You can make sweet & snappy, old-fashioned Peanut Brittle right in your own kitchen! Today’s peanut brittle recipe includes all my best candy making tips so you can have flawless results every time. Recipe includes a how-to video!
An Easy Homemade Peanut Brittle Recipe
Peanut brittle is a flavorful, old-fashioned candy that’s sweet and salty with a beautiful snappy texture (and a reputation for sticking to your teeth!). Salted peanuts are scattered throughout for a nutty flavor and fun bite. If you’re a fan of peanut candy, you’ll definitely like this one!
Candy making may seem intimidating, but that’s just because most of us don’t make it often. I get that and for a long time stuck to thermometer-free candies like potato candy but using a thermometer and moving your candy-making to the stovetop really isn’t that complicated. Take this recipe as an opportunity to become familiar with the tools and develop a knack for the process. Today I’m sharing my best tips and tricks so you can jump right in!
One thing to note before we begin: I highly recommend making this recipe on a dry, low humidity day (so winter is a great time to start practicing!). Any moisture in the air can be re-absorbed into your candy, making it softer, and we want our candy to be hard and brittle (hence the name!). Humidity also slows the cooling process while your candy is setting, increasing the chances of having unwanted crystals form. So not a bad idea to check the weather forecast before you start!
What You Need
As like with my toffee recipe, it’s very important to have all of your ingredients laid out before you start. Once your mixture reaches 305°F, you need to move quickly as possible! Here’s what you need:
- Butter. Use unsalted butter (since we’re using salted peanuts and adding salt ourselves!) and make sure it’s softened.
- Baking soda. I talk about this in-depth below, but essentially baking soda creates the proper texture and flavor in any good peanut brittle recipe. Make sure you’re not using baking powder!
- Peanuts. Use shelled, dry roasted peanuts and make sure they’re salted. This helps give our brittle a nice salty and sweet flavor!
- Light corn syrup. This is a crucial ingredient in many candies (like my homemade caramels), and it’s NOT the same thing as high fructose corn syrup! Stick with the light version here and save dark corn syrup for pecan pie.
SAM’S TIP: I strongly recommend using a candy thermometer for this recipe. While there are certainly ways to make candy without one, using a thermometer saves you guesswork and frustration.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Peanut Brittle
As with most candies, you need to be patient while cooking–DO NOT crank up the heat to make it go faster! You risk burning your candy and will have to start over.
- Mise en place – Prepare your pan and measure out all of your ingredients.
- Start the candy – Cook the sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Use a wet pastry brush to nudge any sugar crystals back into the pot as needed.
- Boil away – Attach a candy thermometer once the mixture is boiling and stir occasionally until the candy reaches 250F. Add the peanuts and stir constantly until the candy reaches 305F.
- Remove from heat – Remove the candy from the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Stir until the butter is fully melted and combined.
- Spread it out – Pour the candy into your prepared pan and spread it out using two forks.
- Break it apart – Let the brittle cool completely before breaking apart and enjoying.
SAM’S TIP: Your candy will still be extremely hot after pouring it into the pan (and so will the pan!). To help spread it out into a thin layer, grab a pair of forks and use them to pull the candy apart, spreading it more evenly into your pan. I demonstrate this in the video below if you need a visual!
Frequently Asked Questions
Baking soda releases bubbles into our candy (you can see this on a more extreme level in my honeycomb recipe, which uses 5x the amount of baking soda!). This makes the brittle more delicate, crisp, and less chewy, which ultimately makes it more snappy and less likely to obnoxiously stick to your teeth.
This peanut brittle recipe will keep for up to 2 months if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. I recommend placing pieces of wax paper or parchment paper between the candy pieces to keep them from sticking together.
I do not recommend placing your brittle in the refrigerator (remember, humidity is the biggest enemy of candy, even after it’s done cooking!).
Don’t run your pot under water while it’s still hot or you run the risk of warping it! Instead, let your pot cool, then fill it just over halfway with water. Return it to the stove and let it come to a boil (you can toss your forks and add your candy thermometer to the side to clean them, too!).
The caramel will soften as it cools, as this happens, use a heatproof spatula to help scrape the melted candy off, then pour it down the drain. Let your pot cool again before cleaning with soap and water.
The holiday season is a great time of year to make candy because (depending on where you live) humidity is at its lowest. Plus candy makes a great homemade gift!
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
- Lightly and evenly grease a jelly roll pan with butter and set aside (keep nearby).
- Measure out your butter, peanuts, baking soda, and vanilla extract. Set these aside but keep them nearby. It’s important to have these ready before you begin as once your candy reaches the necessary temperature you will need to move quickly.
- Combine sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir occasionally, using a damp pastry brush to wipe any sugar crystals from the side of the pot, over medium heat. Continue to cook until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. This will take time (10 minutes +), don’t rush the process by turning up your heat or you will ruin your brittle.
- Once mixture is boiling, attach your candy thermometer (make sure the bottom of the thermometer isn’t touching the bottom of the pot!) and stir occasionally until temperature reaches 250°F (121°C).
- Add peanuts and stir continuously until mixture reaches 305°F (151°C)
- Remove from heat and immediately add butter, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir well until butter is melted and mixture is well-combined.
- Pour into prepared jelly roll pan and use 2 forks to pull the brittle apart and to help spread evenly (careful, the pan gets very hot very quickly! If you need to move it be sure to use an oven mitt).
- Allow to cool for at least an hour before breaking into pieces and enjoying.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.