Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle

Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Cool: 30 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Yield: 2 pounds
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
280 Calories
17g Fat
31g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 280
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 21%
Saturated Fat 6g 31%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 123mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 2g 5%
Total Sugars 28g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 15mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 118mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This old-fashioned peanut brittle recipe is as easy to make as it is delicious. Peanut brittle makes a perfect holiday season gift for friends, family, co-workers, teachers, or anyone else deserving of some deliciousness. To make the sweet treat a cute gift, tie a festive ribbon with a gift tag on the glass jar. It can be helpful for the gift recipients if you include an ingredient list on the tag, especially for anyone with a peanut allergy or sensitivity.

Using a Candy Thermometer

A candy thermometer is the one kitchen gadget that you'll need for this recipe. It's important to use a candy thermometer and it nearly guarantees foolproof results. To check the accuracy of your candy thermometer, bring a saucepan of water to a full boil. The thermometer should register 212 F (or the boiling point for your altitude if above 1,000 feet). If it's off by a degree or two, adjust the cooking temperature accordingly.

Peanut brittle is cooked to the hard-crack stage. It's called that because it's the point when a drop of boiling sugar syrup immersed into cold water will separate into hard, brittle threads. While toffee is made with similar ingredients, it is cooked to a lower temperature: the hard-ball stage. The change in temperature results in a different candy consistency when the candy cools. Toffee is hard, but has a softer crunch, while brittle is very hard and crunchy.

Cooking Tips

Peanut brittle is so good that it seems as if it would be time-intensive and complicated, but it's a quick and easy candy to make. The hot brittle is extremely hot so take care when pouring it into the baking pans. Even though it's a tasty treat the whole family will likely enjoy, this isn't a recipe that is particularly well-suited for the kids to help with. This recipe makes a large batch of about two pounds, so there is plenty to share.

"A quick, fun, and delicious treat to make, this recipe is a good introduction to homemade candy. Be sure to read all the tips and have everything ready before starting, then pay attention to your candy thermometer, and don’t forget the baking soda at the end!" — Colleen Graham

Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle / Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, more for greasing the pans

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 cup light corn syrup

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 3 cups dry roasted peanuts

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Line a work surface with heatproof pads or pot holders. Generously grease 2 (13 x 9 x 2-inch) rimmed baking sheets. Place the prepared sheets on the protected work surface.

    greased baking sheets

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. In a large saucepan with a candy thermometer attached, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water.

    Sugar, corn syrup, and water in a saucepan with a thermometer and a spatula

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Cook the sugar mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil. Carefully add the butter, stirring until melted. Begin to stir frequently when syrup reaches the thread stage, about 230 F.

    Sugar mixture cooking in a saucepan on a burner, with a thermometer and a spatula

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  5. When the temperature reaches the soft-crack stage (280 F), add the peanuts. Stir constantly until hard-crack stage (300 F), is reached.

    Peanut mixture cooking in a saucepan on a burner, with a spatula and a thermometer

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  6. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Mix well to combine.

    Sugar and peanut mixture in a saucepan, stirred with a spatula

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  7. Immediately pour the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pans.

    Peanut mixture on baking sheets

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  8. As the peanut brittle cools, stretch it thinner by lifting and pulling at the edges with forks. Loosen the brittle from the pans after about 7 to 8 minutes, flipping the brittle over while the mixture is still semi-solid and flexible (the mixture should be removed from the pans as quickly as possible to avoid sticking).

    Peanut mixture on baking sheets, pulled with a fork

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  9. Break the hardened candy into pieces as desired. Store in an airtight container.

    Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle on a platter

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga


  • Use a large saucepan to avoid a sticky mess. After adding the butter and baking soda, the candy will foam and fill the pan.
  • Have all of the ingredients ready and within reach before turning on the heat. While there are slow periods when you’re just stirring, you will also need to move quickly toward the end.
  • After adding the peanuts, the temperature will drop significantly and the candy becomes more difficult to stir. Be patient and keep it moving; it doesn’t take long for the temperature to reach the hard-crack stage.
  • To clean up after making brittle, fill the saucepan with boiling hot water. Add any other candy-coated utensils and let them soak for about 15 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves, then clean as usual.

How to Store

Peanut brittle will get soft when exposed to moisture and should not be refrigerated. Keep it in an air-tight plastic bag or container at room temperature; layers of parchment paper will prevent sticking. It will keep well for six to eight weeks and can be frozen in freezer-safe packaging for up to three months.

Why add baking soda to peanut brittle?

After paying attention to the thermometer for so long, it’s easy to forget the baking soda. However, it is a key ingredient in many classic brittle recipes (though some skip it). When stirred into the hot candy, it creates a foaming reaction that adds air and gives the cooled candy a lighter texture. Without the baking soda, the peanut brittle will be harder, but still tasty.