That signature snap, crackle, and pop don’t come easy. Kellogg’s Rice Krispies are among the most popular breakfast cereals in America, and have been since they were introduced in 1927, but the process used to make them is actually pretty complicated.
According to promotional materials from Kellogg’s, however, it’s made to look pretty easy. Medium-grain rice from Louisiana and Arkansas is harvested, cooked, dried, and toasted, and the end result is Rice Krispies, we’ve been led to believe. But if you actually try to replicate this at home, you’ll end up with something that’s borderline inedible.
As it turns out (and as you might have guessed), Kellogg’s isn’t going to divulge all the details of the production process in press materials. Even though Rice Krispies start out as rice, you aren’t actually eating individual popped rice grains; the first step is to grind the rice into a paste with water, salt, sugar, malt flavoring, and vitamins. This slurry is then molded back into rice-shaped “grains,” which are rolled out and then cooked, dried, and toasted.
The final “toasting” process acts much in the same way that popcorn is popped; as the moisture inside the “grain” turns to steam, the whole thing pops and results in the texture we know and love.
If you were to try to just pop rice at home like you would popcorn, it wouldn’t work — there’s not enough moisture in the rice kernel to turn to steam. That’s why the rice needs to be turned into a paste first; it adds enough water to the mix and also allows for the other ingredients to be incorporated.