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 would totally be the one to add a bit of salt to these rice crispy squares. I live adding a bit of salt to them. Often, if they’re store bought, I’ll sprinkle a bit of salt over top of them before I eat them.

  2. I’ve only recently become a browned butter addict, so I definitely need to experiment with it more. And these rice krispies treats sound like the perfect way to start! What a great throwback to being a kid. :)

  3. Wow! Using browned butter for rice krispie treats is a great idea–you have absolutely elevated a classic to a new level!! I have enjoyed “re-discovering” browned butter over the past several months. I also love drizzling it over steamed broccoli and poached fish. A while back I browned a couple of sticks and put it in a container in the fridge so I have it on hand for savory things too.

    • ” A while back I browned a couple of sticks and put it in a container in the fridge so I have it on hand for savory things” <-- great idea! Or even just when I want a tiny drizzle and don't want to brown a whole stick for a drizzle but if I had it on hand, I'd readily use it. I am so doing this when I'm back home! And over steamed broccoli and fish - I can see that being incredible!

  4. What’s not to love about Rice Krispie Treats??? Love them. And I love how you find a technique like browned butter and use it in new and creative ways, not just for one recipe but a whole new range of them.

  5. funny. I made brown butter rice krispie treats for Christmas but they didn’t last long enough to get photos. love these!

  6. brown butter in rice krispies… genius! i also prefer them to a lot of “big kid” desserts! i love how thick and dense they look – irresistible!

  7. How do you not eat this entire pan?

  8. Averie-completely off topic but I wanted to let you know that I made your thin mints as part of my Christmas baking & they were delicious! So easy & everyone loved them! Also made the flourless peanut butter, also delicious. Thanks for the great recipes.

  9. Do you like Rice Krispies Treats? Bars made with cereal? Or desserts with marshmallows? YES, YES, and major YES. As many times as I have made rice krispie treats (my favorite kind is adding sprinkles… shocker!), I’ve never made them with brown butter before. I can only imagine how incredible each bite would be. The extra buttery flavor, caramel undertones, butterscotch-y taste, and so very gooey. A full stick of the good stuff? this is why we are friends. Among another 1000 reasons!

    Every time you link back to your peanut butter s’mores bars, I swear to myself I will make them one day!!

    • They are the things that dreams are made of! Sally I know you love really dense & chewy desserts and with the marshmallow & browned butter – heaven.sent. You know how I am with very cautious before I use words like “the best ever” or “best” or “my favorite” and as RKTreats go, 100% without a doubt, these are the Best Ever. Sort of like how I never need another choc chip cookie recipe, my search is over for RKT recipes/methods!

  10. Oh, I agree. I just made these from the Smitten Kitchen book too and everyone at Christmas was saying they were the best Rice Crispy Treats ever and wanting to know what I put in them. My husband thought they tasted like sugar cookies and my sister thought I added a bunch of vanilla.
    I love your adaptions, I’ll have to try it your way next! I tried topping mine with melted chocolate and they were good, but I think the simplicity of these is what makes them so great. Thanks for the post, you are my new favorite blog!

    • New fave blog? Well thank you!

      I was going to top them with chocolate, white chocolate, sprinkles and then decided you know what, they are simple treats (or an enhanced version of a simple treat) and to just enjoy them in that classic way minus any frosting or chocolate & we loved them like that. So glad you tried them from her book & loved them, too!

  11. My mother would never make rice krispie treats when I was growing up. I think she thought it was too much of a mess. I don’t agree. Cookie-baking is way messier and rice krispie treats are totally worth it. Once out of the house, I started making them before I became a mother so when I finally had a child I would already be an old hand at it. I can’t wait to try your version.

    • That is such a great statement about practicing making them before you have kids :) You are so right about cookie-making and as RKTreats go, these are the least messy of any I’ve tried, thanks to all that butter :)

      And as far as something like yeast breads vs. cookie making, I always tell people if you can make cookies, you can make bread! They’re way fussier, the dough is less forgiving, baking times are much more precise, there’s dough chilling, scooping, forming, I mean honestly bread is much easier! And some people say it’s not as fast – well if you chill cookie dough for 2-3 hrs, it pretty much is all a wash!

      • I made these for a New Year’s day snack and they were so decadent and buttery and chewy. I’m never going back to the Kellogg recipe. The only bubble in my marshmallow was that I couldn’t remember where I put my 8×8 pans so I used a 9 inch pie plate instead and made wedges.

      • I’m so glad you tried them (and that your 9″ pie plate worked – actually 9-inch rounds are about the same size as 8-inch squares, so you probably weren’t too far off…squares usually hold slightly more than rounds in general) but yes I’m never going back to the old standby recipe either. This is the one to be made for the ages for me too! Thanks for coming back to report in with your success & glad you loved them so!

  12. These bars look wonderful, and remind me that it’s been ages since I made a rice Krispie bar. I’ll have to use browned vegan butter, but I’m sure they’ll still be quite delicious. I remember craving rice krispie bars all the time before I was vegan, and now I think you’ve revived my habit! I generally don’t love desserts that aren’t smooth (chocolate, mousse, puddings) but I do make exceptions for certain treats (like these bars!)

  13. I do like rice crispy squares, but I don’t think I’ve ever made them. My mom used to always make them when I was growing up. If I do make them, I will use this recipe, because I like the browned butter idea!

  14. Browned butter makes everythingn better. Forrizzle.

  15. Wow, I haven’t seen rice crispy treats in forever! These sound amazing.

  16. Oh boy! Anything that claims to be the best rice krispie treat ever, I have got to try! Can’t wait =)

  17. I would never knock the noble Rice Krispies square. They are one of my all time favourite sweet snacks, just because of the childhood nostalgia factor. The first time my big sister tried making it for us as kids, she didn’t read the instructions and added water (since that’s what you do when you cook anything – add water!). Needless to say, it was a soggy, inedible mess but we loved her for trying (to this day, she’s not too good in the kitchen). Your squares are perfection. And I’m totally with you – I like my squares the gooier the better. I always use more marshmallows and less cereal than the recipe calls for. Can you believe I’ve never had browned butter? I think I need to start by making these squares!

  18. I’ve been playing with the idea of a browned butter krispie treat in my head, but I give up. This one wins. No need for me to bother with my recipe when this piece of perfection exists. YUM.

    • I usually try to reinvent the wheel too but in this case, my very gentle tweaks to Deb’s recipe and to the overall classic, I pretty much never need another recipe for RKTs after this one. I can check that off my bucket list :)

  19. I just only discovered browned butter this week and I fully intend on making this recipe asap!!!

  20. Wow – looks like you’re the queen of the krispie treats. I’d love a bite of each.

  21. This is my first visit to this site, and i must say: You have a wonderful recipe Averie!
    I must try these rice krispies. Thanks..

  22. I need to do those payday bars!
    Ack! I keep forgetting.
    You really need to give my cookie butter rice krispie bars a go.

  23. Your Rice Krispie Treats are picture perfect! I’ve been meaning to try these for a while now…but I’m afraid they might never make it from the bowl to the serving pan! Just irresistible!!!

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