Homemade Turtles Recipe (The Healthier Version)

5 from 1 vote

This homemade turtles recipe is made with dates instead of caramel and has no added sugar. But you would never know it…they taste just as good as the store-bought version!

Homemade turtles recipe (the healthier version)

I confess.

I have a weakness for store-bought Turtles.

So when I saw this recipe for ‘Turtles’ in the January/February 2018 issue of “Canadian Living” magazine, I just drooled.

Especially after I realized they had a date filling (instead of caramel) and no added sugar.

A healthier version of Turtles? Yes, please!

I was a little skeptical about how they would taste, but figured it was worth giving them a try.

And I was totally blown away! I think I like them even better than the original version.

So I just had to share in case there are any other Turtles fans out there.


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Homemade Turtles Recipe ingredients

Here is the shopping list;

  • pitted dates (about 60)
  • salt
  • 50 pecan halves
  • dark chocolate chips
  • coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • Himalayan pink salt (optional)


  • baking sheet
  • parchment paper
  • food processor
  • small heat proof bowl
  • dry cup measures
  • measuring spoon
  • saucepan
  • whisk

How to Make Homemade Turtles

Make the Filling

If the dates are dry, first put them into a microwavable bowl, cover with water and microwave them on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until the dates are soft. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

Put 3 cups of moist pitted dates and 1 teaspoon of salt into the food processor.

Now pulse the date/salt mixture until the dates form a clump.

Cover a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

The date and pecan filling for Homemade turtles

Take one level tablespoon of mashed dates, and round it onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet. I used a knife to scrape the dates off of the spoon into a mound. Repeat until all the dates are used up.

Press 2 pecan halves into the top of each mound, flattening them down a bit.

Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

Chocolate Sauce

How to melt chocolate chips over water

Place 1½ cups of dark semi-sweet chocolate chips in a small heat proof bowl.

Put the bowl into a saucepan of simmering water.

When the chips begin to melt, stir them until smooth.

Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in 1 teaspoon of coconut or vegetable oil.

Make the Candies

Homemade turtles covered in melted chocolate on a cookie sheet

Remove the dates from the freezer and loosen them by running a spatula under each.

Take 2 forks to hold a date mound and dip it into the melted chocolate. Let any excess coating drip back into the bowl.

Place the candy onto the parchment cookie sheet again.

Repeat this process until all the candies are coated in chocolate.

homemade turtles with salt on them

Sprinkle the tops with Himalayan pink salt if desired.

Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

These pecan/date candies can be stored for a month in the freezer in a resealable plastic bag. They are delicious even if they are not pre-thawed before eating!

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homemade turtles recipe

Healthy Homemade Turtles Recipe

Discover how to make your own healthy homemade turtles with this simple recipe that combines dark chocolate and pecans with dates instead of caramel. You won't believe how good they are!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 25 turtles
Calories 129 kcal


  • measuring cups and spoons
  • food processor
  • baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  • heatproof or microwave-able bowl
  • 2 forks


  • 3 cups pitted dates about 60
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 50 pecan halves
  • cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon coconut or vegetable oil
  • Himalayan pink salt optional


  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Pulse dates with salt in food processor until mixture forms a ball.
  • Shape into balls using a tablespoon.
  • Put onto prepared baking sheet.
  • Press 2 pecan halves into each ball, flattening it.
  • Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
  • Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-able bowl in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl set over gently simmering hot water.
  • When the chocolate is smooth, remove bowl from the heat and whisk in coconut oil.
  • Using 2 forks, dip each candy into the chocolate, letting the excess drip back into the bowl.
  • Place candies back on the cookie sheet and sprinkle with Himalayan salt.
  • Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.


  • If dates are dry, place in a large microwaveable bowl; then cover with water and microwave on high until softened — 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
  • Although the Himalayan pink salt if optional, I think it should not be missed. The combination of sweet and salty is delicious.
  • Candies can be frozen for up to a month in a resealable plastic bag.


Serving: 1 turtle | Calories: 129 kcal | Carbohydrates: 20 g | Protein: 2 g | Fat: 6 g | Saturated Fat: 3 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 0.1 mg | Sodium: 105 mg | Potassium: 196 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 15 g | Vitamin A: 4 IU | Vitamin C: 0.2 mg | Calcium: 42 mg | Iron: 0.4 mg

Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Have comments or questions about our homemade Turtles recipe? Tell us in the section below.

This post was originally published on December 2, 2020 but was updated with new content on February 20, 2023.

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