Yes, you can actually make Microwave Peanut Brittle in under 8 minutes — with no candy thermometer. And you only need seven simple ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, peanuts, butter, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Check out my video to see just how easy it is to make!
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You’re going to love this
Peanut brittle in under 8 minutes. It really only takes about 7 ½ minutes to make a batch of peanut brittle in the microwave. And most of that time is spent standing around waiting for the microwave to ding. So fast.
Homemade treats. There’s nothing better than sharing handcrafted gifts with co-workers, friends, and family during the holidays. Peanut brittle with raw peanuts is a nostalgic treat that’s super delicious and fun to share.
So delicious. Once you experience just how yummy this microwave peanut brittle is, you’ll never buy store-bought again. It’s so rich and caramelly and packed with peanuts, the stuff in the stores literally pales in comparison — and is usually pretty chintzy on the peanuts. This recipe uses a whole 10 oz. bag of raw peanuts!
Fun to make. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s fun to see the sugar mixture bubbling away in the microwave. And the reaction when you stir in the baking soda and everything foams up. Kids might think it’s cool, too, but please keep them at a distance since the mixture is realllllly hot and can sputter a bit.
No candy thermometer. Any recipe that involves me standing over a bubbling pot of molten sugar with a candy thermometer is a hard no. Making this peanut brittle in the microwave with my handy 4-cup measuring cup takes away all the guesswork — and I get a cool handle to hold onto when I go back and forth from the microwave.
Make it your way. You can spread your peanut brittle thin or thick, depending on how you love it. Or a little bit of both! You can also experiment with different types of nuts, add some spices, or dip it in chocolate to put your own spin on it.
Microwave Peanut Brittle Variations
Any Nut Brittle
This microwave recipe for peanut brittle uses raw peanuts. But you can absolutely substitute whatever kind of nut you like! I made this microwave mixed nut brittle 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 some red pepper flakes when you add the peanuts, like I did with this Spicy Sesame Ginger Peanut Brittle recipe.
Chocolate Peanut Brittle -- 3 Ways
Yes, chocolate peanut brittle is real -- and it's spectacular! And you can make it one of three ways.
- Chocolate Peanut Brittle. Add cocoa powder immediately after adding the baking soda and stir, stir, stir.
- Chocolate Dipped Peanut Brittle. Once the peanut brittle has cooled, dip pieces into melted chocolate.
- Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Peanut Brittle. If you're like me and can't get enough chocolate, dip chocolate peanut brittle into melted chocolate. White chocolate looks really pretty, and you can embellish it with sugars, sprinkles, and doodads.
Get the recipe for Chocolate Peanut Brittle right here.
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 from experience.
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.
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 an additional 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 work station-- 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.
How to make thin peanut brittle
If you like your peanut brittle thin, you can warm your baking sheet in the oven while you’re making the peanut brittle. Then when you pour the mixture onto the warm sheet, you can more easily spread it around and make a thinner brittle.
There are only 7 ingredients in this easy peanut brittle recipe, and one of them is optional:
Corn syrup. Corn syrup is not to be confused with high fructose corn syrup. Straight up corn syrup from the grocery store is sugar that is extracted from corn and processed into a liquid. The more you know...
Raw peanuts. Raw peanuts with skins on are the nut of choice for traditional peanut brittle recipes because while they cook in the sugar, they add lots of peanutty flavor to the brittle. I have also tried this recipe with a variety of mixed nuts and it worked just fine for me. If you decide to substitute a different kind of nut, just keep an eye (and your nose!) on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Salt (optional). Even though salt is optional, adding a sprinkle of sea salt before the candy hardens adds a nice salty counterpoint to the sweet peanut brittle.
Try These Sweet Treats Next!
How to Make Easy Microwave Peanut Brittle -- VIDEO + Step-by-Step Instructions
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil 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. It will turn light and foamy.
Pour the 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.
A couple of things to keep in mind while you’re making this, especially for the first time. Keep an eye on the color of the mixture. Once it starts to turn brown, it’s going to keep on going. So that will be when it’s time to remove it from the microwave and add the butter, vanilla, and baking soda.
Also, use your sense of smell. If you notice the smell of roasting peanuts, that’s a good thing. But keep an eye on it so it doesn’t escalate to burned peanuts. You can watch the video to see exactly what color it should be during every step of the process.
How to Store Peanut Brittle
Store your peanut brittle in a plastic zip-top bag or tightly covered container. It is not recommended to store peanut brittle in the refrigerator. You can also make it in advance and store it in the freezer.
7 ½ Minute Microwave Peanut Brittle
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 1 ½ cups raw Spanish peanuts
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- sea salt, to taste, optional
- Line a baking sheet with foil sprayed with no-stick cooking spray or parchment paper.
- 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. It will turn light and foamy.
- Pour the 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.
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?
MY KITCHEN ESSENTIALS
Pyrex 4-cup Measuring Cup
This thing is what makes the whole recipe eeeeaaa-sy. There are only a few steps to making this peanut brittle, but they all involve transporting bubbling hot sugar and adding things to it at different time intervals. If you're even thinking of making this recipe, Get This Measuring Cup.
Nordic Ware Baking Sheets
Just line these baking sheets with parchment paper or foil, and they are ready to receive the sweet confection you just created.
Himalayan Pink Salt
We were gifted some of this Himalayan pink salt and it is the bomb.com (is anyone still saying that?- I kind of hope not). Anyway, it's what I use on my peanut brittle and it's fab.
I’m sure it was operator error. I followed exactly, but my 1100 watt microwave just wouldn’t do the trick for some reason, I dumped it all onto parchment and a cookie sheet and melted it down again until it turned golden. Tasted good, but still was too sticky for my crowns.
Cara Lanz says
Well, shoot. Sounds like it didn't cook long enough if it was still sticky. I would try a little more time next time. Every microwave is different and the times will definitely vary depending on wattage and sometimes even how old your microwave is.
I doubled the recipe in a 16 cup pyrex bowl (I used pot holders to hold it). I had to microwave the mixture another 5 or 6 minutes to get it to begin getting the golden color. I didn't add the peanuts until about the last two minutes (I used dry roasted peanuts). It was a bit hard to pour it out of the dish, and the end product turned out thicker than I expected, but I didn't realize I hadn't spread it out enough.
All in all, it's a good recipe and quick so I will try it again.
Cara Lanz says
Hi, Gail, I'm so glad you enjoy the recipe! I would recommend making it one batch at a time so it's easier to pour and spread before it cools. Also, if you like thinner peanut brittle, try pouring the mixture out onto a warm pan so you can more easily spread it out. Let me know how it goes! Thanks, Cara
Thank you for this! A true game-changer for my holiday candy making.
Cara Lanz says
I'm so glad, you're very welcome! Cara
Mary S says
Just made this and used praline pecans instead of peanuts (allergies). It was a little scary (when it bubbled up), but just as easy as you say. Thank you for a great recipe!
Cara Lanz says
Hi, Mary, thank you so much for your note, it sounds absolutely delicious with pecans! I'm so glad you enjoyed it and found it easy to make. Thanks, again! Cara
Is there a recipe for soft peanut brittle?
Cara Lanz says
Hi, Jackie! I wish I could help you out with this, but I do not have any recipes for soft peanut brittle. Cara
Wayne Jarmer says
I use an 8 cup measure. My brittle foams up more than a 4 cup measuring cup will hold.
I make 10 batches of this every Christmas season to include in the treat baskets that my wife gives to family and friends.
Cara Lanz says
Hi, Wayne, Wow, 10 batches, impressive! I bet your friends and family look forward to your yummy treat baskets every year. Thank you for the tip on the 8-cup measure. I've made this many, many times and my 4 cup measure has always worked perfectly, but everyone's microwave is different, so I definitely appreciate you sharing your experience. Happy holidays, Wayne! Cara 🙂
Steven A Tkachuk says
Been making peanut brittle this way for years. People don't believe me when I tell them I made it in a microwave...
Cara Lanz says
Hi, Steven, That's awesome! I know, it's hard to believe something so wonderful can come from the microwave. Peanut brittle is one of those things that seems hard to make, but it really isn't at all! Thanks for your nice note :). Cara
Judy Gubbels says
I don't think we'll rest until it's gone. We can't leave it alone because it's delicious!