This easy Microwave Cranberry Pistachio Brittle has the sweet and salty, crunchy-chewy texture you'll love from buttery pistachios and tangy dried cranberries. This easy, 10 minute homemade candy is made in the microwave and doesn't require a candy thermometer?
If you love nut brittle, check out my recipe for Microwave Peanut Brittle that also doesn't require a candy thermometer! You can trade out other nuts like pecans, cashews, and even mixed nuts.
Don’t have a candy thermometer? No worries. You won’t need one for this new-fashioned, old-fashioned brittle.
Tip: My microwave wattage is 1100. If you have the same wattage, you will get the same results by simply using the timer on the microwave. Just adjust the time a few seconds up or down according to your wattage. If your microwave is 1000 watts try reducing the first cooking time by 15 seconds.
How to make Cranberry Pistachio Brittle in the Microwave
Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the printable recipe.
- First, stir together sugar, light corn syrup, and water in a large microwave-safe glass bowl.
- Be sure the sugar is mixed in with no dry spots of sugar. Instead of using a candy thermometer in a saucepan on the stove, microwave (1100 watts) the bowl on HIGH for 3 minutes to wash down any crystals from sides of bowl. Remove bowl from microwave using potholders and place on a folded towel or cutting board. Carefully release one edge of plastic wrap from the bowl to release steam.
- Next, carefully uncover bowl, removing plastic wrap away from you to avoid steam.
- Microwave, uncovered, 5 minutes and 20 seconds or until you begin to see golden color in center of mixture (This will be hard crack stage 300˚ if you were using a candy thermometer). Do not wait until the entire bottom of bowl has golden color. It will continue to turn golden slightly.
This is what the mixture looks like right after adding the nuts and cranberries. The color of the candy mixture should be light golden. Be sure to place the bowl on a heat-proof silicone trivet, folded towel or cutting board using potholders because the bowl gets hot!
- While mixture is cooking in the microwave, measure cranberries and pistachios, butter, vanilla, and baking soda. Working quickly, remove bowl from microwave and place on a heat-proof silicone trivet, folded towel or cutting board. Stir in cranberries and pistachios, butter, and vanilla.
- Microwave about 25 seconds more because it cools down when adding these ingredients. You want it to be spreadable.
- Then, remove the bowl from microwave with potholders and place on a heat-proof silicone trivet or folded towel on the counter or just place on the stove top. Quickly stir in baking soda.
- Immediately pour hot mixture onto the buttered baking sheet, spreading to edges of pan with two forks.
- Let cool completely and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.
For step by step photos to my microwave brittle techniques above just click here for my Microwave Peanut Brittle using a 4-quart microwave safe glass bowl.
The technique is the same for Microwave Cranberry Pistachio Brittle except I traded out the peanuts for pistachios and dried cranberries here.
I like to have two forks ready to pull/scrape the mixture to the edges of the pan. To me, it works better than traditional buttered spoons.
Tip: I use a Pyrex bowl I've had for 20 years. I actually have two so I can make two batches one right after the other.
Can I make this brittle without nuts?
Yes. Simply leave out the pistachios and reduce the microwave time a few seconds. It will take slightly less time to come back to bubbling/boiling after adding the cranberries on the second cooking time.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Refrigerating homemade candy like Microwave Cranberry Pistachio Brittle introduces moisture and makes it sticky.
Pin for later
If you make this recipe I'd love to see it! Tag me on social media with #gritsandgouda or @gritsandgouda. Leave a comment below the printable recipe if you have questions or tell me how you liked the recipe. Don't forget to give the recipe a rating of 5 stars if you love it!
Other shortcut candy recipes you will love
Microwave Cranberry Pistachio Brittle
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 6-oz package shelled Wonderful pistachios (one heaping cup)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- Lightly butter a baking sheet and have two forks ready to spread the hot mixture.Stir together sugar, corn syrup and water, in a microwave-safe 3-quart glass, mixing bowl. I use a Pyrex bowl I’ve had for 20+ years. Cover tightly with heavy-duty plastic wrap.
- Microwave (1100 watts) on HIGH for 3 minutes to wash down any crystals from sides of bowl. Remove bowl from microwave using potholders and place on a silicone trivet, folded towel or cutting board. Carefully release one edge of plastic wrap from the bowl to release steam
- Carefully uncover bowl, removing plastic wrap away from you to avoid steam.Microwave, uncovered, 5 minutes and 5 seconds or until you see golden color cover the bottom of mixture (This will be hard crack stage 300˚ if you were using a candy thermometer).
- Remove bowl from microwave and place on folded towel or cutting board. Stir in pistachios, cranberries, butter, and vanilla. Microwave 25 seconds more because it cools down when adding these ingredients.Remove bowl from microwave with potholders. Quickly stir in baking soda.
- Immediately hot pour mixture onto the buttered baking sheet, spreading to edges of pan with two forks. Let cool completely and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.
I updated this recipe on December 3, 2021 with helpful information.