Our Favorite Rice Krispie Treats Recipe

The ratio of cereal to marshmallow makes or breaks a rice krispie treat– literally! For extra gooey and buttery rice krispie treats, use this recipe. Adding a little extra butter and marshmallow, plus a splash of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt makes all the difference.

Rice krispie treats cut into squares

I wasn’t going to publish this recipe because– really– how many ways can one make a rice krispie treat? (Hello cake batter rice krispie treats from forever ago!) The internet is flooded with these classic marshmallow squares, but I figured you might like to know how I’ve been making them over the years…? Maybe? Hopefully?

This is, without question, the best way to make rice krispie treats and I have a few tricks up my sleeve to guarantee that the treats are extra marshmallow-y, extra gooey, extra buttery, extra flavorful, and extra AWESOME. I make these whenever I need something quick and guaranteed crowd-friendly. In fact, I just served a double batch at a big cookout over the weekend. Not a single square left.

Crispy rice treats are a totally retro dessert and once you take that first bite, you’re instantly reminded why they’re a staple. So good!!

Stack of rice krispie treats

5 Ingredients in These Rice Krispie Treats

You only need 5 simple ingredients for these no-bake squares.

  1. Butter: Like all good desserts, the base of great rice krispie treats is butter! You need 3/4 cup, which is 12 Tablespoons or 1.5 sticks.
  2. Marshmallows: These krispie treats are extra marshmallow-y without falling apart. You need 2 10-ounce bags (about 11 heaping cups) of mini marshmallows.
  3. Vanilla Extract: This is an easy addition that turns a good rice krispie treat into a great rice krispie treat. You only need 1/2 teaspoon, but what a difference it makes!
  4. Salt: Salt is another little addition I add to my rice krispie treats. Like vanilla extract, salt is a super convenient ingredient and you don’t need much of it. Just a pinch adds a depth of flavor otherwise absent from crispy rice treats.
  5. Rice Krispies Cereal: What’s a crispy treat without rice krispies cereal? The best!

Melt the butter and marshmallows in a big pot on the stove, then remove from heat and gently stir in the remaining ingredients. I just use my handy 5.5 quart dutch oven. It’s the perfect size!

Melted marshmallow butter mixture for crispy rice treats in a pot

Rice krispie treat mixture in pink pot

Best Ratio of Marshmallow to Cereal

An important factor in a rice krispie treat recipe is the ratio of marshmallow to cereal. Too much cereal and the squares will taste dry, crunchy, and bland. Too much marshmallow and the squares will be too sticky and fall apart. The best ratio for a 9×13 inch baking pan is 2 10-ounce bags of mini marshmallows (11 heaping cups) and 9 cups of cereal.

To prevent any kind of sticking, line your baking pan with greased parchment paper. I just lightly spray the parchment paper with a little nonstick spray.

Pan of rice krispie treats with spatula

The #1 Trick for Rice Krispie Treats

Do you want an extra buttery melt-in-your-mouth marshmallow square? Of course you do. In order to achieve this, do NOT pack the rice krispie treats down into the baking pan. Use greased fingers or a greased spatula to softly spread and stretch the mixture into the pan, then use a flat spatula to very gently press the mixture down. Do not compact it with force otherwise your treats will be thin and hard. Instead, just lightly press the treats down into the pan. Butter the back of a flat spatula or spray with a little nonstick spray to prevent sticking. Your treats will be soft yet crisp and not overly crunchy. 🙂

I recommend doing this with my scotcheroos, too!

Rice krispie treats

rice krispie treats

That’s basically it! I don’t need to convince you that rice krispie treats are delicious, but I hope you try these little extras (the vanilla, salt, ratio of marshmallow to cereal) the next time you need a recipe for these marshmallow squares.

How do you make rice krispie treats?

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Rice krispie treats cut into squares

Our Favorite Rice Krispie Treats

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 20 treats
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This is our favorite recipe for classic rice krispie treats. Adding a little extra butter and marshmallow, plus a splash of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt makes all the difference! Let them set for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares.


Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (170g; 1.5 sticks) unsalted butter
  • two 10 ounce bags (11 heaping cups) mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 9 cups (270g) crispy rice cereal

Instructions

  1. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease the parchment. I always use a very light mist of nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a very large pot. Once melted, add the marshmallows. Stir the mixture until the marshmallows are completely melted.
  3. Remove from heat, then immediately stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Finally, fold in the cereal. Make sure each piece of cereal is coated with the marshmallow mixture.
  4. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Using a rubber spatula (greasing it lightly helps), gently spread mixture to fit the pan. Lightly grease the back of a flat spatula and very gently press the mixture down into the pan. Do not pack it down with force, just lightly press down so it’s secure in the pan.
  5. Allow treats to set for at least 1 hour at room temperature and up to 1 day. Cover tightly if leaving out for more than a few hours.
  6. Lift the rice krispie treats as a whole out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares.
  7. Cover and store leftover treats at room temperature for up to 3 days. To store, place in layers between sheets of parchment or wax paper.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Rice krispie treats aren’t the best dessert to freeze because the texture isn’t always completely the same after thawing. That being said, you can still freeze these squares. Freeze in layers between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a freezer container for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
  2. If gluten free, check labels to ensure all products are certified gluten free.
  3. For the pinch of salt, I always add a little less than 1/8 teaspoon.

Adapted from Kellogg’s

Keywords: marshmallow

185 Comments

  1. Great recipe! The gluten free Rice Krispies are no longer produced and regular Rice Krispies are not gluten free. So you may want to move this to another section. Thanks for sharing your recipes!

    1. Just made these with the Malt O Meal value bag of Crispie Rice cereal (found mine at Walmart) which is certified gluten free. Turned out great! Perfect ratio of butter and marshmallow 🙂

    2. Patricia Hargis says:

      Just learned that Aldi’s rice crispies are one of the few cereals that are gluten free without malt syrup (barley) in it without spending a lot on special GF cereal . My grand-kids have allergies of dairy, gluten, soy, peanut & chocolate. Recipes are a challenge! I use (artificial) butter flavored crisco instead of real butter works almost as well….the vanilla & salt makes a difference also.

  2. This recipe is so good. I made it last year and will make it this week. It will be our treat this week while we stay safe at home! Thank you

  3. What kind of salt do you use for this recipe? I usually use kosher salt but wasn’t sure since it’s not really going to cook down.

    1. I usually use table salt. A pinch of kosher salt would be fine.

    2. I used kosher salt. I made these as ‘people’ treats for the barn. The response, and I quote, “The best Rice Krispy Treats I ever had.” Thank you for this recipe. We’re being hit hard with COVID19 on Long Island. At least we had Easter at the barn.

  4. These look amazing! Roughly how long do they last without freezing?
    Looms like a great lockdown “bake”!

  5. Brooke Teeter-Stocz says:

    Could I substitute fruity pebbles cereal for Rice Krispies cereal?

    1. Absolutely.

  6. Could I use margarine or will it not taste as good?

  7. Can I use Mashmallow Fluff instead of marshmallows?

    1. Hi Pat, marshmallow fluff/creme stays in its “liquid”/thin consistency, where marshmallows will help solidify the treats. I don’t recommend substituting.

      1. Sometimes finding vegetarian marshmallows is a challenge… do you think boiled honey is a better option than marshmallow fluff? Thanks!

  8. I hadn’t made Rice Krispies in so long, they always turned out too dry. So glad I tried your recipe! Very easy and the ratio of marshmallow to cereal created a perfectly sticky square. I will definitely make these again. Thank you!!!

  9. How many marshmallows if we are using the normal (not mini) sized ones? Thanks!

    1. I’d think a cup of small marshmallows is still equal to a cup of big marshmallows… so I’d just follow the same directions.

  10. I haven’t made these for years….but Covid lockdown has got me making more things at home so I thought I’d make these, as they are quick and I had fond memories of them. I discovered quickly though that they are crazy sweet. Obviously with all that marshmallow it is bound to be so…I guess my tastes have changed. My partner was thrilled to hear this news and said “yay! Then they are all mine!” He’s right. He can have them. Kids of course would love these, too. Took me no time to make, I did halve the recipe actually….and just a bit of setting time to wait out. I reccomend the recipe…for most folks looking for a nostalgic dessert treat.

  11. This recipe was amazing. It is the best recipe I have ever tried! Well worth it!

  12. lilah feuerstein says:

    amazing recipe

  13. Better than the pre made ones.

  14. Christine Daniels says:

    Amazing! This recipe is perfect! Gooey and the right amount of marshmallow.

  15. we like to add peanut butter to ours. about 1/4 cup – 1/3 cup

  16. Simply Delicious 🙂

  17. Absolutely perfect!!! Creamy and gooey!!! Surprised (but shouldn’t have been!) at all the others who made this as a quarantine treat! 😛

    1. Try making them with brown butter as an alternative and you won’t be disappointed! So delicious! Also, I have made them with salted butter and I think that actually cuts through the sweetness a little more. When I use unalted butter I use 2 pinches of salt.

  18. Wowsers! My kids can’t believe how much better these are than the pre-packaged treats. With just marshmallow and crispy they are good, but lacking that little extra love. Great job on the additions! We’ll do it this way from now on!

  19. Susan Robbins says:

    How can something so simple be so good?! I made these today for the first time and am blown away. The vanilla really does make a difference. These will definitely get a slot in my office and neighborhood potluck rotation. Thank you!

  20. Hi there. I was wondering if you thought you could put these into muffin pans and make individual, already sized pieces and they would turn out fine?

    1. I don’t see why that wouldn’t work, Stacy!

  21. Would I still need the same amount of butter if I wanted to brown the butter first?

    1. Hi Diana, When browning butter it’s a good idea to star with more than you need as it will a loss of moisture. See my post on How to Brown Butter for a detailed explanation and instructions!

  22. Pauline Mitchell says:

    These were THE BEST I’ve ever tasted in my life! I never liked these treats, but decided to make them for my kids. I have fallen in love. I’m sure I will make these enough to make up for never wanting to eat them as a child. Lol. I think it’s the Vanilla and salt that did the trick. Thanks so much for sharing!

  23. BEST RECIPE FOR RICE KRISPIE TREATS! THANK YOU!!

  24. I made these with a bag of somewhat stale mini marshmallows, but they still turned out amazing! The first bite brought me right back to my childhood… it’s probably been 10-15 years since I had a homemade rice krispy treat. I’ll definitely need to make these again!

  25. This recipe: PHENOMENAL! The ratio of cereal to marshmallow was spot on. I added the slightest touch of cinnamon and sugar to dust the top *chef kiss* BRILLIANT! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  26. I have regular size marshmallows. Can I use them instead? Should I cut them up to help them melt?

    1. Hi Donna, you can use the full size marshmallows. You will need 20 oz total. Feel free to cut them, but they’ll melt down just fine if you leave them whole.

  27. Melissa A Shelton says:

    Making them in a dutch oven… genius! Easiest prep I’ve ever had, no one rice cereal piece escaped! Thanks for the awesome tip (and all the awesome recipes too).

  28. Absolutely loved this recipe! Not dry like others I have made. Thank you so much!

  29. Donna Carey says:

    For many years I have been making my version of traditional Rice Krispy Treats which involves what you have done: Added much more butter and in my case, I have cut back some on the cereal. The results are the same – gooier, butterier treats. After the treats have cooled, I spread a layer of melted milk chocolate chips over the top and then top with another batch of the treats so in essence you have a Rice-Krispy-Milk-Chocolate-Sandwich. People love them! (PS: I’ve been baking for over 65 years but have still enjoyed trying some of your delicious recipes!)

  30. Try making them with brown butter as an alternative and you won’t be disappointed! So delicious! Also, I have made them with salted butter and I think that actually cuts through the sweetness a little more. When I use unsalted butter I use 2 pinches of salt instead of one.

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