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.
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.
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.
Just 8 Ingredients
- Honey: I use honey instead of corn syrup. Honey adds flavor too!
- Sugar: You need 1/2 cup of regular granulated sugar to mix with the honey.
- 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.
- Vanilla Extract: A splash of vanilla extract is totally welcome with these flavors! I don’t make rice krispie treats without it either.
- Crispy Rice Cereal: This cereal is the base of the scotcheroo filling.
- Butterscotch Morsels: We’ll use butterscotch morsels (like chocolate chips, but butterscotch flavor) in the topping. See below for more info!
- 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.
- 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!
How to Make Scotcheroos
- 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.
- Add peanut butter and vanilla extract.
- Stir in the crispy rice cereal. Taste it. Fall in love.
- 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. 🙂 I recommend the same technique when making white chocolate Lucky Charms treats, too.
- Melt chocolate, butterscotch, and coconut oil together. I recommend using the stove.
- Spread on top. Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired.
- Chill until set. This takes about 2 hours.
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.
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:
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 8 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
- Yield: 20 squares
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Mixing
- Cuisine: American
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.
- 1 cup (340g) 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
- Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. No need to grease the parchment. Set aside.
- 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.
- Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla extract until combined, then stir in the crispy rice cereal until it’s all completely coated.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cover and store leftover squares at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- 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.
- Chocolate: Use 6 ounces/170g of real chocolate (that’s 1 and 1/2 of the 4-ounce “baking chocolate” bars found in the baking aisle). I prefer Baker’s 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!
- 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.
- Adapted from Kellogg’s
Keywords: scotcheroos, cereal bars
Reader Comments & Reviews
I consider myself a connoisseur of scotcheroos(LOVE them!) and this recipe was an absolute HOME RUN in my opinion! I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical about using honey at first but I was also intrigued. Man am I glad I gave these a try, the taste and texture is perfection every single time! I’ll never go back to using corn syrup. I’ve made a batch every week since I found this recipe! lol Be warned, these are highly addictive!
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, Sally! You’re a genius!
I didn’t think I would ever make Scotcheroos again. The old recipe had become way too sweet for my tastes now. So I was intrigued when I came across this version. Holy Moly!!! These are sheer perfection. And by all means, add the little bit of sea salt on top! Takes it to a while new level! My husband is now a big fan! Thanks so much for the improvement!!
I followed the recipe exactly except that I used natural peanut butter and swapped the butterscotch morsels for homemade butterscotch sauce (just 1.5x this recipe: https://www.justataste.com/easy-homemade-butterscotch-sauce-recipe/). They were a huge hit and everybody has requested the recipe. Had no trouble at all swapping in the homemade butterscotch, and the result was amazing. I use a really fine himalayan salt, so the only tweak I’ll make next time is reducing the salt in the butterscotch, bc it was just a tad bit too salty for my taste. This recipe is a keeper, though! Thanks, Sally!
Sally what would you say to sub the honey for maple syrup? Or do a honey maple syrup combo? Also I love all your recipes, I have had friends turn over to you now too! I asked for your cookie book for Christmas and your recipes have allowed me to start my own little business making cakes! It’s been so fun and I am very appreciative of your blog.
Hi Kiersa! I’m just seeing your comment/question now so my apologies on the delay responding to you. I’m so glad that you enjoy my blog and recipes– and have inspired friends to check out my site too! I really appreciate that. I don’t recommend a 1:1 swap of maple syrup for the honey. Honey is thicker and helps bind these bars together so they hold shape. You can try 1/2 of each instead though. Let me know how it goes if you haven’t tried it already.
These are so delicious and so easy. Highly recommend. The perfect texture. Perfect taste.
These were delicious! Very easy to put together, and great to make for dessert ahead of time. Thanks for another great recipe!
I am in Australia and can‘t seem to find butterscoch morsels. Is there any way around them? Thanks
Hi Cony, They are only in the topping so you can make the base recipe as written and then either top them with plain chocolate, or even try adding peanut butter chips in their place!
Is there a way to award 10 out of 5 stars!!!??? ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. Scotcheroos are hands down my hubby’s favorite sweet treat. I have made them often using the standard recipe with corn syrup and they’ve been good – sometimes a little too hard, sometimes a little too dry, but good. I don’t have any qualms about using corn syrup but decided to try this recipe because I thought it was an interesting idea… I have made it no less than 10 times since I discovered it a while ago and will never go back to the “old” “standard” recipe with corn syrup!!! The texture of these scotcheroos is consistently crunchy but not hard – ever. The ONLY downside is that honey is more expensive than corn syrup. . But since they are my hubby’s favorite – totally worth it for me. You’ve GOT TO TRY these fantastic little treats! Thank you, Sally, for solving the issue of inconsistent texture in my scotcheroos with this super reliable recipe! Super good!
Followed this recipe exactly and it was a MAJOR hit! Will definitely be making these again in the future. Thank you so much!
I’m yet to try this recipe, but it looks great! I wondered, do you think it would work to make butterscotch from scratch and just mix it with the chocolate chips for the topping? I figured if the point was to make a melty mixture, that might work, but wondered if the absence of stabilizers, etc from the chips would result in a wonky topping. Thanks!
Hi Cassie, We haven’t tried making these with homemade butterscotch – if you do, let us know how it goes!
Sally, these are delicious! I followed the recipe exactly as written and they turned out perfect. I’ve used other recipes of yours too and always find them easy to follow. Thank you so much!
I don’t have enough butterscotch chips for the topping, but I do have a bunch of caramel squares . . . do you think I could use those???
I don’t recommend caramel squares. Instead, use more chopped chocolate (or even chocolate chips) for the remaining butterscotch chips.
Why do you recommend adding sugar? I have seen recipes with just honey and wondering if I should add the extra sugar?
I can’t speak for other recipes, but these won’t set up properly without the 1/2 cup of sugar.
Thank you for your reply! I had always wondered and figured there was a reason. I did follow the recipe except tried only 1/4 cup sugar and they turned out amazing! Thank you!!
We just made these using Sunbutter, and they’re still really good!
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!
Sure can! Use the same amount of cookie butter.
We used Sunbutter (made from sunflower seeds), and they turned out delicious!
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.
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!
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.
Tasted great. The flavors melded well. None were overpowering any of the others. Honey was much better than corn syrup.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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
You can use crunchy peanut butter in this recipe, yes.
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.
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!
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.
Absolutely LOVE reading this, Ally! Thanks so much for your positive feedback- thrilled you enjoyed these!
Can this recipe be halved with no problems?
Absolutely. You can halve it in a 9×9 inch baking pan.
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!
Yes, absolutely. Combine what you have to yield 1 cup.
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.
Almond butter is great!
What would you suggest to use if we can’t get our hands on butterscotch morsels?
(I’m in the UK)
Peanut butter chips would be great! Or use 8 ounces of chocolate and melt with 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter (skip the coconut oil).