Chocolate Peanut Brittle is a decadent twist on a classic nostalgic candy. And you can make it in your microwave in under 8 minutes with 8 simple ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, peanuts, butter, vanilla, baking powder, cocoa, and salt. And for my fellow chocoholics out there, dip it in chocolate for double-chocolate peanut brittle!
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You’re going to love this
Chocolate. Peanut. Brittle. Traditional peanut brittle, all on its caramelly self, is pretty goshdarn delicious. So it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that adding some cocoa powder to the mix only makes it realllly goshdarn delicious.
So easy. Microwave chocolate peanut brittle is so easy to make. Just dump, stir, nuke, and repeat. No sweating it out over a bubbling cauldron of sugar on your stovetop. Heck, you don’t even need a candy thermometer!
Super fast peanut brittle recipe. Did you know that you’re only 7 ½ minutes away from having a fresh batch of chocolate peanut brittle cooling on your counter? And, more importantly, 37 ½ minutes from digging in.
No candy thermometer. It bears repeating that this easy chocolate peanut brittle recipe is made entirely in the microwave. You don’t need any fancy equipment or a candy thermometer. But I do highly recommend a 4-cup glass measuring cup with a handle.
Making this upgraded rendition of good old fashioned peanut brittle means you can use simple ingredients you can find in any grocery store.
Corn syrup. It might be easy to confuse corn syrup with high fructose corn syrup, but this is something different. This is sugar that has been extracted from corn and processed into liquid form. HFCS goes through a whole chemical process.
Raw peanuts. You can really use any kind of nut, but I like using the raw peanuts with the skins on. It seems like they add more peanutty flavor to the chocolate peanut brittle while they cook away in the bubbling sugar mixture.
Baking soda. Kind of weird that baking soda is in candy, but it causes tiny bubbles to form in the candy, which makes it easy to break and bite into. You know… brittle.
Cocoa powder. I use dark cocoa powder because it’s what I love. But you can use regular cocoa powder.
Sea salt. Salt is technically optional, but I highly, highly recommend it.
Pyrex 4-up measuring cup. So, not officially an ingredient, but it is a vital piece of equipment for making this peanut brittle. You can use a microwave-safe bowl, but here’s the thing. It gets really hot. And you have to handle the bowl several times, going back and forth to the microwave and pouring the candy onto the baking sheet. And I don’t know about you, but when I’m wearing oven mitts, I’m not exactly dextrous.
Stirring is not optional. You HAVE to stir it in between the steps, especially step one: stirring the sugar and corn syrup together. If you don’t, it will burn, and you’ll have to start over... (she said, remembering that one time she burned the sugar and had to start over).
Please be careful. Even though making peanut brittle in the microwave seems safer than dealing with a pot of bubbly hot sugar on the stove, you’re still dealing with bubbly hot sugar. So this isn’t one for the kids to help out with. And there may be moments when things may sputter a bit. So please be careful.
Stay close to your microwave. Even though you don’t have to do much while the chocolate peanut brittle is cooking in the microwave, you do still need to stay close so you can watch to see if the sugar starts to turn brown and smell if the nuts are starting to get toasty.
Your microwave may yield different results. The microwave I have is fairly new (not sure if that matters) and is 1000 watts. And it consistently makes the perfect peanut brittle in 7 ½ minutes. In my old microwave, I needed to add 1 ½ minutes after adding the raw peanuts to get it to the golden brown color. So my point is, these times don't necessarily translate across all microwaves, unfortunately, so keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn.
Know when it’s go time. More to my point above about keeping an eye on your peanut brittle. Once the sugar starts to turn golden, it is go time, which means it's time to add the butter, vanilla, and baking soda and spread it on the baking sheet. So, again, keep an eye on it.
Pyrex 4-cup measuring cup. I highly recommend using a 4-cup measuring cup with a handle when you make this microwave peanut brittle. A microwave-safe bowl will work, but you have to go back and forth a couple of times between the microwave and your workstation-- and oven mitts can be clunky. The handle on my 4-cup measuring cup stays cool the whole time, which makes it super easy.
Clean-up. Just a heads up that your bowl and spoons will have hardened candy on them after you’re done. I’ve found that soaking them in hot water and walking away is the best way to deal with this. If something gets particularly stuck onto your glass measuring cup or bowl, you can loosen it up in the microwave. Just add some water and place it back in the microwave on high for a few minutes.
Pyrex 4-Cup Measuring Cup
Nordic Ware Baking Sheets
Microwave Peanut Brittle Variations: Traditional, Mixed Nut, and Spicy
Traditional Peanut Brittle
Looking for a fast and easy traditional peanut brittle recipe? Just follow the instructions for chocolate peanut brittle and leave out the cocoa powder. You can see the full recipe and get step-by-step instructions in this recipe for 7 ½ Minute Microwave Peanut Brittle.
Mixed Nut Brittle
This microwave recipe for peanut brittle uses raw peanuts. But you can absolutely substitute whatever kind of nut you like! I have made microwave mixed nut brittle (photo above, middle) using 1 ½ cups of a mixture of the random nuts I had in my cupboard. I mean, everything is in there: dry roasted peanuts, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pepitas, and almonds.
Spicy Peanut Brittle
If you love the combo of sweet and spicy, go ahead and kick up your peanut brittle with a hit of warm -- and hot! -- spices. Just add red pepper flakes when you add the peanuts. Or you can substitute any combo of spices you love, like pumpkin pie spice, Chinese 5 spice, cayenne pepper... Get the recipe for Spicy Sesame Ginger Peanut Brittle.
More sweet recipes to try!
How to Make Chocolate Peanut Brittle: VIDEO + Step-by-Step Instructions
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil that’s been buttered or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Stir the sugar and corn syrup together in a microwave-safe bowl. You MUST stir these together or it will burn. Microwave on high for 4 minutes.
Stir in the raw peanuts and microwave on high for 3 ½ minutes. Stir in the butter and vanilla. Careful, it will bubble a bit when you add the vanilla.
If the mixture has not yet started to turn golden brown, microwave for up to 1 ½ more minutes, or until it begins to turn color.
If the mixture has started to turn golden brown, stir in the baking soda and cocoa powder. It will get really foamy.
Pour the chocolate peanut brittle mixture onto the baking sheet and spread to your desired thickness. If desired, sprinkle with sea salt.
Once the peanut brittle has cooled, break it into small pieces.
Store chocolate peanut brittle or chocolate-covered peanut brittle in an airtight container or zip-top bag.
Chocolate Peanut Brittle (Microwave Recipe)
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup corn syrup
- 15 ounces raw Spanish peanuts
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- sea salt
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil that’s been buttered or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
- Stir the sugar and corn syrup together in a microwave safe bowl. You MUST stir these together or it will burn. Microwave on high for 4 minutes.
- Stir in the raw peanuts and microwave on high for 3 ½ minutes. Stir in the butter and vanilla. Careful, it will bubble a bit when you add the vanilla.
- If the mixture has not yet started to turn golden brown, microwave for up to 1 ½ more minutes, or until it begins to turn color.
- If the mixture has started to turn golden brown, stir in the baking soda and cocoa powder. It will get really foamy.
- Pour the chocolate peanut brittle mixture onto the baking sheet and spread to your desired thickness. If desired, sprinkle with sea salt.
- Once the peanut brittle has cooled, break it into small pieces.
How to Make Chocolate Dipped Peanut Brittle
Want to turn this chocolate peanut brittle from a 10 up to an 11? Dip it in chocolate! Yes, that’s right… we’re talking chocolate-dipped chocolate peanut brittle here.
Just melt ¾ cup chocolate with ¾ teaspoon coconut oil in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Continue to microwave in 10-second intervals until it is completely melted and smooth.
Then dip pieces of cooled chocolate peanut brittle into the melted chocolate. Or spread it over entire pieces. Or drizzle it over the tops. And if you’re feeling festive, sprinkle on sugars, dragees, jimmies, or whatever thing-a-ma-bobs make you smile.
Like thin peanut brittle?
The candy mixture cools pretty quickly once you pour it onto the baking sheet. So if you like your peanut brittle really thin, heat up your baking sheet so you can easily spread it out as thin as you like.
No. I use parchment paper (with no cooking spray) when I make this microwave peanut brittle recipe all the time and it never sticks. I have also used foil sprayed with cooking spray, which also works well.
In my house, not very long! Kidding aside, you can make peanut brittle up to a couple of months in advance. Just keep it stored at room temperature in an air-tight container to keep it fresh.
Peanut brittle that’s sticky can be caused by a couple of things. First, if the peanut brittle never hardened to begin with, it’s likely because it didn’t cook long enough.
If your peanut brittle started out crunchy enough then became sticky after sitting out, it’s usually because of humidity. Put it back into an airtight container and it should return to being nice and crunchy again.
Peanut brittle that never hardens up is a result of the sugar mixture not being cooked long enough. If you’re making microwave peanut brittle, try adding a little more time to your cooking time.
Peanut brittle that is too hard has usually been overcooked. So it could be caused by too much time in the microwave or higher wattage of your microwave. Try adjusting the times down.
Yes, it can. Just place it in an airtight container or storage bag and freeze it for up to 3 months.
Baking soda does seem like a weird ingredient in candy. But without it, you’d end up making straight-up hard candy and you wouldn’t be able to easily bite into it. You’ll see the chemical reaction happen right before your eyes when you add the baking soda during the cooking process. It will bubble up and get foamy, adding tiny bubbles of air. This will make it easy to break, aka, brittle. Get it?