Old Fashioned Peanut Brittle

My grandmother’s old-fashioned peanut brittle is the best I have ever eaten. A deliciously sweet, crunchy candy loaded with salty peanuts that’s sure to please.

Peanut brittle stacked in a tin lined with red tissue paper.

Why You’ll Love This

Oddly enough, this recipe does not have any butter in it at all. But it tastes traditionally buttery sweet.

I’ve tried the microwave kind, and it just doesn’t have the same buttery classic taste.

Using only a few ingredients, you have an easy homemade peanut brittle in under 30 minutes! It’s great for gifting during the holiday season too.

If you love making homemade treats during the holidays to share with friends and family, check out our flaky shortbread cookies, chocolate covered pretzel rods, English toffee recipe, and maple shortbread cookies.

Peanut brittle stacked in a tin lined with red tissue paper.

Key Ingredients

  • Sugar and Corn Syrup – This classic peanut brittle recipe uses corn syrup. It’s used to help keep the sugar from crystallizing and keep the brittle smooth.
  • Baking Soda – Adding baking soda to the caramel in the liquid state produces tiny air bubbles creating pockets as it cools and hardens. This is the difference between brittle and hard candy (toffee).

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Sugar, water, and syrup boiling in a saucepan.

How to Make Old Fashioned Peanut Brittle

Prepare a large baking sheet pan with parchment paper. Or, as my grandmother would do, generously butter a clean section of countertop. You can also butter the sheet pan.

In a large saucepan (heavy-bottomed), combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and continue cooking, constantly stirring until it reaches a candy thermometer reaches 310º-320º. (I bring mine to 320º.)

Remove from the heat, and add the peanuts and baking soda. Stir to combine.

Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle spread out to cool on parchment paper.

Quickly spread the peanut brittle to the thinness you prefer. My grandmother called this stretching.

Cool completely.

Peanut brittle broken into pieces on parchment paper.

Break the peanut brittle into pieces. You can use a butter knife, or I use parchment to hold the candy and break it with my hands.

Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle in a tin lined with red tissue paper.

Share as gifts in cute tins or boxes. Homemade candy makes great gifts during the holidays.

Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle in a tin lined with red tissue paper.

Be sure to enjoy some yourself before giving it all away.

Tips and Variations

  • My grandmother always used raw shelled peanuts and would stir them in when the mixture came to a boil. I now use cocktail peanuts and stir them in at the end. They give it a little saltiness.
  • You can also swap the peanut for a different nut, such as pecans, pistachios, or hazelnuts. Chop larger nuts into smaller pieces.
  • Remember to be very careful handling the boiling candy mixture. It can cause some serious burns!
  • The hard crack stage begins at 300-310 degrees F.
  • Be sure to prep a baking sheet with parchment paper before you do anything else. You want to be able to move quickly once the candy reaches temperature.
  • Be sure to use a candy thermometer (affiliate link).
  • Peanut brittle is cooked to the hard crack stage. You can try the cold water test if you don’t have a thermometer. Drop a little of the boiling candy liquid into a glass of cold water. It should separate into hard, brittle strands. This is how you will know the peanut brittle is at the hard crack stage.

FAQs

Do you have to use corn syrup?

Yes. We recommend using corn syrup for this easy peanut brittle. The other liquid sugars such as honey, agave, or molasses have impurities that can burn at a high temperature causing a bitter taste.

Why is my peanut brittle too hard?

It’s likely too much moisture in the candy. Be sure to cook the water out, and it reaches 320 degrees F.

How do you know when the brittle is done?

Use a candy thermometer to cook it until it reaches 320 degrees F.

Storing

Moisture is the enemy of peanut brittle. Store in an air-tight container or bag, layered with parchment or wax paper, at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Freezing

Let the peanut brittle cool completely, place it in a freezer-safe container or bag, and freeze for up to 2 months.

More Delicious Recipes

Close up of broken pieces.

Old Fashioned Peanut Brittle Recipe

A deliciously sweet, crunchy candy loaded with salty peanuts that's sure to please. Great for Christmas gifts, holiday candy trays, or all year long sweet.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Candy, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: candy, old fashioned, peanut brittle
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 328kcal
Author: Don’t Sweat The Recipe

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups peanuts*
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions

  • Prepare a large baking sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large saucepan mix the sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt.
    2 cups granulated sugar, 3/4 cup corn syrup, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, continue cooking stirring constantly until it reaches a candy thermometer reaches 310º-320º. (I bring mine to 320º.)
  • Remove from the heat, stir in the peanuts and baking soda.
    2 cups peanuts*, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pour onto the parchment paper and quickly spread to desired thinness.
  • Cool completely, break into pieces.

Notes

My grandmother always used raw shelled peanuts and would stir them in when the mixture came to a boil. I now use cocktail peanuts and stir them in at the end. They give it an extra little saltiness.
If you don’t have a thermometer you can try the cold water test. Drop a little of the boiling candy liquid into a glass of cold water, it should separate into hard, brittle strands. This is how you will know the peanut brittle is at the hard crack stage.
Storing – Moisture is the enemy of peanut brittle. Store in an air-tight container or bag, layered with parchment or wax paper at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Freezing – Let the peanut brittle cool completely, break into pieces, place them in a freezer-safe container or bag, and freeze for up to 2 months.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 328kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 113mg | Potassium: 181mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 50g | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg

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