Salvaging Undercooked Peanut Brittle

I don’t always bake. I am a true lover of sweets though and this time of year, there’s just so many other good things to be made. I have never made peanut brittle before, but I decided to give it a try. It’s delightfully crunchy, sweet, salty and sticky. It’s basically the perfect holiday treat!

I invested in the biggest bottle of Corn Syrup I could find at the store and bought a lot of sugar. When I do something, it’s kind of go big or go home. Last year I made peppermint bark and cake truffles… and I mean… I made TONS of it. My husband was probably SO sick of eating the stuff. I had truffles lined up on parchment paper filling the fridge. What can I say, I just get on these kicks…

Anyhow, So I used this simple recipe:
1 cup corn syrup
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 tblspn baking soda
1 tblspn butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup peanuts

Bring corn syrup, sugar, salt, water and peanuts to a boil with a candy thermometer, stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Bring the mixture up to hard crack (290-300), stirring more at the end, you don’t want the peanuts to burn. It should be turning a golden color.
Remove from heat. Add vanilla, butter and baking soda. Stir it up until mixed. It should double in size.
Pour onto two greased baking pans.
I kind of lean them back and forth to spread it out. Once the edges cool, I hand pull it so that it gets thin. It’s something you figure out how to best do after a while. You’re supposed to wear rubber gloves. I just get burnt. It happens…

(There are MANY variations how to make peanut brittle. Some involve different ingredients or methods. This is simply the one I’ve chosen to use. It’s simple and works well for me… MOST of the time…)

However, twice now I’ve made a batch and had it come out… well… a gross yellow color. And it doesn’t even taste good. It’s too tacky in your teeth. Evidently, I didn’t cook it long enough, even though the thermometer read 300!

So what could I do? The first time I tossed the offending batch. Heartbreaking, I know.
This time I was determined to fix this some how. I googed how to fix it. I literally found ONE site where someone had microwaved it and then reheated it on the stove. They still weren’t totally successful though because they burnt the peanuts. Well, hell… I can do this I decided. I will make it happen.

I considered my options and decided to just smash it and put it back in the pot. I split it into two batches so I could have more room to sir in the pot. I thought of adding more liquid, but decided not to. I started on medium heat, but turned it down to a bit below medium. KEEP STIRRING. christmascrap 018 christmascrap 020
While it’s still semi solid you MUST keep stirring or it WILL burn.
I thought it was never going to turn into a liquid, but of course it did. I gradually turned it up as it melted more. But kept stirring occasionally to keep the peanuts from burning on the bottom.
christmascrap 023 christmascrap 024

You haaave to let it come back up to hardcrack stage. If you don’t it’s not going to set right. I wanted to just stop and pour like 400 times because it looked and smelled ready, but I knew I just couldn’t. I stirred like crazy to keep it moving and not let it burn. As soon as it reached 300, I poured it.
christmascrap 025

I pulled it out once it was cool enough and broke it up.
christmascrap 026

Guess what? It was excellent! As if I’d never messed it up to begin with! I was so happy I wasn’t going to waste another 2lbs of brittle!

It’s the perfect handmade gift! You could make and bag enough for probably 10 people for under $10 and it’s such a thoughtful gift.
christmascrap 032
(And yes… my fingers hurt intensely after hand-drawing all of those tags… Ohhhh the pain I put myself through for those I love!)

I hope this helps anyone who was as lost as I was! Happy Holidays and happy treat making!
Most of all have fun and be careful! I have sustained a few burns from my brittle making adventures this year! Mostly from hot sugar bubbling and spitting out of the pan! I’m starting to think candy makers probably wear long sleeves. Ouch. I have burn blisters on two of my favorite tattoos right now and that’s a bummer!

Anyhow, I cannot waaait for Christmas! I have everything all wrapped up and ready to go! So come on and get here already! I’m super pumped to make peppermint cupcakes… and that means a lot coming from me! Everyone knows I am not a huge fan of making cupcakes!
My Christmas Gifts

49 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tom
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 12:37:59

    I LOVE peanut brittle! That looks so delicious! Now, you are the sole resource on the entire interwebz for how to fix screwed-up peanut brittle. How does it feel to be exclusive? ;-)


  2. bradley yingst
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 21:28:51

    i experimented with bourbon brittle and pecan brittle this year. the bourbon brittle was good by me but judging from reactions you must have a taste for it. the pecan brittle however was amazing. if the nuts weren’t so much more expensive than peanuts i would never go back!


  3. Trackback: Betty’s Party Peanut Brittle « The Cooking Channel
  4. shae
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 13:33:20

    Excellent tutorial on salvaging peanut brittle and giving it a second chance. I made note of it, in case I run into this problem.


  5. Bonnie
    Dec 25, 2011 @ 21:59:26

    Thank you so much for posting this – we were about to toss 4 pounds of peanut brittle away. It worked great!!


  6. Jenny
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 18:58:25

    I just undercooked a batch of brittle because I wasn’t using a thermometer & I was afraid of burning it. Thanks to you I was confident I could save it so I broke it up and put it back in the microwave & cooked till golden brown stopping to stir. It turned out great. A million thanks to you for posting this. Next time I’ll use a thermometer.


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    Dec 13, 2012 @ 15:15:10

    You made some good points there. I checked on the internet for additional information about the issue and found most people
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  8. Trackback: Peanut Bristle–er–Brittle | Anna Marras
  9. carlene reynolds
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 12:44:20

    I put the sheet pan into the oven on 400 degrees until it bubbled and turned golden brown.


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  11. Rebecca
    May 13, 2013 @ 18:16:14

    Thanks. I did add about 2 Tbs water and the process went fairly quickly. If the old thermometer failed you, like it did me, get a new one or go past 300 degrees.


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    May 14, 2013 @ 15:36:00



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  14. Kat Czech
    Sep 14, 2013 @ 06:17:10

    I made mixed nut and seed brittle-dried edamame, pumpkin seeds, pecan, peanut, sunflower I added a little soy, brown sugar and red pepper= did not use a thermometer and it turned to syrupy goo… it tasted really awesome so I had to save it! Found your site- THANKS for the help!!!!


  15. Willa
    Nov 24, 2013 @ 20:23:35

    I stupidly thought my batch was ready; THEN, even an even dumber idea: Add some chocolate chips … oh … my … GAWD! I now have a very expensive pan of goo. I am in such a bad mood now… grrrr! The very first batch I made was really good, even if I say so myself, and the reason I decided I was going to make some for Xmas presents … I don’t think I can save it with your method with chocolate in it, too, COULD I? I guess I could use it for ice cream or something … damn! I also know I screwed up because I added the butter into the mixture the second time, instead of waiting and adding with the baking soda and vanilla. This is an important note. :(


  16. Willa
    Nov 24, 2013 @ 20:28:06

    Sorry for the typos in the previous post. I just looked at the mess again. It sort of looks like a big cookie sheet of peanuts and caramel (and don’t forget the chocolate) … maybe I could make some kind of batter and throw it on top and try to bake it? :( :( :( I am so bummed …. what waste.


  17. Greg
    Dec 07, 2013 @ 17:05:31

    Thank you for a sure save…


  18. Vicki
    Dec 08, 2013 @ 20:13:58

    Thank you for the fix! It worked wonders and I saved a couple batches. My first time making peanut brittle, followed the recipe to a T but it did not say to bring the candy to 300 so I stopped too soon. Thanks again.


  19. trishatrixie
    Dec 09, 2013 @ 18:23:15

    thank you so much for this post on how to fix the riddle I did what you suggested and it came out better than had I done it right the first time


  20. Kristie Battilocchi
    Dec 11, 2013 @ 12:55:42

    i was able to fix my peanut brittle thanks to you. I did however add an extra cup of sugar and corn syrup which help melt the soft brittle faster.


  21. ascheideman5
    Dec 11, 2013 @ 17:10:00

    Reblogged this on Angela's Antidotes and commented:
    I may have a situation where I need to recook my brittle…thanks for this post!


  22. Mandi
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 09:29:58

    You have save me SO MUCH MONEY and time! I made about 50 pounds of almond brittle last night, to realize this morning it did not set. After crying for a few minutes, I decided to turn to Googke, and I found your post. I hope I have as much success as you did! Thanks!


  23. Leilani J Bleichwehl
    Dec 18, 2013 @ 16:10:52

    Thank you! You saved Christmas,says my husband! I had no idea how to fix my peanut mess til this =)


  24. Laurie
    Dec 22, 2013 @ 23:03:45

    Thanks! You saved my b…rittle!


  25. Mai Le
    Jan 07, 2014 @ 23:34:14

    Thank you very much for your sharing how to fix my chewy peanut brittle. I been throw my peanut away because didn’t know how to fix it. Now your idea help me a lot
    Thanks again


  26. ramon simms
    Feb 21, 2014 @ 14:21:36

    thanks tiffany! was winging it w/o a thermometer and paid the price. rescued!


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  30. Anna
    Dec 08, 2014 @ 13:59:07

    Hi. My peanut brittle just became gooey. I am going to put it back and follow your instructions. I just don’t have a candy thermometer, so should I just let it bubble and get dark?


  31. Zelma
    Dec 18, 2014 @ 21:29:17

    I had bad luck with microwave peanut brittle. It definitly was undercooked! I evidently left one of the steps out. When I poured it in the pan it was real light color….that should have been my first clue. It run all over the pan. I left it until it cooled and it was real runny. I would have thrown it out but I red your experience and thought what do I have to lose. I put it in the microwave pan and cooked it again, soda and all, the same times, stopping to stir as the recipe says. It turned a carmal color and I thought it wouldn’t taste good. Put it in the pan and spread it out. When it cooled it broke easily in pieces. It is dark carmel color but taste just fine (I thought it would taste burnt….not) So experiment with it before you toss it….what have you got to lose!!!!


  32. Cyn
    Jan 25, 2015 @ 07:14:31

    Hello- I made brittle last night and it never got hard so I searched for reasons why that might’ve happened and found your page here. I tried and and it worked. I am so happy I was able to save it. I am taking it to a party today. Thanks!


  33. Melissa Anne Sammon Weatherford
    Feb 17, 2015 @ 21:39:50

    Thank you so much for your post. Here it is 2015 and you still are the only one with advice for this problem. Made some brittle today for the farmers markets and it would not set up. Same recipe I use all the time. Too much humidity in the air, but thanks for saving the day. It worked like a charm!!


  34. Caralin Ruth-Fleet
    May 20, 2015 @ 08:03:15

    I just tried this (or a similar approach) with undercooked caramel corn, and it worked! After boiling the caramel and the initial baking, the corn just never got crunchy – it was still too gooey and stuck in your teeth! The next day, I re-baked it. It was initially baked at 200F for 60 min, stirring after each 20 min, but this time I tried 350F, stirring after just five minutes (and you need it – it’s a noticeable difference in just five minutes, so don’t leave it too long!). I just pushed it five more minutes, and five more minutes, until I thought the caramel might be darkening a bit too much – I ended up doing 15 minutes in total. It worked perfectly – I didn’t think re-baking the next day would have the desired effect, but I thought, based on this post, if I could get the temperature of the sugar high enough, it should work, and it did! Thanks!!


  35. Tabitha
    Aug 06, 2015 @ 20:47:26

    Tonight… This saved me. And it worked like a charm. I made bacon brittle and under cooked it. I did exactly what you Said and now it is fabulous! Best tip ever. Thank tou so much.


  36. Pearl Girl
    Nov 25, 2015 @ 18:43:53

    Thanksgiving Eve, 2015: today I made the brittle I have made many, many times before AND have boasted to my new hubby how great it is, and whaddya know…it came out gooey. Using an unfamiliar microwave (1350 watts), I was afraid I’d over cook it. Not paying attention to my intuition, I under cooked it instead. Just before tossing the mess, I decided to Google and prayed for a repair. YEAH!! This site is STILL the only place I could find a fix for Peanut “taffy”. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!


  37. Mrs lewis
    Dec 14, 2016 @ 21:25:09

    I tried this and must ‘ve gotten the heat too high because even though the peanuts didn’t burn, the candy part did. Next time I will do the oven trick suggested by one of your readers.


  38. Lily C. Fen
    Dec 15, 2016 @ 10:08:14

    Your blog post saved my first (failed, undercooked) attempt at peanut brittle! It’s just as you said! Your save made my peanut brittle (same batch, thrown into the pot again) look like I’d never messed up in the first place! Thumbs up for this post ;)


  39. Gloria J. Noble
    Dec 21, 2016 @ 22:54:11

    I too had a booch of brittle, used your method and wooolay, it turned out fantastic. Then I used your simple recipe for the brittle and it was quick,easy and it tastes good. I also bought me another candy thermometer, that helped tremendously.


  40. Sue Holbiski
    Dec 23, 2016 @ 10:49:27

    Tried reheating the brittle to 300 ….poured on cookie sheet but it still is gooey
    It won’t harden….


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  42. Yolanda
    Dec 19, 2017 @ 13:42:25

    Thank you, thank you for this information. With your advise I was able to salvage my chewy peanut brittle and it is now brittle like it should be.


  43. John
    Aug 21, 2018 @ 16:37:07

    You can just spread out the brittle in a greased shallow cookie sheet. Place in a 300 degree oven, and bake the additional time. Bake till the edges are turning a dark brown…


    • JoyDee McCorkle
      Dec 22, 2018 @ 15:26:10

      THANK YOU!!! I made p’nut brittle on a rainy day and it was sticky & chewy…not what I expected. I did as you suggested by putting it in an oven at 300 and waited for it to turn brown around the edges. YOU SAVED MY BRITTLE!!!!


  44. Madge Russell
    Dec 13, 2018 @ 11:11:29

    Thanks so much for this information! I broke my batch up into 3 different portions. I greased and microwavable 2 qt bowl and cooked each batch on 1 minute and then 30 second intervals. I have great peanut brittle now!


  45. Sharon L Deminsky
    Dec 13, 2019 @ 10:33:02

    Tiffany, I make peanut brittle every year and it turns out. This year it is chewy. I discovered I was adding 1 c of syrup instead of 1/2 c. Will your fix work?


  46. Catherine
    Dec 21, 2019 @ 22:12:13

    This just saved my brittle! I was impatient and poured it too quick. I was ready to throw it all away and found your advice! Thank you!!


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