Rice Krispie Treats

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These thick, chewy, and marshmallow-filled Rice Krispie Treats are easy to make and loved by adults and kids alike. I’m sharing all my tips and tricks to make these treats taste even better than what you’d get from a bakery!

Rice Krispies Treats® make for the perfect treat to jazz up for a special occasion or holiday by drizzling on chocolate and/or adding sprinkles on top. They’re the ideal last-minute treat to make and can be ready in less than 30 minutes, and everyone loves them. If you’re looking for an inexpensive dessert that is dressed to impress, make these bars! 

After you’ve gotten hooked on this original version, be sure to try these fun variations: peanut butter rice krispies treatsscotcheroos, chocolate rice krispies treats, or fruity pebble rice krispies treats.

 

A stack of three Rice Krispies Treats, topped with multi-color sprinkles.

Rice Krispie Treats

If you’re not familiar with this fun dessert, Rice Krispie Treats are made by using Rice Krispies® (or any crisp rice cereal), marshmallows, and butter. These treats became so popular that Kellogg’s actually began to make and market these treats in stores beginning in 1995. 

While you can buy these treats from just about any grocery store, there is nothing like a homemade Rice Krispie Treat!

Of all the treats my mom made growing up, Rice Krispie Treats or these carmelitas were the two treats she made most frequently. My mom had a drawer filled with festive sprinkles for every holiday and she would always jazz up the tops of the treats with sprinkles based on whatever holiday was coming up. Occasionally the treats would get a chocolate drizzle and sprinkles which was always the most popular combination at my home.

Over the years, I’ve learned how to perfect Rice Krispie Treats to make them more flavorful and gooey. Read on for the process and all my top tips!

Process shots: melt butter; stir in and melt marshmallows; add vanilla and salt; pour in cereal; stir to coat.

How do you make Rice Krispie Treats from scratch?

  1. Melt butter and marshmallows. Fully melt the butter and then add in the marshmallows. Stir constantly until the marshmallows are just melted and then remove from heat to avoid burnt or tough mallows.
  2. Add other ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients into the melted marshmallow mixture. Stir gently, but ensure all the ingredients are well coated in the marshmallows to avoid any potential dry sections in the bars. Work quickly, though, so that the cereal gets coated before the marshmallow mixture firms up.
  3. Press into pan. Very gently press the mixture into a pan. If the mixture is pressed into the pan with too much pressure, the treats will end up hard and dense.
  4. Optional step — decorate! Add a drizzle of chocolate to the top of your bars. Before the chocolate sets, you can also add on some sprinkles. See below for more fun ways to jazz up your treats!

Rice Krispie Treat Variations

  • Top with chocolate: Add white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, or even colored candy melts. The chocolate can either be drizzled on the bars or spread into a smooth layer on top.
  • Make ’em festive: Decorate them for different holidays (see our favorite Halloween krispie treats here!). The decoration can be as simple as adding festive sprinkles (think red and blue for the 4th of July, black and orange for Halloween, green for St. Patrick’s Day, pastels for Easter, etc.).
  • Add coarsely chopped mix-ins: We love adding about 1 cup of coarsely chopped candies to our treats — Kit-Kat Bars®, Oreos®, Reese’s Cups®, chocolate bars, etc. 
  • Check out this fun list for more variation ideas!

Process shots: add additional marshmallows and stir to mix in; gently press into pan; let cool slightly; melt optional chocolate; drizzle over bars; add sprinkles.

Why are my Rice Krispie Treats hard?

There are a few reasons: not enough marshmallows, old or hard marshmallows, heat was too high when melting the marshmallows, or the bars were compressed too tightly.

Here are my top tips for keeping your Rice Krispie Treats soft, chewy, and delicious.

  • Keep the heat low. When marshmallows are exposed to high heat, they harden and that will make your bars rock hard. Keep the heat as low as possible and remove the marshmallows as soon as they’re melted. Remember to stir constantly as the marshmallows melt down.
  • Use extremely FRESH marshmallows. The fresher the marshmallows, the softer and more enjoyable the Rice Krispie Treats will be. When purchasing marshmallows, feel the bags to find the softest marshmallows.
  • Avoid compressing. Don’t push the mixture into the pan. Instead, place them in the pan and gently press them down. The less compacted the bars are, the better they taste and easier they are to eat.

How do you keep Rice Krispie Treats from sticking to your hands?

The “secret” here is cooking spray! Pour the mixture into the pan and then give both your hands a quick spritz with cooking spray (we like coconut oil-based cooking spray best, but any will work). Then, gently press the bars in and watch the magic happen — nothing will stick to your hands!

How long does it take for Rice Krispie Treats to harden?

About 30 minutes. While its very tempting to eat these immediately, give these bars at least 30 minutes before cutting into them. Once the marshmallow mixture has cooled and melted with the cereal, these bars are much easier to cut and won’t fall apart.

Picture of one treat being taken from the pan; a stack of three Rice Krispies Treats on a plate.

Do homemade Rice Krispie Treats need to be refrigerated?

I don’t recommend (and it’s really not necessary) to refrigerate Rice Krispie Treats. If you’re in a huge hurry, the pan can be cooled in the fridge for a short time, but otherwise, I’d steer clear of chilling these bars.
 
Rice Krispie Treats are a dessert that is truly best the same day they’re made. These bars harden and become stale quickly, so I recommend eating them on day 1 or freezing the leftovers. Note there is a slight loss of texture when freezing and thawing.
 

QUICK TIP

How to freeze these treats: Wrap each treat individually in a square of wax paper and then wrap with plastic wrap. Place the individually wrapped treats in a resealable freezer bag, press out the air and freeze for up to 6 months. Enjoy a treat by thawing on the counter at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Up-close view of the gooey Rice Krispies Treats.

More easy dessert bars

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Rice Krispie Treats

5 from 1 vote
These thick, chewy, and marshmallow-filled Rice Krispie Treats are easy to make and loved by adults and kids alike. I'm sharing all my tips and tricks to make these treats taste even better than what you'd get from a bakery!
Print Recipe

Rice Krispie Treats

5 from 1 vote
These thick, chewy, and marshmallow-filled Rice Krispie Treats are easy to make and loved by adults and kids alike. I'm sharing all my tips and tricks to make these treats taste even better than what you'd get from a bakery!
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword Rice Krispie Treats
Prep Time 15 minutes
Setting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 16 bars (a 9x9-inch pan)
Calories 393kcal
Author Chelsea

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons (70.8g) unsalted butter
  • 1 bag (16 oz.; 453g) miniature marshmallows divided
  • 6 cups (174g) Rice Krispies or other crispy rice cereal
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

OPTIONAL TOPPING

  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips (or use milk, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Optional: Nonpareil sprinkles

Instructions

  • PREP: Line a 9x9-inch pan with parchment paper (or foil) with an overhang, and lightly spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • MELT BUTTER AND MARSHMALLOWS: In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. As soon as the butter is melted, reduce the heat to low. Add in 8 cups (339g) of the miniature marshmallows. Stir constantly until the marshmallows are JUST melted.
  • FLAVOR ADDITIONS: Remove from the heat and stir in the salt (reduce if sensitive to salt), vanilla extract, and cereal. Stir to coat in the cereal. Once well coated, pour in the rest of the marshmallows (2 and 1/2 cups). Stir to coat until ingredients are well incorporated.
  • ADD TO PAN: Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Lightly spritz your hands with cooking spray and then press the mixture gently into the prepared pan. Don't press too hard as you'll get a denser/harder treat. Set aside to cool for about 30 minutes.
  • OPTIONAL WHITE CHOCOLATE TOPPING: Meanwhile, add the white chocolate and vegetable oil to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in bursts of 15 seconds stirring in between each burst for 10 seconds until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Transfer the melted chocolate to a plastic bag, cut off the tip, and drizzle evenly over the bars. Immediately add the sprinkles and allow the chocolate to harden at room temperature.
  • ENJOY: Use the parchment overhang to pull the bars out from the pan. Use a sharp knife to make cuts (run a knife under hot water, then dry with a towel for easier cutting). These bars are best enjoyed the same day.

Video

Recipe Notes

How to freeze these treats: Wrap each treat individually in a square of wax paper and then wrap with plastic wrap. Place the individually wrapped treats in a resealable freezer bag and press out the air. Freeze for up to 6 months. Enjoy a treat by thawing on the counter at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 508mg | Potassium: 122mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 6017IU | Vitamin C: 56mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 27mg

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