Millionaire Candy

Introduce an old favorite to your family.

Millionaire Candy

Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford

Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
55 mins
30 candies

Millionaires are a classic boxed candy available in grocery stores and drug stores across the South. The rich combination of pecans, caramel, and chocolate is an enduring favorite, and the candy is fairly easy to replicate at home.

This version of Millionaire Candy starts with a store-bought shortcut, skipping the quite technical caramel making process by using premade caramel candies. Melted down with chopped pecans, they form chewy, nutty nuggets that are then coated in milk chocolate just like a bon bon. While you might be tempted to melt your chocolate in the microwave, we suggest using a double boiler to ensure it melts evenly and doesn’t scorch, for a smooth and shiny chocolate coating.

To help balance the sweetness of these candies, sprinkle a touch of flaky salt on top of each piece while the chocolate is still wet—the extra bit of salt really makes them taste like a million bucks. 

Who Created Millionaire Candy?

The simplicity of this sweet treat is part of its old-school charm. The candies were created by Hugh T. Pangburn, a drugstore owner in Fort Worth, Texas.

While he started the business in 1902 selling patent medicines, by 1914 he was making ice cream in the kitchen of his drugstore, and became known for using pecans and caramel to enhance his vanilla ice cream.

That same year he also made the first batch of what would become his signature Pangburn’s Millionaires. His original recipe included pecans, milk chocolate, caramel, and honey. In 1915, Pangburn added a candy factory to his ice cream operation, becoming Fort Worth’s original candy company.

For decades the candies were made by hand, with an experienced worker able to dip more than 100 pieces an hour. In 1999 the business was bought by Russell Stover, but boxes of Millionaires still bear the Pangburn name today.


  • Butter, for greasing pan

  • 55 caramel candies (such as Kraft) (from 2 [11-oz.] pkg.)

  • 1 Tbsp. whole milk

  • 2 cups pecan pieces, toasted

  • 1 pinch kosher salt

  • 2 cups milk chocolate melting wafers (such as Ghirardelli) (from 2 [10-oz.] pkg.)


  1. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or wax paper; grease with butter.

  2. Fill a medium saucepan with water to a depth of 1 inch, and bring to a simmer over medium. Place a heatproof bowl over pan, making sure water does not touch bottom of bowl. Place caramels and milk in bowl; cook over medium, stirring often, until caramels are melted, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat, and set pan aside. Stir in pecans and salt. Drop caramel mixture by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. (You will have about 30 mounds.)

  3. Return pan with water to a simmer over medium. Place a second heatproof bowl over pan, making sure water does not touch bottom of bowl. Place milk chocolate in bowl; cook, stirring occasionally, until melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and spoon melted chocolate evenly over caramel mounds. Chill until chocolate is just set, 10 to 15 minutes. Before serving, let candies come to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Store with wax paper or parchment paper between candy layers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

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