How to Make Crispy Rice Treats

By Christina Kalinowski

Crispy rice cereal treats are a tasty snack that can be made using as few as three ingredients: cereal, butter or high-end margarine and marshmallows. Melt the butter and marshmallows in the microwave or on the stovetop, stir in the cereal, then press into a lightly greased pan. This easy treat can be customized in countless ways; try stirring in a few spoonfuls of peanut butter or adding a splash of flavorful extract to punch up the flavor.

Decorated marshmallow square with caramel topping
credit: agaliza/iStock/Getty Images
Top with a sweet caramel frosting for a decadent caramel crispy rice cereal treat.

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A Sweet History

Crispy rice cereal treats were created by Kellogg's co-workers Malitta Jensen and Mildred Day in 1939. Six months later, the Kellogg company was contacted by the Camp Fire Girls of Kansas City looking for fundraiser ideas. The company sent Day, who prepared batch after batch of the treats for the girls to sell; they were an instant hit. The recipe for the crispy rice cereal treats was published on a Rice Krispies box in 1941, and now the treat can be made using many different sorts of cereal.

Sweet Variations

Crispy rice cereal treats can be modified in numerous ways. Try adding a layer of chocolate frosting, and take it one step further by sprinkling with M&M's, Reese's pieces or sprinkles. Try substituting 3 cups of rice cereal with another, such as cocoa puffed rice or fruit-flavored rice or oat cereal. Stir in a couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter or nutella or a splash of almond extract to add a new flavor dimension. Try crumbling in crushed sandwich cookies or shredded coconut or opt for flavored marshmallows.

Diet-Friendly Alternatives

For those looking for diet-friendly treats, try using homemade marshmallows. Homemade versions can be made without using sugar or less sugar than store-bought varieties. For the gluten-intolerant, look for gluten-free crispy rice cereals. Many diet, reduced calorie or tub margarines are not recommended as butter substitutes because the resulting treat texture is undesirable.

Treat Storage

If you have any leftover crispy rice cereal treats, they can be stored covered at room temperature for 2 days. You can also freeze the treats for up to 6 weeks; cut into bars and place in an airtight container, using a sheet of wax paper to separate layered bars. When ready to eat, let the crispy rice cereal treats stand at room temperature for 15 minutes to soften.