Our 5-Ingredient Peanut Brittle is the Best Candy to Make and Share (2024)

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This salty-sweet treat is made on the stovetop with just five ingredients

By

Martha Stewart

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Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart is a bestselling author, entrepreneur, and lifestyle expert who has taught millions of people through generations the joy of entertaining, cooking, gardening, collecting, crafting, and home renovating via her eponymous magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Emmy-winning television shows, and 99 books (and counting). Based in Katonah, N.Y., where she helms her 156-acre Bedford Farm, Martha is America's first self-made female billionaire.

Editorial Guidelines

Updated on November 22, 2023

The perfect balance between salty and sweet, our peanut brittle recipe is made with just a few ingredients: peanuts, granulated sugar, butter, and salt. There's no corn syrup in our peanut brittle, giving it a true old-fashioned flavor and texture.

Peanut brittle is one of the easiest candies to make—and since it can be made way ahead of when you need it, it's perfect for gifting during the holiday season (or any season). It's customizable too: If peanuts aren’t your thing, make it with cashews or almonds instead.

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20 Easy Candy Recipes Perfect for Beginners

What Is Peanut Brittle?

Brittle is a kind of smooth, crisp candy made by stirring toasted nuts into a sugar mixture cooked to the hard crack or caramel stage, then turned out onto an oiled surface to cool. Peanut brittle is the most popular type of brittle.

3 Tips for Making Peanut Brittle

  • Avoid making brittle in a humid environment. Brittle is best made on dry, low humidity day. If you make it when it is humid, the candy will attract moisture from the air, making it sticky instead of crisp. Humidity also slows the cooling process while your candy is setting, increasing the chances of having unwanted crystals form.
  • Have all your ingredients measured out before you start to make the peanut brittle so you aren’t searching for an ingredient while the sugar burns.
  • Be careful when pouring the brittle into the buttered pan as the candy is very hot. Wearoven gloves to make sure the molten candy doesn’t touch your skin.

Peanuts make the classic brittle, but you can substitute the same amount of cashews or almonds instead in this recipe.

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter, softened, for baking sheet

  • 2 cups sugar

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 ½ cups salted peanuts, 7 ounces

  • Vegetable oil, for spatula

Directions

  1. Butter baking sheet:

    Butter a rimmed baking sheet; set aside.

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  2. Mix sugar, water, and salt:

    Stir together sugar, 1/2 cup water, and the salt in a medium saucepan.

    Use a medium-size saucepan (wider rather than taller) that does not have a nonstick coating.

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  3. Cook:

    Cook over high heat, without stirring, until sugar begins to melt and turn golden, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar has melted and mixture turns golden amber, about 10 minutes.

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  4. Add peanuts:

    Remove pan from heat. Stir in peanuts.

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  5. Spread on prepared tray:

    Immediately pour peanut mixture onto buttered baking sheet. Quickly spread mixture to 1/2 inch thick using an oiled metal spatula. Let cool completely, about 15 minutes.

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  6. Break into pieces:

    Break brittle into pieces ready to serve.

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Storage

Properly stored (in an airtight container at room temperature), peanut brittle will last one month. Do not store the brittle in the refrigerator because the moisture in the fridge will soften the brittle.

Peanut brittle can be frozen, but it is not something we recommend because the candy keeps well at room temperature and freezing alters its texture.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why didn't my homemade peanut brittle get hard?

    The main reason why peanut brittle doesn’t get hard and have the crunch we expect is because the sugar was not cooked long enough. The sugar needs to be cooked to what is called the hard crack stage, 300ºF.

  • What is the hard-crack stage?

    The hard-crack stage is the highest temperature you are likely to see specified in a candy recipe. At the hard-crack stage there is almost no water left in the sugar syrup. It gets its name because it's the point when a drop of boiling sugar syrup immersed into cold water will break or crack into hard, brittle threads.

  • Is English toffee the same as peanut brittle?

    English toffee and peanut brittle are both candies made with butter and sugar, but there a significant differences. Toffee has a much higher proportion of butter than brittle and that is what gives it a more pliable texture than that of brittle. Also, peanut brittle contains peanut halves. It is a simpler candy than English toffee that has a chocolate topping and generally does not contain peanuts and if it has nuts, they are cut into much smaller pieces.

Originally appeared: Martha Stewart Living, July 2005

Updated by

Victoria Spencer

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Victoria Spencer

Victoria Spencer is an experienced food editor, writer, and recipe developer. She manages the Martha Stewart recipe archive and is always curious about new ingredients and the best techniques. She has been working in food media for over 20 years.

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