Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

brown butter rice krispie treats

The Spruce Eats / Pete Scherer

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 9 servings

Rice krispies treats are a classic dessert. Invented in 1939, the treat has since become so ubiquitous that today it’s probably difficult to find a child over the age of five who hasn’t at some point eaten too many and become bored with them. With updated ingredients, however, and a couple of simple tweaks, this recipe for brown butter rice krispie treats restores that bygone “wow!”

It’s always fun to change up a classic—the transformation of old into new, the discovery of fresh potential hidden inside tradition, is immensely satisfying. These treats are one of many possible variations given today's vast range of fancy marshmallows and unique breakfast cereals. Feel free to ignore the specific items mentioned here and use normal stuff, but don’t skip the toasted cereal. It adds a lot of flavor and gives the squares a fun, almost rustic, speckled look. Don’t lose the browned butter either. It really sends this humble bake-sale staple over the top.


  • 160 grams (about 6 cups) organic sprouted brown rice crisps cereal
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 10-ounce bag vegan vanilla marshmallows

Steps to Make It

  1. Coat an 8 by 8 by 2-inch pan with butter or pan spray.

  2. Stirring frequently, toast the cereal in a large cast-iron pan over medium-low heat to three different levels: when the cereal is lightly toasted, remove one third of it from the pan to a large bowl. When the remaining two-thirds of the cereal is toasted to a medium golden brown, remove half to the same bowl. Toast the remaining cereal to a darker golden brown, then remove from the heat, add it to the rest of the toasted cereal, mix in the sea salt, and set aside.

  3. In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the stick of butter over medium heat, then continue cooking, swirling gently, until the butter is browned and fragrant. Remove from heat.

  4. Add the marshmallows to the hot melted butter and stir. If the heat of the butter isn’t enough to thoroughly melt the marshmallows, place the saucepan over low heat and stir until marshmallows are fully melted and combined with the butter.

  5. Add the melted marshmallow mixture to the bowl of toasted cereal. Combine by folding with a rubber spatula. When the mixture is well incorporated, transfer to the prepared dish. Press down with the spatula to distribute evenly around the pan.

  6. Allow to cool, then cut into nine squares, and serve.

Recipe Tip

The vegan marshmallows recommended in this recipe melt a little differently than marshmallows that contain gelatin. Don’t worry if you can't find vegan ones—just get the regular marshmallows as smooth and melted as you can.