Made with just 6 ingredients, this Peanut Brittle is thin and crispy with a nutty, caramel-like flavor. This easy brittle recipe is prepared in the microwave – no stovetop required – and makes a great edible gift for the holidays!
We love to package up a bundle of brittle along with some candied pecans for neighbors, delivery drivers, teachers, and friends.
Easy Microwave Peanut Brittle
If you’ve never made peanut brittle because it sounded intimidating or you just don’t have the patience to make it on the stovetop, you will love this recipe.
With a crispy texture and nutty, caramel-like flavor, this microwave peanut brittle is everything you’d expect from an old-fashioned peanut brittle recipe, without the difficulty of preparing it on the stovetop. Instead, this recipe comes together in just 20 minutes, simply by heating and combining the ingredients in the microwave.
What is Peanut Brittle?
Peanut brittle is a candy made from sugar, corn syrup, and peanuts. It has a similar taste to toffee but is crispy and thin with a brittle texture (hence the name) that cracks easily. It is said to have been created by accident by a woman in the South who added baking soda instead of cream of tartar to her toffee recipe, resulting in this thin, nutty confection.
What You’ll Need
There are just 6 simple ingredients in this brittle candy recipe.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Peanuts – Roasted, salted peanuts are best for this recipe. If you use unsalted peanuts, you’ll want to add about a 1/4 teaspoon of salt with the baking soda.
- Granulated sugar – for sweetness. This is candy, after all.
- Butter – This helps to make the candy tender and easier to chew, as well as adding a rich flavor.
- Corn syrup – This invert sugar acts as a binder and provides a smooth feel to the candy.
- Baking soda – Baking soda is an essential ingredient that creates the brittle texture.
- Vanilla extract – for flavor.
How to Make Peanut Brittle
When I say this recipe is easy to make, I mean it! Here’s a summary.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for complete details.)
- Prepare the brittle mixture. Stir together the sugar and corn syrup. Microwave for 4 minutes. Add the peanuts and microwave an additional 3 to 4 minutes, until the sugar syrup is a light brown. Add the butter and vanilla extract, then microwave for 1 more minute. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir in the baking soda.
- Cool. Pour the brittle mixture onto a sheet pan lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Use a rubber spatula to spread it into an even layer. Allow to cool until hardened, about an hour or so.
- Enjoy. Break the peanut brittle into small pieces and enjoy!
Tips & FAQs
If this is your first time making a nut brittle recipe in the microwave, here are a few things you’ll want to be aware of.
- Note that microwave times may vary. Every microwave is different, depending on the wattage, so keep an eye on the mixture to ensure that it doesn’t burn.
- Be sure to fully heat the mixture. While you don’t want to burn the brittle mixture, it’s critical that it reaches a high temperature. Otherwise, it won’t harden once you transfer it to the baking sheet and it may be chewy.
- Work quickly. Once you stir in the baking soda, you must immediately pour it over the prepared baking sheet. It’s essential that the baking sheet is prepared in advance so it’s ready as soon as the mixture is.
- What is the point of the baking soda in this recipe? This is what gives the candy its brittle texture. When the baking soda mixes with the sugar, there is a chemical reaction that aerates the candy. If you were to leave it out, you would end up with a giant lollipop that you can’t bite into.
- Can I use any type of nut in this recipe? Absolutely. Other favorites include hazelnuts, pecans, and almonds.
Serving & Gifting
Microwave peanut brittle also makes a wonderful edible gift, as it keeps much longer than cookies or other snacks. What better gift for someone than a bundle of peanut brittle along with some homemade caramels or cranberry-almond chocolate bark. Yummy!
How to Store
One of the best things about peanut brittle is that it lasts a long time and it doesn’t even need to be refrigerated. Once it has cooled completely and been broken into smaller pieces, just store it in an airtight container at room temperature. It will last for up to 6 weeks – just keep it out of sunlight or heat, and away from moisture.
More Edible Gifts:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1 cup roasted salted peanuts
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Line a sheet pan with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- In a 3-quart glass mixing bowl, stir together the sugar and corn syrup. Microwave the sugar mixture on high for 4 minutes, then carefully remove it from the microwave. Stir in the peanuts and place it back in the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes until the sugar syrup is light brown. Add in the butter and vanilla extract and microwave for 1 more minute. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir in the baking soda.
- Immediately pour the brittle mixture onto the prepared sheet pan and spread it out with a rubber spatula, making sure not to spill the very hot mixture.
- Allow the brittle to cool until it's hardened, at least 1 hour.
- Break the brittle into small pieces and enjoy. Also makes a great edible gift!