Recipe: Holiday Pistachio Brittle

published Dec 6, 2016
Super Easy Holiday Pistachio Brittle
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(Image credit: Rikki Snyder)

‘Tis the season! In a time of extra indulgence and gift buying, it’s fun (and easy!) to DIY your own treats. Everybody loves receiving edible gifts, and this pistachio brittle is at the top of our list of homemade candies this year.

Made of caramelized sugar and studded with green pistachios, this brittle is a sophisticated, modern twist on the classic peanut brittle. We’ve added a touch of cinnamon for extra spice and festive flair plus a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Snap it into gorgeous sugar shards and wrap up the pieces in a bow for the perfect hostess gift or party favor!

(Image credit: Rikki Snyder)

Making a big batch of brittle can be fairly simple with the right preparation and tools. We understand that working with boiling sugar can seem daunting, but as long as you are organized and confident, it’s not as hard (or scary) as you might think. Everything comes together rather quickly with only a few simple ingredients. Practice mise en place, where you prep all your ingredients and baking sheets first, and you’ll save yourself a lot of stress and see just how easy making your own candy can be!

This recipe is pretty quick (cooking up in just about 10 minutes), meaning there is more time to either make a big batch for lots of gift giving or to go off and enjoy the holidays. Use shelled pistachios to cut the cook time in half!

Not into pistachios? Feel free to use this recipe as a base for all of your favorite nuts, dried fruit, and spices! Try tossing in dried cranberries for a beautiful pop of color or even a bit of rosemary and/or chipotle powder for a savory touch.

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The key to this recipe is prepping all your components ahead of time. Pre-measure the ingredients and have your baking sheet lined and ready to go. (Image credit: Rikki Snyder)

Super Easy Holiday Pistachio Brittle

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/3 cup

    corn syrup

  • 1/4 cup


  • 1 cup

    shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped, divided

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    fine salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • Flaky sea salt, for topping


  • Candy thermometer


  1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or greased piece of parchment paper; set aside. Make sure all of the ingredients are measured and ready to go.

  2. Place the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir with a heatproof spatula until the sugar melts.

  3. Once the sugar melts, stop stirring and turn the heat up to high. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until the sugar mixture registers 265°F on a candy thermometer.

  4. At 265°F, quickly but carefully stir in half the pistachios, followed by the butter, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. The mixture may bubble up a bit, so be careful.

  5. Stirring occasionally to keep the nuts from burning at the bottom, continue to cook until the mixture registers 305°F on the candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

  6. Immediately pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread out with the spatula into an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining pistachios and flaky salt. Let cool completely. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container. Place a piece of parchment paper between layers of brittle to keep from sticking together.

(Image credit: Frigidaire)

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