Martha Washington Candy


This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Martha Washington Candy are a classic & tasty dessert perfect for Christmas. An old fashioned recipe loaded with cherries, coconut & pecans. So easy to make, unbelievably tasty, and a great holiday candy gift!

Martha Washington Candy on a plate.


The holidays are the time of year for all sorts of tasty dessert recipes. You know all the classics: Gingerbread Cookies or Butter Cookies are some of the go-to cookie picks. Cakes are fine too, but they just aren’t as easy to share as cookies or something like our Butter Toffee. All the gift-giving is such a highlight for the holiday season and making candy gifts have always been one of our favorite things to do. So this year we decided to whip up another tradtional Christmas candy that’s certainly satisfied our sweet-tooth: Martha Washington Candy.

Martha Washington Candies with a bite.

These delicious little Coconut Candy Balls have this perfect blend of fruity and nutty flavors to them. The core of it all is this sweetened condensed milk candy filling, made with a little bit of added butter and sugar. Add in some chopped maraschino cherries for a fruity burst of flavor, pecans for that rich nutty taste, and coconut flake for that little tropical touch. Wrap that all up in a little chocolate shell and you’ve got a tasty crowd-pleasing dessert that everyone will love!

Why you’ll love this old fashioned Martha Washington Candy recipe

  • Martha Washington Candies are perfect for all sorts of occasions. Serve them as a sweet treat for holiday party guests or box them up and serve them as a tasty candy gift instead. You might even save this recipe for something like Valentine’s Day!
  • On top of being a delicious any-occasion candy recipe, these are so easy to make. You just have to whip up the filling, let it chill in the fridge, and then coat it in chocolate. For something so tasty, it’s super simple to make.
  • Even if you’re not prepping these as a sweet treat to give out as a gift this holiday season, this Christmas Candy is so something you can enjoy for yourself. A sweet, creamy filling laced with cherries, nuts, and coconut- all with a smooth, chocolate coating? What’s not to love there?

Martha Washington Candy Ingredients

A quick trip to the grocery store will get you everything you need for our Martha Washington Candy Balls. Here’s all the ingredients:

Newsletter Signup
recipes in your inbox

subscribe for all the latest deliciousness

Martha Washington Candy Ingredients
  • Butter – Let your butter soften before starting this recipe.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • Powdered Sugar – Don’t confuse this with white granulated sugar. This needs to be white confectioners sugar.
  • Maraschino Cherries – No need to splurge and get any sort of fancy cocktail cherries. The basic store brand maraschino cherries will work just fine.
  • Sweetened Flaked Coconut
  • Pecans – To save time, buy chopped pecans right off the bat. If you have whole pecans or pecan halves on hand, save a bit of cash and just crush or chop them by hand.
  • Chocolate Melting Chips – These are chips that are made to melt and then firm back up reliably. Using normal milk chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips likely won’t work out here!

See recipe card for quantities.

How to make Martha Washington Candy

How to make Martha Washington Candy Balls.

Our Easy Martha Washington Candy recipe is pretty simple to make: just prep some candy filling, coat with chocolate, and let set. If you want to make some for yourself, here’s all you’ll have to do:

  1. Add softened butter, vanilla, and sweetened condensed milk to a large bowl and beat until creamy and combined. Add in powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
  2. Mix in drained and chopped cherries, coconut flakes, and chopped pecans and stir until incorporated. Cover and let sit in the fridge for 2 hours. Scoop mixture out into 1-1/2 tablespoon balls and set on parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, up to overnight.
  3. Microwave melting chips in 30 second intervals, stirring between until melted. Use a fork to dip candy balls into chocolate, letting excess drip off before returing to pan. Optionally pipe leftover chocolate over candy balls before letting set and serving.


If you’re missing a couple of ingredients for candy, you don’t have to quit the recipe! We’ve got a few substitutes you give a try:

  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – This classic dessert ingredient brings a lot of sweetness and creaminess to our finished candies. If you don’t have any on hand, there’s a couple of easy substitutes. To make sweetened condensed milk substitute, mix a can of evaporated milk with 1-2 cups of sugar over heat on the stovetop. For something more quick and off-the-shelf, you can use cream of coconut if you want to double down on some of those tropical coconut flavors.
  • Pecans – Pecans are a common nut you’ll find used in desserts and sweets like this. The easiest, most straight-forward substitute is walnuts: similar texture but a little less nutty-tasting than pecans. Hazelnuts are another great substitute as well and you can also try other various snacking nuts like pistachios, cashews, and peanuts.
  • Melting Chocolate – Plenty of options if you can’t find something like these chocolate melting chips. A specific brand you can look for is CandiQuik: these are more of a “candy coating” but they come in an easy-to-use tray with microwave instructions. Another option you can try is making homemade chocolate shell: like we’ve done in recipes like our Peanut Butter Eggs, melt some chocolate with some shortening or coconut oil to make a quick-setting chocolate coating.


While we think our Martha Washington Candy is great as-is, you might want to mix things up every now and then. Here’s a couple of ideas you can try out:

  • Martha Washington Candy Cherries – An interesting spin on these would be something similar to our Chocolate Covered Cherries Recipe. Omit the chopped maraschino cherries from the filling and, instead, try putting whole cherries into the middle of your Martha Washington Candies. Your best bet would be letting the candy filling set in the fridge a little bit before wrapping it around the individual cherries.
  • Chocolate Coconut Balls Candy – Another thing you can try is going all in on the coconut flavors in this recipe. Sub the butter out for something like virgin coconut oil and use cream of coconut instead of sweetened condensed milk. Optionally save some of the coconut flakes for a garnish or topping for each of your candy balls for a batch of extra coconut-flavored candies!
Martha Washington Candies with a bite on a plate

Storage / Freezing

Storage: When it comes to storing your Martha Washington Candies, the fridge is probably your best bet. Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Freezing: You can also try freezing Christmas Candy. For best results freeze them separately on a parchment-lined baking sheet first for 20-30 minutes. Remove from the parchment and transfer to freezer bags for long-term storage. Freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the fridge overnight before enjoying.

Top tip

If adding the chopped cherries, be sure to pat dry with a paper towel.

Other Christmas Candy Recipes

Looking for other Christmas Candy recipes? Try these:

More Christmas Candy Recipes

Here are some more of our favorite Christmas Candies:

Text on image Martha Washington Candy an Old-Fashioned Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Martha Washington Candy

By: Jen CIncyshopper
Martha Washington Candy are a classic & tasty dessert perfect for Christmas. An old fashioned recipe loaded with cherries, coconut & pecans. So easy to make, unbelievably tasty, and a great holiday candy gift!
Prep: 26 minutes
Refrigerate Time: 8 hours
Total: 8 hours 26 minutes
Servings: 25 servings


  • 1/2 cup Butter, softened
  • 1/2 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 7 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 5 oz Maraschino Cherries, drained and chopped
  • 7 oz Sweetened Flaked Coconut
  • 1 1/2 cup Pecans, chopped
  • 10 oz Chocolate Melting Chips


  • Beat the butter, vanilla and sweetened condensed milk in a mixing bowl until creamy.
  • Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
  • Add the coconut, cherries and pecans and stir until incorporated.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Select a baking sheet that will fit in your refrigerator and line with parchment paper.
  • Scoop mixture into 1 1/2 tablespoon balls and place on prepared pan.
  • Refrigerate at least 6 hours (overnight).
  • Place the melting chips in a microwave safe bowl.
  • Microwave for 30 seconds then stir. Repeat until melted.
  • Use a fork and dip each ball into the chcocolate. Lift allowing excess to drip off and place back on lined pan.
  • Optionally, transfer remaining melted chocolate into piping bag and drizzle over candies


If adding the chopped cherries, be sure to pat dry with a paper towel.
If the dipping chocolate begins to firm, microwave for 15 seconds to loosen.


Calories: 239kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 62mg, Potassium: 118mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 26g, Vitamin A: 141IU, Vitamin C: 0.3mg, Calcium: 40mg, Iron: 0.3mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Jen Cincyshopper

A lover of food and frugal living. A wife to a wonderful hubby, momma to 5 fun kiddos. Welcome to my blog. You will find REAL TASTY RECIPES. Be sure to subscribe to my email list and follow me on social media, to never miss a recipe.

You May Also Like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Is it possible to omit coconut in half the recipe? Mother-in-law dislikes coconut (??), but I am not sure if there would be enough structure without it. I hope you can advise…Happy Valentines Day 2024 ♥️

    1. Hi Michelle! I am thinking omitting the coconut would not work either. It needs it to bind everything together. You could possibly make yourself a batch of these. Then maybe make her a batch of Oreo Truffles. You could use some fun pink sprinkles on top. I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

  2. They look awesome with all that coconut.
    Thank you for visiting and sharing your links with us at SSPS #291. See you again on Monday, January 8th, 2024.