Apple Cider Doughnut Rice Krispies Treats

October  3, 2022
21 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 24
Author Notes

While a bit unassuming looking, these Rice Krispies treats contain all of the beloved flavors of apple cider doughnuts. One bite and the familiar combination of tart apple cider and warm cinnamon sugar will transport you to an apple orchard. They cram everything you love about nostalgic Rice Krispies treats with the seasonal flavors of fresh-from-the-fryer apple cider doughnuts to create a seasonal version of a childhood classic.

The trick to getting that classic autumnal flavor is to transform apple cider into a thick, bubbling caramel. To do this, you’ll reduce two cups of apple cider or unfiltered apple juice with brown butter until it becomes thick and caramel-like. This process takes time, but you can walk away and do other things as it cooks down. After about 20 minutes the cider will have transformed into a golden caramel sauce with an intense apple aroma that perfumes your house. You’ll add a bag of marshmallows to the caramel, cook it down until golden and caramelized, then finish it off with one more bag of marshmallows and puffed rice cereal. At this point, you can transfer the Rice Krispies into a pan and call it a day, but for even more apple cider doughnut flavor, a flourish of cinnamon sugar is sprinkled on top, lending them a warm flavor and festive sparkle. The bars will take about an hour to fully set, but you can feel free to sneak a few bites while they’re still warm for a true apple cider doughnut experience.
Jesse Szewczyk

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 2 cups apple cider or unfiltered apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 10-ounce bags mini marshmallows, divided (about 11 cups total)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 12-ounce box rice cereal, such as Rice Krispies (about 10 cups)
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue cooking, stirring often to prevent the milk solids from burning, until the butter foams and darkens into a light amber color and smells nutty, 4 to 6 minutes. Immediately add the apple cider, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Let the cider boil, stirring occasionally, until it reduces into a thick, bubbling caramel-like consistency that coats the back of a spoon, 18 to 20 minutes.
  2. As the cider is reducing, grease a 9x13-inch glass or metal baking pan. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Once the cider has reduced, add one bag of marshmallows and salt and continue cooking over high heat, stirring constantly, until the marshmallows melt and darken into a light caramel color, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and add the remaining bag of marshmallows. Stir just until the marshmallows are about half melted, then add the rice cereal. Gently but quickly mix everything together until the rice cereal is evenly coated in the marshmallow mixture and immediately transfer into the prepared baking pan. Gently press the mixture into an even layer using a spatula sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top and let set for at least 1 hour before cutting.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jamie Taub
    Jamie Taub
  • Deanna Varble-Bielewicz
    Deanna Varble-Bielewicz
  • Taylor Stanton
    Taylor Stanton
  • Elaine
  • Mithu Lahiri
    Mithu Lahiri

19 Reviews

rcarnahan October 21, 2023
I make these every year and they are such a treat! For someone who has celiac disease and can't eat gluten, these are the perfect fall treat (just use gf rice cereal). I'm not sure why others have had problems with the caramel- follow your instincts, if it's still soupy after 18 minutes, keep boiling! Mine probably went 23-25 minutes but was beautifully dark and thick.
Sheri B. October 8, 2023
Just gave this recipe a go - I followed the instructions exactly (not something I usually do lol) Used store-bought cider too
The timing in the recipe worked perfectly - butter/cider turned into a caramel consistency after approx 18 min and then everything moves fast lol
They look perfect and tasted great while warm - looking forward to trying them after they've cooled
Laurice F. October 5, 2023
A great and creative fall dessert! I love the concept of upgrading rice crispy treats with strong apple flavor!

Minus 1 star with how sweet it came out - if I did it again I'd maybe cut the cider amount in half.

Word of advice: really keep an eye on the cider as it boils - just when you think you should boil for a little longer, it could be on the brink of burning (I learned the hard way).
liz December 1, 2022
This was a disaster. I followed the directions by boiling the apple cider/butter mixture on high. After a couple of minutes the mixture quickly separated and burned. I didn't have any more apple cider to give it a second try. I would recommend not boiling on high.
Jamie T. November 3, 2022
I'm sorry but the caramel was lazily written. I burned it by following instructions to the t. I ended up redoing this with a cheater step of just combining boiled cider and browned butter for about a minute, then moving on with melting in the marshmallows.
sugarsource October 31, 2022
Big fan of this recipe! From the delightful apple taste of the bars to the fact that it uses up two whole bags of marshmallows and a whole box of rice krispies (big plus for me, particularly for ingredients I don't buy very often), I will be making these again.

One note: the cider reduction took longer for me - about 40-45 minutes - but it was worth the wait.
Gail October 30, 2022
I think this my new favorite fall treat, yummmmm😋🧡
Marie October 29, 2022
Oh wow! Love these! The tangy cider cuts through the sickly-sweetness to make a (still very sweet) but much more interesting-flavored treat! It would be helpful if the recipe included a volume measurement for the final amount of reduced cider. Based on British Buckeye's review I reduced the cider to less than 1/2 a cup, although probably not down to 1/4 of a cup. The final treats are chewy but solid, just as they should be.
hyahyena October 20, 2022
Made this tonight and it was a total failure. I followed the instructions & measurements exactly and ended up with a pan full of soggy warm goop. Flavors are good, but i can't serve this to anyone.
Deanna V. October 18, 2022
These are incredible. Just finished waiting my hour to cut them, and they’re just so…cidery and perfectly fall. I agree with the comment that the cider taste comes once they’ve cooled.

I didn’t have any issues at all with separation or the caramel. Followed the instructions as is and they came out great.

I used large normal marshmallows (aprox 10 cups) & 12 oz cereal & 2c fresh pressed cider for my ratio. Was def stickier than I’m used to w RCTs…but they’re the perfect hold together, solid but not hard, consistency. Cut beautifully.
carrots October 17, 2022
I made this recipe twice as the first time was a disaster. I used fresh apple cider and vegan marshmallows the first time. The cider and butter separated and the treats ended up rock hard and dry. The second time I used store bought cider and traditional marshmallows. I tried to only stir the caramel a couple of times while it cooked. I used around 10ish oz of krispies instead of the 12oz recommended. The treats turned out great!
Taylor S. October 16, 2022
These were a fun fall twist on a classic recipe. The caramel didn't turn into the classic caramel consistency for me (and was done after probably 8-10 mins) but when added to the marshmallows and all stirred together, it worked. The sprinkling of cinnamon sugar on the top made these really tasty.
British_Buckeye October 15, 2022
Tried this this evening. It was excellent. Did a shortcut on the cider and used Wood's Boiled Cider I purchased in Vermont (also available on King Arthur Flour's website). It cuts down on the reducing cider (I used 1/4 cup) and it came together super quick, but the condensed cider flavor was still there. Yum!
Jacqueline October 15, 2022
I'm not sure how you ever get to a caramel coat the back of a spoon texture with only butter and apple cider--I reduced and reduced and reduced, and never reached that texture so I proceeded with recipe. The flavor is nice, but the end result did not hold together very well and was very sticky to eat out of hand. I used vegan marshmallows, but I doubt that was my issue as I've made Rice Krispie treats many times before with them and have never had a problem with cutting and eating as a finger food.
prath October 14, 2022
Failed miserably! Wasn't able to reduce the cider/butter mixture. It ended up rapidly boiling, then spatting, and then he butter just separated. It was all these black bits floating in a sea of melted butter. This was about 12 minutes in.

Any advice on how to avoid this? My heat was closer to medium, not high, bc it was boiling so rapidly.

When I added the apple sicker ginger to the butter, I could tell I had over browned it a bit. Was that the problem?

I would like to try again but i dont want to go through another 2 cups of APC only fail, again.

I used a Le Creuset roasting pot, which gets very hot and retains the heat. I noticed the whole time my heat was alot lower than what was indicated in the recipe.

Mithu L. February 14, 2023
I would reduce the cider to a syrup. There is a good recipe for that on the KAF website; it is a long process, but worth it if you want to have boiled apple cider on hand and do not want to buy the ready-made version (which is also very good).
Mithu L. February 14, 2023
*KAF* = King Arthur Flour
HeroXero October 9, 2022
Maybe I didn't reduce the apple cider enough, but the consistency of the rice crispies ended up being chewy rather than crunchy. And the mouthfeel is very slightly slimy. The taste is good, though.
Elaine October 8, 2022
This was so dang good! The timing in the instructions was spot-on. I had one 16oz bag of marshmallows; didn’t think it would be enough at first, but it worked fine for this recipe. I tasted some when it was still warm and didn’t notice a pronounced apple cider flavor, but when it cooled, everything popped! Definitely going to be making this again!

(I added a pretty hefty dose of flaky salt along with the cinnamon sugar, and didn’t regret it at all.)