Homemade Peanut Brittle is a crunchy, buttery, sweet candy confection and is a holiday favorite treat or edible gift!
Growing up when my mom started making peanut brittle, homemade caramels, English toffee, and peppermint bark, I knew that Christmas was coming soon! We would package all the homemade goodies, go to the neighbors, sing a few Christmas carols and leave them with a Christmas tin of delicious holiday treats!
Old Fashioned Peanut Brittle
Peanut brittle is believed to originate in the South, when a woman was trying to make taffy but made the mistake of adding baking soda instead of cream of tartar! What a delicious mistake that was!
I have a microwave version of peanut brittle on my site, but today I am taking you back to the original stove-top version! It isn’t super difficult to make, but it does require your close attention!
So gather up all your ingredients and prep everything before you start, because once you do, you will need to be prepared to act quickly!
Ingredients + Other Nuts
I suggest measuring out all your ingredients before beginning. You will also need:
- corn syrup
- sea salt
- lightly salted roasted peanuts
- and baking soda!
You will also need a large saucepan and a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
I like using salted roasted peanuts, but you can substitute your favorite nut like cashews, almonds, or macadamia nuts!
How to Make Peanut Brittle
It’s easier to make than you think!
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, over medium heat, bring the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt to a simmer, whisking frequently.
Place your candy thermometer in (but make sure it doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan) and continue whisking until the temperature reads 280 degrees F on a candy thermometer (this can take upwards of 10 minutes).
Once the temperature is reached add the butter and peanuts. The candy will bubble and then stiffen up, this is normal. Sometimes because it is so stiff, I ask my husband to help pour the nuts in, while I continue to stir!
Keep whisking until the candy reaches 300 degrees on your thermometer (this can take anywhere from 8-12 minutes)
Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and baking soda- this will cause a reaction and the candy mixture will bubble, that is why it is important to use a large saucepan! NOTE: the candy will not look dark until it sets.
Quickly pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Using a spatula (or by tilting the pan, just use gloves because it will be extremely hot), spread brittle into a smooth, even layer from corner to corner.
Allow your peanut brittle to cool/set. It usually takes about an hour.
Peanut Brittle Recipe FAQ
Why is my consistency off? This is why using a candy thermometer is so important! Cooking it too long will burn it but not cooking long enough or not reaching proper temperatures will give you soft, sticky peanut brittle.
What does the baking soda do and why is it important? The baking soda reaction produces millions of mini air bubbles that give your candy the perfect porous and delicate texture, making it much easier to chew!
What is the best way to break peanut brittle? You break it with your hands, a mallet, a rolling pin, or a wooden spoon. Whatever floats your boat
What can you do if you don’t have a candy thermometer? If you don’t have a candy thermometer you should bake it on medium-low for about 12 minutes while stirring so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
Can you make it without corn syrup? Corn syrup holds things together really well.
Can little kids have peanut brittle? It is considered unsafe for children to have peanuts until the age of four. So peanut brittle is probably not safe until age 7 or 8.
How to Store Peanut Brittle
Humidity is not good for your peanut brittle. So store it in a cool, dark, dry location in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Do not refrigerate or store in the sunlight or next to the stove.
So as you can see, this recipe isn’t difficult but does require your undivided attention! And in return for all that attention, you get the most delicious sweet and salty holiday treat!
For More Candy Recipes:
Peanut Brittle Recipe
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp coarse kosher sea salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened and cut into tablespoons
- 2 1/4 cup lightly salted roasted peanuts
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Line a standard size baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, set aside.
- In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, add the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt. Turn heat on to medium and bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking frequently.
- Continue whisking until the temperature reads 280 degrees F on a candy thermometer (this can take upwards of 10 minutes). Add the butter and peanuts. The candy will bubble and then stiffen up, this is normal.
- Continue whisking until the candy reaches 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer (this can take anywhere from 8-12 minutes). Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and baking soda. NOTE: the candy will not look dark like it will once it sets.
- Quickly pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Using a offset spatula (or by tilting the pan, just use gloves because it will be extremely hot), spread brittle into a smooth, even layer from corner to corner.
- Allow the brittle to set until hard, this takes about an hour or so depending on room temperature and humidity. Once set, us your hands or the back of a metal utensil to break the brittle into chunks.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.