Peanut Brittle Recipe

Y’all, this Peanut Brittle Recipe is a Southern gem that’s totally captured our hearts! We’re talking the ultimate homemade goodness: it’s got that crunch, that buttery bliss, and just the right balance of sweet and savory vibes. It’s the MVP of any holiday dessert lineup, and trust me, it’s just as amazing when you bundle it up as a sweet, from-the-heart gift for your favorite folks.

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Broken peanut brittle against a white background.

There is something truly magical about homemade candy, especially during the holiday season! Each year, I whip up a few batches of various candies and cookies to share around the neighborhood or to pass out to family and friends.

And y’all, I never get any complaints. One of my favorites? Peanut Brittle of course!  

Peanut brittle is a smooth, buttery candy (similar to toffee), with peanuts in it, that is quickly cooked over a stovetop and poured onto baking sheets to cool.

Once cool, the brittle is broken up into bite-sized pieces and stored in airtight aluminum or plastic tins. Honestly, if you’ve never had this stuff before, you don’t know what you’re missing boos! 

If you love this Southern candy recipe, you will also enjoy my Southern Pralines, Bourbon Balls, Chocolate Bark, and Turtle Candies. Cook a batch of my best peanut brittle recipe and these other favorites and package them up for a thoughtful homemade holiday gift or to enjoy at all your holiday parties!

A close up of the best peanut brittle on a baking sheet after being broken apart.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe foar Peanut Brittle

  • Peanut brittle can be a bit tricky! But I’m sharing all my tips to make sure yours comes out great!
  • Tastes so good. Sweet, buttery toffee-like candy studded with plenty of peanuts!
  • Made with only SIX ingredients! Not including the water and salt.
  • A true Southern holiday classic. If you grew up eating peanut brittle but haven’t ever tried making it, now you can!

Ingredients to Make Peanut Brittle

All you’re going to need are six simple ingredients to make homemade peanut brittle. Here’s a close look at what to gather together:

  • Granulated sugar: White granulated sugar is the BEST bet for making peanut brittle. Do not try to make this using sugar substitutes, it ain’t gonna work.
  • Light corn syrup: It’s essential for creating the texture of your peanut brittle. It keeps the sugar from forming crystals so you get a smooth hard candy consistency. No substitutes here!
  • Spanish peanuts: I prefer using raw Spanish peanuts but there’s no reason you can’t use roasted. Just make sure they are unsalted.
  • Baking soda: This helps get those bubbles released! It also aids in the hardening process.
  • Butter: Use unsalted real butter for the best flavor. It adds a touch of richness and using unsalted means you have more control over the saltiness of your brittle.
  • Vanilla extract: Use pure for the best flavor. This adds gentle warming essence in both flavor and smell to your peanut brittle.

How to Make Peanut Brittle

Gather all your ingredients and let’s get started! Here’s an overview of the steps involved but be sure to check all my tips below and also the detailed instructions in the recipe card before getting started.

  1. Cook the sugar base. Add the sugar, corn syrup, and water to a large saucepan. Whisk everything together and then cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. 
  2. Bump up the heat. Increase the heat to medium-high once the sugar is dissolved and toss in the peanuts and salt. Fit a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and keep watch as you continuously stir the nuts. When the thermometer hits 300°F, the candy will have reached its hard crack stage. Turn off the heat. 
  3. Add the final ingredients. Move the saucepan off the burner and carefully add the baking soda, butter, and vanilla to the candy mixture and mix it well.
  4. Pour your peanut candy mixture. Slowly divide and pour the hot mixture onto two well-greased baking sheets, spreading it out to your desired thickness. 
  5. Set and enjoy. Cool the brittle completely for about 1-2 hours. 
  6. Crack apart the brittle and serve! 
A collage showing the steps of making peanut brittle.

Tips for Making the Best Peanut Brittle

  • Use a candy thermometer! If you overcook the brittle, it could be bitter or burnt. If you undercook it, the brittle won’t properly set and the end result will be sticky. A thermometer is an accessible and inexpensive way to monitor temperature and ensure properly cooked brittle. 
  • Make sure your baking soda is fresh and active. Baking soda creates tons of little air bubbles that improve the texture of the brittle. If it’s stale or inactive, baking soda is unable to create the necessary reaction. 
  • Whisk continuously! Do not walk away from the burner for even a second. Sugar burns quickly and, if left unattended, the mixture will harden and become pretty unappetizing. Keep whisking! 
  • Use a bigger pot than you’d think you need. Once the baking soda is added, the mixture will begin to foam and rise. If you don’t have enough space in the saucepan, the mixture will boil over and make a huge mess. 
  • Be super careful! The candy gets super hot and can easily spill onto your hands or wrists. Wearing protective oven mitts or gloves is a great choice. While pouring, direct the pot away from you and use a spatula to scrape the candy onto the pans. 
  • Pecan brittle and other nut variations. Swap the peanuts for pecans, macadamia nuts, cashews, or almonds.
  • Spicy peanut brittle. Add a pinch of cayenne at the end along with the baking soda and butter. It will give a gentle bit of heat to your candy for a sweet and spicy combination that’s out of this world.
  • Add some chocolate drizzle. After breaking up your peanut brittle spread it out on the tray and drizzle with melted chocolate. Let the chocolate harden before storing.
  • Mixed nut brittle. Use a combination of all your favorite nuts.
An oval white serving tray loaded up with peanut brittle with a few pieces scattered on the table next to it.

What to Serve with Peanut Brittle

You’re definitely going to want to have a platter of these out at parties for everyone to grab! Here are some other easy-to-eat sweets and savory dishes perfect to eat with your hands at parties.

How to Store Peanut Brittle

Store fully cooled and hardened brittle in an airtight container at room temperature. Do not refrigerate as the cool moisture will cause the brittle to soften. 

How long will peanut brittle last?

If stored properly, it will stay fresh for 6-8 weeks.

Can I freeze this recipe for peanut brittle?

No, you can’t freeze it boos. This will introduce moisture to your brittle which will cause it to soften.

Broken peanut brittle against a white background.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why didn’t my homemade peanut brittle get hard?

The most likely culprit is you made a mistake measuring ingredients or you didn’t heat your sugar mixture up to the right temperature. It must cook to 300°F in order for it to reach the state where it will form a hard candy. Using a thermometer while heating your candy mixture easily solves this problem.

How long does it take for peanut brittle to get hard?

It will take 1-2 hours for it to fully cool down and harden.

Can I swap the peanuts for another nut?

Yes of course! You can use just about any nut you enjoy to make brittle. Just make sure they are unsalted for the best flavor.

Cook up a batch of the best peanut brittle this holiday season (or any time for reals)! It makes an easy hostess gift to take along to parties, share with neighbors, or enjoy at all your holiday events. I’m sure everyone will love the buttery goodness of this crunchy peanut brittle. Everybody will be screaming “gimme the goodness”!

More Holiday Dessert Recipes

Broken up peanut brittle on the table.

Peanut Brittle Recipe

Crunchy, buttery, sweet, and savory, this homemade Peanut brittle recipe is all you need to please friends and family this holiday season!
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course: Dessert, Snack
Servings: 2 lbs

Ingredients

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 ½ cups raw Spanish peanuts
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly.
  • Once sugar dissolves, increase the heat to medium-high. Add peanuts and salt then cook until the temperature reaches 300 degrees or the hard crack stage, making sure to continuously stir.
  • Finally add in baking soda, butter and vanilla and mix well. Next, pour the brittle mixture onto 2 thoroughly greased baking sheets and spread to the thickness you desire.
  • Once completely cooled, crack into pieces and serve.

Notes

MAKE AHEAD + LEFTOVER STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS
If stored in an airtight container at room temperature, homemade peanut brittle will stay fresh for 6-8 weeks. Do not refrigerate or the cool moisture will cause the brittle to soften.
Use a candy thermometer! If you overcook the brittle, it could be bitter or burnt. If you undercook it, the brittle won’t properly set and the end result will be sticky. A thermometer is an accessible and inexpensive way to monitor temperature and ensure properly cooked brittle. 
Make sure your baking soda is fresh and active. Baking soda creates tons of little air bubbles that improve the texture of the brittle. If it’s stale or inactive, baking soda is unable to create the necessary reaction. 
Whisk continuously! Do not walk away from the burner for even a second. Sugar burns quickly and, if left unattended, the mixture will harden and become pretty unappetizing. Keep whisking! 
Use a bigger pot than you’d think you need. Once the baking soda is added, the mixture will begin to foam and rise. If you don’t have enough space in the saucepan, the mixture will boil over and make a huge mess. 
Be super careful! The candy gets super hot and can easily spill onto your hands or wrists. Wearing protective oven mitts or gloves is a great choice. While pouring, direct the pot away from you and use a spatula to scrape the candy onto the pans.

Nutrition

Calories: 2356kcal | Carbohydrates: 360g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 97g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 32g | Monounsaturated Fat: 42g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 1283mg | Potassium: 1370mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 331g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Calcium: 224mg | Iron: 7mg
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Filed Under:  Candy and Confections, Christmas, Dessert and Baking, Holidays

Comments

  1. what a fun treat to make this time of year, I haven’t had peanut brittle in years, and to make it from scratch so much better, thank you

  2. I loved the Spanish peanuts in this peanut brittle recipe. This will be my go to recipe for peanut brittle from now on. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I have a favorite cashew brittle recipe and need one for this big bag of Spanish peanuts I have to eat and use up. My kids are going to be in heaven with this recipe and so are my guests. Love that it is an easy to follow recipe that the kids can help with.

5 from 11 votes

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