This recipe for Easy Homemade Peanut Brittle is a delicious, crisp, buttery candy filled with peanuts that is perfect for gift giving!
A CLASSIC PEANUT BRITTLE RECIPE
I think peanut brittle is one of those great homemade gifts that most people appreciate. It’s not always a treat we think to make for ourselves but we sure appreciate it when someone makes it homemade just for us, right? This is a foolproof recipe that comes out delicious every single time!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
I would say this recipe is for someone who already has familiarity with using a candy thermometer. This is not for the novice baker. If you are okay attempting this even though you’ve never made it before or never used a candy thermometer, please understand it may take a couple of tries to get it right and you must be patient and never leave or turn away from your pot. Some folks have commented they got it perfect the first try so it is possible. Please see all my FAQ questions here to help you get the best possible outcome.
You MUST use a candy thermometer if you are not familiar with candy making. It’s the only way to be sure and not ruin or waste all your ingredients. Very experienced candy makers can often look at it and know when it is ready but most of us can’t. It is the only sure-fire way to know if the mixture is ready and at the “hard crack” stage (300F degrees.) If you are not going to use a candy thermometer, do not use this recipe.
It could be because of a few reasons:
1. Not cooking the sugar mixture long enough: Peanut brittle relies on the sugar mixture reaching the hard crack stage, which is about 300°F (150°C) on a candy thermometer. If the mixture is not cooked long enough, it will not harden properly.
2. Using too low of a heat: It’s important to cook the sugar mixture over medium heat. If the heat is too low, the mixture will not reach the hard crack stage and will not harden properly.
3. Not spreading the mixture thinly enough: If the peanut brittle is too thick (usually because you used too small of a pan), it may not cool and harden properly. Be sure to spread the mixture as thinly as possible in the pan.
4. Humidity: Humidity can affect the hardening process of the peanut brittle. If the weather is humid, it may take longer for the peanut brittle to cool and harden, or it may not harden properly at all.
If any of these factors apply to your peanut brittle, you can try to salvage it by reheating the mixture and cooking it longer to reach the hard crack stage. However, if the mixture has already cooled and slightly hardened and is still not brittle, it may be difficult to fix.
It’s important to keep a close eye on the sugar as it cooks, stirring it constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula. Also, be sure to use a heavy-bottomed pan as this helps with more even heating. If you notice the sugar starting to brown too quickly, remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring.
Baking soda is a crucial ingredient in peanut brittle that helps to create its characteristic light, airy texture. When added to the hot sugar mixture, baking soda reacts with the acids present in the mixture and releases carbon dioxide gas. This gas creates small air pockets throughout the brittle, making it more porous and less dense.
Once the peanut brittle has cooled and hardened, you can break it into pieces and store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Be sure to separate the layers with wax paper to prevent sticking.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- sugar – granulated sugar, you gotta use the real stuff here not sugar substitutes.
- light corn syrup – corn syrup is not high fructose corn syrup, again no substitutes here.
- salt – this balances the sweetness from the other ingredients
- unsalted butter – you can use salted butter and just leave out the salt in the recipe
- unsalted, dry roasted peanuts – you could technically use raw peanuts but they can give some folks a stomach ache who are sensitive to raw nuts so I stick with the roasted, you could use salted roasted peanuts as well
- baking soda – this is essential so make sure the baking soda you are using is fresh
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE PEANUT BRITTLE:
Line a large cookie sheet (17.25 x 14.9 inch) with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. This stuff is sticky and we want to be extra safe in making sure it will release from the pan. In medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, corn syrup water and salt then bring to a boil over medium heat. Hook the candy thermometer to the inside of the saucepan.
When the sugar comes to a boil (about 6 to 7 minutes) add the sliced butter. Stir to combine.
Let the mixture come back up to a boil until it reaches 280°F. Then stir in the peanuts.
Continue boiling the mixture until the candy thermometer reads 300°F (this is called the hard crack stage). Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. It will get fizzy.
Immediately pour the mixture into the prepared cookie sheet and smooth it out.
Let cool completely. Break candy into pieces. Store in an airtight container.
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
Homemade Peanut Brittle (+Video)
- Line a large cookie sheet (13×18-inch) with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. This stuff is sticky and we want to be extra safe in making sure it will release from the pan.
- In a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan, stir together 2 cups granulated sugar, 1 cup light corn syrup, 1/2 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon salt then bring to a boil over medium heat. Hook the candy thermometer to the inside of the saucepan (making sure it is not touching the bottom of the pan or it won't read an accurate temperature.)
- Continue boiling the mixture until the candy thermometer reads 300°F (this is considered the hard crack stage.)
- Let cool completely. Break candy into pieces. Store in an airtight container.
- BEFORE MAKING: Please refer to my FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) for the answers to the most common questions and to ensure this turns out properly for you.
- You must use a candy thermometer and work in a low humidity environment for the brittle to set up. I can’t stress this enough. Don’t try to do this without a candy thermometer unless you are already a master at making brittle and know the exact consistency to look for. If the brittle does not reach a hard crack stage (300F degrees) it will not set up and harden properly.
- Also, the correct pan size matters. If your pan is too small then the brittle mixture will be too thick and won’t be able to harden up properly.
- If you like it to have a more salty flavor, you can use salted peanuts.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.