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Peanut Brittle

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Makes about 1 pound 1x

Time about 20 minutes, plus time to cool

Units Scale


  • Butter for greasing
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups roasted peanuts (salted or unsalted)
  • Pinch salt if you’re using unsalted peanuts


  1. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with butter. Put it on the counter close to the stove.
  2. Put the sugar and 1/3 cup water in a medium sauce- pan over low heat. Cook, without stirring, until the sugar dissolves and becomes a nutty caramel color but is not yet dark brown, 5 to 10 minutes; swirl the pan if the sugar is cooking unevenly. If there’s sugar clinging to the sides of the pan, use a pastry brush dipped in water to wash it back down. Watch carefully, as sugar has a tendency to burn the second you turn your back on it.
  3. Stir in the peanuts and the salt if you’re using it until combined. Remove from the heat and immediately pour the candy onto the prepared baking sheet and tilt the pan if it’s not spreading fast enough to coat the bottom. Let cool at room temperature. To make even squares, score the brittle with a sharp knife once it’s solidified slightly but before it has hardened, then cut when completely cooled. Otherwise, break it into pieces when cool. Store in a covered container at room temperature indefinitely.

— Recipe from How to Cook Everything: Completely Revised Twentieth Anniversary Edition

Recipe variations

Popcorn Brittle

Omit the peanuts. Pop about 1/4 cup popcorn kernels; you should have about 4 cups popcorn. Put the popcorn in a large heatproof bowl and pour the caramel over it. Toss to coat, working quickly so the sugar doesn’t harden, and immediately spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet, using a greased piece of parchment paper to press it into a thin and even layer if necessary.