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Perfect Peanut Brittle

Posted by Denise on December 9, 2012

perfect peanut brittle on red plate 1
It wouldn't seem like the Christmas season without our family favorite Perfect Peanut Brittle!


My family has made Perfect Peanut Brittle every Christmas since I can remember, at least 45 years. Probably longer since the recipe came from my Grandma. It wouldn’t be the holidays without our family’s Perfect Peanut Brittle. Surprisingly light in texture but with a pleasing crunch, sweet, buttery flavor and plenty of peanuts, this peanut brittle is a family favorite and it wouldn’t seem like Christmas without it.

Mom’s recipe card for Perfect Peanut Brittle is yellowed with age, slightly tattered, and shows the marks of long-ago splatters. If you are ever looking through an old recipe card box or book, you can always tell which recipes were used the most because they look like this!

 Mom's perfect peanut brittle recipe card

Like many old family recipes, this one is a little light on instructions which could make it a little difficult unless you watched someone make it or you have done it before. But don’t worry, we explain everything below. Perfect Peanut Brittle is really easy to make. I remember making it as a teen. As long as you are careful to watch the candy thermometer, stir the mixture as it cooks, and follow the directions when the right temperatures are reached, you can’t fail. The reason this recipe is called Perfect Peanut Brittle is that it is perfectly delicious and it is always perfectly done. Seriously, I have never had a batch fail to turn out well.

One of the ingredients that sometimes confuses people is the raw peanuts. Raw peanuts are simply uncooked peanuts. They can be found in most grocery stores, most of the time in the produce or baking sections.  Most of the time the reddish brown skin is still on the peanut. This is fine. You will not be able to taste it in the brittle, so leave it unless you are really opposed to it. And don’t worry about the peanuts being raw because they’re cooked completely with the brittle.

I use a silpat mat on a cookie sheet to pour the hot brittle on to keep it from sticking, but you can also lightly grease the pan instead. Adding the baking soda creates a chemical reaction that introduces a lot of tiny bubbles into the brittle which gives it the lighter texture.

Make sure to store peanut brittle at room temperature in an air-tight container. If you have to stack the pieces, put waxed paper between layers to keep it from sticking.


  Printer friendly recipe without photos 


Perfect Peanut Brittle


 perfect peanut brittle ingredients

 Perfect Peanut Brittle ingredients.



Makes one batch, about enough to cover ¾ of a cookie sheet




cup light corn syrup


cups white sugar


cup water


cups raw peanuts

1 ½

tablespoons butter

1 ½

teaspoons vanilla


teaspoons baking soda




1.    Prepare a cookie sheet with a silpat sheet or by buttering the surface lightly. Combine the corn syrup, sugar and water in a medium sized saucepot and turn the burner on to medium. Insert a candy thermometer so that the bulb or end of the thermometer is in the liquid without actually touching the bottom of the pot. This will give you the most accurate measurement of the temperature of the liquid. If the thermometer touches the bottom of the pot it will give you a falsely high reading.


perfect peanut brittle silpat on pan perfect peanut brittle mixing in pan

perfect peanut brittle thermometer  perfect peanut brittle thermometer 2



2.    Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 250o F. Add the raw peanuts and stir into the mixture in the pot. Cook until it reaches 300oF, stirring frequently. Watch the temperature closely. You may need to turn the burner up slightly to get the temperature to rise enough.


perfect peanut brittle adding raw peanuts



3.    Once it reaches 300oF, remove it from the heat and immediately stir in the butter, vanilla, and baking soda. It will poof up somewhat, which is why we used a larger pot than it looked like we needed. As soon as the additions are mixed in well, pour the brittle out onto the cookie sheet  and spread until it is about ¼” thick or barely covering the peanuts. Let cool.


perfect peanut brittle adding butter


perfect peanut brittle adding baking soda


perfect peanut brittle spreading in pan



3.    Once the brittle is cooled, break it up into smaller serving-sized pieces by lifting up the edges and gently pressing down about where you want it to break. Store it at room temperature in a covered container. Layer waxed paper between layers. It will keep for up to a week.


perfect peanut brittle breaking up 

  perfect peanut brittle on red plate 2


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