5 Ingredients or Fewer

Vanilla Sugar-Coated Peanuts

January 27, 2021
2 Ratings
Photo by Murielle Banackissa
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • makes 2 cups
Author Notes

Growing up in the Republic of Congo, many street vendors would sell these super crunchy sugar coated peanuts. They used to be one of my favorite treats as I child.

When my family moved to Canada, I was always looking for these in grocery stores, but the only sugar coated peanuts I would find were those bright red candied peanuts with the super glossy coating.

It is almost two decades later, as I became more comfortable in the kitchen, that I figured I could make my childhood peanuts myself.

The recipe is quite straightforward, but it also requires your attention and sense of observation! The key to achieving the ultimate sugar coated peanuts is in how long you cook the sugar mixture. You don’t want to stop too early or your sugar coating will not set and you don’t want to cook it too long or you will end up with a shiny smooth coating (which is not bad, but trust me you will love the crunchy coating better!).

This recipe calls for raw unsalted peanuts because I personally prefer seasoning and roasting my peanuts myself, but if you cannot find raw peanuts or if you would rather skip the step of roasting the peanuts, you can use store bought roasted peanuts, as long as they are not flavored.

What I also love about this recipe is how versatile and customizable it is. You can truly make it your own with different flavor boosters. In this recipe, I stuck with the very conventional vanilla extract and salt, but you can easily add a punch to these sugar coated peanuts by adding cayenne pepper for a bit of heat, chili powder for some smokiness or even pumpkin pie spice if you want these peanuts to taste a little bit like the fall. The possibilities are truly endless!
Murielle Banackissa

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup raw, unsalted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  2. Arrange the peanuts in an even layer on your baking sheet and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the peanuts have a light golden color. Make sure to toss your peanuts around every 5 minutes or so for even roasting.
  3. Remove the peanuts from the oven and add to a saucepan along with water and sugar. Stir and bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, decrease the heat to medium and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring regularly using a wooden spoon. The mixture will go from liquid to sticky and to white and granulated.
  5. Once it is granulated, add salt and vanilla extract.
  6. Continue cooking, stirring constantly until the sugar coats the peanuts and turns a light caramel color, try not to let the sugar caramelize too much, you are looking to preserve its granulated texture.
  7. Remove from the heat and immediately transfer back onto the prepared baking sheet. Let cool for 15-20 minutes and transfer to a jar.
  8. Keep it in an airtight jar for up to 2 weeks.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Tom Johnson
    Tom Johnson
  • Kathy
  • Murielle Banackissa
    Murielle Banackissa
  • M

10 Reviews

M February 15, 2021
I just made these with almonds because I didn’t have peanuts on hand but couldn’t wait to try out this recipe. They came out perfectly even though I didn’t stir quickly enough. Now I can’t wait to actually make them with peanuts.
Kathy February 15, 2021
I'll bet the almonds were delicious! They lend themselves perfectly to so many things!
Murielle B. February 17, 2021
Ouhh, I love the idea of making these with almonds! I am glad you enjoyed it M :)
Vicki H. February 24, 2021
Did you roast the almonds in the oven first?
M February 15, 2021
I made these with almonds because I had no peanuts on hand but couldn’t wait to try this recipe out! It turned out perfectly even though I didn’t quite stir quickly enough.
Murielle B. February 26, 2021
Amazing! I am so glad you liked the recipe M :)
Tom J. February 14, 2021
My mom had a similar recipe that we make pounds of around the holidays. But ours are roasted after being coated in sugar. Proportions: 2 c raw peanuts, 1 c sugar, 1/4 c water. Cook together until the water is absorbed and sugar begins to crystallize. Quickly put on a cookie sheet and bake at 300* for 30 min, stirring after 15 min. Red food coloring can be added when cooking to give the reddish color.

Looking forward to trying with chili powder as you suggested.
Murielle B. February 15, 2021
That sounds awesome Tom! I should try your version as well. Let me know how you find the variation with chili powder! :)
Kathy February 1, 2021
Hi! I, too, remember these delicious, crunchy peanuts and you're right - those red, overglazed things are in no way comparable! My Mother once tried to make some at home; but in her usual "couldn't cook to save her soul" manner, she nearly burnt the house down!! The burnt sugar odor clung to the kitchen for months!
Murielle B. February 1, 2021
Hi Kathy!
I am glad to read that we are both fans of the super crunchy and textured ones! Oh no!! Thankfully you were ok (apart from the smell of course). These definitely need some close watching, but as long as you keep the heat to medium, you keep stirring and don't do too much multitasking, you should be ok. Let me know if you try this recipe :)