The Best Nut Brittle You’ll Ever Make: Easy, delicious, and done in under 30 minutes.

Let’s talk about candy. Specifically, nut brittle.

In my house, homemade candy is considered both a luxury and an enormous pain in the butt. For this reason, I tend to stick with baked goods around the holidays, leaving candy making to my more adventurous friends… with one exception.

I’m apprehensive to share this recipe, knowing full well that once I do, the jig is up, and my best holiday candy trick is out of the bag. But this is hands down the best nut brittle recipe you’ll ever find, and it seems wrong to keep it a secret any longer. Before we go any further, however, I have a few confessions to make:

1) The recipe isn’t mine – it belongs to my dear friend and former home economics teacher, Mrs. B. She hasn’t always gotten credit for it when gushing friends are lavishing my candy-making skills with praise (sorry, Mrs. B…)

2) This recipe is incredibly easy. You don’t need a candy thermometer. All you need is… a microwave

A microwave??

I know. I can feel your skepticism from here. But hold on! I promise if you trust me on this one, you’re in for the best nut brittle you’ve ever had in your life. It will also be the easiest, and no one ever has to know your secret.

Before we get to the recipe, I want to take a moment to recognize the incredible woman who taught me this holiday favorite. Mrs. B (a.k.a Susan Bushnell) is a former Rochester, Vermont High School teacher whom I met when I was 14 years old.

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Mrs. B pays me a visit at King Arthur Flour, 2014

Long before I went to college, or started writing, or really did anything of note, I was a troubled teenager who found herself in Mrs. B’s home economics classroom. I chose the class because it seemed like an easy B – which I needed, because by all accounts I was barely passing anything else. Three months later I was pulling my first all-nighter, decorating a wedding cake for my final exam.

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The all-nighter wedding cake, 1997

There’s no doubt that Mrs. B taught me some fundamentals about baking and cooking that helped me greatly as I set out on my own. But the biggest gift Mrs. B gave me was her love and support at a time when I really needed it. She cared for me in a way that made me want to impress her – like, make-a-wedding-cake-for-a-final-exam-where-a-layer-cake-would-have-served impress her – and in doing so, I learned a lot about my own potential. I’ve had the great fortune of having a handful of truly exceptional teachers in my life, but Mrs. B was the first.

I first made this recipe in Mrs. B’s classroom, and it’s been a highly requested holiday favorite ever since. Its light, airy bite, top-notch flavor, and doesn’t-get-stuck-in-your-teeth consistency make it worth putting aside any microwave (or corn syrup) bias you might have to give it a try.

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There’s only one trick to this recipe, and that’s to move fast. Measure all ingredients prior to starting the process; you’ll thank me later.

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Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups salted peanuts
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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If all you have on hand is raw peanuts, you can pan-roast them with a touch of oil and a generous sprinkle of salt.

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Spray a wooden spoon and a half-sheet pan with cooking spray.

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Mix together the sugar and corn syrup and stir until well combined.

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Microwave the sugar mixture uncovered on high power for 5 minutes.

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Add the peanuts and butter, and stir well to combine. Remember, speed is key! The cooler the mixture becomes the harder it will be to stir.

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Replace the bowl in the microwave and cook on high for 2 to 4 minutes, until the mixture turns a nice caramel color – my 1-year-old microwave required all 4 minutes, but a co-worker’s 5-year-old microwave only required 3. Watch carefully around the 2-minute mark and remove when the caramel color is achieved.

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Add the baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will bubble furiously upon the addition of these ingredients – this is what gives the candy its hallmark airy texture. Stir quickly to combine.

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The finished mixture will look creamy and caramelized.

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Working quickly, pour the mixture onto your pre-greased baking sheet and spread it as evenly as possible. Because I paused to take a photo, my mixture set up in the bowl a little more than preferable, and was difficult to spread evenly. Making sure everything is combined is important, but working quickly is as well! If you end up with an uneven spread, don’t worry – the candy should still set up nicely, even in the thicker areas.

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Once the brittle has set and cooled (30 to 60 minutes), break it into pieces.

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Serve immediately, or package up to share with your favorite friends!

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Peanuts can be replaced with almost any nut imaginable, though I have to admit the original is my favorite. If you’re feeling especially decadent, try dipping brittle pieces in melted dark chocolate. No matter how you serve it, you can’t beat this simple, easy peanut brittle.

Please make, rate, and review our recipe for Microwave Nut Brittle.

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Julia Reed
About

Julia A. Reed is an award-winning food and lifestyle photographer, writer, and multimedia content producer. Educated at Emerson College in Boston, she spent 5 years in Los Angeles before returning East, leaving behind food trucks, secret dinners, and year-round farmers' markets to pursue a simpler ...

comments

  1. Allie

    What a sweet post. Nothing like learning from our elders the true Masters. Can’t wait to try your peanut brittle recipe. My husband loves peanut brittle and have been seeking one recipe from Kathrine Bryce candy company. It’s nostalgic from his childhood. So hoping this is the magic. Thank you for sharing.🙏

    Reply
  2. Sheila

    This peanut brittle is the best! This recipe was in the recipe book that came with our first microwave that we purchased in 1983. This is a great recipe if you’ve ever had problems making candy that has to come to a “hard ball” stage, which I still have trouble with, with the exception of this recipe! Thanks for sharing one of my holiday staples!

    Reply
  3. Kate

    So, maybe a dumb question, but will this work exactly the same if made on the stovetop? I don’t have a microwave, but need a simple recipe with no candy thermometer involved.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We haven’t tested it Kate, but having the pictures here to follow along should help give you some good visual cues of when to add the baking soda and when to call it done. It’s a bit of an experiment but we think it’s worth trying! Annabelle@KAF

  4. khaki

    made it at least 10 times this December,variations that really worked were using hazelnuts and then making a rocca out of it, ie,dark chocolate on top and bottom with sprinkling of finely chopped roast hazelnuts,really good! ( also doubled the butter using european butter too)

    Reply
  5. Tamara

    Use an 8 cup measuring cup or a batter bowl. (Large 8 cup glass bowl with a handle) This will make it much easier to handle the hot bowl.
    Also, butter a pie tin to use to pour it into. No real spreading required. It makes a nice round piece of candy that’s perfect for gift giving.

    Reply
  6. Trista

    Just made a batch, looks great! Can’t wait until it finishes setting so I can smash it and taste it, I did use Golden syrup because I didn’t have an corn syrup.

    Reply
  7. Kathy Begley

    I have made this recipe several times..
    my tip is to heat up your oven to 450…line a 1/2 baking sheet with a silpat for 10 minutes. Pour the hot candy onto the hot pan and it will spread out evenly, but do protect you hands at all times.

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Kathy, that it a brilliant tactic. You’ll likely get a smoother caramel from having it crystallize more slowly. Thanks so much for the tip, that one is going into my personal tool box! Susan

    2. Robb

      This is the trick I needed!!! I have made this same recipe numerous times, and while it’s truly delicious, I had been hoping for a thinner brittle. I think the preheated baking sheet will do it. Thanks a million for the tip!!!

    3. Sheila

      I do this as well except I haven’t tried using my silpat at yet. Definitely doing this next time!

  8. Terry

    Made 2 batches. This turned out great. Had to make adjustments for longer time in microwave due to a lower wattage microwave.
    The only thing that I found difficult was handling the heavy, very hot glass bowl with one hand in a pot holder when trying to pour/scrape the brittle onto the sheet pan and spreading before it thickened and hardened too much to spread.
    Next time I’ll have a helper.

    Reply
    1. Brandi

      I also double batched and the brittle came out great.. the bowl was so heavy though it was a juggling act but turned out in the end. Would make again. Have a blessed day

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