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How To Make
Traditional Jamaican Peanut Brittle

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peanut_brittle_jamaicanHow To Make Traditional Jamaican Peanut Brittle

by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

Peanuts are tasty, nutrient-dense snacks and in Jamaica, we have managed to turn this simple nut into something even tastier, Traditional Jamaican Peanut Brittle.

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Now I am quite aware that Peanut brittle is enjoyed by many worldwide, but each region has its unique twist on this treat and while I cannot speak for any other version, I can tell you that ours is very good.

Unlike most of our other nuts or coconut snacks, peanut brittle is usually found in our local supermarkets instead of from our street vendors, specifically the Nuts Men or “Nutsy”.

What is Peanut Brittle?

Peanut brittle is a type of candied treat that is made primarily from sugar and peanuts. It's known for its crisp, snap texture that breaks into pieces easily, making it a perfect treat to enjoy as a quick snack or a sweet gift.

The caramelised sugar envelops the peanuts, creating a rich and buttery flavour with a hint of vanilla. It’s very similar to our traditional peanut drops.

How To Make Traditional Jamaican Peanut Brittle: The Recipe


  • 2 cups of raw, shelled peanuts
  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (optional)


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.

  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutchie pot, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt (if using). Stir until the sugar has dissolved completely.

  3. Cook the sugar mixture over medium-high heat, without stirring, until it reaches the hard-crack stage (300°F / 149°C) on a candy thermometer. This may take you about 10-15 minutes. Be patient and keep a close eye on it, it burns faster than you may think.

  4. While the sugar mixture is cooking, now is the time to melt the butter in a separate small saucepan over medium heat.

  5. Once the sugar mixture has reached the hard-crack stage, carefully remove it from the heat, and slowly pour in the melted butter. Stir gently to incorporate.

  6. Take the pan off the heat and quickly mix in the baking soda and vanilla extract. The mixture will foam and become lighter in colour due to contact with the baking soda.

  7. Stir in the peanuts and mix until they are thoroughly coated with the sugar mixture.

  8. Immediately pour the peanut brittle onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading it into an even layer. Let it cool completely at room temperature.

  9. Once the brittle has cooled and hardened, break it into pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Tips for Perfect Peanut Brittle:

  • Use a Candy Thermometer: To ensure your brittle reaches the hard-crack stage, use a candy thermometer. This stage is crucial for achieving the desired texture.

  • Stirring the Mixture: Avoid stirring the sugar mixture once it starts boiling. Stirring can cause crystallisation, leading to a grainy texture.

  • Temperature Control: Maintain a steady medium-high heat. Too high a temperature can burn the sugar, while too low will delay reaching the hard-crack stage.

  • Add Baking Soda Quickly: After removing the mixture from the heat, add the baking soda and vanilla extract swiftly to ensure an even texture.

  • Storage: Store peanut brittle in an airtight container to keep it crispy. Avoid storing it in the refrigerator as moisture can make it sticky.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Why didn't my peanut brittle get hard?

A: The sugar likely didn't reach the hard-crack stage. You need to ensure that you cook the mixture to 300°F / 149°C using a candy thermometer.

Q: Why is my peanut brittle sticky?

A: This could be due to using too much corn syrup or storing the brittle in a humid environment. Ensure proper measurements and storage conditions.

Q: How do you keep peanut brittle crispy?

A: Store it in an airtight container, separate layers with parchment paper, and avoid exposure to moisture. If necessary, use the freezer to maintain crispness.

Q: Why put baking soda in peanut brittle?

A: Baking soda reacts with the heat, creating carbon dioxide bubbles that aerate the caramel, giving the brittle a light, crisp texture.

I know I have already shared with you numerous treats, and I have just introduced you to another one. If you want them all in one place, check out our E-book, Jamaican Sweet Treats, filled with recipes for our tastiest traditional Jamaican desserts and snacks.

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