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These Caramel Chocolate Turtles are the ultimate lightened-up homemade candy. They’re made with homemade vegan caramel and chopped pecans perfectly packaged in a dark chocolate cup.

Easy Chocolate Turtle Cups

These Caramel Chocolate Turtles are one of my favorite homemade candies to make.

They’re delicious, simple to make, and contain just a few wholesome ingredients, including a lightened-up paleo and vegan homemade caramel, pecans, and dark chocolate. That means they’re essentially a healthy snack, right?

This chocolate turtle candy is perfect for keeping in the fridge or the freezer whenever a craving hits. Just let the turtles first sit at room temperature for a few minutes for the perfect soft and gooey texture!

They also make a great gift! Make a big batch, divide it into tins or boxes tied with a bow, and give them to friends or family for any holiday, birthday, or sweet surprise for any day.

Why Are Chocolate Turtles Called Turtles?

Classic chocolate turtles got their name because they are made of a cluster of chocolate and pecans dipped in chocolate—a shape many thought to resemble turtles. Since the traditional turtle candy came to be, however, “turtle” has become more about the flavor combination of chocolate and caramel and less about the shape.

So, you’ll see plenty of other sweet treats titled “turtle” that aren’t shaped like a turtle.

three jars of homemade caramel lined up.

Ingredients Needed

  • Vegan Caramel – We’re whipping up a batch of our homemade paleo and vegan caramel for this recipe. It’s ready in under 20 minutes and so tasty! For the homemade caramel, you can sweeten it using maple syrup, honey, or coconut sugar. Each adds its layer of flavor, but all are delicious. We’ve tested all three and ultimately prefer a mix of coconut sugar and maple syrup.
  • Chocolate Chips – I recommend dark chocolate chips—72% or higher.
  • Coconut Oil – Melting a little coconut oil with the chocolate creates a smoother texture.
  • Pecans – We’re mixing chopped pecans into the caramel and reserving a few whole pecans for garnish!

How to Make Chocolate Turtles

This turtle candy recipe is so simple to make. Just a quick homemade caramel, a few minutes of assembling and they’re ready to enjoy.

  1. Prepare your caramel: For full paleo caramel instructions, check out the post here. Once the caramel is prepared, let it cool completely, then mix in chopped pecans.
  2. Prepare your chocolate cups: Bring water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler, then place another pan (or a heat-proof bowl) on top. Add the chocolate and coconut oil into the bowl, stirring frequently, allowing the mixture to melt. Place 2 teaspoons of the chocolate mixture into each cup of a lined muffin tin, use a spoon to gently push the chocolate 1/3 of the way up the sides, then place the tin in the freezer so the chocolate can harden.
  3. Assemble: Once the chocolate is sufficiently hardened, remove the cups from the freezer and fill each with one (1) tablespoon of the caramel/pecan mixture. Smooth it down, then top it off with a couple of teaspoons of melted chocolate. Let that sit for a few minutes to set, top it off with a whole pecan for garnish, then dig in or store in the fridge or freezer.

Tips and Notes

  • Cool the caramel completely. Be sure that your homemade caramel is completely cooled off before you add it to the chocolate cups. Otherwise, it will just re-melt the hardened chocolate.
  • Line the muffin tin. Before assembling your chocolate cups, line the muffin tin with parchment or silicone muffin liners. This is essential so you can easily get the turtle chocolate candy out without damaging it!
  • Melt the chocolate carefully. I recommend using a double boiler to help prevent burnt chocolate. If you don’t have one, you can place a heat-proof bowl over the top of the saucepan containing simmering water, but make sure that the bowl isn’t touching the water.
  • Alternative melting method: Try the microwave instead! To successfully melt chocolate in the microwave, make sure you heat in short 20 second (or less) bursts, whisking each time.


  • Skip the pecans. I love the crunch and nuttiness the pecans add to these treats, but you can make them nut-free, too. No one will complain about chocolate caramel cups.
  • Make them salty. Give your caramel a salty finish by sprinkling some sea salt directly into the caramel, or add it on top of your chocolate turtles as a garnish.
a caramel turtle cup with a bite taken out held.

How to Store

These chocolate turtle candies can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

I like to store them in the freezer long-term, then grab a couple when I’m craving a healthy treat.

Serving Tip!

This turtle chocolate candy is best served at room temperature so that the chocolate isn’t super hard. Before you plan to enjoy it, I recommend letting it sit out at room temperature for about 10 minutes out of the fridge or 15-20 minutes out of the freezer.

More Lightened-Up Treats You’ll Love

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Caramel Turtle Cups

These Caramel Chocolate Turtles are the ultimate lightened-up homemade candy. They're made with homemade vegan caramel and chopped pecans perfectly packaged in a dark chocolate cup.
Servings 12
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes


  • 1/2 cup vegan caramel prepared and cooled
  • 1-1/2 cups about 10 ounces dark chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup pecans toasted and chopped finely
  • 12 whole pecans for garnish


  • Place parchment paper or silicone muffin liners in a 12-cup muffin tin and set aside.
  • Melt chocolate using the double-boiler method: Bring a small saucepan of water to a simmer and place a heatproof bowl over the top. Make sure the simmering water isn't touching the bowl. Add the chocolate and the
    coconut oil to the bowl and slowly melt and stir the chocolate, whisking together at the end. Alternatively you could melt the chocolate in the microwave at 20 second intervals, whisking in between until it's fully melted.
  • In a small bowl combine cooled caramel and pecans and mix together.
  • Place 2 teaspoons of chocolate into each of the molds with a spoon and gently push the chocolate 1/3 of the way up the sides of the parchment paper. Place in the freezer to harden for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from freezer and drop in about 1 tablespoon of caramel mixture into the center of the chocolate and smooth down.
  • Top the caramel with 2 teaspoons melted chocolate and let sit for a few minutes before topping with whole pecan.
  • Store in the refrigerator for 1 week or in the freezer for 3 months.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Gluten-free, Paleo, Vegan
Author: Lexi


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    1. They are If You Care unbleached parchment liners. We purchased these on Whole Foods, but they are also available online too.

      1. I’ve made this recipe twice now and I’m wondering if I’m cooking it too long… it tastes fine, but the texture isn’t gooey. It’s brittle when you first bite it. Should I remove it from the heat sooner?

  1. If I’m making this caramel sauce to store, where would you recommend storing it? Countertop or fridge? Thanks!

  2. Is it possible to substitute coconut oil for the ghee?? Please let me know!!!! Looks beyond delicious and definitely to be mixed into a martini

  3. I made your caramel sauce, but it didn’t turn out as smooth as yours. It still taste great!! Any ideas what I did wrong?

  4. OMG Icant wait to try these! Thank you so much I try to stay away from sweets but it’s hard sometimes! Need to make these wonderful little bites of joy!

  5. I’m not a candy maker so I was wondering if I should be stirring the carmel constantly. I crave carmel and this looks delicious!

    1. I also am making these right now and was wondering if I should be stirring the caramel constantly? It also does not appear to be thickening…

  6. I don’t even think I have words for these! Holy yum!!! Cant wait to make them!

  7. Turtles are my moms favorite chocolate! Fun fact: On my parents first Valentine’s day together my dad (who had just moved to Canada from Europe) asked what she wanted…she said Turtles and my dad showed up with two live turtles! He had no idea turtles were chocolates hahaha! Great recipe 😀

  8. These look incredible! And that caramel sauce…I’m totally drooling at my computer right now!

  9. These are pretty much cups of joy! I can’t wait to make them for summer! 🙂