store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place

Notes

  • You’ll need a microwave safe dish that can handle boiling sugar (up to around 300°F). I do not recommend plastic bowls, even if they’re microwave safe (I’ve melted one this way before). I use an oven and microwave-safe casserole dish
  • You can use granulated sugar or dark brown sugar in place of regular brown sugar. Granulated sugar makes it easier to see the color change to brown, if you do better with visual cues
  • Dark chocolate chips work well too, if you don’t have semisweet
  • Optional nut toppings could be toasted pecans, almonds, or macadamia nuts. Add them on top of the chocolate before it sets (about ¼ cup is good)
  • Humidity, altitude, and wattage of your microwave can all affect the cooking time. My microwave is 1000W. Your best bet to get it right is the use of a thermometer. Candy thermometers are ideal, but you can use a regular meat or other kitchen thermometer as long as it goes up to at least 310°F
  • If you don’t get the toffee to a high enough temperature, it will not harden. But, it will at least be a soft, delicious failure!
  • The butter separation occurs when you “shock” your candy, which is frequent with this fast method (and it can also be affected by humidity). If this happens, try to give your toffee a stir and skim the excess butter off before pouring the toffee into the pan, or just plan to trim the edges off before breaking up the candy later on once it’s hardened
  • Store toffee in an airtight container or zippered bag in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat, or in the refrigerator. It’s generally good for about a week
  • Exact nutritional values will vary based on brand and flavor of ingredients, any toppings or additions, and actual quantity consumed, so please consider this a guideline only

Nutrition

Serving: 89gCalories: 453kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 1.2gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 435mgPotassium: 140mgFiber: 1.3gSugar: 35gVitamin A: 649IUCalcium: 44mgIron: 1mg
Keyword brown sugar microwave toffee, melted sugar sweets, microwave candy recipes, microwave desserts, microwave toffee, quick toffee, toffee without stovetop
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microwave toffee recipe dinners done quick pinterest
Katie Vine
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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