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How Not To Make Crisp Rice Cereal Bars

Updated on December 14, 2015
Photo of marshmallows generously shared by Kym McLeod on SXC at
Photo of marshmallows generously shared by Kym McLeod on SXC at

The Story of Marshmallow Stickiness

I hadn't been allowed to do much in the kitchen when I was growing up so when I finally got out on my own I was clueless about a lot of things. I have always had soft spot in my heart (head) for crisped rice treats. They are the essence of simplicity. One simply melts marshmallows with a dab of butter, stirs the mix until it is homogeneous, and then stirs in crisp rice cereal. Nothing could be easier.

So I went out and bought some store brand crisp rice cereal and a bag of mini-marshmallows one cold and rainy evening after work. I had butter already.

Everything went great at first. The marshmallows were melting with the butter and not sticking to the pot. The crisp rice cereal mixed in, easy at first, then with a little more difficulty but, so far so good. I was pouring the mixture into a nine by eleven pan when the doorbell rang.

Hurriedly, I pushed the now mostly cooled mixture into the pan with my clean, dry hand.


The mixture stuck to my hand and somehow to my other hand as well. I yelled, “I’m coming!” and tried to scrape the gunk off with the mixing spoon. I quickly got most of it and grabbed a wet dish towel on my way to the door.

My landlady had stopped by to let me know I hadn’t signed my last rent check and we stood on the covered porch gabbing for some time. My cat started meowing fairly loudly from the kitchen and I heard some small crashing noises so my landlady left so I could take care of it.

At first, I was upset. Then I wished I had a camera.

My tiny mackerel-striped tabby was stuck in the pan of crisp rice treats like a bug on flypaper. She was very adventurous as far as food was concerned and quite aggressive about getting what she wanted; only this time what she wanted got her instead.

I quickly realized I had forgotten to grease my hands.

So I removed sticky rice cereal from my cat in a bath she very much did not wish to have. Dabbing antibiotic ointment on my scratches in the aftermath, I then remembered the mess in my kitchen. The ingredients were knocked over and spread about but then again so was most everything. Kitty had panicked and created quite a disturbance.

I managed to salvage a small portion of the treat mix from where it was lodged in the pot. But the most important thing I gained that day was knowledge of how not to make rice cereal bars.

If you want to know how to do it right, check out the recipe below or just read your next box of Rice Krispies.


  • 3 tablespoons butter plus butter for greasing hands and pan
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
  • 5 cups crisp rice cereal
  • A sprinkle of salt

Instructions for Making Crisp Rice Treats Without Disastrous Sticking

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot on medium heat
  2. Do not boil the butter.
  3. Add in a dash of salt.
  4. Slowly add the marshmallows, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Continue stirring until the marshmallows are all dissolved.
  7. Dump in the rice cereal and stir the mixture together until the rice is evenly distributed in the sticky stuff.
  8. Dump mixture into greased pan. I use an 8" by 8" casserole that's deep sometimes and sometimes I use a 9" by 13" pan.
  9. Gently pat it down with a well-buttered hand or well-buttered spatula.
  10. Allow it to cool.
  11. Cut into blocks, bars, cubes, or wedges with a sharp, buttered knife and devour as desired.
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