What makes this the best microwave peanut brittle recipe?
- Extra peanuts, because peanuts are the best part of peanut brittle!
- Salted peanuts, because people love a little salty to go with their sweet!
- Extra flavor ingredients (vanilla, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg) that take your peanut brittle from good to great!
How to make peanut brittle
The basic process for making peanut brittle or any nut brittle is cooking sugar syrup until golden, then adding baking soda, which creates millions of tiny bubbles and gives the candy its brittle, airy texture. If the nuts used in nut brittle are raw, they are added during cooking so they can become toasted. If the nuts are roasted, they are added at the end of the process. Butter is typically added to improve the flavor and texture of the brittle candy, and additional flavor ingredients are optional.
Assemble ingredients and equipment
Even though this is an easy peanut brittle recipe, you have to work fast. For this reason, it’s important to assemble your ingredients and equipment ahead of time.
Prep a baking sheet by spraying it with cooking spray, and set aside. Combine the spices and baking soda in a small bowl. Have the sugar, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and peanuts measured and ready to go.
To make your microwave peanut brittle, you’ll also need the following equipment:
- Microwave-safe mixing bowl
- Heat-proof silicone spatula
- Baking sheet
- Heatproof food safe gloves (optional)
Combine sugar and corn syrup
To make this easy microwave peanut brittle recipe, start by combining white sugar and corn syrup in a microwave-safe bowl. I like to use my large Pyrex measuring cup/mixing bowl for this. It’s heatproof and sturdy.
As you stir the corn syrup and sugar together, it will be stiff. Just keep stirring, and the two ingredients will combine.
Microwave the sugar mixture
Microwave the sugar/corn syrup mixture for 3 1/2 minutes. At this point, it will be hot and bubbly, but still clear. Carefully take the bowl out of the microwave, and stir the hot sugar mixture.
Microwave the sugar syrup for a second time until it reaches a medium golden color. In my microwave, this takes between 3 and 4 minutes.
For reference, here’s a photo of the cooked syrup:
It’s important to keep an eye on the sugar mixture as it cooks. It burns easily. When I was learning how to make peanut brittle, I did burn a couple of batches of the syrup. If this happens, just try again.
Add the baking soda, flavorings, and peanuts
Next, working quickly, add the baking soda and spice mixture, the vanilla, and the butter, and stir.
The mixture will bubble up, steam, and get foamy. This is where your peanut brittle develops its airy texture.
For this recipe, you can use anywhere between 1 and 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda. More baking soda creates more bubbles and a more airy texture, but if you add too much, you will be able to taste the baking soda in your candy. I usually add one teaspoon of baking soda.
After the baking soda and flavorings, stir in the peanuts. Stir only enough to incorporate the peanuts.
I like to use salted peanuts for this recipe, but you can also use unsalted peanuts. If you use unsalted peanuts, add 1/4 teaspoon table salt.
Spread the peanut brittle mixture on a baking sheet
Quickly spread your hot peanut brittle mixture on the sprayed baking sheet. Use a heat-proof spatula to press the mixture down and spread it out to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Spray the candy with a little cooking spray if it’s too sticky.
Alternatively, you can press and stretch the peanut brittle using heat-proof food safe gloves. This is a handy way to do it (pun intended).
Let cool and break into pieces
Let the peanut brittle cool for about an hour (if you can wait that long to taste it!), and break it into pieces with your hands. Store the cooled peanut brittle in an airtight container.
I make this easy microwave peanut brittle every holiday season. I love to put it in a festive box or bag along with a few chocolate truffles, and give it away to friends and neighbors. It really is the best microwave peanut brittle recipe!
If you like this recipe, check out some of Food Love’s other holiday recipes:
Best Microwave Peanut Brittle
- 1 level teaspoon baking soda see notes for options
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 cups roasted salted peanuts see notes to substitute unsalted peanuts
- Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- Pour sugar and corn syrup into a large microwave-safe glass bowl. Stir using a sturdy spatula until well combined.
- Microwave sugar mixture on high for 3 1/2 minutes, then stir. Return to microwave and cook for 3-5 more minutes until the mixture is a medium golden color. Check sugar mixture once each minute. Sugar scorches easily at this stage.
- Remove bowl from microwave. Working quickly, add the vanilla, butter, and prepared spice mixture. Stir until combined. The candy mixture will bubble up and become airy.
- Add the peanuts. Stir only enough to incorporate the peanuts with the candy mixture.
- Working quickly, pour the brittle mixture onto the baking sheet. Use a silicone spatula or a spoon sprayed with cooking spray to press and spread the mixture out thinly. Alternatively, you can press and stretch the candy with your hands wearing heatproof food gloves.
- Let the peanut brittle cool completely, about 1 hour. Break into pieces of your desired size (usually about 2 inches square). Store peanut brittle in an airtight container.
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