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Jalapeno Peanut Brittle

Enjoy classic, old-fashioned hard candy with a twist! The sweet and spicy jalapeno peanut brittle cooks on the stovetop with simple ingredients and the nice, subtle heat of the jalapeno peppers.

If you love the flavor of jalapeños like I do, try Middle Eastern skhug or serrano crema.

Jalapeno Peanut Brittle on a tray.

What You Need to Make this Recipe

  • Jalapeños: Fresh jalapeño peppers are the best addition to any peanut brittle recipe for a nice little kick. Make the dessert less spicy by removing the seeds and membranes of 1-2 jalapeño before dicing them and including them in the brittle for a hint of jalapeno flavor.
  • Sugar: Use granulated white sugar for this recipe.
  • Light Corn Syrup: Light corn syrup works best for making peanut brittle, but check out my substitutions below. 
  • Peanuts: Use shelled, raw peanuts. I prefer salted peanuts because the little bit of salt from the peanuts balances the sweetness of this dessert.
  • Butter: Since the recipe calls for salted peanuts, use unsalted butter and let it come to room temperature before using it.
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda is essential and gives the jalapeno peanut brittle the perfect texture and flavor. The baking soda causes a chemical reaction (notice the foam when you stir it in), giving the peanut brittle its hard but chewable texture. 
  • Vanilla Extract: Use vanilla extract to increase the sweet taste of the brittle candy and enhance the color. 

Additions and Substitutions

  • I use an old family recipe as a base for the peanut brittle, and I recognize that not everyone uses corn syrup. If you need a substitute for corn syrup, try honey, light molasses, agave nectar, or brown rice syrup.
  • If you have a peanut allergy, prefer a different nut, or don’t like peanuts, consider experimenting with different nuts like crushed almonds, pecans, walnuts, and even hazelnuts.
  • Despite the name, jalapeno peanut brittle is not super spicy. My five-year-old and spice-averse daughter tried it with two chiles and didn’t notice. Use 3-4 jalapeño or substitute with habanero if you prefer a spicy version.
  • Stir chopped bacon into the pan with the fresh jalapeño and roasted peanuts for a savory and salty component.
  • Include spice blends with spicy flavors, like my Slap Ya Mama Seasoning recipe or cayenne. Ground cardamom (or cardamom simple syrup) and ground cinnamon add depth and even more flavor. 

Tools Used to Make this Recipe

The tools you select for candy-making have an impact on the final product. I strongly recommend using a candy thermometer for this recipe. While there are ways to make candy without one, using a thermometer saves you guesswork and frustration. Similarly, use a heavy-bottomed pan like a stainless steel pot or an enamel Dutch oven, which allows for better heat distribution. You will also need a 9×13 baking dish  or prepared jellyroll pan to spread the peanut brittle out as it cools. 

How to Make Jalapeno Peanut Brittle

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper. Then, remove the stems and seeds from the jalapeños and finely dice the chiles. Set them aside.

Measure out the ingredients for the peanut brittle and have them ready.

Diced jalapeños in a bowl.

Step 2: Combine sugar, water, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat and stir occasionally until it gently boils.

Tip: You might be tempted to increase the heat to speed up the process, but don’t.

Sugar, corn syrup, and water in a pot.

Step 3: Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan, ensuring it is fully submerged without touching the bottom. Warm the sugar syrup at a rolling boil until the temperature reaches 250°F (121°C), stirring occasionally.

Step 4: Add the peanuts and diced jalapeños. Stir constantly until the temperature reaches 300℉ (149℃).

Step 5: Remove the mixture from heat and stir in the butter, baking soda, and vanilla extract; it will begin to foam, but that’s normal.

Baking soda, butter, and vanilla added to the syrup.

Step 6: Carefully spread the cooked mixture onto the reserved baking dish using a wooden spoon to create an even layer.

Step 7: Set the peanut brittle aside, at room temperature, for at least an hour to harden before breaking it apart.

Jalapeno Peanut Brittle on a tray.

Expert Tips

  • Mise en Place: This is a fancy way of saying have your ingredients measured out and ready before you start making the candy because you will want to move quickly once the syrup comes to temperature.
  • Temperature is Key: Use a candy thermometer to make peanut brittle since the proper temperature of the candy is crucial to achieving peanut brittle that is not too soft and chewy and not too hard. If you end up with soft peanut brittle that didn’t come to temperature, check out my tips for how to save peanut brittle.
  • Work Quickly: Once the candy reaches the hard crack stage you will need to work quickly to add the remaining ingredients, as it will harden quickly.
  • Break the Brittle: Let the brittle cool completely before breaking apart and enjoying. To break the brittle, hold it with both hands and then apply pressure to snap it into irregular pieces. If the brittle is thick or you prefer more control over the break, place the peanut brittle between layers of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to apply gentle pressure.

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Jalapeno Peanut Brittle stacked on each other.

Serving Suggestions

Making candy with my sweet mama is one of my best childhood memories. In our home, we always made a little for the family, but you can also package the jalapeno peanut brittle in a box or bag with a gift message for a Christmas or thank you gift.

What to do With the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate  You can make peanut brittle several days or even weeks in advance. It stays fresh at room temperature in an airtight container for 6-8 weeks. Do not refrigerate, as the moisture from the fridge will cause the brittle to soften.
  • Freeze – Let the dish cool completely and transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag. The jalapeno peanut brittle freezes for three months. 
  • Thaw – Defrost the frozen brittle on the counter. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my peanut brittle not hardening?

Short Answer: It didn’t get hot enough. 
For the candy to harden, heat the sugar mixture to the hard crack stage around 300-310°F (149-154°C). This temperature indicates how hot the syrup is and how much water is in it. It is necessary to heat the sugar to that specific temperature range to ensure it hardens correctly.

Why do you put baking soda in peanut brittle?

Short Answer: Baking soda makes the peanut brittle crisp and crunchy. 
The baking soda causes a chemical reaction that releases bubbles into the candy to make the peanut brittle delicate, crisp, and less chewy. It makes the dessert snappy, easy to break, and less likely to stick to your teeth.

How do I prevent the sugar from burning?

Short Answer: High cooking temperatures and inappropriate cooking materials can cause the sugar mixture to burn or heat too quickly. 
Peanut brittle requires low heat for cooking. You may feel tempted to speed up the cooking process by increasing the heat. However, this causes the sugar to brown too quickly and easily burn.

You should also keep a close eye on the sugar as it cooks, stirring it constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula. Using a heavy-bottomed pan also helps to distribute the heat evenly. If you notice the sugar browning too quickly, remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring before returning it to the stovetop.

More Holiday Recipes:

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Jalapeno Peanut Brittle on a tray.

Jalapeno Peanut Brittle

Tressa Jamil
Enjoy old-fashioned candy with a twist! Jalapeno peanut brittle simmers on the stovetop with simple ingredients and heat of the jalapeno peppers.
5 from 1 vote
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 365 kcal
Ingredients
  
  • 2-3 fresh jalapeños, stems and seeds removed, finely diced
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups roasted peanuts, salted
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
 
  • Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper. Then, remove the stems and seeds from the jalapeños and finely dice the chiles. Set them aside.
  • Measure out the ingredients for the peanut brittle and have them ready.
  • Combine sugar, water, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat and stir occasionally until it gently boils.
    Tip: You might be tempted to increase the heat to speed up the process, but don't.
  • Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan, ensuring it is fully submerged without touching the bottom. Warm the sugar syrup at a rolling boil until the temperature reaches 250°F (121°C), stirring occasionally.
  • Add the peanuts and diced jalapeños. Stir constantly until the temperature reaches 300℉ (149℃).
  • Remove the mixture from heat and stir in the butter, baking soda, and vanilla extract; it will begin to foam, but that's normal.
  • Carefully spread the cooked mixture onto the reserved baking dish using a wooden spoon to create an even layer.
  • Set the peanut brittle aside, at room temperature, for at least an hour to harden before breaking it apart.
Notes
Expert Tips:
  • Mise en Place: This is a fancy way of saying have your ingredients measured out and ready before you start making the candy because you will want to move quickly once the syrup comes to temperature.
  • Temperature is Key: Use a candy thermometer to make peanut brittle since the proper temperature of the candy is crucial to achieving peanut brittle that is not too soft and chewy and not too hard. If you end up with soft peanut brittle that didn’t come to temperature, check out my tips for how to save peanut brittle.
  • Work Quickly: Once the candy reaches the hard crack stage you will need to work quickly to add the remaining ingredients, as it will harden quickly.
  • Break the Brittle: Let the brittle cool completely before breaking apart and enjoying. To break the brittle, hold it with both hands and then apply pressure to snap it into irregular pieces. If the brittle is thick or you prefer more control over the break, place the peanut brittle between layers of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to apply gentle pressure.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 365 kcal | Carbohydrates: 59 g | Protein: 6 g | Fat: 14 g | Saturated Fat: 3 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6 g | Trans Fat: 0.1 g | Cholesterol: 5 mg | Sodium: 221 mg | Potassium: 186 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 55 g | Vitamin A: 71 IU | Vitamin C: 1 mg | Calcium: 31 mg | Iron: 1 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
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