Crispy, chewy, chocolatey and irresistible: peanut butter Rice Krispie treats are an easy twist on a classic no bake dessert!
I never saw this coming. I’ve made over 700 fabulous desserts on this site and I’ve fallen hard for peanut butter Rice Krispie treats? I didn’t expect to love these. I made them because it’s back to school season and these are the perfect bake sale and lunchbox treats. And of course I love the chocolate peanut butter combo, but I assumed these would be a kids only type of deal. But holy smokes these are good!
did you know?
The original Rice Krispie treats recipe was created by Kellog’s employees Malitta Jensen and Mildred Day during the Great Depression in 1939, and consisted of just three ingredients: Rice Krispies cereal, melted marshmallows, and butter.
what you’ll need
Talk about pantry friendly recipes!
- Rice Krispies
- you can’t make Rice Krispie treats without them. If you’d like to use a generic brand, or a similar cereal using brown rice or alternative grains like quinoa and amaranth, that works too.
- peanut butter
- I recommend creamy Jif peanut butter, but use what you’ve got on hand, even if it’s crunchy! If you want to use a natural peanut butter, be sure to stir it super well before measuring out.
- I used semi sweet chocolate chips, but milk chocolate or bittersweet would be delicious as well.
- butter’s fat content makes the melted marshmallow mixture easier to work with and less sticky. It helps keep the chocolate topping softer, as well.
- mini marshmallows
- the sweet glue that holds these delicious bars together. Mini marshmallows melt easier than full sized marshmallows.
RELATED: Classic Peanut Butter Bars
how to make peanut butter Rice Krispy treats
- Melt marshmallows, butter, and peanut butter until smooth and creamy. It takes a few minutes for the marshmallows to fully melt ~ just keep stirring.
- Fold in Rice Krispies cereal.
- Pat evenly into a greased pan. It helps to lay down a sheet of parchment or waxed paper to keep your hands from sticking.
- Melt chocolate and butter and spread over the base.
the science of Rice Krispie treats!
How do they stay so darned crispy? When you mix Rice Krispies cereal with melted marshmallows and butter to create Rice Krispie treats, the air-filled pockets within the rice grains help trap air and maintain their crispy texture. As the marshmallow and butter mixture coats the cereal, it creates a sticky matrix that binds the individual rice grains together. The air pockets within the rice grains keep the treats light and airy while holding their crunchiness.
Once the Rice Krispie treat mixture sets and cools, the marshmallow mixture hardens and solidifies, effectively locking the air pockets in place and preserving the cereal’s crispy texture. This process ensures that Rice Krispie treats retain their signature crunchiness even after they have been cooled and stored.
peanut butter Rice Krispie treat variations
Use Cocoa Krispies instead of Rice Krispies.
Fold mini chocolate chips or crushed peanuts into the base.
Melt peanut butter instead of butter with the chocolate for the topping.
While the topping is still wet sprinkle with peanut butter chocolate chips, mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, or crushed peanuts.
If you would like to make gluten free treats buy a gluten free brand of rice cereal such as Barbara’s, Erewhon, or Nature’s Path. Kellogg’s Rice Krispies are made with malt, which comes from barley and may contain gluten so they are not labeled gluten free. Kellog’s has discontinued their own gluten free version of the cereal.
For a vegan version of Rice Krispie Treats you will need to source vegan marshmallows, as regular marshmallows contain gelatin, which is not vegan. Also use a dairy free chocolate as well as a vegetable oil in place of the butter.
the bottom line
These are surprisingly great, they remind me a little bit of a KitKat candy bar. Easy to make, with or without kids. Adding peanut butter and chocolate to the classic Rice Krispie treat gives it a whole new flavor profile, and you don’t taste the marshmallow. The cereal gives it great crunch. Somehow I remembered these as being annoyingly messy and sticky to make, but I was wrong, they came together easily and pressing them into the pan was a breeze. I’m a fan!
These came into my life at the right time. Although my girls are grown, I became a first time grandma this year. I see lots of Rice Krispie treats in my future 🙂
Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats
- 9×13 pan
- 12 ounces chocolate, either chips or chopped bar chocolate
- 3 Tbsp butter
- Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray, or lightly butter it.
- Measure out 6 cups of Rice Krispies.
- In a large pan (I use a Dutch oven) start heating the marshmallows, butter, and peanut butter. Use a silicone spoonula to scrape the pan almost constantly as everything melts so nothing scorches. Keep stirring until all the marshmallows have melted and the mixture is smooth.
- When everything is well combined, remove the pan from the heat and fold in the Rice Krispies. I like to use a silicone spoonula for this.
- Turn the mixture into your prepared pan and press out into an even layer. It helps to use a sheet of parchment or waxed paper to keep your hand from sticking.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together until smooth and silky. You can do this in a saucepan over a double boiler, or in the microwave. In the microwave heat for 1 minute on full power and the stir. If necessary microwave in 15 second bursts until the chocolate has melted. Let the heat of the bowl do the final melting, as you stir. Take care not to over heat the chocolate or it will seize up.
- Spread the chocolate over the Rice Krispie base and let the chocolate set up at room temperature for at least 2 hours before slicing into bars.
- Leftover treats can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator and will stay fresh for several days.