This quick, no-fuss recipe for microwave peanut brittle allows you to make this classic crunchy candy at home. Perfect for sweet snacking or holiday gifting!
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Table of Contents
- About Microwave Peanut Brittle
- Things you’ll need for microwave peanut brittle:
- How can you avoid burning the sugar?
- What kind of peanuts should you use?
- Do you have to use corn syrup?
- How long does peanut brittle last?
- notes & tips for making peanut brittle
- More Candy Recipes
- How to make peanut brittle
- Recipe Details
About Microwave Peanut Brittle
We all have those moments where we’re in need of an easy sugar fix, and there are few homemade candies out there that cover all the bases quite like microwave peanut brittle.
Don’t believe me? Let’s break it down.
Is it easy to make? Absolutely.
Sweet but not too sweet? Check.
Perfect for curing a crunchy food craving? Truth.
This low-hassle easily became my favorite go-to candy. Especially during the colder months when I always seem to have extra peanuts on hand, this brittle is so worth the 15 minutes it takes to make.
Things you’ll need for microwave peanut brittle:
- A large, microwave-safe bowl, and ideally one with a handle.
- Since we’re microwaving the bowl, be sure you have oven mitts or a thick towel that won’t slip so that you can handle the hot bowl.
- A small baking sheet, around 9×13 inch in size.
- One small mixing bowl, for getting dry ingredients ready.
- Your favorite cooking spray. Making homemade candy is a sticky affair, so anything that might touch the finished candy (the baking sheet, the rims of the bowl, even the spoon you’ll use to spread the candy out) could use a spray or two of cooking spray.
I really do think this brittle is the perfect candy, because not only is it great for snacking, it also makes a great gift. And, better yet, it’s a gift you can make in advance.
How can you avoid burning the sugar?
Cooking sugar can be tedious and tricky, but it’s not very difficult when you know what to look for.
When cooking, keep an eye on the color of the sugar. Because once the sugar becomes a light tan/golden color, in most cases, the sugar is done and can be used in whatever recipe you’re making.
If you continue to cook the sugar beyond this point, it will quickly become dark brown in color, which means the sugar has burned. And if the sugar has burned, you should toss it; it’s no longer useable and would ruin the flavor of whatever you’re making.
To help avoid sugar from burning, prepare and measure all ingredients in advance so that you can work quickly.
What kind of peanuts should you use?
The recipe calls for unsalted, roasted peanuts. This will give you the most consistent flavor results.
You could use salted peanuts, but keep in mind that this will make the brittle that much saltier. You also won’t be able to control how salty the brittle is when using salted peanuts. But, if salty peanut brittle is what you’re after, I’d recommend still using unsalted peanuts and either adding more salt to the brittle mixture or salting the top of the brittle after it’s been laid out in the baking dish to ensure you get the flavor you want.
Do you have to use corn syrup?
Corn syrup gets a bad wrap sometimes, but certain ingredients in a recipe can have an important purpose. And in peanut brittle, corn syrup prevents sugar crystals from forming. If even one sugar crystal forms in the brittle mixture, it starts a chain reaction of sugar crystals and compromises your recipe. Sugar crystals cause the texture of the brittle to go from smooth and shiny to lumpy and gritty.
Because there is no water in this recipe to dissolve the sugar, it is very important to make sure you use actual corn syrup. Substituting this ingredient can result in a failed recipe.
How long does peanut brittle last?
When homemade peanut brittle is stored properly, it can last up to two months. Store peanut brittle in a dry, sealed container at room temperature. If candy needs to be stacked in the container, add sheets of wax layers between the layers.
If you’re gifting the brittle, be sure to write the date it was made and storing instructions on the packaging so it can stay fresh for as long as possible.
notes & tips for making peanut brittle
- Even if you’ve covered everything with cooking spray, you’re bound to get some hard candy stuck to your bowls or utensils. If this happens, soak them in a mixture of hot water, dish soap, and white vinegar for one hour. The candy will either dissolve or easily break off under light pressure.
- Because you’re using cooking spray, the finished candy may feel a little greasy. If it does, use a paper towel to lightly dab the candy to remove excess oil before storing it.
- For easy cleanup, instead of pouring your peanut brittle onto a baking sheet, you can pour it onto parchment paper to harden. Once it is hardened, you can break it up and throw the parchment paper away.
- Don’t forget the baking soda! This is what creates the air bubbles and gives the brittle texture to your candy.
- As mentioned above, keep oven mittens or pot holders handy because the bowl you microwave in will become increasingly hot.
More Candy Recipes
How to make peanut brittle
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Detail.
Step 1 – Before you being, prepare your work area. Spray your baking sheet with cooking spray and set it nearby. Make sure all the ingredients are close at hand (and measured out, if you can) and that you have oven mitts or a towel ready for holding the hot microwaved bowl. Once the sugar is liquid, you’ll have to move fast to get all the ingredients mixed and transferred to the baking sheet.
Step 2 – In a small bowl, add the nutmeg, cinnamon, and baking soda, then set them aside.
Step 3 – Add the sugar and corn syrup to a microwave safe bowl, then stir. Mixture will be very sticky and firm near the end; this is okay.
Step 4 – Heat the sugar in the microwave on HIGH for four minutes, then stir. Return the bowl to the microwave and heat it again for another three to five minutes. Pay close attention to the color of the sugar; a light golden brown color is good, a dark brown color is bad (it means the sugar has burned). If the sugar has burned, it’s trashed; you’d have to do this step again.
Step 5 – Once the sugar is ready, quickly add the vanilla, butter, the prepared spices, and the peanuts. Use a spatula to stir them together until the ingredients are incorporated and the candy is an opaque caramel color.
Step 6 – Spray the rim of the bowl with cooking spray, then pour the peanut brittle mixture on to the prepared baking sheet. Working quickly, use the spatula to spread the candy out into a thin layer. Aim for the candy to be about the same high of a peanut (so peanuts shouldn’t be stacked, they should be side by side with candy to fill the gaps.)
Step 7 – Let the candy cool and harden at room temperature, about one hour.
Step 8 – Once the peanut brittle is hard, lift it from the baking sheet and use your hands to break it apart into sizes of your choice.
Step 9 – Serve and enjoy!
This post first appeared on The Slow Roasted Italian website (where I am a contributor) and has been syndicated here.
Microwave Peanut Brittle
- In a small bowl, add nutmeg, cinnamon, and baking soda, then set aside.
- Microwave sugar syrup mixture on HIGH for 4 minutes, then stir. Return bowl to microwave and heat for another 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture turns a light golden color. Be careful not to overheat; a dark brown hue means the sugar has burned.
- Remove bowl from microwave and quickly begin to add the following ingredients: vanilla, butter, the prepared spices from step 1, and the peanuts. Stir mixture so that all the ingredients are combined. Mixture will lighten and may rise or appear “fluffy.”
- Spray rim of bowl with more cooking spray, then pour brittle mixture on the prepared baking sheet. Working quickly, use a spatula or a spoon to smooth the peanut brittle out in a layer roughly the same thickness as the peanuts.
- Let peanut brittle cool and harden for at least 1 hour. Once cooled and firm, use your hands to break the brittle into sizes of your choice (usually 2×2 inch in size)
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.