The Best Way to Make Peanut Brittle, According to Our Test Kitchen

The Best Way to Make Peanut Brittle, According to Our Test Kitchen

By Sydney Novak | BHG.Com

Troy Warren for CNT #Foodie

Our step-by-step guide will show you exactly how to make peanut brittle from scratch. There’s no reason this holiday candy favorite has to be made only with peanuts. Our Test Kitchen updated the classic recipe with cashews, almonds, and pepitas.

Peanut brittle (and other nut brittles) are a classic hard candy made of sugar and nuts. If your holiday menu isn’t complete without brittle candy, we’re here to show you how easy it is to make nut brittle from scratch. Use our step-by-step process to learn how to make peanut brittle (or any nut brittle) that’s always perfectly buttery, crunchy, and sweet. And for anyone who has tried to make brittle candy before that’s turned out too sticky or didn’t set, be sure to check out the tip section below to ensure you’ve got the proper baking tools to make nut brittle at home.

How to Make Peanut Brittle (and Other Nut Brittles) 

If this is your first time, use this step-by-step guide on making peanut brittlewith the help of our Test Kitchen. You can go with classic peanut or switch it up with other nuts such as cashews, pepitas, or almonds.


Step 1: Start Nut Brittle on Stove 

Combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan($13, Walmart). Cook and stir over medium-high heat until butter is melted and sugar is completely dissolved.


Step 2: Bring to a Boil 

Bring the candy mixture to a rolling boil (bubbles evenly across the surface), then clip a candy thermometer ($11, Target) to the side of the pan; do not let the thermometer touch the bottom of the pan. 

Step 3: Bring Candy to Temperature 

It will take about 30 minutes to get the nut brittle mixture to 275°F. During this time, watch it closely and adjust the heat to maintain a steady, controlled boil.


Step 4: Stir in Peanuts 

Carefully stir in peanuts (or your nut of choice) and continue cooking over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes or until the temperature is 295°F. 

Test Kitchen Tip: Use raw nuts when making nut brittle because they’ll cook in the mixture; roasted nuts will overcook.

Step 5: Pour Nut Brittle Onto Pans, Cool, and Pull 

When you add the baking soda, it will foam as it reacts with the sugar, making carbon dioxide. This creates the characteristic peanut brittle texture. Immediately pour the mixture onto two large, buttered baking sheets ($15, Target); let cool about 1 minute. Using two forks, gently pull candy into a sheet of even thickness.

Tips for Peanut Brittle Success 

Follow these Test Kitchen tips to ensure your peanut brittle always turns out deliciously.

  • Use the right pan: Choose a heavy-bottom pan for even heating and caramelizing. It’s important to use the pan size specified in the recipe because the candy mixture will expand during cooking. If the pan is too small, the mixture may boil over or take too long to cook; if it’s too big, the mixture may cook too quickly.
  • Measure accurately: Measure ingredients before you begin and have a candy thermometer ready. Make one batch at a time; do not halve or double the recipe.
  • Rely on a thermometer: A candy thermometer is key for candy-making success. Reaching exact temperatures during cooking creates the ideal consistency for pulling. The finished brittle will snap versus having a chewy texture that can stick to your teeth. Choose a thermometer that’s easy to read and clips to the side of the pan.
  • Calibrate: Before you start, calibrate your thermometer for accuracy. Submerge the tip in rapidly boiling water; it should reach 212°F (the temperature at which water boils). If it doesn’t, add or subtract the number of degrees above or below 212°F from the temp called for in the recipe. 

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By Troy Warren

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