26 Underrated Ingredients You Should Be Adding To Your Rice Krispies Treats

When I think of Rice Krispies treats, I think back to my grandmother's kitchen. She'd make them anytime I was there — anytime I asked. For me — and for many others — these nostalgic treats hold a special place in our hearts. And they're so simple and easy to make. All you need is Rice Krispies, butter, and marshmallows. How do these three little ingredients provoke such dessert magic? But, let's be honest, as delicious as they are, sometimes you need a little more pizzazz in your marshmallow treats. That's where I come in. 

With the help of an array of internet blog posts, food articles, and my own creativity, get ready to embark on a delectable journey as I uncover 26 underrated ingredients that will elevate your Rice Krispies treats from classic to extraordinary. From pantry staples to artisanal treasures, these ingredients are poised to redefine the boundaries of your Rice Krispies treat repertoire. We're talking about taking your favorite childhood indulgence and giving it a grown-up twist that will have you wondering why you didn't try it sooner

1. Peanut butter

If you enjoyed peanut butter and fluff sandwiches as a kid, say no more. Elevate your Rice Krispies treats by introducing the creamy indulgence of peanut butter. This velvety addition seamlessly melds with the marshmallow and butter mixture, infusing each bite with a delightful nutty undertone. The result is a harmonious blend of sweet and savory, giving this beloved classic an added nostalgic twist.

The peanut butter not only adds richness but also imparts a luscious texture, creating a sumptuous experience that transcends the ordinary. And that added protein? No one is mad about that. The marriage of marshmallows and peanut butter turns each square into a delectable masterpiece that is bound to satisfy even the most discerning palates.

2. Brown butter

Transform your Rice Krispies treats into a gourmet sensation by embracing the culinary magic of browned butter. Elevating the classic recipe without any added ingredients, the nutty aroma and rich, caramelized notes of browned butter add a depth of flavor that transcends the regular butter flavor in a beautiful way.

This simple yet impactful technique infuses each marshmallow-cereal square with subtle sophistication, turning a beloved childhood treat into a culinary masterpiece. The golden hue and heightened richness achieved through browning the butter create a new profile, ensuring that each bite is a sublime experience that will leave a lasting impression.

3. Coconut flakes

Get tropical with your Rice Krispies treats by adding coconut flakes into the literal mix. The sweet, chewy texture of coconut shreds seamlessly integrates with the gooey marshmallow and crisp cereal, creating a delightful contrast that offers a paradise of flavors.

Beyond its exotic appeal, coconut imparts a subtle nuttiness, enhancing the overall complexity of each square as it infuses with the marshmallow and butter mixture. The result is a harmonious blend that marries nostalgia with a touch of the tropics, without overpowering the sweet flavors already present. This addition will leave you dreaming of sandy shores and sunny skies with every indulgent bite.

4. Cereal pieces

Infuse a playful crunch into your already "Krispy" treats by incorporating other types of cereal pieces. Think Fruity pebbles, Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, Cocoa Puffs, and beyond — whatever your heart (or mouth) desires. There are so many great options out there to make your squares sweeter, more savory, colorful, and the like.

The added cereal also adds to the overall crispy sensation while introducing a variety of other flavor profiles. From fruity to chocolate notes, honey to new forms of marshmallow, you can really make the most of this underrated option. Have fun and play around with your favorites!

5. S'mores fixings

Combine all sorts of nostalgia by infusing the irresistible allure of s'mores into your Rice Krispies treats. You're already part way there with the gooey marshmallow, so the addition of chocolate and graham cracker pieces is an easy revision — and a tasty one at that!

This ingenious twist not only pays homage to a beloved camping tradition, but it introduces a medley of flavors that combine to create a harmonious blend of sweetness and fond childhood memories, providing a delectable fusion of youthful favorites in every delicious square. The best part? You can choose to melt the chocolate right into the marshmallow mix or coat the outside of the squares for a stylish look. Or both!

6. Caramel

When you're thinking of sweet additions for your marshmallow treats, think of luscious caramel. The buttery richness and silky texture of caramel seamlessly intertwine with the gooey marshmallow and crispy cereal, creating a decadent masterpiece that covers every single part of the snack. Each bite will have the caramel's sweet notes and enhance the overall indulgence.

Beyond its sumptuous taste, the addition of caramel adds a touch of gourmet elegance, turning a childhood favorite into a refined treat that tantalizes the taste buds with a perfect balance of sweetness and sophistication. This is another option where you can choose to coat the outside of the squares or infuse the caramel with the marshmallow. Or maybe do both! (Always both.)

7. Butterscotch

A step beyond caramel pleasures, you can also add the golden warmth of butterscotch to your squares, imparting a rich and indulgent twist to the classic recipe. The velvety sweetness of butterscotch harmonizes seamlessly with the marshmallow which not only enhances the treat's flavor but introduces a nuanced complexity that captivates the taste buds. Depending on how much you add, you can make the notes subtle or sing.

Since butterscotch, like chocolate and caramel, can be melted down and added in a variety of ways, you could also consider using a mixture of the ingredients. Use butterscotch within the treat, then coat them in chocolate for an extra special flavor profile and aesthetic.

8. Cake mix

Infuse a touch of bakery magic into your Rice Krispies treats by incorporating cake mix. This ingenious addition introduces a medley of flavors and textures, transforming each square into your own personal cake-based creation. The cake mix not only imparts a subtle richness to the texture, but it also brings a delightful hint of vanilla, chocolate, confetti, red velvet -– whatever your heart desires. Endless possibilities await in the baking aisle of your local grocery store.

For this option, combine the butter and marshmallows, then gradually add the cake mix to the marshmallow mixture, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Ensure the cake mix is fully integrated, then add the Rice Krispies and any other toppings you'd like. We think this one will be a new favorite, especially with the kids.

9. Assorted candy

Adding candy to your Rice Krispies treats allows for endless customization, turning every square into a unique confectionery adventure. M&Ms, Milky Way, Snickers, Butterfinger, Crunch bar, Kit Kat -– you name it -– any type of candy is going to add explosions of flavors, not to mention an added textural component to your snack.

From chewy caramels to crunchy chocolates, your choice of candies can easily transform this classic into a delightful surprise for you and your friends. And don't be afraid to try more than one candy option at a time, too. Go big or go home, amiright?

10. Pretzels

Where are my sweet and salty people? Adding pretzels to your Rice Krispies treats is a no-brainer, as you get the sugar from the marshmallows, the salt from the pretzels, and the added texture from that pretzel crunch.

And think of the possibilities. You have traditional flavoring, honey wheat, cinnamon sugar, and so many other sweet options, along with a long list of savory flavors if you're a true sweet and savory combo fan. Your flavor profiles are yours to create, with an added texture that will tempt you to eat the whole tray in one sitting. And hey, you could get really crazy by adding some candy pieces, too. Who doesn't love and chocolate-covered pretzel or a chocolate-covered pretzel-infused Rice Krispies treat?

11. Cookie butter

Looking for a truly decadent twist? Add cookie butter to your next batch of Rice Krispies treats. The velvety richness and spiced notes of cookie butter work well with the sugar from the marshmallow, adding sweeter notes into the mix. This is where it's at if you love everything rich and lush when it comes to dessert.

Cookie butter introduces a cozy warmth with subtle hints of cinnamon, elevating the squares from a childhood snack to a more complex flavor profile. This is a great option for a holiday or special occasion, as gingerbread or pumpkin spice cookie butter could be used for a fall-themed variation. Get creative!

12. Nutella

From kids to adults, who doesn't love Nutella? This luscious hazelnut chocolate spread can swirl easily into the gooey marshmallow, coating that crispy cereal for a special Rice Krispies treat variation. The combination of hazelnut and marshmallow creates a flavor profile that is nothing short of a dessert paradise.

To incorporate Nutella into your Rice Krispies treats, you can melt it along with the marshmallows when preparing the base mixture. This ensures that the Nutella is evenly distributed throughout the treats. Keep in mind that the amount of Nutella can be adjusted based on personal preference, allowing you to control the intensity of the chocolate hazelnut flavor.

13. Chai spices

Infuse your Rice Krispies treats with an exotic twist by adding the warm and aromatic blend of chai spices. The rich notes of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and cloves complement the sweet marshmallow mixture, creating a sensory delight. 

To incorporate, simply mix the chai spices into the melted marshmallow and butter mixture, ensuring an even distribution. This addition not only imparts a cozy, spiced flavor but also elevates the nostalgic treat into a more complex dessert. Enjoy each square with a cup of tea, and prepare to find a new favorite sweet treat.

14. Hot chocolate mix

What goes better with marshmallows than hot chocolate? Transform your Rice Krispies treats into a cozy delight by incorporating the comforting sweetness of hot chocolate mix. The rich cocoa flavor easily marries the marshmallow sweetness, creating a new decadent dessert reminiscent of a winter's day indulgence. 

Simply stir the hot chocolate powder into the melted marshmallow and butter mixture before adding your cereal and shaping the treats. This addition not only infuses a delightful chocolatey richness but also brings the nostalgic warmth of a favorite beverage to each square. This is the newest way to combat the winter blues and enjoy a snow day at home.

15. Peanut butter and jelly

I am clearly the Ghost of Christmas past in this article, looking for ways to invoke our childhoods, especially with the addition of PB&J into a Rice Krispies treat. The result is a playful fusion of classic sandwich flavors, turning the beloved childhood snack into a deliciously inventive treat that's both satisfyingly sweet and irresistibly reminiscent of the cherished sandwich combo.

I suggest incorporating the peanut butter into the melted marshmallow mixture, stirring until it's smoothly blended. Then, once you're squares are ready to cut, spread your favorite jelly, jam, or preserve on top. You can get really creative, too, and actually make a mini sandwich with the molded treats if you're feeling whimsical!

16. Cookie pieces

Transform your Rice Krispies treats into a texture-rich delight by adding crumbled cookie pieces into the cereal. Whether it's the decadence of Oreos, the buttery crunch of shortbread, or the chocolatey satisfaction of sandwich cookies, incorporating these delightful bits elevates each bite to a symphony of flavors. 

The possibilities here are truly endless, and it means you can really cater to an array of tastes. Ginger snaps add a hint of warmth and spice to your treats with a crunchy and flavorful kick. Nutter Butters elevate the peanut butter goodness, creating a delightful blend of textures. And don't forget about the classic chocolate chip cookie! You could also add actual peanut butter, Nutella, chocolate chips, caramel, and more alongside your cookie of choice. Get creative!

17. Bacon and maple syrup

Okay, stay with me on this one because it's a little out of the box. I'm suggesting combining your dessert with some breakfast classics like bacon and maple syrup. We're talking about the smoky, salty notes of crispy bacon and the rich luxurious sweetness of maple syrup mixing with the sweet marshmallow and Rice Krispies cereal. You can't knock this one until you try it.

Simply cook the bacon until crisp, crumble it into your melted marshmallow mixture, and finish with a generous drizzle of maple syrup. You can also drizzle some syrup on top of the squares, too! This innovative combination offers a culinary adventure that transcends traditional boundaries and mealtimes, delivering a taste sensation that's both unexpected and utterly irresistible.

18. Coffee

Inject a burst of energy into your Rice Krispies treats by adding the robust essence of coffee. The deep, rich flavor of coffee beans juxtaposes the soft, sweet, and light marshmallows and cereal pieces for a complex tasting. To incorporate, simply dissolve instant coffee granules into the melted marshmallow mixture, allowing the aromatic coffee notes to permeate each square.

This caffeinated twist not only awakens your taste buds but also elevates the classic dessert to a delightful synergy of sweet and bold. Brace yourself for a culinary awakening as your Rice Krispies treats become a sophisticated indulgence for coffee enthusiasts morning, noon, and night.

19. Bourbon

Boozy brunch? Heck yes! Bourbon is a stellar addition to a lot of baking projects, and the same can be said for Rice Krispies treats. The rich, caramel undertones of bourbon seamlessly mingle with the crispy cereal, offering an adult twist on the beloved marshmallow classic.

Stir a generous splash of bourbon into the melted marshmallow mixture before adding the cereal. This spirited infusion elevates the treat into a refined dessert experience, marrying the sweetness of childhood nostalgia with the depth of adult sophistication. Enjoy each square as a delightful union of comforting familiarity and the nuanced complexity of a well-crafted cocktail. And hey, who says you can't use Rice Krispies treats as a cocktail garnish? From smokey to sweet, you can really make these squares shine.

20. Jell-o

Revitalize your Rice Krispies treats with a burst of vibrant flavor by adding Jell-O mix –- another delightful classic from our childhoods. The fruity and playful notes create a refreshing twist on the classic treat, turning each square into a lively explosion of taste and color

Incorporating Jell-O is simple: Dissolve the gelatin powder in a portion of the melted marshmallow mixture before combining it with the Rice Krispies. This inventive addition not only introduces a spectrum of flavors but also offers a visually stunning dessert experience that promises to bring a touch of whimsy to your nostalgic indulgence. From cherry to lime, get wild!

21. Matcha

Bring a touch of zen to your Rice Krispies treats by adding matcha, the vibrant powdered green tea from Japan. The earthy and slightly bitter undertones of matcha harmonize well with the sugar in the marshmallow, creating a delicate balance of flavors, just like adding a sweetener to your matcha drink.

To incorporate, whisk matcha powder into the melted marshmallow mixture before folding in the Rice Krispies. You can also add condensed milk for added sweetness. Matcha not only imparts a unique and sophisticated taste but also infuses the treats with the antioxidant-rich goodness of green tea. Who knows, this could be a great option for St. Paddy's Day or Halloween, too!

22. Peeps

I know marshmallows are the baseline for this snack, but Peeps are on a whole other level. These iconic squishy candies infuse the classic treat with a whimsical charm, turning each square into a festive party for your taste buds.

To incorporate, simply chop Peeps into bite-sized pieces and melt them down as your marshmallow mixture, just as you would with regular marshmallows. The result is a delightful marriage of textures and flavors, as the vibrant Peeps introduce a bold sweetness over standard marshmallows, along with a pop of color to the gooey and crispy layers. Enjoy a treat that combines the best of two beloved marshmallow worlds, creating a visually appealing and irresistibly festive dessert experience. Easter treats? I think yes.

23. Fruit

Whether it's the tangy brightness of lemon zest or the sweet, tart crunch of freeze-dried strawberries, incorporating fruit into your marshmallow treats can add a burst of natural flavors that are healthier than candy or other options on this list. To infuse, simply stir your chosen fruit element into the melted marshmallow mixture before combining it with the Rice Krispies.

Think dried raspberries with a drizzle of white chocolate or orange zest with milk chocolate chips. This creative addition not only introduces a burst of freshness but also offers a wholesome twist on the classic treat, making it a perfect choice for those who crave a fruity, yet healthier option.

24. Whey protein

Enhance your Rice Krispies treats with a boost of protein by incorporating whey protein powder. This option elevates the nutritional profile while transforming the beloved treat into a satisfying and energizing snack. Simply mix your preferred whey protein powder flavor into the melted marshmallow mixture, ensuring a thorough blend. 

The result is a protein-packed snack that combines the nostalgic joy of Rice Krispies treats with the benefits of added protein, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a delicious and nutritious treat to fuel their day. Enjoy each square as a wholesome and satisfying guilt-free delight.

25. Nuts

Sometimes you feel like a nut, and in that case, why not add some to your marshmallow treats? Elevate your Rice Krispies squares with a delightful crunch and nutty richness by adding a variety of nuts. Whether it's the buttery flavor of chopped pecans, the earthy notes of almonds, or the hearty crunch of walnuts, incorporating nuts brings a textural and flavorful symphony to the classic treat. Simply chop and fold your chosen nuts into the melted marshmallow mixture before shaping the treats. 

This addition not only introduces a satisfying crunch but also contributes wholesome goodness, making each square a delicious blend of gooey, crispy, and nutty perfection. Indulge in a treat that caters to both taste and texture preferences.

26. Chocolate chips

Introducing chocolate chips to your Rice Krispies treats is a simple game-changer, elevating the classic recipe to something a little more bold. The rich, melty goodness of chocolate adds a decadent layer to the gooey marshmallow and crispy cereal base, striking the perfect balance between sweet and indulgent, without going overboard.

The chips offer delightful pockets of velvety cocoa, transforming each bite into something beyond a mini-dessert experience. Whether you opt for dark, milk, or white chocolate, this addition ensures a delightful fusion that will have your taste buds celebrating the marriage of simplicity in every delectable square. And don't be afraid to combine all three into one batch!