If you love the crisp sweet flavor of brittle with the yummy crunch of peanuts, this is the recipe for you. This brittle is a family recipe, passed down over multiple generations. It’s easy, and definitely one you’ll pass on to your friends and loved ones.
Is Peanut Brittle Hard to Make?
This was the question I asked myself as I pulled down my mother’s recipe book, the one she left me before she passed away in 2017. Every Christmas she would make her scrumptious peanut brittle and every year I assumed it was a complicated process, one involving a sauce pan and a candy thermometer.
Turns out, I was wrong. Turns out, Mama’s version came together in the microwave and didn’t involve many steps. In fact, I was startled at how quick and easy it was.
My only real “issue” (if you want to call it that) was what kind of peanuts to use. I didn’t have her recipe with me when I made the purchase so I bought lightly salted dry roasted. Turns out Mama’s recipe calls for raw. I had a quick, easy way to remedy that, which I will share with you in a moment.
But first, let’s talk about what you’ll need to make this delicious peanut brittle.
Peanut Brittle Ingredients
You will find a full, printable recipe card for this easy recipe at the bottom of this post, but here’s a quick peek at what you’ll need. These are simple ingredients you can find in any grocery store.
- white sugar
- light corn syrup
- lightly salted dry roasted peanuts (see recipe for alternatives)
- vanilla extract
- baking soda
That’s it! Just a handful of ingredients.
How to Make Easy Peanut Brittle
Candy making is so much fun and this one is a family favorite!
This brittle came together in (literally) minutes. I was so tickled to see how easy the process was. You’re going to enjoy whipping up a batch for your friends and family this holiday season or any time of year!
Start by prepping a cookie sheet. Place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper on it and smear with butter. (I used a spray butter.)
Place the corn syrup and sugar in a microwaveable bowl. Put the bowl in the microwave for two minutes on high and then stir using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula.
Place back in the microwave for an additional two minutes and stir again.
Now it’s time to add your roasted peanuts to the sugar mixture. (If you’re using raw peanuts you’ll want to add them at the beginning with the sugar and corn syrup to give them more time to cook.)
Cook mixture with nuts for two minutes and stir. Cook another two minutes and stir well. You’ll notice that the mixture has started to darken to a golden brown color. That’s what you want.
Remove from the microwave and stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Stir peanut brittle mixture until well mixed.
Now add the baking soda. You’ll notice a change in color and texture. A chemical reaction takes place, adding air bubbles to the brittle and making it light and crisp.
Immediately scoop onto prepared sheet pan and spread evenly. You’ll probably have some brittle threads between your spoon and the bowl. They’re magical!
Let brittle cool and then crack into pieces. Smaller pieces are better. That way you can feed a bigger crowd. (Talk about the perfect gift!)
Store in an airtight container. Do not refrigerate. Brittle should stay fresh 6 – 8 weeks if properly stored at room temperature.
NOTE: You can double this recipe but you’ll have to add an additional 6-7 minutes cooking time. Add nuts at the halfway point.
What to Expect from this Old Fashioned Peanut Brittle
It’s light, it’s crisp, and the peanuts are crunchy, just like I remembered from my childhood. It’s the perfect peanut brittle. Now that I’ve made it for the first time I can see why my mom always gave it out as a holiday gift. This is definitely one of those peanut brittle recipes that will stand the test of time.
Variations on this Easy Homemade Peanut Brittle
I decided to make a second batch of this great recipe using some raw almonds that I had on hand. I also decided to throw in a couple of other things: a 1/2 tablespoon of Vietnamese cinnamon (truly, the best cinnamon in the world) and some toasted coconut that I had left over from my recent Coconut Cream Pie.
I followed the same instructions as the regular peanut brittle but I put the raw almonds in at the beginning so they could cook a bit longer.
This recipe came together beautifully! Notice the difference in color between the cinnamon-infused version and the original. They’re both so pretty. The addition of cinnamon gave the almond version a lovely twist, one I really enjoy.
Other Types of Brittle
Now that I see how easy it is to make peanut brittle I plan to make it again and again. My kids love it, especially at Christmas-time. I might add walnuts next time, or even pecans. I gave some thought to using maple extract in the walnut version. Doesn’t that sound delicious?
Here are a few other nuts you might consider:
Macadamia Nuts: It might be fun to add toasted coconut to this version, along with a bit of coconut extract in place of vanilla. (Yum!)
Chocolate Peanut Brittle: Melt a layer of chocolate on top of your hardened peanut brittle before cracking it. You can add a pinch of sea salt to the top for added flavor. I recently made a version that incorporated chopped pecans, both in the brittle and on top of the chocolate.
Questions People are Asking about Peanut Brittle
Is peanut brittle a southern thing?
There’s a tale that a woman from the south accidentally came up with the recipe for peanut brittle by putting baking soda (instead of cream of tartar) into her taffy. Oops! But what a lovely mistake!
Why won’t my peanut brittle harden?
Likely because you didn’t heat the syrup to the right temperature. It has to reach the hard crack stage.
What do southerners call peanuts?
Some folks call ’em goobers. That said, I’ve never heard anyone call peanut brittle goober brittle. Ha.
Other Nutty Offerings from Out of the Box Baking
I’m nuts about nuts, as you can probably tell. I’ve got a ton of nutty recipes on this site and I’m tickled to share them with you. Here are some of my favorites:
Italian Cream Cake: I started with this cake because it’s my absolute favorite. The cake and filling are loaded with chopped pecans, also a favorite.
German Chocolate Cake: Need I say more? When I was a kid I always asked for this cake for my birthday.
Simple Pecan Pie Bars: I’m not sure which I love more–these simple bars or actual pecan pie.
Fudgy Pecan Pie: I love this pie so very much! It’s a twist on a traditional pecan pie, loaded with chocolate!
Depression Era Fruit and Nut Cake: This is great for the holidays and incredibly easy to make.
Monkey Bread with Canned Biscuits: What an easy and delicious recipe! It’s great for breakfast, dessert, or any time of day.
German Chocolate Bars from Scratch: A German Chocolate cake in bar form? Yes, please!
Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies: These delectable cookies are infused with rich brown butter and loaded with chopped pecans. Yum!
That’s it for this post! I hope you enjoyed this old-fashioned peanut brittle recipe. Of course it goes without saying that if you suffer from a peanut allergy this isn’t the candy for you!
Thanks for stopping by, y’all!
See this recipe at:
About the Author
Janice Thompson is an author, baker and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice, visit her About the Author page.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cups lightly salted dry roasted peanuts (see recipe for alternatives)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Start by prepping a cookie sheet. Place a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper on it and smear with butter. (I used a spray butter.)
- Place the corn syrup and sugar in a microwavable bowl. Put the bowl in the microwave for two minutes on high and then stir. Place back in the microwave for an additional two minutes and stir again.
- Now it's time to add your roasted peanuts. (If you're using raw peanuts you'll want to add them at the beginning with the sugar and corn syrup to give them more time to cook.)
- Cook mixture with nuts for two minutes and stir. Cook another two minutes and stir well. You'll notice that the mixture has started to darken in colored. That's what you want.
- Remove from the microwave and stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Stir until well mixed.
- Now add the baking soda. You'll notice a change in color and texture.
Immediately scoop onto prepared baking sheet and spread evenly.
- Allow to full cool and then crack into pieces.