This easy Pecan Brittle recipe is a sweet, crunchy treat that is perfect for gift giving (or keeping all for yourself!).
I love a good old fashioned peanut brittle, but dare I say that this Pecan Brittle is even better?!
It’s sweet and crunchy, and tastes like toasted sugar.
Speaking of toasted, the pecans get toasted as the candy cooks, making this treat truly irresistible.
I love packing it up in cellophane bags or tins, and sharing it with our neighbors and friends. A batch of this would also make a lovely homemade Christmas gift!
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You do need one special piece of equipment for this: a candy thermometer. You can get one for less than $10, and the thermometer can also be used for deep frying.
Getting an accurate reading on the candy thermometer ensures that the pecan brittle will set up after it’s finished cooking. It also ensures that it doesn’t burn.
You’ll need 6 ingredients for this recipe:
- A combination of sugar and light corn syrup create the sweet, crunchy brittle.
- Water prevents the whole thing from burning too quickly.
- Finely chopped pecans are the star!
- Salt balances out the sweetness nicely.
- Baking soda causes the sugar mixture to foam and make tiny bubbles in the brittle so it’s not rock hard.
How to make pecan brittle
Start by preparing a baking sheet. You can either spray it with cooking spray, or place a silicone mat or parchment paper on top.
Then, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, pecans, and salt in a heavy saucepan. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
Place the pan over medium heat and cook until the mixture reaches 290°F.
This took about 20–25 minutes for me, but it all depends on the heat of your stove. Avoid turning the heat any higher than medium, or the mixture will burn.
At the beginning of cooking, there’s enough water in the pan that you’ll only need to stir it every few minutes or so.
As the water evaporates, it’s more likely that the sugar will stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. So, you’ll need to stir it constantly once it reaches 230°F or so. The mixture will heat more quickly after the water evaporates, so keep an eye on that thermometer!
Once it reaches 290°F, take it off the heat and stir in the baking soda. The mixture will foam and bubble.
Quickly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Use an offset spatula to smooth it out.
Let the pecan brittle sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature to cool off and firm up.
Then, use your hands to break it into pieces.
You can make the pieces small or large, depending on your preference.
Pecan Brittle: Frequently Asked Questions
Pecan brittle must be cooked to 290°F. If it’s chewy, it likely did not get up to that temperature.
All brittle recipes are sensitive to humidity, so it should be stored in an air tight container at room temperature.
The candy will last up to 3 weeks at room temperature, stored in an air tight container.
Pecan brittle must be cooked to 290°F in order to firm up properly. You really do need a thermometer to make sure it reaches the correct temperature. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can also use a meat thermometer or any other kitchen thermometer. Make sure that the thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pan when you take the temperature, which can cause it to read hotter than it really is.
Storage and freezing
Pecan Brittle should be stored in an air tight container at room temperature. Like many other candies, it is sensitive to humidity, so you are best off making it on a dry (not rainy) day.
The brittle will keep for up to 3 weeks.
You can also freeze it in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Place pieces of parchment paper or wax paper in between layers first, so it doesn’t stick together.
Gift giving suggestions
Pecan brittle makes a wonderful homemade gift!
You can easily double this recipe to make more brittle. Click the “2X” button next to the Ingredients on the recipe card below to get the appropriate amounts. You’ll need two sheet pans if you double it.
Cookie tins are an easy and festive way to package up the brittle.
More candy recipes
In a candy making mood? Walnut Caramels are another old fashioned recipe (which also requires a candy thermometer). In contrast to the brittle, the caramels are soft and chewy.
And if you’re looking for something easy and quick, this Marshmallow Fudge is a hit every time!
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!
- 1 cup white sugar
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons water
- 1½ cups chopped pecans
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- Prepare a sheet pan by spraying it with cooking spray, OR line the pan with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Place the sugar, corn syrup, water, pecans, and salt in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan.
- Cook, stirring every few minutes, until the mixture reaches 230°F. Do not turn the heat up—keep it on medium.
- After the mixture reaches 230°F, you’ll need to stir the mixture constantly to keep it from burning. It will heat up more quickly at this stage, so keep an eye on the thermometer.
- When the temperature reaches 290°F, take the pan off the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared sheet pan and spread out with a spatula.
- Allow to cool to room temperature (at least 30 minutes). Then break into pieces with your hands.
- Store in an airtight container.