Homemade Peanut Brittle

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Homemade Peanut Brittle is a must-have when entertaining during the holidays. It’s delicious, easy to make and fun to give away as Christmas presents! Making homemade peanut brittle is a fun treat to make when you get in the mood for a sweet snack. It only takes 30 minutes to make and it tastes amazing.

Classic Peanut Brittle

According to Southern lore, peanut brittle originated by accident. Allegedly, a housewife was trying to make taffy, but added baking soda instead of cream of tartar. After realizing her innocent goof, she added some Georgia peanuts and was quite delighted by the outcome. In the league of iconic Southern candy—the likes of bourbon balls, divinity, and pralines—homemade peanut brittle is now as much a year-round favorite as a holiday delicacy. Sugar is one of the most finicky ingredients in brittle recipes, making a candy thermometer more than just a helpful recommendation. (No one likes burnt or sticky, bendy brittle.) When it comes to brittle, it’s important to keep on stirring until the deed is fully done and cooling on a baking sheet. This holiday season, if you’re not indulging in a festive slice of warm homemade pie or classic layer cake, this old-fashioned peanut brittle recipe will gladly handle that sugar hankering.   

Gallery

Classic Peanut Brittle

Recipe Summary

Yield:

Makes 1 pound

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dry-roasted or shelled raw peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1Combine first 3 ingredients in a large glass bowl. Microwave on HIGH 5 minutes, add peanuts, and microwave 2 more minutes with 1,000-watt microwave. Microwave 4 more minutes if using a 700-watt microwave. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Step 2Pour into a buttered 15- x 10-inch jellyroll pan; shake pan to spread thinly. Cool until firm, and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.
  • Step 3Cooktop Brittle: Prep: 5 min., Cook: 8 min., Stand: 5 min. Cook first 3 ingredients in a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture starts to boil. Boil without stirring 5 minutes or until a candy thermometer reaches 310°. Add peanuts, and cook 2 to 3 more minutes or to 280°. (Mixture should be golden brown.) Remove from heat, and stir in butter and remaining ingredients. Pour mixture onto a metal surface or into a shallow pan. Allow to stand 5 minutes or until hardened. Break into pieces.

Chef’s Notes

Peanut Brittle Variations

Pecan Brittle: Substitute 1 cup chopped pecans for peanuts.

Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Brittle: Prepare peanut brittle as directed. Melt 2 (2-ounce) chocolate bark coating squares; dip peanut brittle pieces into melted chocolate. Place on wax paper, and let harden. 

Popcorn Peanut Brittle: Prepare brittle as directed. Stir in 1 cup popped popcorn before pouring into pan.

Homemade Peanut Brittle

Homemade Peanut Brittle is a sweet, salty, and crunchy candy that is made on the stovetop. It’s one of our favorite edible gifts to give during the holidays. 

This vintage recipe costs about $3.36 to make. It makes 16 servings, which is only $0.21 per serving.

A close up picture of peanut brittle in a Christmas tin for gifting.

Homemade Peanut Brittle 

Buttery, crispy candy pieces with roasted pieces inside of each bite. Homemade Peanut Brittle is better than store-bought any day! It is perfect for wrapping up in a tin to deliver to neighbors, friends, and co-workers during the holidays.

Or if you are like us, we enjoy making this special treat year-round to enjoy! Peanut Brittle is easy to make as long as you make sure to get the candy to the right temperature. Mix the handful of ingredients, cook it, pout it into a baking sheet to cool, and then break into pieces before serving. 

Add this Peanut Brittle to your list of things to try this year, and we think you will have a new tradition that may remind you of your Grandma cooking up a batch in her kitchen!

Is peanut brittle bad for you?

Peanut brittle is definitely not on our list of healthy treats! This is a sugary treat to indulge in, but maybe just not every day! There are 277 calories per serving, 45 carbs, and 41 grams of sugar. 

What does baking soda do to peanut brittle?

Baking soda helps create air bubbles in the texture of the peanut brittle. This is why it is added at the end of the process before you pour the candy into the baking sheet to rest. It is an important ingredient to remember to add!

Why is my peanut brittle too hard?

When you bite into a piece of peanut brittle, and it is so hard, you feel like you will break your teeth, that is the worst! The most likely cause of this is too much moisture in your candy. Be sure to cook all of the water out of the sugar, corn syrup, and water mixture when cooking it to 300 degrees. 

How to make Peanut Brittle recipe: 

STEP ONE:  First, prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Then prep the ingredients.

STEP TWO: Next, cook the sugar mixture. Add the candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan.

STEP THREE: After the temperature reaches 240 degrees, add the peanuts. Stir constantly. Add the butter, constantly stirring until the thermometer reaches 300 degrees. 

STEP FOUR: Remove the saucepan from the heat and add vanilla and baking soda. 

STEP FIVE: Finally, pour the candy evenly onto the prepared baking sheet. Cool the candy completely before breaking into pieces. 

A picture collage of the steps to make homemade peanut brittle.

Cook’s Tools:

  • baking sheets
  • candy thermometer
  • liquid measuring cup
  • measuring cup
  • wooden mixing spoon
  • measuring spoons
  • large saucepan

How much will this Peanut Brittle recipe cost to make: 

RECIPE COST: $3.36

PRICE PER SERVING: $0.21

  • 2 cups granulated sugar – $0.46
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter – $0.20
  • 1 cup water – $0.00
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract – $0.34
  • 2 cups roasted salted peanuts – $0.98
  • 1 cup light corn syrup – $1.36
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda – $0.02
All of the ingredients needed to make homemade peanut brittle.

The Flavor and Recipe Variations

Instead of corny syrup, you can use honey, pancake syrup, agave nectar, and light-colored molasses. 

In place of peanuts, you can use almonds, macadamia nuts, and pecans. 

How long is it good for:

Serve and Store: Store peanut brittle in an airtight container for up to a week.

Freeze: Cool the brittle completely and then store it in an airtight container or Ziploc bag in the freezer for up to 2 months. 

Peanut Brittle

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 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.

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.

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.

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