These brown butter rice krispie treats are incredibly simple to make yet so insanely delicious. Rich, nutty brown butter transcends these treats into another realm. A helping hand from vanilla bean paste and malted milk powder elevates the flavor profile here, making these signature crispy treats not like ya average!

black hand grabbing a brown butter Rice Krispie treat

Rice krispie treats are one of my most favorite desserts to make of all time. For me, they’re nostalgic to the core. Matter of fact, I think they’re one of the first sweets I ever learned how to make by myself as a kid. A classic, easy-to-make treat that just never gets old. I’ve landed on what I consider to be the best brown butter rice krispie treats, y’all. My go-to recipe for this masterpiece.

Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

The traditional recipe found on the back of the cereal box will do the job if you want quick, fast, and in a hurry treats. But listen, if you want quick, fast, and freakin’ delicious…let’s gooo! I am over the moon about these rice krispie treats, peeps. Brown butter is everything and more. That nutty, rich, and flavorful taste is epic. However, we ain’t stopping there. Nah. There’s extra goodness with malted milk powder and vanilla bean paste for some lovely vanilla essence, too.

BBR dessert faves: small-batch chocolate cake, these lemon sweet rolls, my sweet potato pound cake, and these funfetti pudding cookies! 🙌🏾

brown butter Rice Krispie Treats stacked on parchment paper

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What You’ll Need For These Treats

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Butter: Melted butter (brown butter in this case) blends with the marshmallows to create the sticky coating that envelopes the cereal.
  • Mini marshmallows: I typically grab the 10-ounce bags of mini marshmallows >> and I get 3 of them. Here’s why…two of the bags go into the brown butter mixture and then I use 1.5 – 2 cups more for stirring in at the end. You’ll end up with some leftover marshmallows but is that really a bad thing, ha!
  • Malted milk powder: Ingredient spotlight for this recipe! This is a flavor bomb of an ingredient in which I touch on a bit more, down below.
  • Vanilla bean paste: My top favorite when it comes to adding some vanilla-y essence to things. It’s more potent and the little bean flecks are so lovely.
  • Crispy rice cereal: The main star for that signature crispy, crackle goodness we all know and love. I use the classic Kellogg’s Rice Krispies but feel free to use any kind of crispy rice cereal (including gluten-free versions).

Let’s Talk About Milk Powder

>> I know some of y’all are wondering about this one. So, I first learned of milk powder being added to recipes, specifically desserts, via Christina Tosi. As the chef and owner of Milk Bar, a very popular bakery that serves up some unique treats, Christina has tooted the proverbial milk powder horn. It’s described to give recipes an added richness, creamier consistency, and a umami flavor.

What is milk powder? It’s the process of evaporating liquid milk until it dries, a way to preserve milk for a longer shelf life. Milk powder adds tenderness and a nice depth of flavor to ice cream, cookies, cakes, brownies, and so much more.

For these brown butter rice krispie treats, we’re using *malted milk powder*. This is a powdered mixture of malted barley, wheat flour, and milk powder. I use the Carnation Malted Milk, and it elevates the overall taste and compliments the brown butter beautifully by giving an extra razzle dazzle in every bite.

close up of brown butter Rice Krispie Treats

How To Make Brown Butter 😛

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

Have you made brown butter before? If not, making brown butter is so easy. Maybe some of you are thinking, what even is “brown butter” exactly, I got you. Brown butter involves a process in which all the milk solids within butter have been cooked out/separated from the butterfat. The milk solids “cook off” and basically become the little browned bits with heaps of flavor that you will see sink to the bottom of your pan, as pictured in the image below.

So, you make brown butter by melting it over low heat until you see the transformation. The process is fast, and it can quickly go from a perfect brown butter to burned butter situation, so be careful. After cooking, it develops into a lovely amber-ish, golden color with a delightful nutty aroma- it’s amazing! That brown butter flavor is all up and through these rice krispie treats, sheesh.

Pro tip: Use a pot that is light on the inside whenever making brown butter. This helps you to see the cooking process for brown butter perfection!

Tips + Tricks For Recipe Success

Here’s some additional info on these brown butter rice krispies treats!

  1. Let’s talk butta! Friends, all butter is not equal. You’ll see in the recipe card, below, that I reference using good-quality butter or what some may call high-quality butter. Premium butter refers to the level of taste, butterfat content, flavor, and how it’s produced. Whenever I’m needing *good* butter in a recipe, I reach for Kerrygold, hands down. This is a popular butter praised by many chefs that is made from the milk of Irish grass-fed cows. It is top tier, but of course, this is my two cents. Although, please use whatever butter is accessible to you as these treats will still be amazing.
  2. Salted vs. Unsalted. For this recipe, I use salted butter so there is no need to add salt. However, if you are someone that likes/needs to control salt levels: use unsalted butter and add about 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt when mixing the marshmallow mixture in step # 4 in the recipe card, below.
  3. Perfect brown butter. Melting butter to turn into brown butter happens very quickly. As such, it is important to not leave the pot unattended. I’d hate for you to end up with burnt butter on your hands so don’t be impatient with the process. It can take anywhere from 5-7 minutes.
  4. Work quickly. Once the butter is browned, it’s go-time! Toss in the marshmallows, malted milk, and vanilla, and stir quickly until smooth. Then toss in the cereal and stir even quicker, lastly followed by the remaining bit of marshmallows. The reason you want to work quickly is because the mixture will start to set, and it becomes harder to work with.
  5. Don’t press too hard. After emptying the mixture into your pan, don’t pack the rice krispie mixture in so tight. I like to get it into the pan and lightly press it in right up to the edges but not where it’s packed in too tight. I find that this controls the krispie treats from being so dense/hard up.

Alternate Rice Krispie Treat Variations & Smaller-Batch Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

I almost always make these brown butter rice krispie treats as they are written, however, you can put a fun spin on them if you’d like! Feel free to get creative and use Fruity Pebbles or Cocoa Pebbles cereal in place of Rice Krispies cereal.

This brown butter rice krispie treats recipe fits perfectly into a 9×13-inch baking pan, however, you may not need as much. I love how this recipe can very easily be halved and fit into a cozy little 8″ or 9″ square baking pan! 👍🏾

Gluten-Free Rice Krispie Treats

For my gluten-free bbs, no worries at all. Most marshmallow brands are naturally gluten-free, however, still double check your bag of marshmallows. Also, instead of malted milk powder use regular milk powder (it’ll still give these rice krispies that added richness in flavor!). Lastly, use gf crispy rice cereal.

Storing Leftover Rice Krispie Treats

⇢ Keep any leftover treats stored inside of an airtight container or bag with a piece of parchment paper in between each treat. These treats will keep on the kitchen counter at room temperature for 3-4 days. Otherwise, you can store them in the fridge for up to 1 week and in the freezer for a few weeks.

brown butter Rice Krispie Treats stacked on parchment paper

Y’all, I just adore these brown butter rice krispie treats and hope you enjoy them as well. Such a classic treat that can’t be beat! Sooo excited for you to try them out and tell me what you think. Don’t forget to tag @butterbeready on all the socials, I always love to see it when you do- until next time! 🤟🏾

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brown butter Rice Krispie Treats stacked on parchment paper

Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 30m
  • Total Time: 30m
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Desserts and Sweets
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These brown butter rice krispie treats are incredibly simple to make yet so insanely delicious. Rich, nutty brown butter transcends these treats into another realm. A helping hand from vanilla bean paste and malted milk powder elevates the flavor profile here, making these signature crispy treats not like ya average!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) good-quality, salted butter (I use Kerrygold)
  • 2 (10 oz) bags mini marshmallows, plus more (about 1.52 cups) for mixing in near the end
  • 2 tablespoons malted milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 10 cups crispy rice cereal

Instructions

  1. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with a piece of parchment paper or foil with enough overhang on the sides for easy lifting. Then set aside.
  2. In a large, heavy bottomed pot/dutch oven that is lightly colored on the inside, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter melts, it will get foamy and you will hear it bubbling as it cooks. Then it will take on a clear, light golden color. Note: Do not leave the pot unattended during the browning process as it can burn very quickly. 
  3. Stir the butter every so often, scraping up any bits as you stir. Then the butter will turn deep brown and have a nutty aroma with brown bits on the bottom. Once achieved, remove from heat.
  4. Immediately add in the 20 ounces of mini marshmallows, malted milk powder, and vanilla. Stir the mixture together vigorously until the marshmallows melt through. The residual heat in the pot should achieve this, if not, return the pot back to the stovetop burner and heat on the lowest setting until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Remove from heat and fold in the crispy rice cereal. Stir everything together to fully combine, making sure that all the cereal is nicely coated. Lastly, add in an additional 1.5 – 2 cups more of mini marshmallows and quickly stir to combine with the mixture. Note: these marshmallows do not need to be melted through.
  6. Quickly empty the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Use a piece of parchment paper or rubber spatula to evenly press the mixture (slightly firm but not packed too tight) into the pan up to the corners.
  7. Allow the mixture to sit in the pan for at least 30-45 minutes. Once set, remove from the pan, and cut into squares. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.
  2. Recipe makes 12 (3-inch) squares but cut however you’d like!

Keywords: buckeyes, buckeye rice krispie treats, buckeye desserts, holiday desserts, peanut butter rice krispie treats