3 Ingredient Chocolate Turtles

3 Ingredient Chocolate Turtles (35)-2

My Dad’s love for the caramel filled, pecan bottom, chocolate covered treat, otherwise known as the Nestlé Turtle, runs deep. Not as deep as his love for jujubes, but pretty close.

It’s tradition that Dad get a box of Turtles every single Christmas. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. Even after the 26+ years he’s received them, the smile that spreads across his face as the wrapping paper is torn away from the package is priceless. Even though he loves this Christmas treat so very much, he never went a Christmas without sharing a couple with us (and I snuck a couple when he wasn’t looking… obviously)

If you aren’t familiar with the Turtle, here’s a visual:


Turtles and Christmas go hand in hand in our family so when I stopped eating dairy those many years ago, it was sad that I couldn’t join in the fun with the rest of the family.

Thanks to a bit of creativity and day dreaming of the day I’d get to enjoy a turtle again, I’ll never have to miss out on the Turtle tradition again. And hey, Dad may even like these better!

3 Ingredient Chocolate Turtles (43)

Inspired by Nestlé Turtles

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5.0 from 3 reviews
3 Ingredient Chocolate Turtles
Recipe type: Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Grain-free
Serves: 12
This no bake recipe is super simple, has 3 ingredients, and is made with limited refined sugars making it a much healthier way to enjoy our ultimate Christmas favorite, Nestlé Turtles.
  1. Cut medjool dates in half lengthwise and remove pits.
  2. Shape each piece into a circle with your fingers. The dates should be squishy enough that this will be really, really easy to do.
  3. Lay the date circles on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, sticky side up.
  4. Press 4 pecan halves into the center of the date circles, fanning them out to look like a flower.
  5. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or saucepan with a bowl over top.
  6. Spoon ½ teaspoon of melted chocolate into the middle of the fan of pecans. Flip the turtle over and press down gently so that the chocolate touches the parchment paper.
  7. Repeat with remaining date circles and place in the freezer for 5 minutes to harden. You can keep the chocolate warm my placing back in the hot water bath.
  8. Drop each turtle into the melted chocolate and move around until it's back is covered. Remove from the bowl and place back on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining and let cool in the freezer for 10 minutes for the chocolate to harden.
I highly recommend using medjool dates over honey dates because they're a lot more pliable. Feel free to use any nut you have on hand. You could also try making your own chocolate and using it instead of store bought.

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3 Ingredient Chocolate Turtles (1)

I ended up having to use chocolate chips from the corner store that were passover safe, so didn’t have any lecithin or dairy. As I mentioned in the notes above, you could also try making your own chocolate (like I did for these Skor bars) so that you can sweeten with non-refined sugars like coconut nectar or honey.

You’ll want to begin by cutting the dates in half lengthwise and removing the pit. Then, shape each half into circles… think: turtle shell.


After that, squish 4 pecan halves into each shell.

Drop a bit of melted chocolate into the middle of each.


Then flip over onto the parchment paper and squish down so that the chocolate peaks out on the sides like in the picture on the left below.

Once the turtles have had a bit of time to harden in the freezer, dip them in chocolate face-side-down and roll them around a little.


Place completed turtles on a clean sheet of parchment and repeat with remaining shells.

Let them chill out for a bit in the freezer and then serve to your kids as a treat, bring along to a Christmas party, or package them up in a little Christmas tins for a super simple Christmas present for your friends!

3 Ingredient Chocolate Turtles (22)-2

Does your family have a tradition that they follow every year around this time?

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  1. One of our food tradition has been Christmas lasagna since we realized a few years ago nobody really likes Turkey. For the last few years Mom’s made a vegetarian for her and I and last year she made one giant vegetarian gluten free one for the whole family. I supposed dietary restrictions are becoming out family tradition lol.

    • That’s too funny. Something similar happened in our house for Christmas morning breakfast. Mom had been making the same thing for years, then we all realized nobody ever enjoyed it, so we started having cinnamon buns instead. Gosh, I was so happy to be away with that casserole thing, it was SO gross!

  2. Great job on these Leanne! Turtles were always a common item on the Christmas table when we went to my grandparents’ house in Windsor, but I don’t think a year passed where my grandpa didn’t receive a package of peanut brittle. He was obsessed with the stuff! On a somewhat unrelated note… have you been to Costco lately? There is an enormous Toblerone…. and it costs $60!!

    • Leanne? Been to Costco lately? Pft, of COURSE I have! But I didn’t see the Toblerone. Man, they really need to make a dairy-free one. I’d be all over that. Have you seen the antipasto? It’s gluten-free and goes really, really well with sliced (raw) carrots! I’ve gone through an entire jar over the last week. Spread it over some veggies and you’ll be singing!

  3. Thank you for the excellent pictures – I was a little confused by the written directions, but the photos cleared it right up! (I blame the confusion on my poor quality of sleep last night, not your instructions, BTW.)

    A Christmastime family candy tradition for us, well, actually just between my grandma and I, is chocolate-covered cherries. Oh, and the ubiquitous chocolate-covered marshmallow Santa. I’m pretty sure I could pull off a decent, healthier version of the latter, but I don’t know that I could manage the cherries – I’ve never really done any candy baking and that syrup-y stuff in the center seems intimidating!

    • It was really hard to explain the process in the instructions, so glad the pictures helped!

      I’ve never heard of a chocolate-covered marshmallow Santa. Sounds awesome. Candy baking is hard. The first try at this Turtle recipe I tried to make the caramel with coconut milk, sugar and the whole bit and it turned into a hard mess. Bah!

      • Wow! I don’t know why I assumed chocolate-covered Santas were everywhere… Duh! Do you have chocolate-covered hearts at Valentine’s Day or chocolate-covered bunnies at Easter??? Or am I being a daft American?!? (Hope you are laughing with me.) :)

        What I’d like to try is making marshmallow fluff from a vegan recipe I found here: http://mountainroseblog.com/vegan-marshmallow-recipes/ – then maybe freezing it for a little while to stiffen it up (no idea if this would work, just a thought right now), cutting it into chunks, and THEN pouring homemade vegan chocolate over it. It’ll probably end up a huge (incredibly delicious) mess, but whatever!

        • Oh I’m sure they’re here, I’ve just never seen them. They are marshmallows covered in chocolate? I think they were really big when I was a kid if I remember correctly. Hmm yes… making your own marshmallows is incredibly messy. I’ve tried it a couple of times and ended up with really sweet jello more than once. If you figure it out, I’d love to know how you did it!

      • yep it is hard..lol. I made caramel corn this last week with coconut milk.. it was good.. but the caramel tuned a bit grainy.. trying another batch in a day or two..

        • Mine was the same! Grainy and tasted a bit burned even though I was so very careful. Dates work. They’re MUCH easier and healthier anyways.

  4. I made 3 ingredient Turtles like 3 years ago! I need to update my pics and bring them into the modern age b/c yours look gorgeous and I want to take a huge chomp. I love turtles!

  5. I love the idea of dates in these! And the idea of making your own chocolate. Is there anything I could use in place of the coconut oil and nectar for it (say some other oil and honey?) I can’t find either products here.

    • Oana (another commenter) suggested using coconut butter, do you have access to it? Otherwise, you could try cacao butter, much easier to find than coconut oil. Honey works as a replacement for agave, no worries about that.

  6. These look really good and so clever! I think I will give them a try! Gloria

  7. Leanne! These are brilliant! Thank gawd for the pictures because I was having a hard time visualizing. I was even going to attempt making a cleaned up version of these for the holiday season so now I know where I can find an awesome recipe! Thank you!

    I used to gobble turtles up at every Christmas party as a child. They were so good! But, as I grew older, either my tastes changed or they changed their recipe because Turtles were no longer as satisfying! This version is a must try!

  8. Wow, i just tried to make that and it came out heavenly! I made my own chocolate from cacao powder and coconut butter, didnt add any sugar to it, the dates seemed sweet enough. And instead of pecans I used walnuts. I’m really excited about them! Thanks so much for the recipe!

    • Great idea using the powder and coconut butter together. I’ve never done that!

  9. I made these and like everything else in TX we have some massively huge pecans and I could only fit one or two around a date. It’s either that or I just have small dates. But anyhoo, the 4 pecan halves didn’t fit. I used the same chocolate you did and it is good but I wonder if it is a whole lot different than Nestle for those of us with no allergies. Is this chocolate healthier for us?

    btw, I can’t wait until I give them to my parents tomorrow who have never had a date before! They are soooo good!

    • Massively huge pecans in Texas… noted. The major differences between this homemade version is the Nestle variety is that their pecans are roasted (when nuts are roasted the fats in them go rancid), and the caramel – a sugar-based caramel cannot compare to a dried piece of fruit. The nutrition is relatively the same, but the source of ingredients is different. Had I not run out of cacao powder I definitely would have made my own chocolate, making this recipe even healthier, but I ran out of time to buy some!

      • Ah, I meant only the chocolate. I understand the date and pecan thing but I never had this chocolate before and was wondering what the difference was between this chocolate and the nestle (or any other brand) chocolate chips…

        • Oh I see, sorry, definitely misunderstood, ha! This was the only dairy-free chocolate I could find at the store. It was also soy-free. Really though, unless you have allergies, the store-bought allergen-free chocolate chips out there are probably the same stuff that’s in the turtles.

  10. I just made these with my kids, and as the turtles were freezing and the kids were playing I secretly took one out of the freezer. I am seriously hoping I can save at least one of them for Santa, otherwise we are in trouble. These are DELICIOUS and dangerous! :)

  11. Just made these and they are sooo good! I made my own chocolate as well from the recipe that you posted. I’m AMAZED!

    • Wow, I’m happy that you tried it with the homemade chocolate and that you enjoyed them! Happy Holidays, Katie :)

      • They turned out great and it was super easy! Merry Christmas to you too! Off to attempt some cinnamon buns now :) mmmm

  12. Your page is so stunning and inspirational! Love yoir foodie pictures! I’m a foodie myself and a nutrition buff. I really aporeciate blogs like this! Is there anyway you can do a post about your path to becoming a holistic nutritionist? I’m struggling to find a legitimate school. So far I’ve looked at Bauman and Bastyr. Any suggestions would be such a blessing!! Can’t wait to follow this blog, so awesome! Take care! ~Lauren Porochonski LMT

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