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Would you believe that I didn’t like the packaged Rice Crispy Treats as a kid? Even back then, the taste was way too sweet for me.
I did always enjoy homemade versions. In fact, to this day I remember the first time I ever saw someone make rice crispy treats. I was at my junior high boyfriend’s house and his mom whipped up a batch in less than 10 minutes right in front of me. I had no idea how they were made. No one in my family baked growing up… though I don’t know if you’d even technically consider this baking! Either way, I was amazed.
This recipe for Brown Butter Rice Crispy treats is an up-leveled but still very easy version.
I actually first stumbled upon this version of rice crispy treats in the Flour cookbook and mentally bookmarked it. Then, just a few days later, Trader Joe’s had a huge end-cap display of their crispy rice cereal. The universe was telling me to make rice crispy treats (because the universe has nothing better to do).
I’m so glad I did because this is my new favorite rice krispies treats recipe!
Check out all the baking tips in the pink tip box below for making the Rice Crispy Treats of your dreams.
How to Make the BEST Rice Krispie Treats
What are Rice Crispy Treats?
Whether you call them Rice Krispies, Rice Crispies, Rice Bubbles, etc., this classic breakfast cereal is the base for these oven-free desserts, which mimic the Kellogg’s-brand classic after-school snack! They’re little squares of crispy yet sticky gooey heaven.
How Do You Make Homemade Rice Krispies?
The original Rice Krispie Treats are a packaged bar made from the puffed rice cereal and a bunch of artificial sweeteners – which we replace with gooey marshmallows (for sweetness and to bind it all together) and brown butter, for a delicious nuttiness like no Rice Crispy Treat you’ve ever had before!
Just take a look at how much thicker and more gooey and chewy these homemade rice crispy treats are (left) compared to the store-bought pre-packaged kind (right):
Instructions for How to Brown Butter:
- Use a stainless steel sauté pan for best results. Nonstick prevents the butter from browning completely and prevents you from being able to visually see how browned it’s getting. Same with the dark color of cast iron. Something with a wider surface area, like a sauté pan instead a saucepan, encourages more browning more quickly.
- In a medium skillet set over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Swirling the pan occasionally, continue to cook the butter. It should become foamy with audible cracking and popping noises.
- Once the crackling stops, continue to swirl the pan until the butter develops a nutty aroma and brown bits start to form at the bottom. Don’t swirl the pan too often; we want to encourage those nice brown bits on the bottom to continue to form, and stirring constantly will prevent that.
- Once the bits are amber in color, about 2 to 3 minutes after the popping stops, remove from heat.
How to get Perfectly Chewy Rice Crispy Treats:
- Ingredients are key. Ensure your Rice Krispies cereal and mini marshmallows are fresh for best results. Hard marshmallows will make hard Rice Crispy Treats, and stale cereal is still unpleasant once mixed with the other ingredients.
- After the butter is browned, use a gentle heat to melt the marshmallows. If the heat is up too high, it will cook the marshmallows and make the resulting Rice Crispy Treats hard and brittle. Just be patient and let the marshmallows melt slowly and gently.
- When spreading the finished mixture into the pan, don’t be too aggressive pressing the mixture into the pan. You want to be firm enough to bind the mixture together, but not so firm that you compress it super solidly. The more tightly you pack it in, the more solid the end result will be once set. Be a little gentle so they stay chewy once set.
- Once set, store in an airtight container at room temperature so they stay perfectly chewy longer!
Which Pan Should I Use for Brown Butter Rice Crispy Treats?
How Long Will These Rice Crispy Treats Keep?
These Rice Crispy Treats can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Do Rice Crispy Treats Need to be Refrigerated?
No. I recommend keeping these Rice Crispy Treats in an airtight container at room temperature. Refrigerating will make the marshmallow in them super hard, so I advise to leave them at room temperature.
Can You Freeze Rice Crispy Treats?
I do not recommend freezing Rice Crispy Treats, as they will get super hard in the freezer. You can experiment and try freezing them in an airtight container, separated by wax paper, and then thaw overnight at room temperature, if you need to make them ahead – but we prefer them fresh!
More Copycat Recipes You’ll Love:
sticks (226 grams) unsalted butter
10-ounce bags of mini marshmallows*
(225 grams) crispy rice cereal**
Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray or grease with a stick of butter.
Melt butter in a large stainless steel pan over medium-low heat. Continue to cook the butter, swirling the pan occasionally. It should become foamy and crack and pop audibly. When the crackling stops, continue to swirl the pan until the butter develops a nutty aroma and brown bits start to form at the bottom. Once the bits are amber in color, 2 to 3 minutes after the popping stops, add the vanilla, marshmallows, and salt to the pan. Reducing the heat to low, stir constantly until the marshmallows are completely melted. Remove from heat.
Add the rice cereal and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the cereal is evenly coated. Transfer the mixture into the prepared baking pan, pressing the mixture gently with your spatula, wooden spoon, or damp fingers into an even layer. Don’t be too aggressive pressing the mixture into the pan. You want to be firm enough to bind the mixture together, but not so firm that you compress it super solidly. The more tightly you pack it in, the more solid the end result will be once set. Be a little gentle so they stay chewy once set.
Allow to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cut into 12 squares before serving. Squares can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
* Make sure your marshmallows are fresh. Stale, hard marshmallows won’t result in nice, chewy bars.
** Any brand is fine, but be sure the cereal you use is fresh. Stale cereal will make for stale-tasting Rice Crispy Treats.
To make a half-batch of Rice Crispy Treats, simply divide all ingredients in half and use an 8×8-inch baking pan.
Adapted from the Flour cookbook.
This post was originally published in 2012 and updated in 2022 with new photos. Photos by Joanie Simon.