This Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle recipe will remind you of childhood and holidays past! This recipe is inspired by the peanut brittle my Grandma Gusty would always make for the holidays. It was always packed in old coffee tins and hidden until it was time to indulge. This old-fashioned recipe is crunchy and crisp, sweet, salty and of course nutty. 

What is Peanut Brittle 

Peanut brittle is an old-fashioned hard candy made from boiled and hardened sugar and roasted peanuts. It’s made on the stove top and poured into a thin layer on a baking sheet (similar to toffee) before hardening and eventually being broken into smaller pieces. The result is a homemade candy that’s sweet, crunchy, nutty and slightly salty. 

Ingredients for peanut brittle set out on a counter including roasted peanuts, sugar, corn syrup, butter, vanilla and salt set out on a counter.

Ingredients in Peanut Brittle

  • Granulated sugar: you’ll need 2 cups of sugar for this recipe. It makes a lot and it’s the base of the candy! 
  • Corn syrup: for this recipe, you will need both light corn syrup and dark corn syrup. In a pinch, you can use all light corn syrup if that’s all you have. 
  • kosher salt: to balance out all the sweetness and enhance the peanut flavor! 
  • Unsalted butter: I always recommend using unsalted butter in baking and candy making. It allows you control over the seasoning. This recipe was developed with unsalted butter. If you are using salted butter, pull back on the added salt slightly. 
  • Dry roasted salted peanuts: the bell of the ball! For uber-traditional peanut brittle, try to find Spanish peanuts (they have the red peanut skins still intact). Do not use unsalted peanuts! 
  • Vanilla extract: a splash of vanilla adds flavor and helps create bubbles in the brittle. 
  • Baking soda: a key ingredient to giving the peanut brittle a bit of lift and airiness so it’s not so hard. This makes it more enjoyable to eat and less likely that you’ll break a tooth. 

How to Make Peanut Brittle 

  1. Prep the Pans
  2. Greased baking sheet set on a counter in preparation for peanut brittle.

    Coat two quarter sheet pans or one half sheet pan generously with butter. You can also use nonstick baking spray. Just be sure to coat the pans well so the peanut brittle doesn’t stick!

  3. Make the Sugar Syrup
  4. Sugar, water and corn syrup cooking for peanut brittle in a saucepan.

    Secure a candy thermometer to the inside of a saucepan. Then combine the sugar, corn syrups, water and salt in the saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. 

  5. Cook to Soft Crack Stage
  6. Sugar syrup and butter for peanut brittle cooking a saucepan with a candy thermometer.

    Bring the sugar syrup to a boil—this will take about 8 minutes. Then add the butter and continue to cook the mixture until it reaches soft crack stage which is 280ºF (138ºC)(use a candy thermometer for this recipe!) this will take about 15 minutes. 

    Sugar syrup for peanut brittle cooking in a saucepan with a thermometer and wooden spoon set in saucepan.
  7. Add the Peanuts and Cook to Hard Crack Stage
  8. Peanut brittle being made. Roasted peanuts being poured into a sugar syrup in a saucepan

    Stir in the peanuts.

    Peanut brittle cooking in a saucepan.

    Continue to cook the mixture until it reaches hard crack stage, which is 305ºF (151ºC). This will take about 10 minutes. 

  9. Stir in the Baking Soda
  10. Vanilla and baking soda being added to old fashioned peanut brittle in a saucepan.

    Remove the pan from heat then carefully add the vanilla and baking soda and mix quickly. The mixture will foam—this is what you are looking for! 

    Peanut brittle mixture foaming in a saucepan right after baking soda has been added.
  11. Pour the Peanut Brittle onto Baking Sheets
  12. Peanut brittle right after being poured into a greased baking sheet.

    Immediately pour the hot, molten peanut brittle mixture onto the greased baking sheets.

    Old fashioned peanut brittle being spread into a quarter sheet pan with a rubber spatula.

    Smooth into an even layer using a rubber spatula.

    Close up of peanut brittle cooling in a sheetpan

    Sprinkle kosher salt over top and let the brittle cool to room temperature. 

  13. Crack the Brittle and Enjoy
  14. To crack the brittle I like to drop the baking sheet down onto the counter to loosen it from the sheet. I then flip the sheet over and dump it out onto the counter where I then break it into smaller pieces. 

Importance of Baking Soda

Adding a bit of baking soda at the end of cooking adds causes the mixture to foam and results in small air pockets throughout the hardened brittle.

This lightens the texture making it crunchy and crisp instead of very hard. I think it’s the key to making Old-Fashioned peanut brittle!

Peanut brittle stacked on a baking sheet with salt set next to it.

Expert Tips from Grandma Gusty

Who makes the best peanut brittle? Grandma Gusty. Here are her tips:

  • To make true old-fashioned peanut brittle, Gusty recommends using Spanish peanuts. We couldn’t find them when we photographed this recipe, but you can usually find them in stores around the holidays.
  • Be sure to butter the baking sheets very well! The more butter, the better she says! This ensures the peanut brittle will release out of the pans easily.
  • Gusty recommends sprinkling additional salt over top of the brittle right after pouring it onto the baking sheets. This just gives it a bit more oomph!

How to Store Peanut Brittle

Peanut brittle should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month.

For longer storage, you can store the airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just be sure to let the peanut brittle sit out at room temperature for a while before biting in.

Stacked pieces of old fashioned peanut brittle showing the peanuts and crisp brittle.

Peanut Brittle FAQs

Why is my peanut brittle not hard?

If your peanut brittle isn’t crunchy, the most likely cause is not cooking it long enough and to the correct temperature. Be sure to use a candy thermometer to ensure it reaches 300 degrees F or hard crack stage.

What kind of peanuts should I use?

We recommend using any type of shelled, roasted and salted peanuts. If you can find roasted and salted Spanish peanuts, those are the most traditional. Otherwise, just use whatever peanuts you can find! Planters is always a good bet.

If I use Spanish peanuts, do I leave the skins on?

Yes, if you use Spanish peanuts, leave the skins on!

Can I use brown sugar and dark corn syrup instead of white sugar and light corn syrup?

I have not tested this with brown sugar and only dark corn syrup. Brown sugar will add more moisture, so decrease the water by 2 tablespoons. This recipe uses a combination of light corn syrup and dark corn syrup. If you use all dark corn syrup, let us know how it goes.

Can you substitute honey in place of corn syrup?

We have not tested this with honey and I do not recommend making this with honey.

Peanut brittle stacked on a baking sheet with salt set next to it.

More Candy Recipes to Try 

We have two chocolate truffle recipes that are absolutely scrumptious! First, our Dark Chocolate Truffles are the perfect holiday or Valentine’s Day treat since they are infused with a bit of red wine. They’re elegant and special. 

And for the dairy-free people in your life, try our Vegan Dark Chocolate Truffles. Made with coconut milk, these are just as silky smooth as regular chocolate truffles. 

For a softer candy, make these Sea Salt Caramels. I like to infuse them with a bit of rosemary for extra holiday flare. 

Chocolate and caramel become one in these Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels. The best of both worlds! 

Not sure we can count this as candy, but our White Chocolate Fondue is the perfect holiday party dessert! 

Peanut Brittle Recipe

4.75 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Yield 2 ¼ pounds
Category Candy, Dessert
Cuisine Amercican

Description

This old-fashioned peanut brittle recipe is crunchy and crisp, sweet, salty and of course nutty.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Generously coat a half-sheet pan (or two quarter sheet pans) with butter.
  • Combine 2 cups (400g) sugar, ½ cup (165g) light corn syrup, ½ cup (165g) dark corn syrup, ½ cup water and ¼ teaspoon salt in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  • Bring mixture to a boil (this will take about 8 minutes), add 1 cup (226g) butter and cook, stirring frequently until mixture reaches 280ºF (138ºC), 15–20 minutes.
  • Stir in 3 cups (410g) peanuts and continue to cook until mixture reaches 305ºF (151ºC), about 10 minutes.
  • Off heat, stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon baking soda and stir quickly (mixture will foam). Immediately pour mixture into prepared sheets, dividing evenly.
  • Using a greased spatula, press brittle into an even layer.
  • Sprinkle brittle lightly with additional kosher salt.
  • Let brittle cool completely then break into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.

Video

Notes

Storage: Peanut brittle should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month. For longer storage, you can store the airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just be sure to let the peanut brittle sit out at room temperature for a while before biting in. 
For a thinner brittle: use two half-sheet pans instead of one. Coat both sheet pans with butter and divide the mixture between those. Additionally, you can stretch it out by lifting and pulling at edges with forks.
Not sure what pan size you have? 
  • Full-sheet pans measure 26-by-18 inches
  • Half-sheet pans measure 18-by-13 inches
  • Quarter-sheet pans measure 13-by-9 inches
Peanuts: For a super traditional Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle, use Spanish Peanuts

Nutrition

Serving: 2medium pieces (1/30th of recipe)Calories: 208kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 3.5gFat: 12.5gSaturated Fat: 4.5gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 107mgFiber: 1gSugar: 16g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestful-kitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
Stacked pieces of old fashioned peanut brittle showing the peanuts and crisp brittle.

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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