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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

Video Tutorial


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 mixture and 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.

2 images of 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
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scotcheroos without corn syrup

Scotcheroos Recipe

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 20 squares 1x
  • 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

Scale
  • 1 cup (330g) 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: scotcheroos, cereal bars

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. These are really good! I didn’t have enough honey, so I substituted some honey with light corn syrup, and used butter instead of coconut oil. I love how these aren’t rock hard like other scotcheroos I’ve had before. Thank you, Sally, for another awesome recipe!!!

  2. Hi Sally — thanks for all your recipes, I’ve used several! You say “Do not bring to a rapid boil– that’s too hot.” May I ask why? What happens if I accidentally let the honey mixture get a bit too hot? As in, large bubbles are forming? Once I noticed, I took the mixture of the heat immediately, and it didn’t taste burned.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Jen! Cooking the mixture for longer will result in harder bars. Hope they still turned out!

      1. Best Scotcheroos ever! I can’t stop eating them! Thanks for your no-fail cookbook chemistry instructions, too!

  3. Wonderful! I’ve made these twice now and they are one of my boyfriend’s absolute favorite sweets. I followed the recipe as written the first time, and although my boyfriend loved everything about them, the honey taste was a bit too strong for my personal preference. The second time I made them, I used half honey and half agave syrup. My boyfriend loved them every bit as much, and this time I thought the amount of honey flavor was just right! Will keep making them this way, probably many many more times in the future! 🙂

  4. Hello, Sally and team,
    I adore this website; most of my Christmas cookies come from this site, and I make 12 different kinds. However, I started to weigh my ingredients and noticed that the “180 g of crispy rice cereal” was not equivalent to 6 cups. The measuring dish showed 3 and 1/2 cups. I used gluten-free crispy rice cereal because name brands add malt. That might be the reason. I was wondering if the same occurrence happened to anyone else. This also happened in the butterscotch cookies. The oat’s weight was not equivalent to 3 cups. My scale is not off the butter weight matches.

    1. Hi Jordan, it may vary by brand but we weigh about 29g/cup of crispy rice cereal (such as Rice Krispies cereal) and rounded up to 180g for best success. Let us look into different brands and update in the notes where needed.

  5. Just tried this recipe with my boys (10&8). Easy and great!! Anyway of making it less sweet?? Both boys thought it was too sweet. Love your site sally!!!

    1. Hi Sima, We are glad you all enjoyed this recipe! You can try reducing the sugar just keep in mind that the texture will also be different. You can also use dark chocolate instead of semi sweet for a slightly less sweet topping. Let us know what you try!

  6. All of your recipes are divine!! I have a question, I’ve been asked to make these bars for a baby shower but to do them in sun and moon cutouts. Would I do the cutouts after they set?

    1. Yes – after they’ve set would be best. Hope they’re a hit!

  7. I love that this recipe uses honey instead of corn syrup. The bars come out with a nice texture and not hard. My complaint is the chocolate/butterscotch chip was way too thick. I made these bars about 2 years ago and the memory of the mess of the topping is coming back to me. I had to add water to get it to a semi spreadable consistency. In the future I’ll use this base but go back to the Rice Krispie recipe for the topping.

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