Special K Bars — Super chewy, gooey, FAST, easy, no-bake cereal bars loaded with peanut butter, chocolate, and sprinkles!! Like scotcheroos but with Special K! Great for impromptu hostess gifts or cookie exchanges because they’re irresistible!!
Christmas Special K Bars Recipe
This easy no-bake dessert is extremely chewy, dense, gooey, has peanut butter undertones, and is topped with semi-sweet chocolate and sprinkles. Special K bars are just like scotcheroos, but made with Special K rather than Rice Krispies cereal.
If you’re a fan of any bar-type snack/dessert resembling Rice Krispies Treats, I have a feeling you will love these. There’s no marshmallow in the recipe, but the gooeyness of the brown sugar-butter-peanut butter sauce that’s poured over the Special K is similar in a way.
Just like there are some people who are really, really into cheesecake or really into brownies, I’ve come to realize there are people out there who love the chewy-gooey aspect of cereal bars and are really into them. I am definitely one of those people. I would rather have one of these than many so-called ‘fancy’ desserts that take hours (or days) to make.
The Special K Bars make great little impromptu gifts and work well in cookie exchanges in decorative bags because they keep fresh for a long time.
Ingredients in Special K Bars
This recipe for Special K peanut butter bars calls for basic ingredients I always keep stocked during the holiday season. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Special K cereal
- Unsalted butter
- Light brown sugar
- Light corn syrup
- Peanut butter
- Vanilla extract
- Chocolate chips
How to Make Special K Bars
This is one of my favorite Special K treats because it’s so easy to prepare, and the recipe is fairly flexible. Here’s a rundown of how the bars are made:
- Boil together butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup.
- Then, add in the peanut butter, vanilla, and salt.
- Pour the mixture over Special K Cereal.
- Turn the mixture into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish.
- Top with a mixture of melted butter and chocolate (the butter keeps the chocolate from being too hard once set).
- Let sit at room temperature until set, about 2 hours.
I also added holiday sprinkles since it’s that time of year. ‘Tis the season to get festive and sprinkle away. Omit the sprinkles or use a different color to suit a different holiday!
Recipe Variations to Try
For being such a simple peanut butter Special K bars recipe, it’s surprisingly versatile! Here are some recipe variations you can try:
- Add butterscotch chips: I added a basic melted chocolate chip topping because that’s how my Grandma made these Special K bars and this is her recipe. However, you’re welcome to use half chocolate chips, half butterscotch chips in the topping.
- Make a chocolate peanut butter topping: Drive home the peanut butter flavor by making this topping instead of the classic chocolate topping.
- Make it peanut-free: If you have allergies in your house, swap the peanut butter for a no-stir almond butter or another preferred nut or seed butter.
- Add toppings: Besides sprinkles, you could add toffee bits, chopped nuts, flavored baking chips, you name it!
How to Store Special K Bars
I have stored them at room temp for about a month and I have also stored it in the fridge for even longer, like two months. Maybe not ideal, but they were fine. As always, use your best judgment, but I am just sharing my personal findings about how long the bars keep.
Tips for Making Special K Bars
I prefer topping my Special K bars with melted semi-sweet chocolate chips, but you can use any type you’d like. For a stronger scotheroos-like flavor, you could use half butterscotch chips, half semi-sweet.
If you like your bars super gooey, add less Special K than the recipe calls for.
Also, use whatever color sprinkles you like for this recipe. I used green, white, and red sprinkles for Christmas, but you can switch up the sprinkles to suit whatever you’re celebrating.
I’m sure you could easily double this recipe. You’d need to split the Special K bars between two 9×13-inch pans though.
Pin This Recipe
- 5 to 6 cups Special K cereal (less cereal results in gooier bars)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup light-colored corn syrup
- heaping 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- one 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- holiday sprinkles, as desired
- Line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil for easier cleanup and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- To a large bowl, add the Special K; set aside.
- To a medium, high-sided stockpot, add the butter and heat over medium-high heat to melt.
- After the butter is mostly melted, add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and whisk to combine. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring intermittently.
- Remove the pot from the heat, add the peanut butter, vanilla, salt, and whisk to incorporate.
- Pour mixture over the Special K and using a spatula, stir to toss and coat evenly.
- Turn cereal out into prepared pan, lightly pressing it with a spatula; set aside while you make the topping.
Make the Bars
Make the Topping
- To a medium microwave-safe bowl, add the chocolate chips, butter, and heat in 3-second bursts until chips and butter have melted and can be stirred smooth.
- Turn the chocolate topping out over the cereal, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula to distribute it.
- Evenly sprinkle with the sprinkles and allow bars and chocolate to set up before serving, about 2 hours. If you’re in a rush, you can put the pan in the fridge to save time.
- Bars will keep airtight at room temp for 2 weeks and in the fridge for at least 1 month.
- Recipe adapted from my Special K Bars.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 352Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 307mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 2gSugar: 30gProtein: 8g
More Easy Holiday Desserts:
White Chocolate-Dipped Oreo Cookie Balls — These are such a simple no-bake treat with only 4 ingredients, and everyone loves them!
Graham Cracker Toffee — If you’re looking for a recipe that will disappear at holiday parties, cookie exchanges, neighborhood potlucks, or school bake sales, this graham cracker toffee is a guaranteed winner.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls — EASY, NO-BAKE chocolate peanut butter balls that are a holiday favorite!! They have it all: Salty, sweet, crunchy, with chocolate and peanut butter!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Stacks — What I love about these little cookie stacks is that they’re salty and sweet, crunchy from the crackers yet creamy from the peanut butter, and gooey from marshmallow creme.
Buckeye Fudge — People can’t resist dense, chewy peanut butter fudge with a layer of chocolate that’s begging you to sink your teeth into it.
12 Easy No-Bake Holiday Desserts – No time to bake? Here are 12 FAST and EASY no-bake recipes! Whether you want chocolate, peanut butter, cheesecake, bark, or truffles, these recipes have you covered!!
25 Holiday Cookie Favorites – The tried-and-true favorites are all here! If you need a holiday cookie recipe, this collection has you covered!