Scotcheroos (Without Corn Syrup)

Made from just 8 ingredients, these no-bake scotcheroos cereal bars are chewy, crispy, and downright irresistible. Combining butterscotch, real chocolate, creamy peanut butter, sea salt, and rice krispies cereal, these are as easy as they are flavorful. Most traditional recipes call for corn syrup, but I use honey instead.

scotcheroos without corn syrup

Welcome to day 5 in Sally’s Cookie Palooza! After a week full of cookies, I think it’s time for some squares. Scotcheroos totally count as holiday cookies. In fact, I can’t think of any holiday where these bars aren’t welcome.

What are Scotcheroos Bars?

Scotcheroos are a no-bake cereal bar similar to rice krispie treats. Replace the marshmallows and butter with sugar and peanut butter, then add a chocolate butterscotch topping. They’re chewy, soft, and crispy all in one. Obviously this is a dessert you need to make today and every other day of the year. They smell like a dream and literally FLY OFF THE COOKIE TRAY whenever I bring them anywhere. They cause an absolute frenzy.

And they’re wildly easy to make.

scotcheroos

Homemade Scotcheroos Without Corn Syrup

The original scotcheroos recipe comes from Kelloggs. It’s divine, as you can imagine, but I’ve been switching a few things based on what I have on hand. The original recipe calls for 1 cup of corn syrup and 1 cup of sugar, but I actually use 1 cup of honey and 1/2 cup of sugar. The bars are still plenty sweet and I appreciate *a little* unrefined sugar where I can get it. (Obviously these are not health food, but you get the idea.)

These scotcheroos are made without corn syrup, have a little less sugar, and are topped with sea salt to offset some sweetness. I also increase the ingredients in the topping so we have a thicker layer of chocolate butterscotch. YES.

 

scotcheroos cereal bars

Just 8 Ingredients

  1. Honey: I use honey instead of corn syrup. Honey adds flavor too!
  2. Sugar: You need 1/2 cup of regular granulated sugar to mix with the honey.
  3. Peanut Butter: Natural-style would be totally fine, but for best texture, I recommend a creamy peanut butter like Jif or Skippy. You need 1 cup.
  4. Vanilla Extract: A splash of vanilla extract is totally welcome with these flavors! I don’t make rice krispie treats without it either.
  5. Crispy Rice Cereal: This cereal is the base of the scotcheroo filling.
  6. Butterscotch Morsels: We’ll use butterscotch morsels (like chocolate chips, but butterscotch flavor) in the topping. See below for more info!
  7. Chocolate: You need 6 ounces of chocolate for the topping, which is 1.5 four ounce baking bars. I really like Ghirardelli or Bakers brand, found in the baking aisle.
  8. Coconut Oil: Coconut oil thins out the chocolate butterscotch topping. Without it, the topping would be stiff and clumpy. Butter works too.

And sea salt for a little garnish!

 

scotcheroos ingredients

How to Make Scotcheroos

  1. Simmer the sugar and honey together on the stove. Make sure it doesn’t come to a boil. The purpose of this step is to melt down the sugar, so it’s a little less granular.
  2. Add peanut butter and vanilla extract.
  3. Stir in the crispy rice cereal. Taste it. Fall in love.
  4. Spread into a 9×13 inch pan. Use a spatula to softly spread the mixture evenly into the pan, then lightly pat it down. Don’t compact it too much, though. Packing it down too much will lend you thin and hard bars. We want soft and chewy. 🙂
  5. Melt chocolate, butterscotch, and coconut oil together. I recommend using the stove.
  6. Spread on top. Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired.
  7. Chill until set. This takes about 2 hours.

peanut butter rice krispies cereal mixture

spreading scotcheroos mixture into pan

Chocolate Butterscotch Topping Success

Scotcheroos are typically “frosted” with a chocolate butterscotch topping made from butterscotch morsels/chips and chocolate chips. If you’ve ever tried melting butterscotch morsels before you know that… they don’t really melt. And if you’re lucky enough to melt them down properly, the consistency is stiff, chalky, and thick. I’ve found that butterscotch morsels melt down much easier the fresher they are. Old bags are impossible to melt down, but I have better luck with newer bags.

Same goes with chocolate chips. They aren’t made to melt. That’s why we use them in cookies– so they hold their chocolate chip shape! Anyway, we can avoid all the melting headaches by combining butterscotch morsels with real chocolate and coconut oil. Real chocolate = the 4 ounce baking chocolate bars found in the baking aisle. That’s what I always recommend you use when you want to melt down chocolate.

And if you don’t have coconut oil, replace with a Tablespoon of butter. We need a fat that is solid at room temperature, so don’t try using another oil.

scotcheroos chocolate topping

The topping is thick, but spreads easily. Top with a little sea salt for extra flavor.

Trust me, you’re going to be VERY happy about all this:

scotcheroos bars

What is Sally's Cookie Palooza?

Sally’s Cookie Palooza is my annual Christmas cookie countdown tradition. First starting in 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row. Over the next two weeks, I’m publishing 10 new cookie recipes. This is the biggest, most delicious event of the year! Sign up for instant updates and you’ll receive a free email alert whenever I publish a new recipe. 🙂

Click to see Sally’s Cookie Palooza over the years!

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scotcheroos without corn syrup

Scotcheroos (Without Corn Syrup)

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 20 squares
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Mixing
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Made from just 8 ingredients, these no-bake scotcheroos cereal bars are chewy, crispy, and downright irresistible. Most traditional recipes call for corn syrup, but I use honey instead.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240g) honey
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (250g) creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 cups (180g) crispy rice cereal
  • 6 ounces (170g) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped*
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (270g) butterscotch morsels
  • 1 Tablespoon (14g) coconut oil or butter
  • optional: sea salt for topping

Instructions

  1. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. No need to grease the parchment. Set aside.
  2. Combine honey and granulated sugar in a medium or large saucepan over medium heat. (Larger size because we’ll add the crispy rice cereal in the next step.) Stirring occasionally, bring to a gentle simmer. Allow to simmer for 1 minute without stirring. Do not bring to a rapid boil– that’s too hot. After 1 minute of simmering, remove from heat.
  3. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla extract until combined, then stir in the crispy rice cereal until it’s all completely coated.
  4. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Using a rubber spatula, gently spread mixture to fit the pan. 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. Combine chopped chocolate, butterscotch morsels, and coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until it’s melted together. Mixture will be thick. Spread evenly over bars. A small offset spatula is helpful for this. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt, if desired.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days. Lift the scotcheroos as a whole out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares.
  7. Cover and store leftover squares at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Freeze squares in layers between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a freezer container for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
  2. Chocolate: Use 1.5 four ounce “baking chocolate” bars found in the baking aisle. I prefer Bakers or Ghirardelli brands. You can use semi-sweet, milk chocolate, or even white chocolate. Candy melts or almond bark work too. Do not use chocolate chips, as they contain stabilizers preventing them from melting into the proper consistency– this isn’t a good idea, especially paired with butterscotch morsels which aren’t made to melt either!
  3. Butterscotch Morsels: If you don’t have access to butterscotch morsels, you can use peanut butter chips instead. Or melt 8 ounces of chocolate with 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter (skip the coconut oil) and spread on top.
  4. Adapted from Kellogg’s

Keywords: butterscotch, peanut butter, cereal bars

52 Comments

    1. Peanut butter chips would be great! Or use 8 ounces of chocolate and melt with 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter (skip the coconut oil).

    2. What would a good substitute be for the peanut butter? I have several family members that are anaphylactic so I don’t even keep it in the house.

    1. Peanut butter chips would be great! Or use 8 ounces of chocolate and melt with 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter (skip the coconut oil).

      1. That’s great! The peanut butter with chocolate will probably be the best for us.

        Thank you so much for your reply

  1. This is amazing!! I loved scotcheroos as a snack when my grandma made them, but I haven’t made them myself because I don’t like using corn syrup.

    Thanks so much for creating recipes that are tested and thoughtful. Your blog has become my go-to for anything baking and I’ve had nothing but success! We made the dough for your Christmas sugar cookies and chocolate gingerbread linzer cookies last night and will be finishing those on Saturday.

    1. Loved reading your sweet comment, Abbie! Thank you so much for baking and trusting my recipes 🙂 Happy cookie baking this weekend!

  2. Hi Sally! These look awesome, except a member of my family has an extreme allergy to peanuts. We don’t stock any sort of nut butter, but we do have nutella? Could it be swapped in to make the bars pure chocolate?

    1. Hi Sarah! I haven’t tried Nutella instead of peanut butter, so I can’t say for sure. You may want to add another 1/2 – 3/4 cup of crispy rice cereal if you try it. Nutella is a little thinner than peanut butter. I do not recommend substituting Nutella for the chocolate bars.

  3. Yesss! I LOVE scotcheroos! They were a staple of my childhood, my Grammie always supplying a big batch to eat on the bus for away soccer and basketball games. Can’t wait to try this version. Thank you Sally for another great recipe!

  4. Hi Sally! So I ran into the baking rut of being like out of honey . But I do have corn syrup. Could I possibly combine the amount of small amount of honey I have with corn syrup to create a cup of it? Thanks!

  5. HI!! I am so excited to try this! what type of Honey should I be using? I absolutely love to bake and am just starting to venture out of my comfort zone so I cant wait to try this!
    Thanks again!

  6. Sally. These were perfection. I’ve been making the old version of this recipe for years and this one was SO much better. I love that you avoided corn syrup and the coconut oil was a great substitute for butter. Seriously, you made a “tried and true” recipe even better than the original.

  7. Honestly, I was worried… a ‘rice crispy treat’ without marshmallow? But no, this isn’t a rice crispy treat, this is much better! The perfect treat for kids or adults! So simple to make even my husband said, “is that it?” And two hours later he was oohhhing and aahhhing over how delicious they were! Another recipe knocked out of the park! Now I must go hide the rest so they make it to girls night tomorrow!

  8. My Dad loved these when he was growing up. He is in his mid 80’s now and he said these tasted just like the ones his Mom used to make. Thanks for helping me make a special moment for my Dad.

  9. Hi Sally,
    I have to say I’ve never tried these bars. I love to bake and tend to bake then bring them to work to share. My main question is, would it not work with “crunchy” peanut butter?
    Thank you, Sally

  10. I made these this morning and they’re already almost all gone! So so yummy, thank you so much for sharing! I used old butterscotch chips so I was worried about them melting properly. So I made a double boiler and melted the butterscotch chips + coconut oil first, then added the chopped chocolate. It worked beautifully! Thank you Sally for this amazing recipe, it will be a new staple in my kitchen!

  11. This reminds me of childhood. And I can’t wait to try it. I love that there’s no corn syrup (nothing extra to buy for one recipe!)
    Do you have any thoughts regarding natural peanut butter? I’m wondering if that will change the consistency/sugar content. Your picture looked like Jif to me. Shall I run out and get a jar?

    1. You can use natural peanut butter here (make sure it’s not super oily or thin), but it’s ideal to use the processed stuff– it’s thicker and will help the cereal layer set properly.

  12. Scotcharoos are my husband’s absolute favorite. He raises bees as a hobby. It is so nice to find a recipe that uses honey instead of corn syrup! I made these for him yesterday, they did not disappoint! Thanks for another great recipe, Sally! I so appreciate your explanation for everything.

  13. Please send help! I was trying this recipes and CANNOT get the chocolate sauce to be actually sauce. It’s more of a tuffle filling if that makes sense? It won’t spread, I even tried twice. When the first time didn’t want to thin out, I added more butter and it seemed to work and then went REALLY wrong and then I tried again, less heat this time, chopped the chocolate bars in smaller pieces. Still NOTHING so I about half way through I popped them into the microwave only to arrive at the same stinking truffle consistency. What in heavens am I doing wrong?

    1. Hi Heather! Butterscotch morsels can be frustrating to melt down. Are you using pure chocolate? It might be helpful to melt the chocolate down first on the stove or a double boiler (stir constantly), then add the butterscotch chips and butter. Stir constantly over low heat to melt down. Coconut oil could be more helpful for you, so try that instead of the butter.

  14. Tasted great. The flavors melded well. None were overpowering any of the others. Honey was much better than corn syrup.

  15. As someone who doesn’t really like peanut butter, even I find these bars to be delicious! I did reduce the amount of sugar to about a third cup and I liked that balance better than making the bars overly sweet. Thanks for sharing!

    1. All the sugar can be left out. The honey (or corn syrup) and the topping make them plenty sweet. I find them to be way too sweet with the sugar added.

  16. This is such a wonderful treat. I have always loved anything with butterscotch morsels since having “haystacks” with chow mien noodles as a child. I made it with chocolate chips instead of the baking chocolate cause that was all I had and melted the butterscotch and choc. chips in microwave at 30 sec. intervals. It didn’t melt well as mentioned above but was spreadable with a metal spatula and still created a phenomenal dessert. The honey flavor is divine. This is a perfect quick to make dessert that will definitely impress any potluck or work function.

  17. My son is allergic to peanuts and almonds (therefore peanut butter and almond butter), but I am wondering if these can be made with cookie butter? I remember these from my childhood and would love to re-introduce them to my kids!

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