Finding a recipe for peanut brittle without corn syrup can prove to be a bit of a challenge. This classic candy often employs this fructose syrup in order to make it easier to make. In fact, using corn syrup in making caramels (because that’s what peanut is!) makes it’s it effectively fool-proof.
But what if you don’t have access to corn syrup and want to whip up a batch of sweet, salty and crunchy peanut brittle? Is it even possible? Yes, yes it is.
Whether you don’t like using corn syrup or live in an area where it just isn’t a thing (like myself), you can still make an excellent peanut brittle without it — and I’m here to show you how! So if you’ve been searching for an old fashioned peanut brittle recipe without corn syrup, I’ve got you covered!
How to Make Peanut Brittle without Corn Syrup
As I’ve already mentioned, making peanut brittle is essentially the same thing as making any caramel, except that you add some peanuts (and baking soda) at the end of the cooking process.
Caramel can be a finicky thing to make and it does take some time to really get the hang of it – this is exactly why so many recipes for peanut brittle (and any caramel, for that matter) call for corn syrup.
The syrup prevents crystals from forming, making it much less likely for your caramel to seize and crystallise while cooking.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make caramel without corn syrup. I have already covered how to make chewy caramels and caramel popcorn without corn syrup, but the same theory applies to peanut brittle, as well.
So to begin this peanut brittle without corn syrup recipe, you need to prep your pan. Simply line a half sheet tray (a rimmed baking sheet) with parchment paper.
If you want some extra insurance, brush it down with some melted butter or non-stick cooking spray to make sure you can remove the peanut brittle once it has set.
Now, add your sugar and a bit of water to a saucepan. Set it over the lowest heat possible and stir continuously until the sugar is COMPLETELY dissolved, but has not come to a boil yet. This is by far the most important step in this peanut brittle recipe. It’s the same thing you have to do in my marshmallow recipe, just with later caramelisation.
If you have undissolved sugar crystals in your mixture after it starts to boil, it will almost certainly seize and crystallise and there is no turning back. You’re just going to have to start over.
If you’re worried that your mixture is coming to a boil before the sugar has dissolved, take it off the heat and keep stirring until you can get the sugar dissolved. Keep in mind that this can take a bit of time, but patience is really key when making any kind of caramel and it will pay off, I promise!
Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture up to a boil. Once the sugar syrup is boiling, DO NOT stir it. This will also cause crystals.
Using a pastry brush (I find that a natural bristle brush works better for this, but a silicone brush will also work if that’s all you have), brush down the sides of the pan with a bit of water to keep any stray crystals from forming.
Turn the heat up to medium and do not touch the mixture again. You can continue to brush down the sides but ensure that you’re not actually touching the sugar syrup.
Keep a keen eye on your syrup as it bubbles away – it will seem like nothing is happening but it’s important that you don’t walk away from this as it can go from crystal clear to burnt in a second.
Continue boiling the sugar syrup, brushing down the sides as needed, until the mixture turns a very dark amber colour and small wisps of smoke appear. You will notice it turn from clear, to honey coloured, to amber, to dark amber very quickly.
This does take a while — I find that making a caramel like this usually takes me about 20-30 minutes once I get the sugar dissolved.
As soon as you’re caramel is dark enough, remove it from the heat. Add your butter, salt, vanilla and baking soda. This is cause it foam and sputter — this is normal and don’t be alarmed.
Just make sure to be careful and stand back because this mixture is lava hot and can cause some severe burns if you’re not cautious.
Now, stir in your peanuts. Ensure that the peanuts are completely incorporated into the caramel (but work quickly because you don’t want it to begin to set) before pouring the entire mixture into your prepared baking sheet.
Use a heatproof spatula to evenly spread the peanut brittle over the baking sheet. Then, let the mixture cool completely and harden. This will take at least four hours, but you can let it go for longer.
Once the peanut brittle is completely cool comes the most fun part, in my opinion. In fact, it’s worth making this peanut brittle recipe without corn syrup specifically for this reason! It’s breaking up the brittle.
Lift the sheet of peanut brittle from the dish. Set it on a large cutting board, cover it with another sheet of parchment paper, and gently but firmly whack it with a rolling pin! It’s a great way to get your frustrations out.
Once you’ve got your brittle into the size of pieces that you desire, all you have to do is kick back and enjoy. Share it with your friends and family or keep it all to yourself.
Peanut Brittle Without Corn Syrup
If you're looking for a delicious and easy sweet treat to make, then look no further. This peanut brittle has only a handful of ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry - and no corn syrup at all!
- 400g (2 cups) sugar
- 50g (4tbsp) unsalted butter
- 2tsp salt
- 1tsp baking soda
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 300g (10oz) roasted, unsalted peanuts
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Add sugar to a small saucepan and pour over 120ml (1/2 cup) of cool water. Set over low heat and, stirring constantly, allow the sugar to completely dissolve (see note).
- Wash down the sides of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent any sugar from crystalizing. Once the mixture has come to a boil, increase the heat to medium and stop stirring and allow to boil until the sugar mixture reaches a deep amber colour and wisps of smoke appear. DO NOT stir the mixture at all once it has come to a boil.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the butter. It will sputter and foam so do not be alarmed. Add the salt, baking soda and vanilla and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Add peanuts and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared sheet tray and spread out with a spatula to ensure it is even. Allow to cool completely for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
- Once the peanut brittle is cooled, remove the brittle from the sheet tray. Cover the brittle with a sheet of parchment paper (to prevent flyaways) and whack several times with a rolling pin mallet until it is broken into pieces of desirable size.
- Store in an airtight container or enjoy immediately.
It is essential that the sugar is COMPLETELY dissolved before you allow the syrup to come to a boil. If necessary, remove from the heat off and on to ensure that it dissolves before the mixture begins boiling. If the sugar is not dissolved when the syrup comes to a boil, it increases the risk of the whole mixture crystallising and ruining your peanut brittle.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 297mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 4g
Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
And that is how you make homemade peanut brittle without corn syrup! This recipe is easy, if not a bit technical. If you have patience and confidence, you will end up with an amazing (and delicious) result.
Are you wondering how to make peanut brittle without corn syrup? Have any questions about this recipe? Let me know in the comments!
I stirred with a heat proof rubber spatula for over 30 mins and the sugar water mixture was still very cloudy and sugar crystals had formed around the rim of the pot (I was scraping them off as I stirred and also using my clean pastry brush to brush them down)
I gave up after about 40 mins as it was only getting worse
I stirred constant
I made sure the pot was super clean as I know how sensitive sugar is
I used a thick bottomed stainless pot
The heat was very low
Was I stirring to fast?
I love the idea of no corn syrup!!!
Thank you, megan
Hi Megan – from what I gather I think that your heat may have been too low. Next time you try the recipe, try turning your heat up a bit to get the sugar to dissolve more quickly. If you’re worried about the mixture coming up to a boil too quickly, you can take the pot physically on and off the heat as needed. I hope this works out for you!!
I find the best is to stir until dissolved…then leave it alone! No stirring. Just swirl the pan periodically. Almost fool proof that way.
Thanks for the recipe! I tried it tonight and had no problems. BUT I didn’t have any peanuts so I used black sesame seeds and crushed walnuts as the nut part. It was was tempting to stir but I followed directions and let it heat up on it’s own. 🙂
I couldn’t wait the four hours to cool down; after half an hour I was already nibbling at the edges….delicious!
Happy this turned out for you! Walnut and Black Sesame Brittle sounds delicious 🙂
Thank you ed. 😊
Great recipe! Turned out amazing, and the whole family liked it!
Happy you liked it, Jessi! 🙂
Mine was a disaster. I don’t have any stainless pans, just non stick, never got close to amber in color. ☹️
I’m sorry this didn’t work well for you! The pan shouldn’t have been an issue – I also don’t have any stainless pans and developed this recipe using nonstick. The sugar syrup can take a long time to caramelise, but it’s important to be patient 🙂 Hope it works out better next time!
I love salty sweet, can I use salted butter in this recipe?
There is already a fair amount of salt in the recipe because I also like the salty-sweet flavour, so I wouldn’t recommend using salted butter as it may be too salty in the end 🙂
I got this to the boiling stage. After quite a while, still not deep amber colored, I noticed it wasn’t boiling over the full surface, the edge had a thin layer over it. I went to poke it down in only to find out it was hard down to the bottom of the pan. It had crystallized around a couple inches on the side down to the bottom. It was basically dry in that glob so I tried to gently and quickly scrap it off the edge back in to the liquid so it could turn back to liquid, but it was stuck hard and the whole thing ended up going dry. Any ideas what could have gone wrong? Heat too high/low? I added a little more water and am trying to boil it again now but I’m guessing it’s probably too runny to use now.
Just noticed, you have it in the paragraphs, but not in the recipe section, to increase heat to medium once it starts boiling. That may be the problem I had (heat too low) and maybe others too who couldn’t get this to come out right.
Hi Brian, I’ve just added to increase the heat to medium to the recipe card – thanks for pointing that out to me. However, I’m not sure that’s what caused your problem. More likely, not all of your sugar was completely dissolved before the syrup was boiling or some crystals collected on the sides of the pot and got into your syrup while cooking. Increasing the heat will just help it caramelise quicker, it won’t necessarily stop crystallisation 🙂 Hope this helps!
I followed exactly except didn’t add baking soda. Mine caramelized nicely w/constant stirring on low heat &approx 1/3 or 1/4 cup water. Then I didnt touch it when it started boiling. and I. turned heat to med til that wonderful smell and then I saw it start turning the amber color. Directions worked very well for me.
So happy these turned out well for you, Maria!
Hello! I’m going to join those who had a brittle “fail” 🤣 I have no idea what happened… I followed the recipe to a T and everything seems to be working great until I dumped the peanuts in and the recipe instantly solidified. I was left with large, hard, clumps and powdery bits. They taste amazing, I feel like I’ve stumbled upon how to make homemade butterfingers! Any idea what could’ve gone wrong?
I’m so sorry this happened to you! Unfortunately, I don’t have any idea what could have gone wrong to be able to help you for success in the future – I’ve never heard of that happening before!
Just finished making a half batch and it came out beautiful!! But, while the mixture was boiling towards the end when it was becoming amber colored SUGAR CRYSTALS were forming on the top layer, instead of not stirring I began to stir quickly and the crystals all dissolved back into the mixture. So just a tip if it happens to anyone.
Delicious! Came out perfect
Happy to hear it!