My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (2024)

I know everyone makes fun of recipes that start with long, drawn-out intros about life and love and cooking and family and the smell of cocoa powder and blah blah blah. But in the case of my dad’s perfect peanut brittle recipe, which he’s been kind enough to share with me, I feel like I wouldn’t be honoring him without a bit of backstory.

(I think you’ll like it. And I will spare you any rambling about the scent of peanuts.)

You should know that my dad is an amazing cook and baker. He’s the guy who still uses his stack of dog-eared, hardcover cookbooks, each one with notes scribbled in the margins about a little more of this or a tweak to the cooking time of that. He will spend hours preparing a holiday dinner — no help, thank you very much — and beams as he describes just which special brand of cinnamon he uses, or detailing his trek out to one special bodega in Astoria, Queens, that carries the special pepitas or rare cumin powder he knows he needs.

This peanut brittle recipe is perfect, however, not because of any special peanuts (Planter’s will do) or magical equipment (though he does like his Silpat a lot), because it’s one that’s been carefully refined over twenty years, by combining ingredients, tips, and instructions from no less than 10 cookbooks.

So yeah. Perfect.

My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (1)

Related: Our team shares our favorite family holiday recipes that taste like home: Main dishes, sides, and desserts. Lots of desserts.

I know, I’m supposed to jump right to the recipe here. But stick with me, because this part is important to me.

Three years ago, my dad was run over by a taxi while crossing the street. He suffered a serious spinal injury, and has been confined to a wheelchair ever since. We thought he’d never walk again. And yet, what he’s accomplished since then is nothing short of remarkable.

That includes how hard he worked to be able to return to the kitchen — first, just to pour himself a glass of water or take something out of the fridge. Now, he’s cooking again.

Two Decembers after his accident, when he was finally able to stand and steady himself long enough to make a batch of peanut brittle just for my daughters at Christmas, it brought me to tears. My dad just isn’t my dad if he’s not in the kitchen.

This year, he’s promised my girls that they can come and make it with him. I think it will be a new annual tradition for them.

I bet it will taste the best it ever did.

Paul Gumbinner’s Perfect Peanut Brittle Recipe

Be sure not to use salted peanuts. My dad called me three times to make sure I included that here, so heed his words! He always talks about how people will make his recipes but change the ingredients and can’t figure out why it tastes different. Therefore…unsalted peanuts. Planter’s are fine, and easy to find. And as with anything, good butter is always better but your call.

Ingredients

2 cups sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, unsalted
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 ounces dry roasted peanuts, unsalted

Directions

1. Combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and butter in a large saucepan.

2. Stir over high heat until mixture turns golden. Note: Once the color starts to develop, you want to watch it very carefully and remove promptly, being mindful that it will continue to cook in the pan after the heat is off.

3. Remove from heat. Stir in the salt, then the baking soda, then the peanuts. Combine quickly so the mixture doesn’t harden

4. On one rimmed baking sheet coated with butter (or use a Silpat silicone cookie sheet liner), spread the mixture with a spatula, as thinly as you can and as widely as you can — ideally the mixture will cover about 90% of the pan. It will thicken quickly, so you have to move!

5. Cool for about 30-45 minutes. Break up with your hands into bite-size pieces.

You can store in an air-tight container like a gift tin and it will last for a month or more. But if it lasts in your home for a whole month, invite us over so we can help you out.

Tags: christmas, dessert, food gifts, gifts, holidays, recipes

Tags: christmas, dessert, food gifts, gifts, holidays, recipes

My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (2)

Written by Liz Gumbinner

Liz Gumbinner is the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Cool Mom Picks network. This makes her very happy.
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  1. My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (3)

    Crison December 19, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    When do you add the salt??

    Reply

  2. My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (7)

    Kellieon January 10, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Can you use salted peanuts instead of the tbls of salt?

    Reply

    • My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (8)

      Liz Gumbinneron January 10, 2019 at 3:01 pm

      I would not suggest it. Follow the recipe if you want the best results.

      Reply

      • My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (9)

        Loreenon July 17, 2019 at 11:48 am

        Did you use unsalted butter or salted?

        Reply

        • My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (10)

          Liz Gumbinneron July 18, 2019 at 9:46 am

          Unsalted! Good question and will specify in the recipe. For the most part in baking, always assume unsalted.

          Reply

      • My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (11)

        Katrinaon September 13, 2019 at 9:02 pm

        Did you use a half sheet pan or a full?

        Reply

  3. My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (14)

    Rachelleon November 15, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    You said 1 stick butter (8oz) do you mean 2 sticks butter (8oz) or 1 stick 4oz)?
    Thanks

    Reply

    • My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (15)

      Liz Gumbinneron November 21, 2019 at 1:46 pm

      apologies– it should read 1 stick (8tbsp) so yes, 4 oz! Appreciate you catching the error.

      Reply

      • My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (16)

        Christieon November 15, 2020 at 5:43 pm

        I just made some- vegan actually. It was fabulous!! Only change besides making it vegan was to add a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Will certainly keep this around for a long time!!

        Reply

        • My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (17)

          Liz Gumbinneron November 20, 2020 at 12:29 pm

          Oh so glad to hear that! What a cool addition. Thank you for sharing, Christie!

          Reply

  4. My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (18)

    Richon November 26, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    What temp do you cook this to.

    Reply

    • My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (19)

      Liz Gumbinneron December 6, 2019 at 10:47 am

      His answer is “you can use a candy thermometer but it’s really not necessary with this. You can just see when it’s ready — which is what makes it so easy!”

      Reply

  5. My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (20)

    Debraon December 6, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    What size rimmed cookie sheet?

    Reply

    • My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (21)

      Liz Gumbinneron December 9, 2019 at 4:51 pm

      Good question! It really doesn’t matter. I’d say standard size (18×13 or so) is fine because you’re not going all the way to the rim. But if you have a small oven you could always do two smaller sheets.

      Reply

    • My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (22)

      Angeon January 4, 2020 at 12:21 am

      I believe your cooking it too long. Longer it goes the harder it becomes. Because they do not offer a time,which can vary depending on heat used and actually where you live. What you see as golden may not be the same as theirs.I would never recommend using high heat for sugars. It can go from good to bad very quickly. Invest in a candy thermometer. Pull off heat just before 300 F. You do still need to work fast but if it is already passed stage needed you are fighting a losing battle.

      Reply

  6. My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (23)

    Debraon December 15, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    OMG I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, tried twice. Followed recipe exactly. I added the nuts, salt, baking soda quickly (impossible to add it any quicker) and all I get is a big clump that is impossible to spread out on the cookie sheet. I give up. I’m so disappointed in myself.

    Reply

    • My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (24)

      Liz Gumbinneron December 18, 2019 at 9:29 am

      I have no idea why Debra! We’ve gotten so many positive responses on the recipe. 🙁

      Are you up in the mountains where you make altitude changes to recipes?

      Reply

  7. My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (25)

    KC Vaillancourton December 22, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    I have to tell you, I decided this was the year we would try making Brittle and I have seen hundreds of recipes, but this is the one I will try simply because of your story. How inspirational, sounds like a wonderful man, dad and grandad! I’m hoping for good results to report back to you!

    Reply

    • My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (26)

      Liz Gumbinneron December 23, 2020 at 11:24 am

      Aw, thank you so much for the kind words and for sharing that with me. He will be so happy ❤️ (And if I’m lucky, I will get some from him this week too!)

      Reply

  8. My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (27)

    Amyon December 10, 2022 at 4:26 pm

    My third year making this now and it is a must have for my family! Thank-you so much!

    Reply

    • My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (28)

      Liz Gumbinneron December 14, 2022 at 5:47 pm

      Thanks for sharing that Amy! It’s really special to us too 🙂

      Reply

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My Dad's perfect peanut brittle recipe, refined and perfected over 20 years | Cool Mom Eats (2024)

FAQs

Why put baking soda in peanut brittle? ›

Baking soda is also very important at this stage since it reacts to the heat, creating carbon dioxide that aerates the caramel, enabling it to snap when someone bites into it rather than requiring them to gnaw at it until it breaks or pulls apart.

How long will homemade peanut brittle stay fresh? ›

To store: Once it's completely cooled, store peanut brittle in an airtight container at room temperature. Do not refrigerate as the moisture from the fridge will cause the brittle to soften. Store for 6-8 weeks. To Freeze: Peanut brittle can be frozen and stored up to 3 months.

Why didn't my homemade peanut brittle get hard? ›

The main reason why peanut brittle doesn't get hard and have the crunch we expect is because the sugar was not cooked long enough. The sugar needs to be cooked to what is called the hard crack stage, 300ºF.

How bad is peanut brittle? ›

After it's made, peanut brittle turns into a hard, sticky candy that can do some serious damage to teeth. If you do eat peanut brittle this holiday season, make sure to thoroughly rinse your mouth with cool water afterwards to remove as much food debris as possible.

What does baking soda do for brittle? ›

Be sure to use a candy thermometer to ensure it reaches 300 degrees F or hard crack stage. What does baking soda do to peanut brittle? Adding a little baking soda aerates the peanut brittle causing it to expand slightly for a crunchy texture that won't break your teeth when you chew it.

How do you keep peanut brittle crispy? ›

The candy will attract moisture from the air, making it unpleasantly sticky instead of shatteringly crisp. Once it's completely cool, transfer it to an airtight container.

How do you make peanut brittle hard again? ›

- Preheat your oven to a low temperature, around 250°F (120°C). - Break the stale peanut brittle into smaller pieces. - Place the brittle pieces on a baking sheet in a single layer. - Heat the brittle in the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes, checking frequently to avoid overcooking.

Why is my peanut brittle hard but sticky? ›

What's important to know is that the corn syrup controls the grain of the brittle so adding too little and you have a grainy textured brittle, while adding too much will result in a stringy and sticky brittle.

Why is my peanut brittle not airy? ›

Working quickly, pour into prepared 10×15 pan. To keep the brittle light and airy, do not spread or flatten the mixture. Instead, let it flow freely. Place in a cool area and leave until completely cooled, about 2-3 hours.

Why is my peanut brittle like taffy? ›

Didn't get it hot enough. You have to hit hard crack stage heat or it's not going to harden. From internet: Hard-Crack Stage is a cooking term meaning that a sugar syrup being heated has reached 149 – 154 C (300 – 310 F.) It is a test of how hot a sugar syrup is, and of how much water is left in it.

Why does my homemade peanut brittle stick to my teeth? ›

Frequently asked questions. Why does my homemade peanut brittle stick to my teeth? This is because you did not cook it long enough in the microwave. If the texture of the peanut brittle is sticky, and not crunchy, this means that you need to cook the mixture longer, until it reaches 300°F.

Can you overcook peanut brittle? ›

If you overcook the brittle, it could be bitter or burnt. If you undercook it, the brittle won't properly set and the end result will be sticky. A thermometer is an accessible and inexpensive way to monitor temperature and ensure properly cooked brittle. Make sure your baking soda is fresh and active.

Who should not eat peanuts? ›

First, the patient who suffer from gout: Gout is a disease caused by the disorder of purine metabolism. All the grout patients will suffer from hyperuricemia. Because the high-fat diet will reduce the secretion of uric acid and aggravate the disease, so the gout patients should not eat peanuts.

Why is my peanut brittle bitter? ›

I don't recommend substituting honey, molasses, or agave for the corn syrup. Those other liquid sugars have impurities that will burn at the higher temperature of making caramel, leading to a bitter-tasting brittle.

Are peanuts inflammatory? ›

Tree nuts and peanuts lower risk factors of cardiometabolic disease, including blood lipids, blood pressure and insulin resistance, among others. Given their strong antioxidant/anti-inflammatory potential, it is plausible that nuts may also exert a favorable effect on inflammation and oxidative stress.

What is the best way to store homemade peanut brittle? ›

#1 - Store in an airtight container

It should come as no surprise that storing your peanut brittle in airtight containers is one of the best ways to store peanut brittle. Keeping air out helps maintain your brittle's freshness by minimizing the amount of moisture that might come into contact with your sweet treat.

Does peanut brittle get stale? ›

How Long Does Peanut Brittle Last? Properly stored (in an airtight container at room temperature), peanut brittle will last one to two months.

How long does peanut brittle last unopened? ›

Store peanut brittle in an airtight container (for best results use wax or parchment paper to divide pieces as they may stick together) in a dry place, but not in the refrigerator. Peanut Brittle will keep up to 2 months.

How long before peanuts go rancid? ›

If you keep nuts at room temperature, ensure they are away from direct heat; this will maintain their freshness for up to 3 months, considered short-term storage. However, you can keep them longer, up to 6 months.

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