Old-fashioned peanut brittle is easy to make on the stove using just a few basic ingredients. It’s a classic hard candy that’s loaded with peanuts and is ultra buttery in flavor!
What Is Peanut Brittle?
Peanut brittle is a type of hard candy that’s made on the stove using a combination of sugar, peanuts, butter, and vanilla. Corn syrup is also added to the homemade peanut brittle to prevent the sugar from crystallizing as it cooks, as well as baking soda to slightly soften the candy — you don’t want it so hard that it chips a tooth!
If you love homemade toffee or hard caramel candies, you’re going to adore this old-fashioned peanut brittle recipe. It’s sweet, salty, and buttery with roasted salted peanuts in every bite.
The brittle lasts up to two weeks at room temperature, making it a wonderful treat to give as gifts around the holidays!
When making homemade candy like peanut brittle, it’s important that you measure the ingredients carefully and use exactly what’s called for in the recipe card. It’s an easy recipe to master, so long as you follow the instructions!
Let’s review what you’ll need:
- Peanuts: I typically use lightly roasted and salted peanuts in this recipe. If you only have unsalted peanuts on hand, simply add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the recipe.
- Baking Soda: The baking soda reacts with the mixture, causing it to foam up and create lots of air bubbles. This gives the brittle a softer texture so that it doesn’t break your teeth when you bite down into it.
- Sugar and Corn Syrup: I prefer using a mixture of granulated sugar and corn syrup to sweeten my brittle. The corn syrup prevents the sugar from crystallizing and seizing up in the saucepan.
- Butter: You’ll want to use unsalted butter that’s been softened to room temperature.
- Vanilla Extract: There’s 2 teaspoons added to the brittle mixture to infuse the hard candy with vanilla flavor.
How to Make Peanut Brittle
Making peanut brittle candy on the stove is very easy, but you must use a candy thermometer for this recipe. Without a candy thermometer, it’s difficult to tell when the brittle mixture reaches the hard-crack stage — if you don’t cook the brittle long enough, your whole batch will be ruined!
Don’t fret, I’ll walk you through the process of making homemade peanut brittle.
- Measure out the ingredients: Once the brittle starts cooking, you’ll need to work fast. To make your life easier, measure out the ingredients so they’re on hand and ready to go. Also, go ahead and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Heat the sugar and corn syrup: To a large saucepan, add the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Heat until the mixture reaches 250ºF.
- Add the peanuts: Add the peanuts to the saucepan. Continue cooking until the brittle reaches the hard-crack stage (300ºF).
- Add the butter, baking soda, and vanilla: Make sure to remove the saucepan from the heat before stirring in the remaining ingredients.
- Pour over the prepared cookie sheet: You’ll want to do this while the mixture is still piping hot. I like to use a rubber spatula to spread the molten brittle mixture into a thinner layer.
- Cool: The brittle needs at least 45 minutes to cool and harden before it can be broken into pieces and enjoyed.
The baking soda makes the brittle mixture foam up and creates lots of little air bubbles. This softens the finished peanut brittle candy somewhat so that it’s still hard and crunchy, but not so hard that it will break a tooth!
I recommend using roasted and lightly salted peanuts for this recipe.
If your brittle didn’t set up and harden, that means you didn’t cook it for long enough. You must use a candy thermometer or instant read thermometer to check if the brittle mixture has reached the hard-crack stage (300ºF) before turning it out onto the cookie sheet.
Yes! If you overcook the brittle, it might taste bitter or burnt. Once the candy mixture reaches 300ºF, you need to remove it from the heat.
- Use caution when adding the butter, vanilla, and baking soda to the hot brittle mixture. You want to stir everything together quickly but carefully, as a lot of steam will be released.
- The brittle will start to set up fast once you remove it from the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Make sure to work quickly pouring it and spreading it out onto your pan! If needed, you can use two forks to help spread it faster.
- You need to use a candy thermometer or instant read thermometer when making this recipe. It’s the only way to know for sure when the brittle reaches the hard-crack stage.
More Homemade Candy Recipes!
- 2 cups granulated sugar (400 grams)
- 1 cup light corn syrup (320 grams)
- ½ cup water (120 ml)
- 2 cups dry roasted and lightly salted peanuts (280 grams)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter softened and cubed into small pieces (60 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Mix the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and water together in a large saucepan (make sure to use one larger than what you think you will need). Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar mixture reaches 250°F (121°C).
- With the heat still on, add the peanuts and stir. Continue cooking, stirring continuously, until the mixture reaches 300°F (150°C). I recommend using an instant-read thermometer or a candy thermometer for this step.
- Turn off the heat and remove the saucepan from the stove. Quickly add the butter, baking soda, and vanilla extract. Make sure to stir quickly, but carefully, because the mixture will release a lot of steam. Continue stirring until the butter is fully mixed in.
- Carefully, pour the hot candy mixture over the prepared cookie sheet and use the back of a spoon or rubber spatula to spread it into an even layer. If needed, you can use two forks to help spread the peanut brittle into a thinner layer.
- Allow the peanut brittle to cool completely, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, before breaking into pieces and eating.