Browned Butter Rice Krispies Treats

These are the best Rice Krispies Treats I’ve ever had.

And that’s saying something because I’m quite the connoisseur, having sampled hundreds in my day.

I know you’re thinking, “It’s a Rice Krispies Treat, big deal.” Well, to me it is. They’re a lifelong favorite and I’d rather have a gooey, buttery cereal bar than pie, fudge, or even creme brulee. Yes, I would. Many people overlook the humble bars for more decadent or more grown-up fare. After all, classic bars made with basic cereal have an uphill battle trying to compete with salted caramel this-or-that or brownies stuffed with candy and cookie dough. But never under-estimate the underdog.

What makes these Rice Krispies Treats the best ever – and I don’t use those three words lightly – begins with the butter. First, there’s double the amount than you’re probably used to. When comparing the amount to the Kellogg’s recipe and to others, most call for three or four tablespoons, or one-quarter cup, or half of one stick. I doubled it and used a full stick, eight tablespoons. This is a situation where more is definitely better.

And not only is there more butter, but it’s browned first. The nutty aroma and the richness of flavor imparted from browned butter is like no other. Taking an extra four minutes to brown the butter rather than just melting it makes all the difference in how the treats taste.

I recently discussed extensively how to brown butter when making Browned Butter Caramel and Butterscotch Bars. If you’ve never browned butter before, the key points are to either stir or swirl the pan almost continuously for the three to four minutes it takes to brown. And the minute you see brown specks and flecks in the butter, remove the pan from the heat and continue to stir for another minute so the carryover heat doesn’t burn the already browned butter.

If you prefer salted treats and are a fan of salty-and-sweet combinations, feel free to add a pinch of salt to the browned butter at this point. I always cook with unsalted butter so I can control the amount of salt that goes into my food rather than having it pre-determined by the butter company, but if you’re using salted butter, make sure to take that into account before adding salt. Some people like a hearty does of salt with their sweets and others don’t, so salt only if desired, and to taste.

 [Browned Butter Rice Krispies Treats @Averie Sunshine {Averie Cooks} ]

To the warm browned butter, add the marshmallows and stir. I use mini marshmallows because I find they melt faster and easier than their larger counterparts, but one standard ten-ounce bag of either size will work. The carryover heat from the butter should be enough to melt the marshmallows, but if it’s not, turning the stove back on momentarily will do the trick. Don’t cook them, just melt them.

Pour the hot sweet mess over five cups of cereal that’s waiting in a large bowl. Most recipes call for six cups of cereal, and remember they’re using half the amount of butter, but I don’t like those ratios. Using double the butter butter and sightly less cereal creates treats that are extra gooey, chewy, and marshmallowy.

As you stir, the mixture will be loose and gooey, but if you find it’s ridiculously gooey to the point it seems there’s more marshmallows than cereal, add up to 1 cup additional cereal. Don’t exceed six cups total, and I never use more than a very scant 5 and 1/2, or these won’t knock your socks off with their gooey prowess.

 [Browned Butter Rice Krispies Treats @Averie Sunshine {Averie Cooks} ]

Transfer the mixture to an 8-by-8-inch aluminum foil-lined and sprayed baking pan. Make sure to line your pan unless you have lots of elbow grease to spare, and make sure to use an 8-by-8-inch pan. Although a 9-inch square could be used, don’t use a 9-by-13-inch pan, which is the size many recipes suggest. A big pan produces thin, flat, and wimpy treats. I want thick, sink-my-teeth-into-it kind of treats and an 8-inch square gets me there.

It will seem like there’s no way all the mixture will fit into the pan, but it does. Pack it down well, pressing it down firmly with your hands or a spatula because this helps achieve sink-your-teeth-in density. Unlike many other recipes where the cereal bits are exceedingly sticky and hard to work with and are sticking everywhere but where you want them, that’s not the case here thanks to the butter. If necessary, lightly grease your fingers or palms with more butter, ahem, and press. It may feel like you’re pushing too hard, but you’re not; you want this compacted so the bars don’t fall apart and are dense like bakery-style treats.

 [Browned Butter Rice Krispies Treats @Averie Sunshine {Averie Cooks} ]

I love a good jaw workout and these squares are chewy and gooey, soft yet dense. Because the mixture is tightly packed into the pan, each bite takes awhile to chew, just the way I love my Treats. I dislike bars with the cereal loosely bound and it’s just barely dangling together, but that’s not the case here. The buttery marshmallows form a beautiful sweet white web around the cereal for treats with great structure.

The butter makes these. The abundance of it and the browned, nutty, aromatic, flavorful, and rich quality it has. You’ll never say ‘Oh, just another Rice Krispies Treat’ after these. Underdog gone over-achiever.

Browned Butter Rice Krispies Treats
Prep time
Total time
These are the best Rice Krispies Treats I've ever had, thanks in large part to the butter. It's both browned and the quantity compared to most other recipes is doubled. Between the nutty and aromatic browned butter, the melted sweet marshmallows, and using less cereal most recipes, these Treats are the most gooey, buttery, flavorful, and richest I've ever had. They're hits with both kids and adults, and If the classic favorite cereal bar could be improved upon, this is how. Vegan and gluten-free options included.
Serves: One 8-by-8 inch pan, 9 generous squares
  • 5 to 5¾ cups Rice Krispies Cereal
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, browned
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, optional
  • one 10-ounce bag miniature or large marshmallows
  1. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, add 5 cups cereal; set aside.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed large pot or skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat, stirring nearly continuously or swirling the pan. Butter will melt, foam, turn clear, golden, turn brown, and will then smell nutty. As soon at the butter begins to turn brown, take the pan off the heat, and continue to stir for about 1 minute, to ensure carryover heat doesn't continue to cook and subsequently burn the already browned butter. Optionally stir in salt for salted browned butter Treats.
  3. Add the marshmallows and the residual heat should be enough to melt them, but if not, heat pan over low heat for about 1 minute, or just until they melt, taking care not to cook them; just warming to melt. Stir to combine the marshmallows and butter. Pour mixture over cereal and toss to coat. 5 cups cereal will yield very gooey bars, but if less gooey bar are preferred, stir in up to ¾ cup additional cereal. Mixture will be very gooey and buttery. Transfer mixture to prepared pan, and using a spatula or your greased hands, press it firmly and evenly into the pan, making sure to really pack it down well and push it into the corners and edges. Allow bars to set up at room temperature for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving, or place pan in the refrigerator to expedite cooling. Store Treats in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  4. To keep recipe vegan, use vegan marshmallows, vegan-friendly butter and vegan crispy rice cereal. I recommend simply melting the vegan butter rather than trying to brown it. To keep gluten free, use gluten-free Rice Krispies or other crispy rice cereal such as Erewhon Organic Gluten Free Crispy Brown Rice Cereal. Take care that all ingredients used are suitable for your dietary needs.
  5. Adapted from the The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Related Recipes:

Peanut Chewy Payday Bars – A three-layered bar that resembles an amped-up Payday candy bar thanks to the gooey marshmallows that are sandwiched in the middle layer. The melted marshmallows are flanked by a buttery shortbread-style crust and topped with a mixture of peanut butter, peanuts, and crispy rice cereal. Sweet and gooey meets salty and crunchy with an abundance of peanut butter, peanuts, and plenty of chewy texture

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough & Marshmallow Stuffed Rice Krispie Bars (no-bake, can be made both vegan and gluten-free) – Raw vegan cookie dough balls are interspersed throughout the bars, paring my love of Rice Krispies Treats, with cookie dough, and  they’re topped off with a layer of chocolate frosting

Double Chocolate Caramel Corn & Cocoa Rice Krispies Candy Bars (No-Bake with Vegan & GF options) – If you have odds and ends from holiday baking such as multiple bags of baking chips with minimal amounts in any of them, or marshmallows, nuts, candy, or boxes of opened cereal, these bars help thin out the pantry stash

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (no-bake, vegan, gluten-free) – Rice Krispies add a surprising amount of crunch and texture to these easy granola bars. This is my favorite recipe for no-bake granola bars because they taste like a Quaker Chewy and can be customized easily based on preferences and take just 10 minutes to make

Marshmallow Caramel Oreo Cookie S’Mores Bars – An Oreo cookie-crumb and buttery crust is topped with sweet marshmallows, caramels, and chocolate chips for an easy and fast dessert reminiscent of s’mores. As the bars bake, the marshmallows puff and the rich and buttery caramels melt creating a gooey treat

Peanut Butter Cocoa Krispies Smores Bars – Three layers and almost no baking is necessary for these bars with a graham cracker base, topped with marshmallows, white chocolate chips, and a chocolate-Cocoa Krispies-peanut butter topping

Do you like Rice Krispies Treats? Bars made with cereal? Or desserts with marshmallows?

I love all the above and have so many related recipes and versions of cereal bars and marshmallow-based bars because I never tire of the endless combinations. Many of them are no-bake or nearly no-bake, which is a nice bonus. If you have favorite recipes, please share.

105 comments on “Browned Butter Rice Krispies Treats”

  1. I have never been so excited to make a RKT recipe in my life. I too love browned butter, and am always trying to find that elusive perfect ratio where I taste butter more than marshmallow while maintaining the goo. I’ll make them this afternoon and report back!

  2. I made these last night. I might’ve slightly overbrowned the butter because I stirred in the rice cereal before stirring in the marshmallows, which made them super hard to melt. I had to keep the burner on and the butter kept browning. That was my mistake though. However, the treats still turned out delicious in spite of my rookie mistake.

    I’ve never made rice krispie treats because I’ve been vegetarian for most of my life, and I am now a pescatarian*, which means I eat fish now. In the past, vegetarian or kosher marshmallows were super rare to find in stores and Amazon wasn’t really a thing yet. I remember ordering a bag of vegan Dandies marshmallows online when they first came out, and they were almost 5 bucks a bag with shipping. When I got them, I was so happy to eat marshmallows again that I ate them straight out of the bag — melting them in rice crispy treats seemed like sacrilege. They later showed up at our natural foods store for almost 6 dollars a bag.

    I made these with Kosher marshmallows because I now eat fish (kosher means fish gelatin rather than pork gelatin), and they are cheaper/easier to find than the vegan ‘mallows. I’m glad I chose such a great recipe to use for a first time. Thank you!

    *(I’m sorry if I seem overly explain-y, I seem to have to explain this to everyone I talk to about it, so disregard if you know this stuff. I live in the south and we don’t have many Jewish people, and vegetarianism/veganism is still not as widespread here)

  3. So I finally did it….brown butter.
    Subtle and wonderful.
    I also added vanilla and toasted the rice cereal first.
    And added toffee chips while mixing.
    But the brown butter really made the difference.
    Thank you

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  6. Was craving rice krispie treats and found this;  it was exactly what I was looking for! Love that they are nice and thick and the brown butter makes them extra special! Thanks. 

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  8. Just want to say that these treats are de-licious! I was looking for a classic yet adulterated no bake recipe and these more than fit the bill! Will be making these again and again (especially as the boyfriend just inhaled 4 in one shot)…. :)

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! I agree, good old fashioned treats are often times the best and glad they hit the spot with your boyf, too! :)

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  10. “These are the best Rice Krispies Treats I’ve ever had.”

    I will second the first few words of your post. I made these today. Most sites I see now have a vamped-up treats with all these fancy add-ins. I was looking for a basic recipe and this nailed it. OMG, the flavor was incredible!
    *Stay warm…I’m sure it’s gonna be cold down there this weekend! :)

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! And yes, I have made some vamped up fancy RKTreats but honestly, just the basic flavors with that browned butter, so good and really all I need. Glad you guys enjoyed them and stay warm too…it’s about to rain, super windy, cold and miserable here!

  11. I have to say… these ARE the BEST I’ve had or made. They have such a wonderful taste of the browned butter and just literally melt in your mouth flavor. My son-in-law who NEVER eats RKTreats said he LOVED these. He said all the others were either hard or no taste but after these he has asked me to make them yet again (3rd time in 3 weeks) hahaha.

    My question is…how can I flavor these without compromising the perfectness of them? I have a few teachers I work with who love banana cream RK treats that I’ve made before but not using this recipe (which is basically a box of banana pudding. Suggestions?

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out as the best you’ve ever had! That said, I think because they are so good and the flavor so rich, by adding pudding mix you’d cloud or clutter up the wonderful flavor so not sure how to achieve that other than adding pudding mix and seeing what happens and see how the flavors develop.

  12. I created these (technically by accident) when I was 6 and aspiring to be a chef, but since then I make them all the time. Drizzling a little bit of dark chocolate sauce over them really enhances the nutty caramel tones in the browned butter.

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  14. Made these yesterday and they were awesome! Thank you for the recipe.

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