Martha Washington Candy

Total Time

Prep: 45 min. + chilling


about 5-1/2 dozen

Updated: Jun. 30, 2023
Passed down by my grandmother and mother, this Martha Washington candy recipe is a cherished family tradition. We've even had each grandchild and great-grandchild take a turn stirring the candy mixture! —Cindi Boger, Ardmore, Alabama
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
  • 6 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup shortening


  1. In a large bowl, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, milk and vanilla until blended. Stir in coconut and pecans. Divide dough in half; refrigerate, covered, 1 hour.
  2. Working with half the dough at a time, shape mixture into 1-in. balls; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate 30 minutes longer.
  3. In top of a double boiler or a metal bowl over barely simmering water, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Dip balls in melted chocolate; allow excess to drip off. Return to waxed paper. Top with additional coconut if desired. Refrigerate until set.
  4. To Make Ahead: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Can you freeze Martha Washington Candy?

Freeze candy, layered between pieces of waxed paper, in freezer containers. To use, thaw in refrigerator 2 hours before serving.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • For this recipe, make sure to use sweetened condensed milk. This type of milk has most of the water cooked off and added sugar. It’s generally used in candy and dessert recipes. Evaporated milk is concentrated in the same way, but doesn’t contain added sugar.
  • To toast pecans, spread them in a baking pan and bake at 350° until golden brown, stirring often. Generally, nuts will be toasted in 6-10 minutes. Timing will depend on how finely the nuts are chopped and the thickness of your baking pan.
  • Find more easy candy recipes here.
  • Nutrition Facts

    1 piece: 196 calories, 13g fat (7g saturated fat), 9mg cholesterol, 43mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (21g sugars, 1g fiber), 2g protein.