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Aunt Bee’s sweet, salty, and crunchy 4-ingredient graham cracker toffee is an easy dessert to share with friends and family throughout the holiday season — and it only requires 10 minutes of prep!

Overhead shot of graham cracker toffee on a plate.

If you love easy holiday treats, be sure to try our saltine cracker toffee, magic cookie bars, salted dark chocolate peanut butter balls, and 3-ingredient Scottish shortbread, too!

Graham cracker toffee, also called Christmas crack, graham cracker toffee crack, graham cracker crack, graham cracker toffee barkgraham cracker brittle, and graham cracker toffee bars, is a classic homemade holiday candy that’s so easy, anyone can make it! If you shy away from baking cookies or cakes from scratch, this quick treat is the perfect solution.

Why You’ll Love This Graham Cracker Toffee

  • It’s easy, and only requires about 10 minutes of hands-on prep. Bake the bars in the oven for about 5 minutes, and your job is done!
  • The bars are affordable, since they only require 4 simple, easy-to-find ingredients.
  • It can be made in advance, packaged, and shared with friends and family throughout the holiday season. The graham cracker toffee doesn’t get stale or soggy quickly, so it will keep well in the fridge for an extended period.
Square side shot of graham cracker toffee bars on a plate.

Ingredients for Toffee Graham Crackers

This is just a quick overview of the basic ingredients that you’ll need for a batch of graham cracker toffee bars. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Graham crackers: a crunchy, sweet base for the toffee.
  • Salted butter: use salted butter for the best-tasting toffee, since the salt balances the sweetness and enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Light brown sugar: combines with the butter to make the toffee.
  • Pecans: finely chopped nuts add the perfect finishing touch to this sweet treat.
Graham crackers on a rimmed baking sheet.

The Kitchen Supplies that You’ll Need for this Easy Graham Cracker Toffee

Making homemade toffee might sound intimidating, but it’s actually very easy and you don’t need any specialty equipment to make the delicious toffee mixture. Here’s what you should have on hand:

  • Baking sheet pan with edges: the edges are particularly important to keep the crackers organized and prevent the toffee from flowing over the edges. 
  • Offset spatula or rubber spatula: to easily spread the toffee candy over the graham crackers. 
  • Medium saucepan: for making the toffee mixture. An appropriately sized pan is important for safety when making the toffee. A small saucepan will work if that’s all you have but be extra careful when stirring the hot toffee mixture.
  • Candy thermometer (optional): you don’t need a candy thermometer for this graham cracker crack recipe, but it will help make the perfect toffee layer. These specialty thermometers have key temperature indicators for candy making.
Process shot showing how to make graham cracker toffee bars.

How to Make Graham Cracker Toffee Bars

This sweet, salty, and crunchy dessert is one of the easiest Christmas treats that you can prepare, and it makes a great gift for friends or family during the holiday season. I’ve included detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick overview:

  • Arrange the graham crackers on a baking sheet.
  • Boil the butter and brown sugar.
  • Spread the brown sugar mixture over the graham crackers.
  • Sprinkle with pecans.
  • Bake for about 5 minutes.
  • Cool, break into pieces, and serve!
Close up side shot of an easy graham cracker bars recipe with pecans on top.

How to Avoid Grainy Toffee

If you find that your caramel separates or becomes grainy when heating it on the stovetop, this is likely due to crystallization or because the temperature gets too hot. Toffee becomes grainy when the sugars crystallize, a process that happens when the melted sugar splashes up onto the cold sides of the pan. It loses its moisture and turns back into a sugar crystal. If this crystal touches the melted mass, it causes the caramel to seize up and become grainy.

To avoid grainy toffee, stir very gently so that the ingredients aren’t splashing up against the sides of the saucepan. If some sugar does get on the sides of the pan, just take a pastry brush and dip it in hot water, washing the sugar back down into the rest of the mixture. Also, make sure that the sugar melts into the butter before the mixture boils.

Overhead image of a plate of graham cracker toffee bars on a wooden table.

Can you fix grainy toffee?

If you find that the caramel gets gritty or grainy, remove it from the heat. Gradually reheat the mixture over low heat or medium heat, carefully adding 1 tablespoon of water at a time as you slowly stir. Once the water has evaporated and the mixture is warm again, you can increase the heat and bring it to a boil to finish the process.

Horizontal shot of a plate of graham cracker toffee bars.

Why is my graham cracker toffee crack chewy?

Graham cracker toffee bars should be very crunchy when they cool. If your toffee is chewy, you may have used something other than butter (such as margarine or coconut oil). Other fats will not work for this recipe — you need the real deal butter!

Another possibility is that you didn’t boil the caramel for long enough. Once the mixture starts bubbling and boiling, keep it at a boil for at least 4 minutes. If it doesn’t reach a certain temperature, the toffee will not harden when cooled, and instead you’ll end up with a soft, chewy, sticky mess.

Holiday cookie tin full of 4 ingredient graham cracker toffee bars.

Preparation and Storage Tips

  • Allow the graham cracker toffee bars to cool completely before breaking into pieces and storing.
  • Store the toffee bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. While it doesn’t need to be refrigerated, I like to keep it really firm in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.
  • You can freeze graham cracker toffee in an airtight container for up to 3 months; however, I find that the crackers get a bit soggy and just aren’t quite as crunchy when thawed from the freezer. This is not my preference — it’s best when enjoyed fresh!

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of chopped pecans, substitute with chopped walnuts, almonds, peanuts, cashews, or hazelnuts.
  • For a nut-free version, add holiday sprinkles or flaky sea salt to the top of the bars after they come out of the oven (while still warm).
  • Use other crackers. For instance, instead of the graham crackers, try saltine crackers or Ritz crackers.
  • Add a layer of chocolate. To do so, leave the pecans off of the bars before baking. As soon as you pull the toffee out of the oven, sprinkle a 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips over top. Let the chocolate rest and melt for a few minutes on top of the hot crackers. Spread the melted chocolate in an even layer over the top. Sprinkle with chopped pecans, if desired.
Square side shot of graham cracker toffee bars on a red and white plate.

Tips for the Best Graham Cracker Toffee Recipe

  • Line the baking sheet with foil or parchment paper so that the hardened toffee doesn’t stick to the pan.
  • Stir carefully as the caramel gradually heats to avoid splashing the mixture up the sides of the cold pan (which can cause crystallization and a grainy texture).
  • Use salted butter (not unsalted butter), since the salt balances the sweetness of the caramel and enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Once the graham cracker toffee bars cool enough so that you can handle the pan, transfer the tray to the refrigerator to cool completely. This will help it really firm up.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the graham cracker toffee into squares along the cracker perforations, or just use your hands to break the toffee into smaller pieces. It’s not supposed to look perfect, so don’t stress!
Close overhead shot of a platter of 4 ingredient graham cracker toffee bars.

More Easy Dessert Recipes with Pecans

Square side shot of graham cracker toffee bars on a plate.

4-Ingredient Graham Cracker Toffee Bars

4.95 from 20 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Cooling Time 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 28 squares
Calories 144 kcal
Aunt Bee's 4-ingredient graham cracker toffee bars are an easy dessert to share with friends and family!

Ingredients
  

  • 14 whole graham cracker sheets
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange the graham crackers touching each other in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet; set aside.
    Graham crackers on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 4-5 minutes. Pour the butter mixture over the graham crackers, using a rubber spatula to spread in an even layer. Sprinkle the pecans on top.
    Process shot showing how to make graham cracker toffee bars.
  • Bake for 4-5 minutes, until the nuts are lightly toasted and the toffee is hot and soft. Remove the tray from the oven. Let the tray sit on a wire rack until it's cool enough to touch, then transfer to the refrigerator to cool and harden completely. Break into pieces and serve!
    Overhead shot of graham cracker toffee on a plate.

Notes

  • Line the baking sheet with foil or parchment paper so that the hardened toffee doesn’t stick to the pan.
  • Stir carefully as the caramel gradually heats to avoid splashing the mixture up the sides of the cold pan (which can cause crystallization and a grainy texture).
  • Use salted butter (not unsalted butter), since the salt balances the sweetness of the caramel and enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Once the graham cracker toffee bars cool enough so that you can handle the pan, transfer the tray to the refrigerator to cool completely. This will help it really firm up.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the graham cracker toffee into squares along the cracker perforations, or just use your hands to break the toffee into smaller pieces. It’s not supposed to look perfect, so don’t stress!

Nutrition

Serving: 1squareCalories: 144kcalCarbohydrates: 13gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 106mgPotassium: 40mgSugar: 9gVitamin A: 205IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 0.5mg
Keyword: graham cracker dessert, graham cracker toffee, graham cracker toffee bars, Graham Cracker Toffee Crack
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in September, 2013. It was updated in November, 2023.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Heather MacLeish says:

    I made a bunch tweaks based on what I had on hand, and personal preferences, but I thought these turned out great! First, I used toasted slivered almonds instead of pecans. I also used about twice the graham crackers and nuts, so a ratio of about half the caramel of the original recipe. I also added a pinch of salt to the caramel. These were great for us, they may have been too sweet for our liking as written. Thanks for sharing, I would never have thought to make something like this!

    1. Blair says:

      That sounds great, Heather! Thank you for sharing those changes! 🙂

    2. Jennie says:

      Do you refrigerate these?

      1. Blair says:

        Hi, Jennie! Yes, I would keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator to keep them firm and fresh. Enjoy!

        1. Barbara B Moore says:

          5 stars
          So easy and great tasting. My friend Gracie likes them without any nuts. We make them together.

          1. The Seasoned Mom says:

            Thank you, Barbara! We’re so glad you enjoy them and get to make them with a friend.

    3. Susan Awar says:

      5 stars
      Turned out great. USED tea biscuits. GReat

      1. Blair Lonergan says:

        Thanks, Susan! 🙂

        1. Tara says:

          Can I use salted peanuts or cashews?

          1. Blair Lonergan says:

            Yes, those would be great!

    4. Cindy says:

      5 stars
      Hey I see you mentioned a candy thermometer. What stage on it should it reach? Soft ball, hard ball??

      1. Blair Lonergan says:

        Hi, Cindy! You’ll want to boil it until it’s about 270 to 290 degrees F. Then spread it on the crackers and pop it in the oven (it will continue to rise in temperature slightly in the oven, so that it’s nice and firm by the time it’s cool). Happy holidays!

  2. Patty says:

    5 stars
    Love these! Super easy to make. I use granulated sugar, but brown sugar works too! I have stored these in my freezer for a perfect spur-of-the-moment dessert or snack. No need to even thaw! Deeee-lish!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Patty! I love the idea of just keeping a bunch in the freezer for any time a craving strikes! Now I want to prepare some more! 🙂

  3. Martha says:

    5 stars
    Even simpler & just as good as a recipe I’ve previously used. I used unsalted butter because it’s what I had, and honey roasted peanuts, ditto. Substituted about 2 tablespoons of peanuts with some salt & vinegar almonds. Came out great, didn’t last 24 hours —more than one person called them “addicting”.
    Aside: had one person who couldn’t eat nuts & it was simple to whip up a small tray of oven s’mores.

    1. Blair says:

      Great tips! Thanks, Martha!

    2. Linda says:

      5 stars
      I also add toffee chips to the original recipe for extra YUM!

      1. Blair says:

        Sounds perfect, Linda!

  4. Patti says:

    5 stars
    Too easy!! I sprinkled with dark chocolate chips when they came out of the oven waited 2 minutes and spread out melted chips, Dash of coarse sea salt let cool and they were absolutely awesome!! Thank you for sharing ????

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Patti! I bet the chocolate was a perfect addition!

    2. DeeDee says:

      I’m adding Chocolate at the end also !!!!

      1. Blair says:

        Delicious!!!

  5. Imaginera says:

    4 stars
    I was introduced to these at a recent holiday party and used this recipe today. I followed the recipe exactly as written, except I used two full packs of graham crackers (more than the recipe stated). They came out great! Even so, next time, if I am expecting a larger crowed, I think I will use a third pack of the crackers and spread the mixture thinner because the toffee layer was very thick in this recipe. The cookies I tried originally had just a small, thin layer of the toffee and were great that way also.

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Imaginera! I’m glad that you’ve made the recipe your own! 🙂

  6. Deb says:

    Help please. I have made these numerous times in the past but big failure tonight. Why would the butter and sugar mixture turn to curdle/oily looking mess? TWICE?? Unsalted butter? Natural sugar? The first time I thought maybe I heated it too quickly, but low-medium heat did not work either.

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Deb! I hadn’t experienced this myself, so I did a little bit of research and found this helpful article: https://www.thespruceeats.com/why-did-my-butter-separate-when-making-toffee-or-caramel-520448

      It sounds like the separation can be caused by a quick temperature shift — so maybe you’re heating it too quickly, or you’re starting with really cold butter? Here’s a quote: “If you have good stovetop burners, we recommend turning them to medium-low to allow the butter and sugar to melt gently in the beginning stages. If the heat is too high, but butter might melt too quickly and can separate from the sugar.” And one other tip…

      “Additionally, separation is more likely to occur when using thinner (cheaper) saucepans, as they don’t conduct heat efficiently and lead to “hot spots” that can cause uneven heat and allowing the butter to separate. Finally, humidity can cause the butter to separate, so if your kitchen is very warm and humid, it’s not a good time to be making candy.”

      I hope that helps!

      1. Sharon says:

        I don’t want mine to get hard what do I do?

        1. Blair says:

          Hi, Sharon! I don’t think there’s any way to prevent the caramelized sugar from becoming crisp and firm as it cools. 🙂

        2. Lorrie says:

          I have had them not harden before by accident on multiple occasions. I believe it was from not boiling the butter and sugar long enough.

        3. Jeanna says:

          5 stars
          The longer you bake them the crunchier they get. If you want yours more chewy than crunchy, bake them for a shorter time. The 4-6 minute window should get you there. People who want them crunchy should go 7-9 minutes or when the crackers start to brown a tiny bit around the edges. If it just looks light brown and bubbly then you are good. I don’t know if the fridge/freezer cooling crisps them up more or not. I haven’t cooled mine there before. I usually leave mine in the pan until they cool to the touch. Then I break them up and put them in an airtight container, usually just a ziplock bag. I don’t store them in the fridge either. I haven’t had a problem with spoilage. Then again, they don’t last over a week in my house.

      2. Deb says:

        Blair, Thanks for taking time to reply! Made these again yesterday, and first attempt was another fail with butter- sugar (regular white Dominos) mixture separating/curdling. Wondered if it was because of unsalted butter, so tried adding a little salt and turning heat even lower to melt on second batch. They turned out fine. Like others I left out the nuts till the last. After taking them out of oven, I sprinkled 2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips over them and spread as the chocolate melted, then sprinkled chopped pecans. Going to make more notes on the recipe. (Very Low heat and salted butter). Thanks! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

        1. Blair says:

          Thanks for the follow-up, Deb! That’s interesting about the salted butter. The low heat is definitely necessary, but I’m not sure why the salt would make a difference scientifically. But so glad that you figured it out and that you were able to enjoy them! I know the chocolate was a delicious addition. 🙂

  7. Blair says:

    Hi, Autumn! Yes, you’ll melt the butter over low heat, and then stir in the sugar and pecans. Once you have everything combined, increase the heat and boil the mixture for 2 minutes. Enjoy!

    1. April says:

      5 stars
      How do you store the Toffee Graham Cracker Cookies to keep them crunchy? I noticed storing them in an air-tight container makes them soggy.

  8. Monique says:

    These look delicious! I’d like to attempt to make them diary-free by substituting the salted butter with Earth Balance vegan butter. Do you think that will work?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Monique! I’m not familiar with Earth Balance, so I have no idea if it will work or not. Sorry that I can’t be more helpful in that regard.

      1. Alex says:

        I have made these with non-dairy butters, and as long as the “butter” isnt liquid at room temperature it should work just fine. It’s typically not as sweet as real butter either, so keep that in mind and good luck!

        1. Blair says:

          Thanks, Alex!

  9. Jc says:

    5 stars
    Too good to be so simple.

  10. Lauren says:

    5 stars
    Came across this post while trying to figure out why I was having repeated failures with my mom’s old recipe for “Easy Ones.” Recipe is identical except hers includes 1 cup ground almond meal, so toffee is extra-nutty. Based on comments above, I’m sure my fails were caused by separation of butter and sugar from melting at too high temp and changing temp too quickly. Thank you for saving a beloved family recipe that friends eagerly await each Christmas!

    1. Blair says:

      That’s wonderful, Lauren! I’m so glad that you’ll be able to successfully recreate one of your mom’s recipes. Those are always the best! 🙂

  11. Ryan H. Swindall says:

    So, my Grandmother made these my entire childhood during the holidays. These along with chocolate crinkle cookies, and spice cookies were our go to holiday cookie trio. She called these “Patrol Dilly’s”. I have no idea where the name came from but that’s what they will forever be known as in my family! Anyway, my wife has taken up her mantle and has perfected them over the last 10 years. A couple of notes. We use a 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of light brown sugar – yeah that pushes the recipe to 5 ingredients but TRUST ME ON THIS. Also, you people talking about using almonds ought to banned from making them, JK but also kinda not ;). The mixture needs to be stirred consistently and cooked down for a good while until none of the yellow butter remnants are visible – otherwise the mixture will be grainy. Also, we break the graham crackers into 4’s ahead of time so that the mixture coats all sides of the cracker. As far as cooking goes, you want these cooked on the well done side. Dark and crispy is good in this case. I hope these tips help and please spread the Patrol Dilly name!

    1. Blair says:

      That’s great, Ryan! I’ll have to try the two different types of brown sugar. And Patrol Dilly’s from here on out! 😉

    2. Steven Akers says:

      these are easy and tasty

      1. Blair says:

        Thank you!

    3. Meg says:

      @Ryan H. Swindall,

      My family ALSO calls them Patrol Dillies!!!! I never thought I’d find another person who calls them that. So funny.

      1. The Seasoned Mom says:

        Small world! And such a fun name!

  12. Melissa says:

    5 stars
    This is easy to make and very good.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you, Melissa!

  13. Blair Lonergan says:

    Hi, Judy! The crackers should definitely be crisp, not soggy. Maybe they didn’t bake long enough?

  14. Anita says:

    5 stars
    Excellent

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thanks, Anita!

  15. Maxmasch says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely addicting! I loved the taste and will make this for gifts!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you! We love giving this as gifts!

  16. Terry Conrad says:

    5 stars
    Addictive is the word for these! They are incrediblely yummy. I will be making these often!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you so much, Terry!

  17. Donna Williams says:

    Absolutely delicious and so easy to make

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you, Donna!

  18. April says:

    5 stars
    How do you store the Toffee Graham Cracker Cookies to keep them crunchy? I noticed storing them in an air-tight container makes them soggy.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, April! We store them in the fridge or at room temperature in an airtight container. They shouldn’t get soggy, so I wonder if maybe the toffee wasn’t cooked to a high enough temperature (which can cause it to get soft rather than staying firm and crunchy).