These Rice Krispies treats get their distinctly toasty, caramel flavor from a secret ingredient that you can find in the cereal aisle at your local grocery store. If you’re having company, you can invite them to guess what it is!

Inspired by the bakery bar at Summer House Santa Monica in Bethesda, Maryland. 

Servings: 18 to 24 treats


  • 1 cup (2 sticks/8 ounces/226 g) unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the pan
  • 2 (10-ounce/284 g) bags mini marshmallows
  • 3 cups (120 g) Golden Grahams cereal
  • ¾ tsp vanilla extract
  • Heaping ½ tsp salt
  • 5½ cups (154 g) Rice Krispies or crispy rice cereal


  1. Line a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) baking dish with heavy-duty aluminum foil, leaving 2 inches (5 cm) of overhang, and lightly grease it with softened butter or nonstick cooking spray. Set aside 2 cups of the marshmallows.
  2. Place the Golden Grahams in a resealable freezer bag. Using a rolling pin, the bottom of a dry measuring cup, or your fist, pound the cereal into smaller pieces. Don’t pulverize it—some pieces should be Rice Krispies-size, some should be larger, and some should be crumbs.
  3. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat (save a wrapper for pressing the mixture into the pan). After the butter melts, it will begin to bubble, foam, and turn golden. Swirl or stir the butter as it continues to brown; eventually it will turn a dark golden color and smell nutty—watch carefully, as it will go from golden brown to burnt quickly. (You’ll see bits of brown sediment forming; that’s okay.) This whole process should take just a few minutes. Once the butter is browned, immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining marshmallows, the vanilla, and salt.
  4. Place the pot over low heat and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until the marshmallows are completely melted. Remove the pot from the heat and add the crushed Golden Grahams and the Rice Krispies. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir until evenly combined. Add the reserved marshmallows and stir until they are softened and partially melted (don’t let them melt completely; you want pockets of goo). 
  5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and, using the butter wrapper or damp fingers, gently press the mixture into an even layer. Let cool at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
  6. Use the foil overhang to lift the treats onto a cutting board, then use a sharp knife to cut them into 18 to 24 bars, depending on how large you’d like them.

Make-ahead/Freezer-friendly Instructions: These can be made up to two days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container on the counter or frozen for up to six weeks. To freeze, place the bars in layers separated by wax paper in an airtight container. Let stand at room temperature for a few hours before serving.

Pro Tip: When you transfer the cereal/marshmallow mixture to the pan, press it down using only light pressure to spread it out evenly. If you pack it down using too much pressure, the bars will be hard.

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Recipe used with permission from Once Upon a Chef: Weeknight/Weekend.
Copyright © 2021 by Jennifer Segal.

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