Crunchy Peanut Brittle is a classic holiday treat made with basic ingredients and easy steps! A nostalgic homemade candy with caramelized, buttery flavors, loaded with roasted peanuts for the perfect combination of salty and sweet. We love it in my house, and I just know you will too!
For another nostalgic Christmas treat, definitely check out this recipe for easy Sponge Candy!
Perfect Homemade Peanut Brittle
Peanut Brittle is such a nostalgic holiday treat. Old-fashioned, even. But it’s such a classic! This is the best homemade peanut brittle recipe that never fails to make an appearance every year at Christmas: crunchy, caramelized, buttery, loaded with roasted peanuts and the perfect combination of salty and sweet.
Nothing beats making Peanut Brittle from scratch. Not only will the buttery flavors and delicate crunch transport you back to Grandma’s kitchen, but the ingredients list is super simple. It also comes together in a matter of minutes from start to finish, making it the perfect holiday candy recipe for all skill levels! We love it in my house, and I just know you’ll love it too.
What You’ll Need
Less than 10 ingredients is all it takes for a simple and scrumptious, delicate peanut brittle.
- Peanuts: I’ve always found that roasted and lightly salted peanuts are the best! But you can absolutely use unsalted if preferred.
- Corn Syrup: Light or dark depending on your desired depth of flavor. Also see below for substitute suggestions if needed!
- Baking Soda: The chemical reaction between the hot sugar and alkaline baking soda is what releases the teeny-tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide needed for a perfect peanut brittle texture. Science!
- Sea Salt
Can I Substitute the Corn Syrup?
If you’re looking to substitute corn syrup in peanut brittle, these ingredients can be used instead:
- Golden Syrup
- Brown Rice Syrup
- Molasses (Light is best)
How to Make Peanut Brittle
There’s a bit of chemistry involved, but making peanut brittle is actually really, really easy!
300°F is the key temperature here, as this is when the sugar mixture reaches the point where it will become hard like candy after it cools. For this reason, a good candy thermometer will take the guesswork out of making the perfect peanut brittle.
It’s also good practice to wear oven mitts as a precaution, as the boiling syrup is very hot!
Make the Candied Peanut Mixture: First, you’ll heat the sugar, water, butter and corn syrup together, stirring frequently until it reaches a boil. Add in the peanuts once the mixture hits 280°F, continuing to stir.
Add Baking Soda: Next comes the magic. To make your peanut mixture crunchy and porous, stir in the baking soda at 300°F. The acid in the sugar will react with alkaline baking soda, creating millions of foaming bubbles that become trapped in the sugar mixture as it cools off.
Spread & Set: Carefully spread the mixture immediately onto a baking sheet that’s been greased and lined ahead of time (or a silicone baking mat). Peanut brittle mix sets up quickly once it’s removed from the heat, so you’ll need to work fast!
Give the brittle a sprinkle of sea salt and allow it to cool, then break it up into snack sized pieces.
Tips for Success
- Have Your Ingredients Measured Beforehand: Because peanut brittle is a quick and exact process, it’s best to have all your ingredients measured and set out, ready to go before starting.
- Use Plain or Salted Peanuts: For a classic peanut brittle, avoid peanuts that come already seasoned with cajun, paprika, etc. Stick to plain and salted or unsalted peanuts (roasted or not).
- Stir Frequently: Stirring the boiling peanut mixture will prevent it from burning at the edges and keep the temperature even as it heats.
- Heat the Baking Sheet: A warm, preheated baking sheet will allow you more time to spread the candy mixture before it sets.
Here are ways to mix up this recipe for holiday brittle:
- Swap out peanuts and make almond brittle, or hazelnut brittle, or use a combination of mixed nuts
- Dip the brittle in melted chocolate, drizzle with chocolate/vanilla glaze, or with a homemade Caramel Sauce
- Frost the tops of the brittle with Chocolate Frosting – a great base for decorating!
You can also add other ingredients into the brittle mix to make this recipe extra special:
- Chocolate chips
- Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg
- Crushed pretzels
- Toffee bits
- M&Ms, crushed candies or candy canes
- Cranberries or dried fruit
- Chocolate-coated coffee beans
How to Store Leftovers
Leftover peanut brittle can be stored airtight at room temperature for up to 7 days. Avoid storing the brittle in the fridge as this will soften it.
Can I Freeze Peanut Brittle?
To freeze peanut brittle, let it cool completely and then store it in a freezer-safe container. Peanut brittle will keep frozen for up to 3 months.
More Holiday Candy Recipes
Looking for more easy recipes for holiday sweets? Try these fun treats that will satisfy any festive sweet tooth!
- Crock Pot Peppermint Pretzel Candy
- Sponge Candy
- Divinity Candy
- Icebox Candy Bars
- Easy Turtles Candy
- Chocolate Covered Cherries
The perfect combination of salty and sweet! A classic homemade Peanut Brittle recipe loaded with candied peanuts and caramelized flavor.
- 1 cup Karo® Light Corn or Dark Corn Syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1–1/2 cups roasted, lightly salted peanuts
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- optional – 2 teaspoons flaked sea salt
- Line a 15 X 10-inch baking sheet with parchment paper and coat lightly with nonstick spray, or alternately you can use a silicone mat. Also coat an off-set spatula with nonstick spray for easy spreading. Set aside.
- Combine syrup, sugar, water and butter in a heavy 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil.
- Once boiling, continue to cook without stirring until temperature reaches 280°F on a candy thermometer.
- Gradually stir in peanuts, stirring until temperature reaches 300°F. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the baking soda. Mixture will foam slightly and become lighter in color.
- Immediately pour the mixture onto the prepared cookie sheet. With the off-set spatula, spread the mixture evenly to edges. Sprinkle with flaked sea salt, if desired.
- Cool and break into pieces.
Store airtight for up to 7 days
- Serving Size: 1 piece
- Calories: 116
- Sugar: 16.3 g
- Sodium: 163.4 mg
- Fat: 5.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 17.3 g
- Protein: 1.9 g
- Cholesterol: 2 mg
Keywords: peanut brittle recipe, holiday baking, homemade candy