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Brown Butter Rice Crispy Treats

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These are not your average Rice Crispy Treats with rich, nutty browned butter, real vanilla bean and topped with flaky sea salt! I’m a total sucker for a rice krispie treat, it tends to be my go-to dessert when I need to make a lot in a short amount of time, they are always a hit and are pretty darn allergy tolerant.

Who loves a 20 minute, no bake, knock-your-socks-off, makes enough for a crowd dessert recipe? My hand is raised up high! We love rice crispie treats in this house and elevating them by making them with brown butter, well you should try them for yourself.

You might also enjoy these other, feed a crowd, fabulous sweet treats | Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars & Bites, Espresso Brownie Bites, and my boys favorite, Texas Sheet Cake!

Pinterest image of brown butter rice crispy treats.


I first heard about these browned butter rice crispy treats from a friend who introduced me to this beautiful cookbook by Joanne Chang from Flour Bakery in Boston. 

 Stack of three gigantic squares of rice crispie treats with parchment paper between them.

I’ve modified it slightly, especially since Vanilla Beans have sky-rocketed in price, but the taste and flavors are still amazing.


Don’t be afraid of browning butter, even a newbie can do it, just watch closely. For properly browned butter you should use unsalted butter as it contains less water and more milk solids, which is where you get the bulk of your deep, intense flavor.

Here’s a great post on three variations and usage for browned butter. Want to read about the comparison between browning salted vs. unsalted butter? Check out this Cooks Illustrated test. That said, I have used salted butter many times because I don’t let a little salt get in my way!

Begin by lining a 9 x 13 inch pan with parchment paper, sprayed with oil.

Vanilla bean with beans scraped from inside, marshmallows, 9x13 inch pan and rice crispy cereal in mixing bowl.

I open my marshmallows and measure out my rice cereal so they are ready to go once the butter is ready.

Can you Double This Recipe?

Double up! This recipe easily doubles using a half sheet pan, line it with a sheet of parchment paper and with oil.

Gigantic squares of rice crispie treats with natural parchment paper tied around tied with string for presentation.

Start with cold, unsalted butter in a large pot (large enough to contain your rice cereal). Heat over low heat until melted, occasionally give the pot a stir or a swirl. Once melted, add scrapings from a vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste.

A sharp knife with vanilla bean scrapings on it over a pan of melting butter in saucepan.

The image below shows using Vanilla Bean Paste – 1 teaspoon equals 1 vanilla bean.

 adding vanilla bean paste to melting butter in saucepan.

The butter will start to bubble, rapidly, sounding a bit like a babbling brook. Be patient, the entire browning process will take about 5 minutes.

a wooden spoon in melting, simmering bubbling butter

It’ll start foaming up, with a softer, gentler almost “popping” kind of sound, shortly after it foams up you should start seeing it turn brown, the milk solids will become a dark caramel brown.

a spoon swirling browning butter in a pan.

What If I Brown or Burn my Brown Butter?

I thought I ruined my browned butter, but I couldn’t make myself throw those expensive ingredients away, so I cooled the butter & vanilla bean mixture and placed it in a container in the fridge.

A few days later, I took it out of the fridge, took a sniff and much to my surprise it smelled fine, a little nuttier than usual, but still so good. I re-melted it and though a little more dark specks were in the treats, they tasted marvelous! 

As soon as it’s browned, dump in your marshmallows and sea salt and begin stirring over low heat.

adding salt to the marshmallow mixture for browned butter rice crispy treats

Stir until they are a beautiful, melty glop with all the ingredients mixed throughout the marshmallow mixture.

Once all of the marshmallows are completely melted and incorporated, remove from heat and pour in your rice cereal.

Using a large spoon or spatula, carefully fold the rice cereal into the marshmallow mixture. Look at those beautiful brown bits!!

gooey browned butter rice crispy mixture

Once all of your marshmallow mixture is incorporated into the rice cereal, scoop or pour it into your prepared pan.

Spray a piece of plastic wrap, parchment paper or wax paper with spray oil and lay on top of hot treats, smoothing and pressing gently to fill all corners and make it even. I asked my son to be my model for this shot! 16 year old hands are nicer than mine!

Don’t press too hard, you don’t want solid compressed treats, but you do want them to stick.

Allow to cool completely in pan, when ready to cut, invert or using parchment paper remove from pan onto cutting board. If you are anal like me, you might even get a ruler out making sure they are all the same size. Cut them into 12 squares and sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt or Fleur de Sel


After cooling about 5 minutes, sprinkle some mini M & M’s on top and gently press into the treats. Or drizzle with a little melted chocolate (white or dark, milk chocolate!)

M & M's on top of browned butter rice crispy treats

How to Store Rice Krispie Treats to keep Soft and Fresh

Store these delectable brown butter crispies in a sealed container at room temp for up to a week, best within first two days, but still quite tasty a week in, if they stay around that long.

Can I freeze Rice Krispie Treats?

Yes! They are best if stored in an airtight container on the counter at room temp, however you may freeze them. here are my tips.

  1. Place in an airtight freezer container or freezer baggie.
  2. Add a layer of parchment paper or wax paper between treat layers. Freeze up to 6 weeks, thawing on counter.

Nice to use as gifts for teachers, coaches, neighbors. I wrapped them in a strip of parchment paper and tied with some bakers twine. Place them in a cello bag, tie with twine and you have a festive treat!


Sharing this week on Weekend Potluck, check all the great recipes out!

If you like browned butter, try these!

Recipe lightly adapted from Epicurious.

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Kathleen Pope, The Fresh Cooky.

About Kathleen Pope

Recipe Innovator | Food Photographer | Food Writer

Hi, I’m Kathleen Pope. Here at The Fresh Cooky you will find easy, mostly from-scratch, trusted recipes for all occasions. From speedy dinners to tasty desserts, with easy step-by-step instructions. I am here to help teach you how to make mouthwatering recipes without spending hours in the kitchen. Read more about Kathleen here.

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