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. All you had to say was brown butter! Love these!

  2. Of course these are the best – brown butter rules all!

  3. Incredible. Truly. :)

  4. I couldn’t agree more these treats are so overlooked…and now even more so with browned butter…goodness how much I love browned butter…I am pretty sure I would just have to make 2 batches of this right away…I do wish that the vegan butter would brown…I like to try some deserts as vegan so that is a bummer about the butter :-(

  5. “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.”

    Ummmmm. What’s to stop you — or me, or anyone else — from including such items in cereal bars? If I were still medically permitted to eat sweets of ANY sort up to and including fresh fruit (which I miss tremendously), I would spread 1/2 of the traditional cereal-marshmallow mix (plus any spices I wanted; home ground “pumpkin-pie”/”holdiay” mix springs to mind this time of year) then a layer of slated caramel or slated toffee (YUM!!!), then the remaining cereal-marshmallow on top. Has anyone here tried anything along these lines? If so, were any adjustments to baking time/temp required?

    • If you notice some of the bars/treats I linked in the post – I’ve done many things along those lines. Combined cookie dough into bars, candy bits in them, and so forth, but for these, I was all about being a purist with the butter, marshmallows & cereal and loved them! But there’s really no wrong way to do a RKTreat!

      • Cool! Just because I can’t eat these doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t make them for others. I ROUTINELY bake for my husband’s military unit things I can only remember the taste of with fondness and excessive saliva ;)

        Did you need to make any changes to cooking time/temp when you added things to your cereal bars? (especially, as I noted above, typos and all :)), salted caramel or salted toffee?

      • Well most of the bars are no-bake so baking time/temp isn’t an issue. For other bars, any time you’re deviating from a recipe as written and ad-libbing, you have to be willing to have faith in your own cooking skills and judgment b/c there are so many variables, especially with things like caramel. Enjoy and have fun!

      • Always :)

    • Bah. Typos. For “slated” please read “salted.” Sorry.

  6. These look so delicious!

  7. A rice krispie treat is hard to beat! These look and sound absolutely fantastic, and anything will brown butter is good in my book!

  8. I love that you browned butter for these classic treats! Simeon just read this post while I was reading it and he declared that he is making these tomorrow…browned butter and all! Awesome! My kids love these! (Who doesn’t?!) And I love that it is an 8X8 pan. It will be gone tomorrow night! :-)

  9. I’m generally a RK bar purist, but I think I’d be okay with some browned butter. I love the looks of these – plain and DELICIOUS! I’d eat the whole pan in minutes, I swear.

  10. I can only imagine how these taste like heaven! The browned butter is such a nice touch and worth the extra tablespoons :)

  11. Browned butter is new for me , but I love the effect and you sound so excited, that I’ll try it.

  12. Aghhh I’ve been needing to make browned butter rice krispie treats!!!! It sounds amazinggggg!

  13. So simple, yet deliciously brilliant! I love Rice Krispie treats too!! It must have something to do with their sweetness and irresistible texture? I don’t know, they’re just wonderful. Add brown butter to the party and I’m sure I’d eat the whole pan. :D

  14. Easy but elegant! Great for the party when there’s no too much time to prepare elaborate desserts. :)

  15. While I am not the Rice Krispies treat expert you are, I have eaten many and recently fell more in love with them after making peppermint ones. I completely agree that in most recipes the amount of cereal is way to high. I am going to try making them in an 8 inch square next time like you suggest. I know I would love them to be super thick like that.

  16. Browned butter….the best stuff everrrrrrrrrr. And these look soft and pillowy. In fact, I could kill two birds with these as pillows… ;)

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  18. This takes rice krispie treats to a whole new level! Sounds amazing!

  19. The brown butter rice krispie treats will be the FIRST recipe I will use with my new GIR Spatulas! The recipe is FAB and the Spatulas look absolutely amazing! Even if I don’t soon them, I definitely want them in my kitchen! They sound spectacular!

  20. I meant to say, even if I don’t win them…(not soon them. :)- I WILL purchase them, as they have many exceptional features one looks for when buying Spatulas!

  21. You should know…I had all of the ingredients on hand over the weekend so I decided to make a small me-sized batch of these. And WOW. I had never browned butter before and I didn’t understand the hype behind it–until I tried it myself. I guiltlessly devoured every last morsel and you better believe I’ll be making these again (maybe for other people this time). Who knew that something so simple could take these to a whole new level? Thank you for sharing such a delectable treat!

    • I am so happy that you got on board with browned butter AND that you made these, my fave RKTs of all time. I love them and I’m so glad you tried them (and maybe next time get to share with others). When I make them, I pretty much keep them all for myself. This is one treat I almost never give away :)

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  25. You have no idea how happy you have made me with this recipe. I’ve tried SO many recipes but yours is the keeper! THE most amazing Rice Krispie treats EVER. I had to control myself from eating the ooey gooeyness before it set! My husband said this was the best thing I’ve made from your recipes, so there you go. Thankyouthankyouthankyou

    • Oh I can imagine how happy you are b/c I am a huge RKTreat connoisseur. Like I’ve made it my hobby the past 3 decades to find the BEST recipe and this is it. Period. And I am so glad you love it too! For people who aren’t into RKT’s, they just can’t imagine how GOOD a perfect RKT can be or how much a good recipe is appreciated but sounds like you totally can and thanks for LMK. And for your hubs to say this is the BEST thing ever of the stuff of mine you’ve made, that’s awesome. It’s always something like RKTs (not some fancy this or that) that tends to steal those honors :)

      Keep me posted what else you try. If you like cereal bars like these, I have tons of good ones. I also have some layered bars with coconut in it you may like based on your love of coconut oil. LMK if you need recommendations!

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