Peanut Brittle

December 18, 2020

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Homemade Peanut Brittle that is exactly like Grandma made! This tempting candy is perfectly crisp and crunchy, beautifully caramelized, deliciously buttery and brimming with rich roasted peanuts dotted throughout. Here you’ll learn all the tips to successfully make it.

Peanut Brittle shown from above on a rectangular blue platter covered with parchment paper.

Homemade Peanut Brittle

While it’s true that peanut brittle can be very temperamental it’s also true that by following a straightforward method and helpful tips along the way you’ll realize it’s easier to make than you’ve likely heard.

I made six batches today (12 cups of sugar and 6 sticks of butter later) taking notes and learning things along the way until I got it to taste just like I remember.

It starts out with the most basic ingredients and finishes with a classic nostalgic treat that’s sure to tempt and satisfy those sweet tooth cravings.

Just don’t overdue it (eating too much) like I always did as a kid. Sugar rush. But oh such a memorable, classic holiday treat I always looked forward to every Christmas!

Whenever you make it of course just be careful, this is boiling hot sugar syrup. And do work quickly! Peanut brittle is known for how fast it likes to set (I’ve included tips below).

Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups unsalted roasted peanuts

Scroll down for recipe with print option.

Tools Needed

  • Whisk and spoons – for stirring and spreading.
  • Measuring cups or a kitchen scale – always measure for accuracy.
  • Baking sheet – for spreading peanut brittle over.
  • Candy thermometer – I highly recommend going this route rather than by the look of the syrup. Takes out the guess work.
  • Heavy 3-quart saucepan – using a heavy bottom pan allows heat to be more evenly distributed which will result in an more evenly cooked brittle.

Photo of ingredients used to make peanut brittle. Includes sugar, baking soda, peanuts, butter, corn syrup, salt and water.

How to Make Peanut Brittle

  1. Have measured ingredients ready: Measure out peanuts, baking soda and salt and have ready to add as you’ll need to work very quickly once you get to this step.
  2. Grease baking sheet and spoon: Butter a rimmed 18 by 13-inch baking sheet. Also butter the bottom of large spoon and set close by (you’ll use this later for spreading brittle).
  3. Warm the baking sheet: Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Once preheated add baking sheet, turn oven off and let baking sheet stay warm in oven, remove just barely before you are ready to use it to spread prepared brittle mixture over.
  4. Mix sweeteners and water in pan: In a 3-quart heavy bottom saucepan whisk together sugar, corn syrup, and water.
  5. Boil mixture: Set over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add butter: Once it reaches a boil carefully add butter and stir.
  7. Cook to 310 degrees: Let boil, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 310 degrees on a candy thermometer (don’t forget to get your baking sheet out of oven and ready near the end). It should just have turned a light golden brown color.
  8. Add baking soda, salt and peanuts (work quickly!): Immediately remove from heat once it reaches temperature (or just turn off heat if using a gas stove) and right away add baking soda, salt, and peanuts and stir (it will foam and bubble up).
  9. Quickly spread over warm baking sheet: Immediately pour onto prepared baking sheet and spread mixture out as evenly as possible before it starts to harden.
  10. Cool then break: Let cool completely at room temperature, about 30 minutes. Then break into pieces.

Collage of six images showing how to make peanut brittle in a saucepan on the stovetop. Also shows spreading peanut brittle mixture onto baking sheet then breaking it.

How to Store

  • Once cooled and cracked, peanut brittle should be stored in an airtight container (it’s okay to stack).
  • Store in a cool dry place.
  • Keep at room temperature or freeze.

Shelf Life

  • It should keep well at room temperature for 1 month (or even a little longer).
  • Freeze up to 3 months.

Variations

Again have ingredients ready to add no matter what options you add:

  • Try with another type of nut or use a blend (slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts or hazelnuts).
  • Add sweet spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger.
  • Make it spicy with 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper.
  • Mix in a little splash of extract at the end (vanilla, rum, coconut).

Peanut Brittle Recipe Success Tips

  • Use peanuts that don’t have added ingredients. Peanuts/salt should be the only ingredient. No added spices (some have onion powder, paprika, etc) or oils.
  • Only use 1/2 tsp baking soda. Some recipes use as much as 1 TBSP so don’t be tempted to add more, it leaves a bad aftertaste. 1/2 tsp is plenty to give it some lift.
  • Be sure to have everything measured out and ready to add before you begin cooking, timing is critical in this recipe.
  • Heat the baking sheet. This was a game changer for me. Using a warm baking sheet will allow you more time to spread out the brittle since an otherwise cool baking sheet will make it set faster.
  • Cook low and slow for perfect caramelization. Don’t be tempted to cook over higher heat to speed up process.
  • Stir boiling sugar mixture occasionally (a little more so at the end than the beginning) for even cooking and to prevent bottom or sides from scorching. It also allows lowers the temperature a little and allows more time to caramelize.
  • If you live in a cold environment you may find it helpful to heat the peanuts in the microwave for 35 seconds. Do this about the point the brittle reaches 275 degrees (so they are ready to add). If you add them cold or cool the sugar mixture will clump right up.
  • Work very quickly at the end. The mixture will harden fast.
  • If you’re brittle didn’t spread very well, a helpful fix is to let it cool briefly just until it’s cool enough to handle with clean (thickish) rubber gloves. Then pull and stretch the brittle while it’s still pliable.

Close up overhead image of peanut brittle stacked on a blue platter with parchment paper.

More Tasty Treats to Try (All Easy Recipes!)

 

Peanut Brittle shown from above on a rectangular blue platter covered with parchment paper.
5 from 3 votes

Peanut Brittle

Homemade Peanut Brittle that is exactly like Grandma made! It's perfectly crisp and crunchy, perfectly caramelized, deliciously buttery and brimming with roasted peanuts dotted throughout. Read through the recipe and notes before beginning.
Servings: 10 (about 30 pieces)
Cook25 minutes
Resting30 minutes
Ready in: 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cup (400g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups unsalted roasted peanuts*

Instructions

  • Measure out all ingredients and have close by ready to add.
  • Butter bottom and sides of a rimmed 18 by 13-inch baking sheet. Also butter the bottom of large spoon and set close by (you'll use this later for spreading brittle).
  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Once preheated place baking sheet in oven, turn oven off and let baking sheet stay warm in oven. Remove baking sheet just barely before you are ready to use it to spread prepared brittle mixture over.
  • In a 3-quart heavy bottom saucepan whisk together sugar, corn syrup, and water.
  • Set over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Once it reaches a boil carefully add butter and stir.
  • Let boil, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 310 degrees on a candy thermometer (don't forget to get your baking sheet out of oven and ready near the end). The mixture should just have turned a light golden brown color.
  • Immediately remove from heat once it reaches temperature (or just turn off heat if using a gas stove) and right away add baking soda, salt, and peanuts and give it about 5 quick stirs (it will foam and bubble up).
  • Immediately pour onto warm baking sheet and spread mixture out using greased spoon, spread as evenly as possible before it starts to harden.
  • Let cool completely at room temperature, about 30 minutes. Then break into pieces.

Notes

Helpful Tips

  • *Salted peanuts will work fine too. Just omit the salt from the recipe. Also use peanuts that don't have added ingredients. Peanuts/salt should be the only ingredient. No added spices (some have onion powder, paprika, etc) or oils.
  • Be sure to have everything measured out and ready to add before you begin cooking, timing is critical in this recipe and if you were to wait even 5 seconds to add something it can be too late.
  • Stir occasionally (a little more so at the end than the beginning) for even cooking and to prevent bottom or sides from scorching.
  • If you live in a cold environment you may find it helpful to heat the peanuts in the microwave for 35 seconds. Do this about the point the brittle reaches 275 degrees (so they are ready to add). If you add them cold or cool the sugar mixture will clump right up.
  • If you're brittle didn't spread very well, a helpful fix is to let it cool briefly just until it's cool enough to handle with clean (thickish) rubber gloves. Then pull and stretch the brittle while it's still pliable.
  • Once cool and broken store in an airtight container at room temperature about 1 month or freeze up to 3 months.

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14 Comments

  • Tim Hughes

    I had to read your recipe twice. You left out VANILLA. It gives it a caramel taste. I use pure Mexican vanilla. I put the pan I use to pour the peanutbrittle out in the FREEZER. Buttered up. It will set up nice. It also keeps humidity low on those types of days.

  • Susan

    HELP…somehow I misread the recipe and used 1 1/2 cups of water with the sugar/syrup mixture. Can I salvage it by cooking it down?

  • Anna Osborne

    I have always loved peanut brittle, but this recipe came to life. It was so easy and tasty. I plan on making it more often now.

  • Kristyn

    Easy to follow recipe, came out exactly as pictured! It’s buttery deliciousness! Looks beautiful in the jar, your friends will be impressed : )

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I’m happy to hear it worked out well for you Kristyn! Thanks for leaving a review!

  • Sherry Beeson

    My church used to make and sell this.
    The only difference was we used buttered aluminum pie plates and when ready to.pour they would put a large spoonful in each pan. The youth then would pick.up the pans and slam them down on the table to make it spread out and get evenly thin.
    Those were some fun times.

  • Julie

    This was my first time making peanut brittle and it came out perfectly. So easy as long as you follow the recipe. Important to have all ingredients ready to go and have a teapot full of boiling water for easy cleaning!

  • Connie Herrmann

    I do like peanut brittle. But there is one thing wrong with this recipe it has 1 cup sugar. I would cut back on the sugar to 1/2 cup of sugar. Because 1 cup is to sweet.

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