This recipe for Rice Krispie treats makes a nice crunchy cereal treat with just the right amount of marshmallow gooey-ness, and the most amazing, creamy, buttery, marshmallowy flavor.
Each of the 20 different rice Krispie treat recipes that we tried was good. I mean, seriously what could be bad about a rice crispy treat?
But when each of our 20 taste testers compared the subtle differences in each cereal treat recipe they came to several conclusions about what makes the best rice crispy treat ever.
This is, without question, the best way to make rice krispie treats and I have a few tricks up my sleeve to guarantee that the treats are extra marshmallow-y, extra gooey, extra buttery, extra flavorful, and extra AWESOME. I make these whenever I need something quick and guaranteed crowd-friendly. In fact, I just served a double batch at a big cookout over the weekend. Not a single square left.
Crispy rice treats are a totally retro dessert and once you take that first bite, you’re instantly reminded why they’re a staple. So good!!
Are Rice Krispie Treats gluten-free?
- It will depend on the brand of ingredients you use.
- The classic Kellog’s Rice Krispies are not gluten-free (they contain malt flavoring which is derived from barley). But you can however find other crispy rice cereals that are, such as Nature’s Path.
- Butter and marshmallows are generally gluten-free but just be sure to check the labels.
Rice Krispie Treat Recipe Ingredients
Only 3 basic ingredients needed to make these:
- Rice Krispies cereal: A crucial ingredient to this recipe. While you can add other mix-ins the majority of this treat should be the cereal.
- Mini marshmallows: An equal weight of large marshmallows can be used as well, just keep in mind they’ll take longer to melt.
- Salted butter: I like to use salted butter to balance out all the sugar of the marshmallows (there’s almost 1 1/4 cups sugar in the marshmallows so without the proper amount of salt they’ll be way too sweet). If unsalted butter is all you have on hand then dissolve 1/4 tsp salt with the butter when melting.
How to Make Rice Krispie Treats
- Prepare baking dish: Spray a 9 by 9-inch or 13 by 9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Have proper amount of cereal ready: Measure out Rice Krispie cereal into a bowl and set aside.
- Melt butter in pan, then melt marshmallows: Melt butter in a pot over medium-low heat. Add marshmallows and cook, stirring constantly, just until marshmallows have melted.
- Toss in Rice Krispies cereal: Remove from heat, pour in Rice Krispies cereal. Gently fold mixture to evenly coat.
- Spread into baking dish: Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Using a spatula that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray, gently press and spread mixture evenly into baking dish.
- Let set: Let rest at least 30 minutes before slicing (for sturdier bars wait about 2 hours).
What about the vegan options?
We tested a vegan butter but none of the testers liked the flavor or texture of the treats made with this butter.
We also made some treats using virgin coconut oil which gave the cereal treats a definite coconut flavor. Those tasters who like the flavor of coconut found this to be one of their absolute favorite treats. You can find the recipe for plain Vegan Rice Krispie Treats, here, and for Chocolate Vegan Rice Krispie Treats, here.
If you really want to ramp up the butter flavor you can brown it to make Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats.
How long do Rice Krispies Treats keep?
Rice Krispies treats can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.
Can they be frozen?
- Yes Rice Krispie treats can be frozen. I just pulled some out of the freezer recently and they were delicious!
- To freeze them be sure to put layers of parchment paper between layers so they don’t get stuck together, wrap in parchment then store in an airtight container up to 6 weeks.
- Thaw completely at room temperature before enjoying.
Best Rice Crispy Treats !!
- 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- Two 10-oz bags mini marshmallows, divided
- 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8-1/2 cups Rice Krispies or crispy rice cereal
- Line a 9 x 13-in pan with heavy duty aluminum foil and lightly grease with softened butter. Set aside 2 cups of the marshmallows.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, preferably with a light bottom so you can monitor the color, melt the butter over medium heat (save the butter wrappers; you'll use them later for pressing the mixture into the pan). Swirl the pan occasionally to be sure the butter is cooking evenly.
- As the butter melts, it will begin to bubble and foam, and the color will progress from bright yellow to golden to, finally, a toasty-brown. Once you smell that nutty brown butter aroma, take the pan off the heat. (You'll see little bits of golden brown sediment forming; that's okay. However, if the sediment looks almost black, go ahead and pass the butter through a fine sieve to strain it out, then return the brown butter to the pan.)
- Off the heat, add the remaining marshmallows, vanilla, and salt.
- Place the pot back over medium heat and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until the marshmallows are completely melted. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cereal. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir until evenly combined.
- Add the reserved marshmallows and stir until they are softened and partially melted. Don't overmix; you want pockets of goo. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and, using the butter wrapper or damp fingers, press the mixture gently into an even layer in the prepared baking pan. Let cool at room temperature for at least an hour.
- Use the foil overhang to lift the treats onto a cutting board, then use a serrated bread knife to cut into squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Illustrated Instructions : step by step
- Begin by melting the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- After the butter melts, it will begin to bubble, foam, and turn golden around the edges. Eventually it will turn a dark golden color and smell nutty — watch carefully, it will go from golden brown to burned quickly.
- You’ll see little bits of golden brown sediment forming; that’s okay. But if they get too dark, go ahead and strain them out and then pour the brown butter back in the pot.
- Add all but 2 cups of the marshmallows, the vanilla, and salt.
- Place the pot over medium heat and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until the marshmallows are completely melted.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the cereal.
- Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir until evenly combined.
- Add the reserved 2 cups of marshmallows.
- Stir until they are softened and partially melted. Don’t overmix
- Transfer the mixture to a foil-lined 9×13-in baking dish.
- Using the butter wrappers, press into an even layer.
- Let cool for at least an hour, then use the foil overhang to lift the treats onto a cutting board.
- Use a serrated bread knife to cut into squares and enjoy.
- Kellogg's no longer makes a gluten-free version of Rice Krispies, so if you have a gluten-sensitivity, make sure the cereal you purchase is certified gluten-free.
- Freezer-Friendly Instructions: To freeze, place in layers separated by wax paper in airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Let stand at room temperature for about an hour before serving.
GLUTEN-FREE ADAPTABLE NOTE :To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.
Tips for the Best Rice Krispie Treats
- Use good quality marshmallows. I like to look for a bag a marshmallows that’s full of air, with fluffy marshmallows and avoid packages with damp marshmallows stuck together.
- Use fresher marshmallows and avoid using those from an opened and dry package. They won’t melt as well.
- Cook over medium-low heat. Resist the urge to cook over a hotter temperature because this will caramelize the sugars and make the treats tougher and dry.
- Be gentle with mixture once you add the cereal. It’s delicate and can easily be crushed down into powder. Just gently fold mixture with a rubber spatula, folding from under and tossing over.
- Toss long enough for marshmallow mixture to be evenly distributed or you can end up with pools of marshmallow in some areas while there’s not enough in others.
- Don’t skip greasing the spatula. It makes spreading so much easier, and cleaner.
- Be patient and let set properly. I know they are delicious nice and gooey but if you want them to hold any short of shape then wait at least 30 minutes – even better is 2 hours (though that rarely happens around here). You could speed it up by popping them in the fridge for a while.
- Enjoy within a few days before they go stale. Make a half batch if you don’t think they’ll get eaten within a few days.