Nut brittle, a type of hard candy containing nuts, has many variations around the world. Peanut brittle is the most common type in the United States, while peanuts and sesame seeds feature in some Asian recipes, and in the Middle East, pistachios are popular. Pecans are delicious in the following recipe, but you can make this festive crunchy treat with any kind of nut or nuts you like.
This recipe for pecan brittle pairs sweet, hard candy with crunchy nuts and a touch of vanilla. It’s a great recipe for the holidays and you can mix and match different kinds of nuts and flavors.
Why You’ll Love It
Easy: Homemade pecan brittle is straightforward to make. Once the hard candy mixture is combined, you just need to add the nuts and flavors and let it cool down until it’s hard, crunchy and you can’t resist munching on a piece!
Tasty: This crunchy treat is always popular because it tastes so good. With this recipe, you can enjoy the sweet hard candy which is flavored subtly with vanilla, as well as the delicious pecans. Yum!
Versatile: Not only does pecan brittle make a tasty snack on its own but there are other recipes you can use it in. Break off some pieces and add to a sundae or use to decorate cupcakes or a cheesecake.
Ingredients for this Pecan Brittle Recipe
You’ll need white and brown sugar, along with corn syrup, salt, chopped pecans, butter, vanilla extract, and baking soda to make this delicious treat.
How to Make Easy Nut Brittle
For more detailed instructions with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.
Make the hard candy: Heat both kinds of sugar with the light corn syrup, water, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan on the stove, and cook this sugar mixture until the sugar dissolves.
Add the pecans: Stir in the nuts with a wooden spoon and cook sugar mixture, stirring often, until a candy thermometer tells you the mixture has reached 300 degrees F (hard crack stage).
Add the remaining ingredients: Now you can mix in the butter, vanilla extract and baking soda.
Pour out the mixture: Pour the hot mixture on to a silicone baking mat lined large baking sheet pan and spread it out evenly.
The finishing touches: Leave the pecan brittle to cool completely and set, and then you can break it into pieces to serve.
Substitutions and Variations
Since any nuts suit this recipe, you can take your pick from any of them – peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, or even mixed nuts would work.
You can also sub a different extract for the vanilla to add a different flavor to the brittle recipe, or add a pinch of spices – pumpkin pie spice, allspice, cinnamon, or anything else you like.
Some people like a touch of salt along with the sweetness, so you might like to sprinkle a little salt over the brittle before you let it cool completely – this is really good if you use caramel extract instead of the vanilla.
How to Serve this Pecan Brittle Recipe
Enjoy this pecan brittle as it is or use it in other recipes such as to decorate cakes, cupcakes, sundaes, or other desserts.
And if pecans are your favorite type of nut or one of them at least, you might like to try other pecan recipes such as pecan pie or a savory dish like Brussels sprouts with pecans or garlic roasted carrots.
How to Store Pecan Brittle
Store: This brittle recipe keeps for a while and, if kept in an airtight container at room temperature (preferably somewhere dry, dark and cool), it should last for up to a month. Refrigerating it or keeping it somewhere humid means it will lose some of its crunch so avoid this.
Freeze: Brittle can be frozen but bear in mind moisture is its enemy and will make it sticky. So it’s a good idea to freeze it in an airtight container or Ziploc freezer bag, maybe even double-bagging it. Parchment paper between the pieces will stop the brittle from sticking together in one clump. Your pecan brittle recipe should be fine for up to 2 months and you just can thaw it on the countertop.
Brittle with Pecans FAQs
I always recommend using one when candy making. Nut brittle is all about cooking sugar syrup to the perfect temperature to get that crunchy, caramel-y goodness. If you don’t have a thermometer, you’re basically guessing and hoping for the best. With a candy thermometer, you can be sure that you’re hitting that sweet spot and getting the perfect nut brittle every time.
Although it’s not hard to snap the brittle into pieces, you might want to get fancy and serve it with a cute food hammer such as this one which is also handy for cracking nuts. And while you’re shopping, you might also want to invest in a candy thermometer (here) so you can see when the hard candy mixture reaches 300 degrees F.
Baking soda is a regular feature in baked goods recipes to help them rise, but a pecan or peanut brittle recipe doesn’t need to rise like break or a cake, so you might be wondering why it’s in there. If you don’t add baking soda to produce carbon dioxide, your brittle won’t be “brittle”! Instead it will be soft like caramel and you won’t be able to snap it cleanly into pieces. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet as soon as you’ve stirred in the baking soda.
Pecan Nut Brittle Recipe
- Line a cookie sheet with a silicone mat. Set aside
- Add granulated sugar, light brown sugar, corn syrup, water, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan.
- Over low-medium heat, stir the mixture until the sugars are dissolved.
- Add in the pecans and mix well.
- Keep cooking until the temperature reaches 300 degrees F. Stir FREQUENTLY.
- Remove the saucepan from the stove once the mixture has reached the temperature.
- Quickly add in the butter, vanilla, and baking soda. Stir well.
- Pour the mixture on the prepared cookie sheet and spread evenly.
- Let it cool completely.
- Once the mixture is cooled, break it into pieces.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
This recipe for pecan brittle is really easy to follow and the resulting candy is truly delicious. You can play around with the type of nuts and the extract flavor you use to personalize the brittle. You might also like to make an extra batch because it makes a lovely gift when wrapped in cellophane and decorated with a cute ribbon.
Other Recipes to Try
Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for recipes, dogs, sustainability, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.
Bella Bucchiotti is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle writer for MSN and the Associated Press Wire.