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The best homemade nut brittle recipe–perfectly sweet and crunchy, with chunks of nuts in each and every bite. While old-fashioned peanut brittle is typically made with only peanuts, this recipe adds almonds to the mix for a double dose of nutty goodness.
While nut brittle can be made in the microwave, in this particular recipe we make the crunchy candy the old-fashioned way–in a big pot on the stovetop, just like grandma used to make.
The classic homemade candy is perfect for the holiday season. Add the crunchy treat to your holiday cookie trays, give it as a sweet edible Christmas gift, or snack on some while watching holiday movies and wrapping presents.
That said, our family doesn’t reserve caramel nut brittle for just Christmas time. I am known to make this great nut brittle recipe several times throughout the year. There is never a wrong time for the sweet treat as far as I am concerned.
A handful of ingredients are all you need to make a batch so grab your candy thermometer–yes, you really should use a candy thermometer for this nut brittle recipe–and let’s get to candy-makin’!
This section includes ingredient notes and substitution options. Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
- Salted Butter— You can use unsalted butter instead, simply add a pinch of salt to the recipe help cut through the sugar.
- Sugar— regular granulated white sugar
- Light corn syrup— You can substitute honey if you wish, it may change the flavor slightly but will still work well.
- Baking soda— A key ingredient in brittle recipes. The baking soda helps give the hard candy the perfect texture without it being too hard to bite into. Do not skip the baking soda!
- Nuts— I like to use a combination of salted peanuts and sliced almonds in my brittle. However, you can use 100% peanuts to make classic homemade peanut brittle if you wish. Whole almonds would work as well.
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Large heavy bottom pot
- Wooden spoon
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Parchment paper or non-stick cooking spray
- Forks, spatula and/or knife
How to make nut brittle
This section shows you how to make the recipe with step-by-step photos and instructions. For the full printable recipe, see the recipe card below.
Step 1: Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Measure out all of your ingredients and have them ready next to the stovetop. You will have to move quickly once the candy reaches 300°F.
Step 2: Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.
Step 3: Add the sugar, light corn syrup, and water. Stir continuously until the sugar melts, about 2 minutes.
Step 4: Place a candy thermometer in the sugar mixture and cook to 300°F, stirring frequently (will take about 15 minutes).
Step 5: As soon as the temperature reaches 300°F (the hard crack stage), stir in the baking soda.
Step 6: Followed by the almonds and salted peanuts.
Step 7: Quickly, but carefully, pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Using a knife, the back of a large spoon, or a spatula, spread the nut mixture out as evenly as possible.
Step 8: Let the brittle cool fully (about 30 minutes) before breaking into large shards and enjoying.
Homemade brittle will keep for up to 8 weeks when stored in an airtight container at room temperature. For the best taste and texture do not refrigerate and keep away from humidity.
For longer strange, allow the brittle to come to room temperature and place it in a freezer-safe container to freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Tips for the best homemade nut brittle
- Don’t use foil or wax paper. If you don’t have any parchment paper, do not use wax paper or aluminum foil instead–the brittle will stick to either of them. Instead, use a non stick baking sheet or coat your sheet pan with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
- Be prepared. Make sure that your ingredients are measured and ready to be added before beginning to make nut brittle. Once the caramel hits the right temperature and turns the right color, it can overcook quickly, or cool too fast. You need to work quickly to add the nuts, stir, and spread the hot candy out onto the sheet pan before it starts to harden.
- Warm up your nuts. To make the brittle a little easier to work with, you can toast up your nuts in the microwave for 30 seconds or in the oven for 10 minutes before adding them to the caramel mixture. That way the caramel won’t cool down too fast and will be easier to spread. Although I have not found this step essential I have heard that others swear by it.
Additions and Variations
- Vanilla— A half teaspoon of vanilla will add warm, subtle flavor.
- Brown Sugar— Replace all, or a portion of, the sugar in the recipe with light brown sugar for a deeper molasses taste.
- Flakey sea salt— A little salt sprinkled on top of the brittle can help to balance out the flavors.
- Nuts— Peanuts are the classic choice but you can use almonds only for almond brittle, or try the recipe with pecan pieces, walnut pieces, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, mixed nuts, or any other type of nut. However, I would recommend roughly chopping any large nuts into-bite sized pieces so that they are easier to eat in the brittle.
Nut Brittle Recipe FAQ
About 30 minutes. Once the baking soda and nuts are added the mixture immediately starts to harden. That is why it is so important to work quickly in getting it spread out on the baking sheet.
Keeping brittle moisture free is important to keep it from getting sticky. Be sure to store it in an airtight container in a non-humid environment.
The most likely cause of brittle not hardening is that it was not cooked long enough or to the correct temperature. The candy has to reach the hard-crack stage at 300 degrees F. That is why using a good candy thermometer is essential when preparing a nut brittle recipe.
More Recipes for Peanut Lovers
- Old fashioned peanut butter cookies
- Chocolate peanut butter rice krispie treats
- No bake cookies
- Peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bars
- Polar bear paws candy
- ½ cup salted butter
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ⅓ cup water
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup almond slices
- ½ cup salted peanuts
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Measure out all of your ingredients and have them ready next to the stovetop. You will have to move quickly once the candy reaches 300°F.
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
- After the butter melts, stir in the sugar, light corn syrup, and water. Stir continuously until the sugar melts, about 2 minutes.
- Place the candy thermometer in the sugar mixture and cook to 300°F, stirring frequently (about 15 minutes).
- When the mixture reaches 300°F, stir in the baking soda.
- Add the almonds and salted peanuts and quickly but carefully pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Using a knife, back of a large spoon, or a spatula, spread the brittle mixture out as evenly as possible.
- Let the brittle cool fully (about 30 minutes) before breaking into pieces and enjoying.
- Do not line the baking sheet with wax paper or aluminum foil. Use parchment, a non-stick baking sheet, or non-stick cooking spray.
- Make sure that your ingredients are measured and ready to be added before beginning to make nut brittle. You need to work quickly to add the nuts, stir, and spread the hot candy out onto the sheet pan before it starts to harden
- Although I have not found this step essential I have heard that others swear by it: To make the brittle a little easier to work with, you can toast up your nuts in the microwave for 30 seconds or in the oven for 10 minutes before adding them to the caramel mixture. That way the caramel won’t cool down too quickly, making it easier to spread.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature.