Spicy Sesame Ginger Peanut Brittle is a sweet and spicy peanut brittle that livens up your holiday treat platter. Packed with peanuts and sesame seeds and spiced up with ginger and red pepper flakes, it’s a unique holiday gift or tree trimming snack for the heat seekers in your life. Plus, you can make it in under 8 minutes in your microwave!
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Easy microwave peanut brittle. If you’ve never made peanut brittle in the microwave, it’s time to give it a whirl. It’s so easy! Just dump, stir, nuke, and repeat. That’s it.
Spicy peanut brittle. Ginger and red pepper flakes add a kicked up twist on a nostalgic holiday favorite. The ginger adds a mellow warmth, while the red pepper flakes deliver straight-up heat. And you can adjust the spice levels up or down, depending on just how hot you like it!
Way better than store-bought. Once you make your own peanut brittle, you may never look at the store-bought stuff the same again. I know I don't. This spicy peanut brittle is packed with peanuts and sesame seeds vs. store-bought that usually scrimps on the good stuff.
Super nutty. Those tiny little sesame seeds add a ton of flavor to this spicy peanut brittle. They just make it nuttier, if that’s possible.
Homemade holiday gifts. Making holiday gifts this year? Food gifts are always a hit. And if you have someone on your list who puts hot sauce on everything, this spicy peanut brittle is perfect for them!
Fun to make. I never get tired of watching the baking powder kick into action and make the mixture puff up and get all foamy. Your kids might think it’s cool too, but, know that things can sputter a little bit, so please keep them at a distance.
No candy thermometer. The thought of standing over bubbling hot sugar with a candy thermometer can be a bit intimidating. This spicy microwave peanut brittle recipe removes all of that. Now, you’re still dealing with bubbling hot sugar, just in a more approachable way.
Old fashioned candy recipes are the best because they come together with simple ingredients you can find in your pantry — or at any grocery store, even small town ones.
Corn syrup. Sugar AND corn syrup are used in making peanut brittle to create that smooth texture. And don’t worry, the corn syrup you buy in the grocery store isn’t high fructose corn syrup — that’s something different. You can read more about that here.
Raw Spanish peanuts. Raw Spanish peanuts are the traditional pick for peanut brittle, so that’s what I went with. Some folks think that because the raw nuts “roast” during the cooking process, they add more peanut flavor to the brittle. But, really, you can use any kind of nut. Just keep your eye (and nose) on the mixture to make sure the nuts don’t burn.
Sesame seeds. The sesame seeds add so. much. flavor. to this spicy brittle. You CAN leave them out and still have really good homemade peanut brittle. But since sesame goes so well with ginger and spice, I encourage you to consider leaving them in. If you’re just not a fan, other options are sunflower seeds, pepitas, pine nuts, or pistachios.
Ginger. Ground ginger adds a warmth with a tiny bite to this spicy peanut brittle. You can experiment with other warm spices like cinnamon, allspice, mace, or nutmeg. Or a blend like Chinese 5 spice or pumpkin pie spice.
Red pepper flakes. I used red pepper flakes for a couple of reasons. One, they’re generally less spicy than, say, cayenne pepper. Two, because of the flakes and the seeds, they add interest, visually and texturally. But you can use cayenne, or spicy chili powder —- or a dash of hot sauce.
Baking soda. Baking soda seems to be an odd ingredient in candy. But the foaming action adds a million tiny bubbles into the spicy peanut brittle that make it possible to break into pieces and bite into it.
Sea salt. Technically, the sea salt is an optional ingredient, but since the nuts I used are unsalted, it adds a nice balance. Plus, I like the textural element that the coarsely ground salt adds.
Pyrex 4-cup Measuring Cup. I consider this glass 4-cup measuring cup essential to making this peanut brittle. Not that you can’t make it in a bowl, because you definitely can. But I know myself and how dextrous I am not with two oven mitts on. I don’t really want to be carrying molten hot sugar in that state. The handle of my 4-cup measuring cup stays nice and cool the whole time, so I can sashay from the microwave to my workstation with ease — and all my fingerprints intact.
Parchment paper. Or a silicone mat. Or foil. You’ll need to line your baking sheet with something before you pour out the spicy peanut brittle mixture. I have used parchment paper (no need to spray it with cooking spray), a silicone baking mat, and foil sprayed with cooking spray. All work equally well.
Baking sheet. When you pour out the candy mixture, it will be hot, hot, hot. So you will need something that will be able to stand up to it. So a cookie sheet or baking sheet works perfectly.
No. Candy. Thermometer. Making peanut brittle without a candy thermometer is so easy. Let your microwave do all the heavy lifting, so you don't have to sweat it out over a hot stove waiting for your sugar to reach the perfect temperature.
Stir. You HAVE to stir the corn syrup and sugar together before putting it in the microwave or it will burn. Been there. Done that. Learn from my mistakes :).
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 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.
Thin peanut brittle. If you like your peanut brittle really thin, warm your baking sheet in the oven before spreading the mixture. The warm baking sheet will keep the candy from cooling too quickly so you can spread it out as thin as you like it.
More Easy Candy Recipes
How to Make Spicy Peanut Brittle: Step-by-Step Instructions
Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. You can also use foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Or a silicon baking mat.
In a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup or microwave safe bowl, add the sugar and corn syrup and stir them together. You HAVE to stir them together or they will burn. Microwave on high for 4 minutes.
Stir in the peanuts, sesame seeds, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Microwave on high for 3 ½ minutes.
If the mixture has not yet turned golden brown, microwave for up to an additional 1 ½ minutes, or until it turns golden brown.
Note: the color of the ginger and the red pepper flakes may make the sugar mixture look like it’s turning golden, but this is usually just at the top. If the bottom is still pretty clear, keep on going.
When the mixture has started to turn golden, add the butter and vanilla — it may sputter a little when you add the vanilla. Add the baking soda and stir, stir, stir. It will turn foamy and creamy and really easy to stir.
Pour the mixture out onto your prepared baking sheet and spread your spicy peanut brittle out to your desired thickness.
Let it cool for about 30 minutes. Break into small pieces.
Store your spicy peanut brittle in an airtight container.
Spicy Sesame Ginger Peanut Brittle
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup corn syrup
- 1 ½ cups raw Spanish peanuts
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- sea salt
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. You can also use foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Or a silicon baking mat.
- In a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup or microwave safe bowl, add the sugar and corn syrup and stir them together. You HAVE to stir them together or they will burn. Microwave on high for 4 minutes.
- Stir in the peanuts, sesame seeds, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Microwave on high for 3 ½ minutes.
- If the mixture has not yet turned golden brown, microwave for up to an additional 1 ½ minutes, or until it turns golden brown. Note: the color of the ginger and the red pepper flakes may make the sugar mixture look like it’s turning golden, but this is usually just at the top. If the bottom is still pretty clear, keep on going.
- When the mixture has started to turn golden, add the butter and vanilla — it may sputter a little when you add the vanilla. Add the baking soda and stir, stir, stir. It will turn foamy and creamy and really easy to stir. Pour the mixture out onto your prepared baking sheet and spread your spicy peanut brittle out to your desired thickness.
- Let it cool for about 30 minutes. Break into small pieces.
- Store your spicy peanut brittle in an airtight container.
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?