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Peanut Brittle is a delicious, old-fashioned, buttery treat made with simple ingredients and peanuts. This heirloom peanut brittle recipe is always a favorite!
This candy confection is simple to make and has a great buttery, nutty flavor such as homemade toffee. It’s a tradition in my family to make for the holidays such as divinity, date nut roll, or rich fudge.
Peanut brittle has always been a favorite in my family. It’s such a rich, delicious homemade candy we’ve loved for generations! I remember my Grandmother and then my Mama making this heirloom recipe every fall and Christmas season to take to parties and give to friends and neighbors as gifts.
The peanut brittle-making tradition has now come full circle.
Peanut Brittle Recipe
I began my own tradition of making this decadent yet humble confection many years ago. With special memories of watching my grandmother and mother make it, I added to those in my own kitchen. After each fresh batch of peanut brittle had safely cooled, I enjoyed watching my son’s face light up as he was always the first to get to sample this delicious treat! The buttery rich brittle surrounding the salty peanuts literally melts in your mouth!
What We Love About this Peanut Brittle
- Old Fashioned Favorite – As I mentioned, this is one of those candies that bring back memories for all of us in my family.
- Simple, yet Scrumptious – It’s very simple to make and made of simple ingredients but has a wonderful buttery crunch that everyone loves!
- Stays Fresh a Long Time – If kept in an airtight container, this lasts for several weeks so it’s great to make to enjoy throughout the holidays as well as to share with friends.
- Allergy-Friendly Option – You can also easily make this peanut brittle without peanuts as a nut-free, allergy-friendly option!
How to Make Peanut Brittle
Rich, buttery, and absolutely delicious, this peanut brittle recipe is a treasure.
Let me share how my family has made it for such a long time.
Ingredients and Tools
To make this brittle, you will need the following:
- Granulated sugar
- Light corn syrup
- Butter – I always use salted butter, but you can use unsalted if you wish.
- Baking soda – It causes a chemical reaction that is important for making the brittle have the right texture and bite.
- Vanilla – I use my homemade vanilla, but you can also use a quality store-bought pure vanilla extract.
- Peanuts – Use my roasted peanuts, cocktail peanuts, or raw peanuts. The original recipe includes using raw peanuts in your brittle, but I like using my roasted peanuts or cocktail peanuts instead. If using raw peanuts, make sure to use room temperature peanuts, never frozen peanuts.
- Candy Thermometer – I also recommend having a candy thermometer to make this peanut brittle. You’ll find that this is a great tool to have on hand and makes candy making so much easier.
Prep. Lightly butter a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
Cook. Add sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt to a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir to combine and then cook over medium heat for about three minutes, do not stir.
Check temperature. Continue to cook, occasionally stirring until the mixture reaches 300º F on a candy thermometer.
Remove from heat and add ingredients. Once the temperature is 300 degrees Fahrenheit on your candy thermometer, immediately remove it from the heat. Add in butter, baking soda, vanilla, and peanuts. Stir quickly to combine and then pour onto the buttered baking sheet.
Spread the Candy Mixture. Once the brittle mixture is carefully poured onto the buttered baking sheet, spread it carefully (it’s hot!) and quickly it with the back of a silicone spatula. Allow to cool completely, about 15 to 30 minutes.
Break and Enjoy! Break the cooled brittle into pieces. Eat and enjoy.
Can You Make Peanut Brittle Without Peanuts?
To make an allergy-friendly peanut brittle, simply omit the peanuts called for in the recipe. You can replace them with other add-ins. I’ve included a list of a few substitutions you may like.
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Rolled Oats
- Bacon (cook and crumble bacon to add into the brittle)
- Other nuts, such as Almonds, Walnuts, or Cashews
How to Store Peanut Brittle
To Store – Once it has completely cooled and broken into your desired-sized pieces, place peanut brittle in an airtight container and store it on the counter at room temperature for 6 to 8 weeks. Keep it in a dark, cool, dry place and keep it sealed in an airtight container to prevent it from absorbing moisture in the air and getting sticky. Don’t place it in a warm area of the kitchen, such as a cabinet near your stove.
Do Not Refrigerate. It will make the candy soft and sticky and cause it to lose its crunchy texture due to the moisture it will absorb in the refrigerator. The goal is to keep the candy dry and airtight, and it will last several weeks.
To Freeze – Moisture is the enemy of peanut brittle as it can make the candy chewy and not crunchy anymore. And the nutty crunch is one of the best parts of this candy! So, you will want to be careful to make certain of a couple of things so that you can protect your candy when you freeze it. First, make sure it is completely cooled before packaging it for the freezer. Then make sure that the bags or containers you are using to place in the freezer are absolutely airtight. If bagging, make sure to press any air out of the bags before sealing. Once you place the cooled brittle in your freezer-safe, airtight container and freeze it should last for up to 3 months.
Tips for the Best Peanut Brittle
- Be careful with hot candy liquid! As with any time you are cooking or handling kitchen tools, one should be safe. But it is worth mentioning this candy is like molten lava when it reaches the desired temperature on the stovetop of 300 degrees. So please be careful as you stir, pour and spread this hot candy onto the buttered baking sheet. Definitely keep children at a safe distance as you make this until it is cooled. You will spread this somewhat quickly, too so just be careful. I like to wear long oven mitts that I can wash.
- Do not use frozen peanuts. They will not yield a crisp brittle due to the moisture in the frozen nuts.
- Use a candy thermometer. These are inexpensive and will show you when your candy reaches the desired temperature so there’s no guessing. It will be valuable for your candy making!
- Store air-tight to prevent sticky brittle. Keep closed in airtight bags or airtight containers in a cool, dry place, and this will last for weeks. Do not refrigerate either due to the moisture it will absorb.
- Do not skip the baking soda! Candy making, much like baking, involves chemical reactions many times. This is one of those. You will notice the mixture foam a bit once it’s added when cooking. It helps the peanut brittle to have the right texture.
More Family Favorite Candy Recipes
Here is my family’s heirloom recipe for peanut brittle. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Peanut Brittle Recipe
- Instant Read Thermometer Make sure rated for candy
- Dutch Oven or another heavy-bottomed pan
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups cocktail peanuts
- Prep. Lightly butter a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
- Make the peanut brittle. Add sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt to a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir to combine and then cook over medium heat about three minutes, do not stir. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until mixture reaches 300º F on a candy thermometer. Immediately remove from heat and add butter, baking soda, vanilla and peanuts. Stir quickly to combine and then pour onto buttered baking sheet.
- Cool and serve. Spread with the back of a silicone spatula. Allow to cool completely, about 15 minutes. Break into pieces.
How to Store Peanut Brittle
- Once it has completely cooled, place peanut brittle in an airtight container and store it on the counter at room temperature in a cool, dark, and dry place for 6 to 8 weeks.
- Keeping it sealed in an airtight container helps to prevent it from absorbing moisture in the air and getting sticky. Don’t place it in a warm area of the kitchen, such as a cabinet near your stove.
How to Freeze Peanut BrittleMoisture is the enemy of peanut brittle as it can make the candy chewy and sticky and not crunchy anymore.
- First, make sure it is completely cooled before packaging it for the freezer.
- Then make sure that the bags or containers you are using to place in the freezer are absolutely airtight. If bagging, make sure to press any air out of the bags before sealing.
- Once you place the cooled brittle in your freezer-safe, airtight container and freeze it, it should last for up to 3 months.
- Use a Candy Thermometer – they are inexpensive, and an important candy-making tool to ensure your ingredients have reached the correct temperature.
- Cold water test – If you do not have a candy thermometer and can’t grab one before making it, you can test your peanut brittle using a cold water test. Drop a small amount of the sugary syrup into a small bowl or glass of very, very cold water. The syrup with solidify but will still easily separate into hard, brittle threads.
- Don’t skip the baking soda -it’s an important ingredient that matters to the texture of the candy.
- Keep it stored airtight to prevent it from becoming sticky.
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Originally published 2012.
If I use raw peanuts as opposed to Planters would I have to put them in sooner so that they cook? I’ve never had raw peanuts but my mom always used raw peanuts in hers.
Is it okay to use regular corn syrup rather than the light kind? That’s all I have on hand right now. Don’t know that I’ve ever seen light syrup.
Thank you, and I can’t wait to try this recipe!
I use the clear corn syrup, Judy. The brand I use is named light corn syrup. Sorry for the confusion.