DIY Food

How to Make Any Cereal Treats Without a Recipe

September 23, 2013

Here at Food52, we love recipes -- but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don't always need a recipe, you'll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.

Today: Get in touch with your inner child; no recipe required. 

How to Make Cereal Treats Without a Recipe from Food52

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Back in my elementary school bake sale days, one confection reigned supreme: Rice Krispie Treats. Their hands-on and carefree creation was an after school activity, a pre-dinner party, or a just-before-bedtime reward. We'd double the amount of marshmallow and cut them into squares the size of our heads, creating a finished product that no 4th grader could resist. Our fingers would be gooey and our faces tinged with residual marshmallow streaks. When I brought them to the sale, I always sold out first.

I may not be in 4th grade anymore, but my love for this classic hasn't faded. In fact, I think it has grown because they are one snack that can be prepared in under 10 minutes almost anywhere. Even in my college dorm room. Now I spice them up, with layers of crushed cookies or sprinkles of spiced nuts. Toss, mix, fold, play, and stir up your inner child.

How to Make Any Cereal Treats Without a Recipe

1. Melt about 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan or the microwave. Add a bag of big fluffy marshmallows (or if you're like me and like them really marshmallow-y, add more than a bag).

Cereal Treats DIY from Food52


2. Stir until totally melted on the stove, or put them back in the microwave on high until puffy.

Marshmallow Butter from Food52


3. Toss in whatever type of cereal you want; classic Rice Krispies, cocoa-flavored ones, and just about any other small, light, crunchy cereal shape make for delicious marshmallow treats. Dump in any other additions too, like chocolate chips, crushed cookies, or peanut butter chips. Go nuts. Speaking of, add some of those too.

Rice Krispie Treats from Food52


4. Press the mixture into a greased parchment-coated pan in an even layer, and cool. Sometimes I go crazy and layer half the mixture and then add crushed chocolate cookies and top with the other half of the mixture.

Rice Krispie Treats from Food52


5. Cut into enormous squares and remember your childhood.

Rice Krispie Treats from Food52

Looking for more inspiration? Try these out:

Hippie Crispy Treats
Five Minute, No-Bake Vegan Granola Bars
Oats and Quinoa Breakfast Bars

Photos by James Ransom

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • positivelyellie
  • Patti Phillipi
    Patti Phillipi
  • judy
  • Jeninah
  • Luz marina
    Luz marina
The kitchen is my haven and feeding people is my activity of choice. Butter is as crucial to my life as air, and if you put avocado or bacon on anything and put it in my vicinity, consider it gone. Check out my recipes and food adventures on


positivelyellie July 9, 2021
I make a quick microwave one if I do not have time and it is amazing! All you do is melt butter and a few marshmallows and then add any cereal and you can serve hot in a bowl or chill it and cut it
Patti P. October 12, 2016
Lemon zest added to the melted marshmallows makes a tasty variation—like a lemon cream cookie!
positivelyellie July 9, 2021
Ooh I need to try that! That’s sounds delicious.
judy May 24, 2016
though I always liked the rice krispies in this treat growing up in the 60-70's, I wanted to make them "more nutritious" for my own kids. I always made them with cheerios and added 1/2 cup peanut butter to the marshmallows. Liked them a whole lot better. My kids and their friends devoured them!
E. D. October 14, 2016
You're fortunate that none of your family has a peanut allergy.... haven't tried it with a substitute for peanut butter
positivelyellie July 9, 2021
I wonder if you used cashew or sunflower butter if it would taste good? You do not have to put any type of butter in it
Jeninah October 20, 2014
I made the 2nd time & add chunks of kitkat bars mms & chocolate chips it was yummy. Think i needed to add more rice crispys. But it came out great for my 2nd time lolz
Luz M. July 2, 2014
I agree with the idea of thIs site is addictive ! Love it many recipes I already are my routine ! Thank you
Luzma Florida
My favorite cereal bars add a twist of amaretto flavor, corn flakes, and browned butter:
Amandadp September 23, 2013
Add some corn flakes, coconut and sliced almonds. Heaven!!!!
Auntie L. September 23, 2013
Need recipe for amounts...
AnnieHynes September 23, 2013
on my way to the grocery store... why do you always do this to me!!! hahah, this site is soooo addictive
Jenny G. September 23, 2013
I haven't purchased Rice Krispies in quite some time now, but if I recall correctly the recipe for rice krispies treats is always printed on the cereal box and/or bags of mini marshmallows. Probably 99% of the time..
positivelyellie July 9, 2021
I don’t have them but I’m making this recipe with some Cocoa Puffs 😂
ca2626 September 23, 2013
Not saying this to be a jerk, at all, but this isn't really "not a recipe," it's just like a simple recipe and a post that's missing something crucial. If you had written out "3 T butter / 1 bag marshmallows / X c cereal or snacks of your choosing" and then listed instructions, we would all recognize that as a recipe - and that's more or less what I see here, except there's no value supplied for X. I don't feel like I learned anything here, though it would be fun to hear, say, some of your favorite combinations you've come up with, or something like that. Or, to follow the "not a recipe" idea, maybe you could work out the actual ratio!
Chrystal May 16, 2014
I have to totally agree! When I read non-recipe I was looking for a general ratio. Instead I know how much butter and marshmallows and no idea how much cereal!
walkie74 September 23, 2013
There is a dessert called Igor Bars that are basically Rice Krispie Treats on steroids. I suggest that people start with Stay Hungree's recipe and then go here...
Amanda H. September 23, 2013
I'd love to hear what other cereals work well -- like, do Cheerios? Or Wheat Chex?
Amanda S. September 23, 2013
Honey Rice Chex works FABULOUSLY! So tasty.
maryvelasquez July 4, 2015
FYI, puffed cereals deflate and are chewy rather than crunchy in the final product.
Amanda S. September 23, 2013
Kenzi, I think that's the most necessary idea I've ever heard.
Kenzi W. September 23, 2013
Do you think this would work with Cinnamon Toast Crunch? Do you all hate me for asking that?
Trees September 23, 2013
My college dining service used to do this all the time! Those bars were delicious.
Brette W. September 23, 2013
Might need to make these tonight.