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Rice Krispies Treats: A Childhood Favorite

Updated on August 30, 2008
shawna.wilson profile image

Shawna is a registered nurse raising a family in the beautiful desert of Arizona.

The original Rice Krispies Treats recipe.
The original Rice Krispies Treats recipe.

The History of Rice Krispies Treats

Rice Krispies treats have been a childhood favorite for decades. Their origin can be traced back to the mid 19th century when puffed grain was mixed with molasses and pressed into molds. A sister to the puffed rice treat, the popcorn ball, was also popular at that time. Kellogg's patented Rice Krispies cereal in 1928, and the original recipe for Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats first appeared on the box in 1940. Mildred Day, a graduate from Iowa State's home economics program, is credited with inventing Rice Krispies Treats. She worked for Kellogg's and originally developed the treats as a snack for a Campfire Girls fundraiser. In 1995, Kellogg's began selling pre-packaged Rice Krispies Treats, and they are still found on grocery store shelves today.

Rice Krispies Treats are traditionally cut into squares.
Rice Krispies Treats are traditionally cut into squares.

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats

Recipes for Rice Krispies treats vary depending on the source. If you follow the directions on the cereal box, you'll get a treat on the crispier side. If you follow the recipe on the bag of marshmallows, you'll get a gooier treat. So make them according to your preference. This is the recipe my family likes the best.


3 tablespoons butter

4 cups mini marshmallows (or about 40 large marshmallows)

6 cups crisp rice cereal

In a large microwave safe bowl, heat butter and marshmallows on high for 2 minutes. Stir. Heat on high for 1 minute. Stir again. Add crisp rice cereal and stir until evenly coated. Press mixture into a greased 13x9 glass dish using wax paper. Let cool. Cut into squares and serve.

I have found that using brand name ingredients really does make a difference with this recipe. Maybe you'll feel differently, so try preparing the treats with generic cereal and marshmallows. It's definitely worth a try. Make sure to use fresh marshmallows from an unopened package. I used the leftover marshmallows from on open bag once, and the treats came out hard as a rock. Rice Krispies treats only stay soft for about a day, so store them in a sealed container and eat them quickly. If they get too hard, microwave each square for 20 seconds or so before eating. It will soften up just long enough for you to enjoy its ooey gooey goodness.

Making Rice Krispies Treats is so easy, and it literally takes only minutes to prepare. The clean up is minimal too, which is always a bonus. Rice Krispies Treats are a great snack to make in the summer because they can be prepared without using the stove or the oven, so you won't heat up the house. It's also a great way for kids to help in the kitchen. They can do the pouring while Mom or Dad does the stirring. Let them press the mixture into the pan too.

Use cookie cutters to turn your treats into fun shapes.
Use cookie cutters to turn your treats into fun shapes.

Here are some fun ideas to jazz up the traditional recipe:

  • Stir in one cup of M&Ms candies just before pressing the mixture into the pan. Use holiday colored candies to make this a festive snack for any occasion
  • Pour melted chocolate chips over the top and sprinkle with crushed Butterfinger candy bars or crushed peppermints
  • Use Cocoa Krispies instead of plain Rice Krispies
  • Stir in ½ cup of creamy peanut butter after melting the butter and marshmallows
  • Add some color by shaking sugar crystal sprinkles into the mixture just before pressing it into the pan
  • Press treat mixture into a greased shallow cookie sheet and use cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes. This is fun for the kids and also great for holidays.

Enjoy making this yummy treat for your kids. Even better, after the kids go to bed, whip up a batch for yourself. Mmmmm!

For additional Rice Krispies recipes and other information, click here to visit the experts at Kellogg's.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I never thought about the connection between rice krispies bars & popcorn balls...I wonder what factors lead to their popularity at that time?

    • shawna.wilson profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Arizona

      That sounds like a really cute idea!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      My wife is a Rice Krispies Treat artist. She adds food coloring and make some amazing stuff. For 4th of July she stacked red, white and blue together and cut them into shapes. It leaves your tongue all kinds of colors but everyone loved them.


    • shawna.wilson profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Arizona

      My mom used to always add peanut butter to the "dough." She said it added some nutrition ;) They were very tasty.

    • frogyfish profile image


      9 years ago from Central United States of America

      I like them crispy best.  So easy and so umm-mm.  I haven't added in the peanut better, but I have spread it on the treat to eat!  :-)  Fun thanks!

    • shawna.wilson profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Arizona

      I love them too, especially because they're so quick and easy to make. No oven needed. Enjoy!

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 

      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      I have never made these myself and I really like them. After reading your variations portion, I am excited about making them this year. Thank you.


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