Homemade Butterfingers (Vegan,Gluten/Dairy/Soy/Corn/Refined Sugar Free!)

by Brittany on October 13, 2011

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I don’t know about you- but as a kid Butterfingers were always the prized item when we traded candy from our stuffed Halloween baskets. With Halloween candy/decorations and more already popping up in all the stores it crossed my mind to work on some allergy free/ refined sugar free candy bar recipes. Considering that I hadn’t had the luxury of enjoying a delicious milk chocolate covered Butterfinger in over 2 years. I figured it was time.

a few notes before we begin.

There are a number of Butterfinger recipes online. The majority of them call for Corn Syrup- that was the first thing that had to go.  For allergy and health reasons.  I replaced it with a syrup I had in my pantry: Coconut Nectar!  I realize this syrup is not yet something that every household keeps on hand. So please feel free to try using Agave Nectar instead.  I predict it will work just as well ( maybe even better) . In the future I plan to try  using Brown Rice Syrup (If someone tries this- please let me know how they turn out)

Every recipe I saw floating around the Internet instructed to heat the candy mixture somewhere between 300- 310 degrees (F). I tried this.. and as I suspected the directions are WRONG.  That temperature range creates candy in the “Hard Crack” range. Hard Crack = Toffee NOT Butterfingers.  If I remember correctly butterfingers are supposed to shatter when you bite down into a million little delicious pieces.  I tested out my theory- and heated the candy mixture to the Soft Crack temp of  285 Degrees – and it turned out better than I could have ever imagined.  The crunch and texture (I think) is spot on. (I hope you will agree!)  This lower temp really works in our favor for this recipe as the refined free sugars tend to burn at lower temps than corn syrup.

This recipe calls for Peanut Butter. When I say Peanut Butter I’m talking about the processed – creamy kind. The healthier versions as you may have noticed tend to be really hard and thick. If you buy this type of healthy peanut butter prior to using it in this recipe I would suggest adding maybe a little bit of oil and liquid sugar (such as Coconut Nectar, Agave , Brown Rice Syrup or even Honey) to make it smooth. This will make it easier to stir into the hot candy mixture.  Also- I want to note that you do NOT have to use Peanut Butter- Feel free to sub in Almond Butter, Cashew Butter and for the Nut freecrowd- try throwing in some delicious Sunflower Seed Sunbutter!   These  nut butters can be “creamy” or “crunchy”  its up to you.

Make sure to use a heavy bottomed sauce pan. the mixture is going to rise a good three inches and bubble up while it heats- make sure your pan is large and tall enough.. the LAST thing you want to clean up is a bunch of hardened sugar off your stove top.

and finally.. make sure to prepare all of your ingredients and baking pan with parchment before you begin! Towards the end you are going to want to move fast. (Don’t feel overwhelmed- these are easy I promise!)


1/3 Cup  Coconut Syrup or Agave (or Light Corn Syrup)
1/3 Cup Water
1 Cup Granulated Sugar (Organic Cane Sugar or Turbinato or regular white sugar)
1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter (see note above)

1 Cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (or regular chocolate chips)
1-2 Tsp. Coconut Oil (optional)

 Equipment Needed: 

12 x 17 Jelly Roll Pan (cookie sheet) covered with a sheet of Parchment Paper.
Candy Thermometer
Large Kitchen Knife + Oil (or non-stick spray) to coat it

  1. Place a sheet of parchment paper on jelly roll pan. Scoop peanut butter into measuring cup and set it next to stove with a spoon ready to go.
  2. Into a heavy bottomed non-stick (or cast iron)  sauce pan combine the Syrup, Water and Granulated Sugar. Turn heat on medium high- stir until the sugar dissolves.  As the sugar mixture heats it will bubble and change composition- stir it occassionally (It should not stick to the pan) place a candy thermometer in and  carefully monitor the temp. (Don’t allow the thermometer to touch the pan as this will give you an inaccurate temp. read)
  3. When the temp. reaches 280- 285 degrees quickly turn off the heat (any hotter and the sugar will burn). QUICKLY stir in the peanut butter. Still moving at a quick pace- poor the mixture onto the prepared pan with parchment. Spread the candy mixture just slightly (it should  be about an inch thick)
  4. Coat the large knife with oil and score the bars into the size that you would like.  (Tip: When you score DO NOT drag the knife. Press down and then lift up. Re-oil knife as needed. I like to go back over the score lines several times to make them as deep as possible)
  5. Allow the butterfinger’s to cool at room temp for 1-2 hours.
  6. Once cool use a large knife to cut (break) the candy bars apart.
  7. Melt the Chocolate Chips in a microwave 1-2 minutes (stopping the microwave every so often to stir). If the chocolate is too thick for you to comfortably work with stir in 1-2 Tsp of Coconut Oil. (The more oil you use- the quicker the chocolate will melt in your hand when eating)
  8. Dip each bar in the chocolate – let the extra chocolate drip off and then place on either a sheet of parchment paper or on a cooling wrack.
  9. Let the chocolate cool and harden (if you are impatient- stick the bars in your freezer!)
Store in a sealed container at room temp or in the freezer.
To clean your sauce pan and candy covered spoon run it under hot water. The hard candy will melt away.
* If you accidently burn your sugar- add the peanut butter and make the bars anyway- you won’t hardly notice the taste! (I did this once- we ate them anyways!*
Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!
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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

mealswithmorri October 13, 2011 at 6:16 pm

They sound amazing, Brittany! I was so hoping for a photo. Is that a technical difficulty issue for Real Sustenance, right now? So glad you are back up and running. Now we just need to get your email subscription from long ago back up and running, so I can keep up with you better. ;-)

Off to share on Facebook … xo,


BrittanyAngell October 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Still working on getting the photos back :) Right now there\’s something funky with my settings not allowing me to insert them into the posts. But I\’ll get there- on the homestretch of having everything back in place! :)


Alisa Fleming October 13, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Brilliant recipe Brittany! I'm going to link up to it in a post on Monday on Go Dairy Free.


BrittanyAngell October 13, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Thanks Alisa! Its an old post that I lost prior to the big server problem! Was excited to be able to find it and repost it!


Diane Eblin-thewholegang October 18, 2011 at 7:18 pm

You’re brilliant! My son was just asking me if I could make him this type of Butterfinger. I said I’d need a recipe and had not seen any that fit all of our needs. That is until now. I will be making some of this soon. Thank you.


Sea October 27, 2011 at 3:29 pm

This sounds amazing! Funny- I was just thinking that I should try to make my own recipe for homemade butterfingers and I started looking for recipes and guess who was at the top of the list???! Hee hee. They look great.



Brittany October 27, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Was I really?? That’s exciting :)
They are really quite easy- I was surprised. You should definatly work on a variety of your own or make these- I like them better than the ” real” thing.


Amy October 29, 2011 at 3:29 pm

These are so yummy, but mine do not come out like butterfingers nor look like yours. I even went a bit above 285 and still they are just soft, not crackly at all. Any ideas?


Brittany October 29, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Hmm. I’m not sure. Did you have the tip of your candy thermometer touching the pan? That could send off an inacurate reading. Candy can be a finicky thing!


Juleigh October 30, 2011 at 8:13 pm

These are absolutely amazing!! Next time I will stop at 275 they burned a little in the second it took to take them off the burner, but like Brittany said it really didn’t hurt the taste at all. Wonderful!! I’m so excited!


Brittany October 31, 2011 at 12:55 am

The pot you use and the accuracy of the candy thermometer makes a big difference! :) So glad they turned out!!


badgerette November 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm

errr.. you can’t say something doesn’t have refined sugar, and then call for refined sugar in the ingredients. Looks majorly tasty, but I can’t have it. White sugar, brown sugar, and yes, even “organic” unbleached sugar is still refined sugar. Unrefined sugar is maple syrup, agave nectar, etc…. :/


Brittany November 1, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Yes- I’m aware that those are refined! Which is why right next to them I called for the Unrefined Varieties. In my recipes I like to cover all options. Some people aren’t interested in making things unrefined- so I covered both ends of the spectrum.


badgerette November 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm

But…. those things you listed are refined sugar. “Organic Cane Sugar or Turbinato or regular white sugar” are all refined. Might want to look that one up so you’re not misleading people. http://www.becomehealthynow.com/article/carbs/1082/


Brittany November 2, 2011 at 3:26 pm

They are less refined then white sugar and still contain some nutrients. I have researched this extensively.


Selena February 2, 2012 at 12:05 am

But I can’t feed this to a diabetic…..any options that are diabetic friendly?

Jennifer December 13, 2011 at 1:15 am

I love your site!! I made some candy bars today and wanted to share them with you thank you for being our inspiration tonight. http://perfectlynaturalfamilysoaps.com/1/post/2011/12/gluten-dairy-processed-sugar-free-candy.html


kathy December 20, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Wonderful idea. I was trying it, and my cand thermometer broke in the middle, and ended up burning and starting again. The stores were sold out of thermometers, so I chose to wing it. I am wondering, if you filled your entire pan or part of it. The peanutbuter mixture, stiffened up pretty quick. Tasted amazing. Haven’t done the chocolate yet, chilling the peanutbutter mixture. I ordered another candy thermometer, and will try it again soon. Just wondering if the mixture should have been thinner.
Thanks again, I know my boys will love this.


Meagan January 2, 2012 at 3:05 pm

This would totally work. Thanks so much! I’ve been dying for butterfingers.

PS- Have you ever tried MARANATHA brand creamy unsalted organic peanut butter? It’s super creamy. It’s what transitioned my family from conventional yucky pbutter. If you put it in the fridge it hardens and tastes exactly like Jiff sans sugar.


Brittany January 2, 2012 at 4:30 pm

No!! It sounds amazing. Will look for it :) thank you!!


Rachel Chaya February 2, 2012 at 2:08 am

You say this is sugar free but it uses sugar. Bad!


Brittany February 2, 2012 at 2:21 am

Actually- I say the recipe is “refined sugar free” which is 100% accurate. I give non-refined sugar suggestions for those looking for those options as well who are not concerned with eating refined sugar free. . Its a free recipe.. Please take your complaining elsewhere.


Kayleigh @ConfusedTruffle February 28, 2012 at 12:36 am

You’ve done it! My childhood candy dreams are a reality! THANK YOU! Now to find a proper replacement for that pesky sugar… *think, think, think*


James March 5, 2012 at 9:24 am

I made these tonight! I used corn syrup and used brown sugar since I’m out of regular sugar. I let the temperate reach around 250 degrees F because it started producing a burnt-like smell. And when that happens, I know to act fast! I mixed the peanut butter in fairly quickly and scooped it onto a cookie sheet lined with the paper. I couldn’t resist tasting it! The texture had already began forming. I’ve always wondered how butterfingers got their texture. After letting it cool completely, skipping the chocolate, the texture is just right. My sis says it really does taste like the popular butterfinger. I think so too! From what I can remember. I had no idea it was such a simple recipe. Thanks a bunch. I’ll be making this again soon.


Kristina March 7, 2012 at 1:04 am

omygosh I am so happy I found you blog on pinterest! I love your recipes! And I especially love this one :) Butterfingers have always been my favorite candy but I really need to watch how much dairy I have, I can’t wait to try these!


Karen September 7, 2012 at 9:32 pm

I’m curious if Xylitol would work in place of the sugar. I used to make candy (before I had to change my diet for health reasons), so I know there are reactions to heating that sugar has that other things don’t. Is this one of those recipes Xylitol will not work in?


Brittany September 7, 2012 at 11:02 pm

I’m not very confident that it will work.. Buy hey you can always try!


Chickiepea September 29, 2012 at 12:19 am

Unfortunately, those listed in the “sugar” options are, in fact, refined sugars :( It sounds like a great recipe, and might work with coconut sugar, if you want something even less refined, though many people who react to sugars will still react to coconut sugar. You may be able to get by with adding a sweetener like Lucuma powder, but then again, if it’s the sugar making it crack like a true Butterfinger, that probably won’t work. No way to know unless you try it though! The finished product looks delicious, and it might be worth it to partake of a little organic sugar for Halloween, versus the alternatives (not eating candy at all, or eating the crap in the stores.)


Jessica N September 29, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Making these for my husbands work bake sell they are having for the Quality of Life Program. How many does this make? Or did I just completely overlook it?


Lea H @ Nourishing Treasures October 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Yum! I will be using sucanat to replace the refined sugar. Any idea if you can use something other than coconut syrup since I don’t have any on hand?


Emily October 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm

This sounds amazing – I’m always a bit imtimidated by candy making, but am going to try this over the weekend! Oh – and what’s with all the comments about you putting refined sugar in the ingredients? I clearly see that you have alternate ingredients listed that contain un-refined options. Oh well. Always a critic around when you don’t need one!


Brittany October 5, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Some people miss the point that I try to provide lots of options so anyone could make the recipe no matter what ingredients they like to buy.
I’ll never be able to please everyone! I’m used to that at this point :)


Teresa October 30, 2012 at 3:27 am

I know I am late on this but there is a product on the market (I order it online) called Swerve. It comes in granulated and powdered and you use it at a 1:1 ratio for sugar. If a recipe calls for 1Tbs sugar, you use 1Tbs swerve. Try it you will love it!!


Donna October 30, 2012 at 10:09 am

I live in Europe and cannot locate “Swerve”…I really want to start using this as I do not particularly like the taste of stevia….I know that the main ingredient of Swerve is erythritol…and noticed that a product called “”Truvia” and another …”Provia”?…list erythritol as primary ingredients…Would these work?…Thanks so much for any enlightenment!…I loved Butterfingers whilst young…but have to watch insulin-spiking ingredients now.


Heather Yospe November 1, 2012 at 2:48 am

Thank you so much for this awesome recipe! Since I’ve had to go gluten free/dairy free, I knew Halloween would be rough for me. Not being able to eat my favorite candy! But I was super excited to find your recipe and also that you’ve done your research and compared different recipes. I think the soft crack stage for this was perfect. I have a bunch hardening in the freezer and now I’m stocked for a good while with Butterfingers! Wooo hoo!


Melissa November 6, 2012 at 4:51 am

Hey Brittany, these look AMAZING!!!!! I have a question-any chance I can use honey instead of coconut or agave necter? I’ve used it in the past in place of corn syrup, but I’m not sure if it would act the same in this recipe…?


Heather G November 12, 2012 at 5:58 pm

YOU HAVE JUST MADE MY LIFE COMPLETE! LOL I had to go gluten free and was happy to find out regular butterfingers are gluten free but recently found out I can’t tolerate corn syrup or other high fructose syrups. I wonder if pure maple syrup could work?? I can’t have agave or honey and coconut syrup is iffy as well as hard to find.


Amanda November 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm

This recipe looks wonderful! However, I hate chocolate. Do you think I could sub vegan peanut butter chips for the chocolate chips to make it absolutely perfect?


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