Microwave Peanut Brittle

Peanut brittle. In the microwave. Without a candy thermometer.

Get out!

I’m out. And I’m so all over this easy-peasy peanut brittle recipe.

Talk about revolutionizing candy making, this peanut brittle is as simple as pushing buttons on a microwave, stirring, pushing buttons, stirring. You get the picture.

I’ll be honest, halfway through, I was sure this was not going to work. But I had already invested about 96 seconds into the process and didn’t want to give up at that point. I’m all about looking at the big picture and staying in for the long haul.

And you know? It worked. Beautifully. Like magic peanut brittle that comes out of nowhere. My kids munched on it all evening long. Even Brian was amazed. His comment after he came in from work: “Wow, candy making today? That must have taken a lot of time.” Which, in hindsight, I’m not sure exactly what he meant, but I’m taking it as a compliment instead of an observation about how my stay-at-home body had time to make candy but somehow can’t seem to find the time to, er, clean the toilets regularly (no judging, no judging!).

Listen, I’ll take homemade candy any day over clean toilets, which happen to be highly overrated, in case you are curious. Toilets aside (seriously, how did we get on that subject?), no one has to know this peanut brittle takes minutes to make and you’ll look like a superstar in the process.

See all of this year’s Sugar Rush treats HERE.

Microwave Peanut Brittle

Microwave Peanut Brittle

Yield: Makes about 10 servings (1 pound of brittle)

Microwave Peanut Brittle


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Butter a large baking sheet and set aside.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the sugar and corn syrup and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Stir. Microwave for another 2 minutes. The mixture should be starting to turn a light yellow/amber color. Stir in the peanuts. Microwave an additional 3-5 minutes, watching carefully, until the mixture turns golden brown (the color of peanut brittle).
  3. Stir in the butter and vanilla until the butter is completely melted. Microwave for 1 more minute. Stir in the baking soda. The mixture will become very foamy and thick as you stir.
  4. Carefully spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Cool completely. Break into pieces. The brittle can be made ahead and stored covered, at room temperature, for three days.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from kraftrecipes.com

54 Responses to Microwave Peanut Brittle

  1. Connie Randall says:

    How do you break it up without having it fly all over the kitchen?

  2. Melody says:

    I just made this and it is awesome!! Thanks so much!

  3. Susan says:

    If i double the recipe, do i double the cook time?

  4. Bethany says:

    Wow! Love it! Makes great gifts.

  5. MJ says:

    And to S Wu above, if the ‘T’ bowl was plastic, then it would have melted. Must use glass.

  6. MJ says:

    🙁 my brittle tastes good, but cooled all foamy and brittle… Like honeycomb on steroids brittle. I can push my finger straight into it and it crumbles.

    • MJ says:

      Tried again… More water (1cup), more time (probably around 10 mins extra), more vanilla (.5tsp), less bi-carb (.5tsp)

      Worked better, and wasn’t so foamy (hot or cooled), but still had that bright yellow honeycomb look, and was not really brittle texture for the most part. Would try this way again, but skip bi-carb I think. And add peanuts later… They were a little on the overcooked side with the extra time. Not burnt, just, but still nice enough.

  7. AstroGremlin says:

    Have made this recipe three times with terrific results. The first batch I cooked a little longer than the 4 minutes suggested since I was looking for a darker color. But the flavor was a bit dark. Now I use the exact 4 minutes suggested. I use a tad more (1.5 tsp) vanilla and a tad more baking soda (1.5 tsp). After placing onto the buttered cookie sheet, I use a *buttered* steel spatula and press it over and over until it fits the whole cookie sheet, making it thin and delicate. Oh, by the way, I don’t use peanuts, I use salted, roasted sunflower seeds. Sunflower brittle!

  8. Su W says:

    Oh, I forgot to say that my microwave is 1200 watts.

  9. Su W says:

    Warning!!!!! I just tried my first batch of Microwave Peanut Brittle and it was disasterous! I put it in for the first 3 min. and took it out to stir after 2 min 40 sec. Then cooked it for 1 min 42 sec and was taking it out to add the peanuts and the complete bottom of the bowl fell out. It had complete melted. The sugar/syrup mixture ran out onto the counter, down the front of the counter and onto the floor before I could do anything. That stuff completely set up. It broke just like Peanut Brittle and was as hard as could be. I almost never got that mess cleaned up. I was lucky that I was not burned in the process. My bowl was one of those you buy at parties or from representatives (starts with a T, you know the one) and I have used it in the microwave for years and never had an incident, so don’t think it was the bowl.
    The recipe says to cook the PB for 11 minutes. I cooked mine for 4 1/2 minutes, and it was already brittle. Now I am leary of using the microwave for something like this. Just want to warn everyone. There is a chance of this happening to someone else and that person could get a nasty burn.

  10. Melanie says:

    well, I think you should just head on over to my kitchen then Mel!! lol! no, its been the same, frigid, cold weather here the past few weeks. they were not 100% cooled when I wrote the comment so they did harden up a bit more after being fully cooled, but still not as hard/crisp as the first go around….you’ll need to come in to my kitchen if/when you ever come to WI and visit Jolyn! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Melanie – yes, that would be awesome! I’d love to just hang out cooking all day. That’s bizarre about your peanut brittle. It sounds like it might have needed a bit more cooking time even though the first batch you made came out perfectly.

  11. Melanie says:

    Mel-I made 4 batches of this. the first 2 turned out awesome. then a week later, I made 2 more batches…those are soft…they dont break, they bend 🙁 what happened??

    • Mel says:

      Melanie – gosh, I don’t know! It’s almost impossible to say without being right there in your kitchen. Was it a humid/rainy day the 2nd go-round?

  12. チャンピă‚Șン ダォン

  13. Connie Riley says:

    I have a 1200W microwave. How long should I microwave? I burnt the 1st batch.

  14. Em says:

    LOVE this recipe, used it for Christmas goodie baskets and just made it again this afternoon, it still boggles my mind how simple it is and how perfectly it turns out!

  15. Kara says:

    We have been making Microwave Peanut Brittle for over 20 years! When my mom and dad got their first microwave it came with a recipe book and microwave peanut brittle was one of them. I have had to change mine up a bit because the microwave they had (and STILL have) is not as high watts as mine but it is the best way to make it in my opinion!

    I have never been able to double the batch, I have tried multiple times and each time it comes out wrong.

  16. Mel says:

    Julia – I soaked my bowl in hot water for about an hour to get it clean.

  17. I finally made this for my family’s gathering and it tasted awesome! I squired away a few pieces away for myself to enjoy afterwards.
    It did take about 5 minutes longer to get to the right consistency at the end but that’s probably due to differences in microwaves.
    I do have a question, though–how the heck did you clean your dish? I used a glass mixing bowl and ripped a hole in my rubber gloves trying to get the stuff off.

  18. Bruce says:

    Just made it for Ward Christmas party, but with the Mill’s in attendance I made it with soy nuts. It turned out awesome!!! I even screwed up by putting the butter and vanilla in after 1 minute and then cooking 3 additional minutes. It’s idiot proof. Thanks and miss you guys.

  19. Mel says:

    reg – to be honest, I’m not sure. I’ve never doubled or tripled the batch. Just keep an eye on cooking time and increase as necessary. Good luck!

  20. reg says:

    i have used all sorts of godies in my pb almonds, walnuts, pecans, and rice chex. my question is if i want to make a larger batch how much longer do i cook the sugar and corn syrup? another little twist use almond extract or peppermint instead of vanilla

  21. Janelle says:

    Mind. Blown.

  22. Sally says:

    I have made this for a long time and it is delicious. However I do not add the baking soda. I think it tastes better, and it is a much clearer and prettier candy w/o it.

  23. It only goes to show where theres will theres a way. Keep on trying. How is it possible to find meaning in a finite world, given my waist and shirt size? Woody Allen Born 1935

  24. Nancy says:

    Thank you and drat you at the same time! This was so easy and amazingly good that I want to eat it and then make it again constantly as a never ending loop. My family thanks you as well – husband and girls are big fans of brittle, but I don’t often have the time to make it.

  25. Gwen says:

    I doubted this recipe from the second I read it until the moment I put the first morsel in my mouth, and then I was a BELIEVER! It could NOT have been easier, and it is perfection! I truly think the worst part of the recipe was doing the dishes, but luckily that is something my husband always willingly jumps in for!

  26. Cammee says:

    Shut the front door! Who knew this was possible? I can’t wait to try this!

  27. Stef says:

    We love brittle. I’m all over this recipe. PS… I feel so affirmed about my sketchy bathroom-cleaning habits. Thank you!

  28. Kellie says:

    Dude, you have boys. No matter HOW MUCH you clean those toilets, you will NEVER have a clean bathroom. I don’t think mine even aim for the toilet, to be honest.

  29. Shannon says:

    I love peanut brittle, but never want to deal with the candy thermometer. Can’t wait to try this!

  30. Wanda says:

    This is how I do our Christmas Caramels too. Note to all: Be very careful when taking the bowls in/out of the micro. The contents will burn your skin off if you slip and spill. Ask me how I know. 🙁

  31. Martha P. says:

    Ok, Mel! This is soooo simple and I can’t wait to make and have a (secret)comparison test by my P-N-Brittle lovers with my recipe…….you know the one! One thing I am gonna do since I already have them is use the red Spanish peanuts…….after I toast them in the oven. Think cashews would be great also. THANK YOU! My family is gonna love, love, love me this Christmas!!

    Love your family pictures………can’t wait to see your Christmas ones!

  32. Mel says:

    Colleen – I’m kind of out of my knowledge element here but I looked on my microwave and it says input: 1800w and output: 1000w. So if that helps anyone, clearly they are smarter than I. 🙂

  33. Kim in MD says:

    Ha ha! You made me laugh out loud with the toilet comment! You are right, Mel…clean toilets ARE overrated, but I do admit they are important to me! 🙂

    Get out? Peanut brittle in the microwave? Genius! I can’t wait to try this recipe! Oh- and I love Pauline’s idea of adding cayenne pepper and cinnamon to the recipe. Does this combo remind you of something you made recently? 😉

  34. Rachael A. says:

    Hallelujah! I LOVE peanut brittle, but haven’t had the ambition to make it the traditional way . . . and now I don’t have to, but can still get my fix! Thanks!

  35. Colleen says:

    Do you know the wattage of the microwave you used when testing this recipe (it usually says on the face plate or door edge)? It might help folks avoid burning a batch when using a higher wattage microwave.

  36. Pauline says:

    I’ve been microwaving PB for several years now thanks to Alton Brown. Want a fantastic twist? Try adding 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper and 3/4 tsp cinnamon to the sugar and corn syrup. I’ve also alternated the nuts: peanuts, cashews, whatever you have on hand. The cayenne isn’t so hot to be uncomfortable and the cinnamon adds just a bit of difference to the brittle. It is the best!!!! I will never turn back.

  37. trish says:

    I’m game! Peanut brittle is my husband’s absolute favorite and since I burned his last batch…this just might be what I need to redeem myself!

  38. Lisa says:

    I’ve also made this for years and it is highly addictive. I agree with Ann that you need to really watch the cooking times – we got a new microwave one year and I burnt an entire batch. Two other bits of advice are to have everything ready in advance, (it goes FAST) and using parchment paper is sooo much easier for cleanup. Oohhh, now I can’t wait to make some! And thanks for your awesome website Mel, I’ve scored lots of new recipes (and techniques!) from you.

  39. Michelle says:

    You just made my holidays! Hate to use a candy thermometer, but LOVE peanut brittle! Thanks for the great post : )

  40. Holly says:

    Sounds yummy and easy enough for me to whip up a batch. 🙂 Thanks!

  41. Bex says:

    Brilliant. This must be great for xmas gifties… yum… and for me!

  42. Mel says:

    Charlotte – add them right after the first bout of microwaving (the recipe says to add them when the sugar mixture has turned light amber in color).

  43. Charlotte Moore says:

    When do you add the peanuts??

  44. ann says:

    This is how I’ve always made it! Isn’t it AWESOME! Cooking times vary a little bit depending on your microwave, but once you figure out what works in your particular machine, you’re golden.

    I love this.

  45. Heather K Miller says:

    That’s really neat! I will add this to my already long list of sugary treats I need to make this year! I should probably be making them as you post them!:)

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