Peanut Brittle is one of the best holiday treats and is so easy to make yourself! It tastes wonderful made fresh and is a great gift for family and friends.
If you’re looking for an easy holiday gift that you can make on the cheap, peanut brittle is it.
I know a lot of people are intimidated by cooked sugar candies such as Caramel and toffee, but peanut brittle is the most forgiving and easy of them all.
It’s so easy that I consider it silly to buy it from those specialty stores for $20/tin, when you can make a big batch yourself for a few dollars. Ditto for Chocolate Bark and many Shipping friendly Food Gifts.
Many peanut brittle recipes don’t provide a target temperature for cooking, which I sort of understand because we’re aiming for the final amber stage, known as “hard crack,” but I provide a temperature below so you can nail it every time without question.
If you don’t have a thermometer (affiliate), it’s time to spend $10 and get one. It will help you make homemade candies like this perfectly every time, and it’s useful for cooking meats and other dishes too.
However, if you don’t have a thermometer, color can be a good guide. Once the mixture is an amber color, you can add the peanut mixture and finish the recipe.
An extra bonus to peanut brittle is that it ships very well too.
You can pack it up in those cute metal tins and mail it off to someone you love…and better yet, you won’t have to pay for the outrageous overnight shipping because that brittle will keep well for a couple weeks (if stored properly).
While peanuts are the classic nut here, you may substitute other nuts, such as almonds, if you’d like.
I’m partial to peanuts though, which you may already know from the many peanut butter recipes I’ve posted on this blog (here are some of my favorites):
How to Make Peanut Brittle:
Start by combining salted roasted peanuts, butter, and baking soda in a bowl:
Set this bowl right next to your stove, so you can add it to the pot immediately once the brittle mixture reaches the proper temperature.
Next, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan, but do not stir it.
It’s going to look uneven since the sugar isn’t all moistened, but it will dissolve just fine, and refraining from stirring minimizes any possibility of crystallization.
Place the pot over medium heat, and it should all dissolve into a clear, homogenous mixture, all without stirring:
Cook the sugar mixture to 300 degrees F, when it should be slightly amber in color.
This is the hard crack stage, and when you should immediately add the bowl of prepared peanuts from before:
Because of the baking soda, the mixture will foam up instantly:
Stir quickly to distribute all the ingredients evenly and melt the butter, then immediately spread the mixture out onto a parchment paper-lined sheet pan to cool:
The mixture will firm up quickly once it’s off the heat, so you need to spread it all out quickly.
Let the peanut brittle cool to the touch, about 15 minutes, then break the brittle into shards.
Store the completely cooled peanut brittle in an airtight container.
Do not leave the peanut brittle uncovered, or it will absorb moisture from the air and get gummy.
Baklava is another one of my favorite holidays gifts to make in my kitchen. Enjoy!
Peanut Brittle Questions:
Can peanut brittle be frozen or refrigerated? No, I don’t recommend it. It will soften the peanut brittle and it will lose its crunch.
How long does peanut brittle keep? If stored in a dry place at room-temperature in an airtight container, a couple weeks.
Is peanut brittle gluten free? Yes, at least this version is!
What temperature should you cook peanut brittle to? It needs to hit the hard crack stage, which is between 295F and 309F.
Peanut Brittle Recipe
- 2 cups salted roasted peanuts
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Combine the peanuts, butter, and baking soda in a bowl, and place next to the stove.
- Place the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan, and shake it back and forth so the pile of sugar flattens out.
- Add the corn syrup and water, but don’t stir it together.
- Place the pan on the stovetop over medium heat and watch as the sugar goes through several stages over the next 15-20 minutes. First the sugar will dissolve, then it will turn into a clear sugar syrup and bubble like crazy, then the sugar syrup will eventually take on a clearish golden amber color, and cook to 300 degrees F, the hard crack stage.
- After the mixture has reached 300 degrees F, add the peanut mixture (the mixture will foam), and stir it all together to distribute the ingredients and melt the butter.
- Immediately pour the mixture onto the parchment and spread it with a spatula to your desired thinness.
- Let the brittle cool completely, about 15 minutes, then break it into pieces.
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in November 2018. Originally published December 2012.