An easy recipe for homemade, old-fashioned peanut brittle—this delicious made-from-scratch candy is perfect for holiday treat trays and gift baskets.

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Peanut brittle is a constant on our holiday baking list. It’s a family Christmas tradition and one of my favorites to load on goodie trays on Christmas Eve—alongside peanut butter cups, marshmallow krispies, krumkake (and many more treats!).

We love this recipe because it’s so simple, takes only about 15 minutes, requires only 6 ingredients, and stores well for an extended period of time – so you can make it well ahead of time.

This classic peanut brittle also makes an excellent DIY Christmas gift for teachers and neighbors. Give in a festive holiday tin or use a clear bag tied with holiday ribbon to easily include in a gift basket.

Ingredients for Peanut Brittle

  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup white corn syrup
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Supplies & Favorite Tools for Candy Making

  • Saucepan and mixing spoon
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper – we love the pre-cut sheets.
  • Candy thermometer

How to Make Homemade Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle

A quick note on safety before we start – please be careful when working with the hot candy mixture. Handle it with care! Be sure to use protective equipment (oven mitts when handling hot pans or bowls, etc.) and slow, thoughtful movements.

STEP 1 | Prepare a baking sheet.

First, you’ll want to prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper and then set it aside.

STEP 2 | Mix sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan.

Next, in a saucepan, stir the sugar and corn syrup together until mixed well.

STEP 3 | Cook until sugar is dissolved.

In the same saucepan, turn the heat to medium and cook the sugar and corn syrup until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbling.

STEP 4 | Add peanuts.

Stir in the peanuts and cook until the mixture is light brown in color. Note: this recipe calls for roasted peanuts and not raw peanuts. If you use raw peanuts, you will have to adjust the cooking time for the peanuts accordingly.

STEP 5 | Add butter and vanilla.

Add the butter and vanilla extract. Mix well.

STEP 6 | Continue to cook to temperature.

Cook the mixture until your candy thermometer reaches 295–309ºF. Or until the candy on your mixing spoon hardens, resembling the hard crack stage. (This is the trick to making this recipe without a candy thermometer!)

STEP 7 | Add baking soda.

Add the baking soda and gently stir until foamy. The baking soda makes it light and crispy, so do not be tempted to skip this step.

STEP 8 | Spread mixture on baking sheet.

On the sheet pan you prepared with parchment paper, spread out the candy peanut mixture in a thin layer using a spatula. Do not use wax paper – the peanut brittle will stick to the wax paper.

STEP 9 | Let cool and break apart.

Let the peanut brittle harden and cool completely. Then, you can break the brittle into pieces. 

STEP 10 | Enjoy or store for later.

Voila, your peanut brittle is ready to add to holiday dessert trays or gift baskets.

Storage: Store in a metal tin or airtight container. Freezing peanut brittle is unnecessary, but it can help move it out of the way, off your countertop, or out of the pantry.

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Old Fashioned Peanut Brittle

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A simple recipe for homemade, old-fashioned peanut brittle. A traditional Christmas candy.

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup white corn syrup
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions

  1. Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, stir the sugar and corn syrup together until mixed well.
  3. Cook the sugar and corn syrup over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbling.
  4. Stir in the peanuts and cook until the mixture is light brown in color.
  5. Add the butter and vanilla extract. 
  6. Cook until your candy thermometer reaches 295-309ºF. Or until the candy on your mixing spoon hardens. (This is the trick to making this recipe without a candy thermometer!)
  7. Add the baking soda and gently stir until foamy.
  8. On the sheet pan, lined with parchment paper, spread out the candy peanut mixture in a thin layer.
  9. Let the peanut brittle harden and cool completely.
  10. Break the brittle into pieces. 
  11. Store in a metal tin or airtight container.

Notes

  • Do not use wax paper; the peanut brittle will stick.
  • If you use raw peanuts, you will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Please be careful with the hot candy mixture.
  • Author: Kelsey Restemayer
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 piece
  • Calories: 177
  • Sugar: 28.1 g
  • Sodium: 115.1 mg
  • Fat: 6.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 29.6 g
  • Protein: 3.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.8 mg
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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to commonly asked questions about making peanut brittle.

What is the best way to store peanut brittle?

Store peanut brittle in an airtight container or a metal tin. You can also freeze peanut brittle, but it’s not necessary.

Can I make peanut brittle without a candy thermometer?

Yes, you can make peanut brittle without a candy thermometer. Just make sure a small amount of the candy hardens when cooled to ensure the whole batch has also cooked enough to harden.

Can peanut brittle be too hard?

Yes, it can get too hard and burn if you cook it too long. Also, if you fail to use baking soda, it can turn out too hard instead of light, airy, and crispy.

Can I use wax paper for peanut brittle?

No, the hot peanut brittle candy mixture will be too hot for wax paper, and it will stick. Trust me on this one; you’ll have to make it again.

Can I use parchment paper for peanut brittle?

Yes, I use this for my peanut brittle, and it works perfectly.

Can you make this peanut brittle recipe in the microwave?

Yes, you sure can. Actually, the original family recipe is for microwave peanut brittle – but I prefer to make it on the stovetop. In my opinion, it is just as quick and easy as the microwave and much safer. (You won’t be taking a hot bowl of hot candy in and out of the microwave several times.)

Follow the same steps and consistency indicators at each stage of cooking. The process will work just the same.

We hope you enjoy this classic recipe & Happy Holidays to you and your family! We want to know – what is your favorite recipe to make at Christmastime?

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