This pine nut brittle is perhaps the ultimate sweet, salty, crunchy holiday indulgence. And it comes together in just 30 minutes, which makes it quite practical to toss together, especially if, like us, you get a little carried away with sampling and find yourself needing to make another batch (or three) pronto. Actually, you may just want to start with several batches right away seeing as it disappears so darn quickly, whether you set it out on the counter or fancy it up with cellophane bags and ribbon as a gift. It’s also endlessly customizable with whatever nuts and seeds you happen to have on hand.–Angie Zooobkoff


Because of the amount of sugar in nut brittle, it will get sticky pretty easily. First off, let it harden fully before storing it away. Break it up and store it in an airtight container. You can layer it with sheets of parchment if you’re particularly concerned about humidity. If you’re making this to gift, you can always bag them up and place the bags back in the airtight container if humidity is an issue.  

Pine nut brittle broken into irregular pieces on a large brown tray.

Pine Nut Brittle

5 / 2 votes
This pine nut brittle is made with sugar, butter, honey, and pine nuts or pinons. It’s a candied holiday nosh that’s so easy and irresistible, it topped our list of holiday noshes to make for gifts and to make disappear all on our own. And it takes just 30 minutes to make.
David Leite
Servings24 pieces
Calories93 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes


  • 3/4 cup (3 1/2 oz) raw pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup unsalted mixed seeds (such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds), toasted or untoasted
  • 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey or corn syrup
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange flower water (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Scatter the pine nuts on the baking sheet and slide it in the oven just until the pine nuts are barely golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Dump the pine nuts into a bowl and add the mixed seeds. Keep the baking sheet handy.
  • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water and wait until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add the butter and honey or corn syrup and stir until the butter melts. Carefully attach the sugar thermometer to the pan and bring to a boil. Continue to cook over medium heat, without stirring, until the mixture is a dark amber and reaches 349°F (176°C), 10 to 15 minutes. (It can feel like an eternity while you’re waiting for the mixture to reach this temperature, but keep in mind, once it goes over 284°F (140°C), it will shoot up pretty quickly. Consider yourself warned and be prepared to move swiftly when the moment arrives. You may even want to pull the pan from the heat a couple degrees before 349°F as the residual heat will kick the temperature up even after it’s off the heat.)
  • When the mixture in the pan reaches the proper temperature, remove the pan from the heat, add the salt and orange flower water (if using), and stir to combine. 
  • Add the nuts and seeds and mix vigorously so they’re evenly coated with caramel. Working quickly, scoop the mixture onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and use the back of a spoon or offset spatula to spread the mixture evenly. Let cool completely until it’s hardened, about 1 hour.
  • Break the brittle into pieces and serve.
Sweet Things Cookbook

Adapted From

Sweet Things

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Serving: 1 pieceCalories: 93 kcalCarbohydrates: 13 gProtein: 1 gFat: 5 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 3 mgSodium: 1 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 12 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2014 Annie Rigg. Photo © 2014 Tara Fisher. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Whoa. Someone take this pine nut brittle away from me. I can’t stop eating it! This brittle recipe delivered and then some. I was impressed with how easy it is, although you definitely need a candy thermometer. And even though my caramel went to a bit hotter than the recipe calls for—nearly 20˚F more because I had accidentally turned off the alarm on my digital thermometer for when it reaches the desired temperature—it was pretty perfect.

It’s the best thing to have hanging around over the holidays. It’s also pretty easy to make another batch and I love how customizable it is! I used what I had on hand in place of the seeds, which was pistachios, but I think I’d use half pumpkin seeds and half peanuts next time.

Crunchy, sweet, salty, buttery, and nutty all in one bite. At the rate we’re snacking on this brittle, this batch will never make it to the upcoming holiday and I’ll have to make another batch or two.

Cooking the sugar to the correct temperature will take about 10 minutes—not exactly an eternity, but constant vigilance is required and, as the recipe states, you must move swiftly when the mixture approached the hard crack stage. I took the pan off the heat at 340°F and let it rise to 349°F on its own. If you leave the pan on the stove to the very end, there is a possibility that the mixture will rise above the correct temperature or could burn, rendering the entire mixture unusable. If you have it on hand or can buy it, don’t skip the orange flower water. It will give a subtle boost of orange flavor which pairs beautifully with the nuts and the sugar.

The recipe makes 20 to 30 pieces, depending on how you break them up.

This pine nut brittle was very easy to make, looks pretty enough to gift, and was exceptionally tasty as a not-too-sweet treat! Will be making it again and again. I used an even mixture of sunflower and pumpkin seeds as well as pine nuts. I used toasted unsalted seeds because that’s what I had.

This pine nut brittle has been one of the best recipes I’ve tested so far! The brittle itself was super tasty. I used honey instead of corn syrup and included the orange blossom water and I loved the flavor combination. The recipe is well written and to the point. I followed it exactly and had no hiccups.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I included this recipe in a trio of holiday candies I made today, and by far I love the final results the most. A candy thermometer is a must for this brittle, and if you’re diligent and follow directions and have everything measured out and prepared in advance, it’s quite easy to make. I used a combination of pine nuts and pepitas but didn’t have orange blossom water. I added fresh squeezed orange juice and some orange zest instead, and I definitely noticed a subtle orange flavor when we tried it. The brittle is shiny and very pretty as well as very delicious without being overly sweet. I also chose to add a floral honey in lieu of the corn syrup.