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Food & Recipes

Microwave Rice Cereal Treats Are the Easiest, Gooiest Dessert — Ready in Just 5 Minutes

Bonus: Cleanup is a breeze too!

Few confections taste more nostalgic and comforting than rice cereal treats. After all, that gooey, marshmallow stickiness can’t be beat. And here’s something that makes them even sweeter: You can whip up homemade rice cereal treats without the stovetop fuss. I found the easiest 5-minute microwave recipe with just 3 ingredients that tastes like childhood (without the added ingredients!). Plus, learn some expert tips for making soft and chewy bars every time, as well as how to make them healthy and fun flavor variations. This is your guide to microwave rice cereal treats.

What are rice cereal treats?

We all know Rice Krispies Treats, instantly recognizable by their golden color, gooey marshmallow center and satisfying chew. They originated in the 1930s, when a Kellogg’s employee named Mildred Kellogg accidentally created them the while trying to develop a way to use leftover puffed rice cereal. The simple recipe, using just three ingredients, quickly became a sensation. It wasn’t until the 1990s, however, when Kellogg’s began selling them commercially.

So, what are these ingredients? “In the classic recipe, butter, cereal and marshmallows are used,” explains Gwen Leron, vegan food blogger and creator of Delightful Adventures. “There are many variations of this recipe out there, so the ingredients will vary for those but these ingredients are usually the base of any crispy treat recipe.”

Why microwave rice cereal treats?

While the classic stovetop method holds a nostalgic charm, microwave rice cereal treats offer a faster and more convenient alternative. No need for constant pot watching or worrying about overcooking the marshmallows. Microwave versions also require minimal clean-up, coming together in one dish. And compared to store-bought treats, homemade versions give you control over the ingredients. Plus, you’ll save money on ingredients

You can also learn how to make your own homemade marshmallows!

Tips for making microwave rice cereal treats

mini marshmallows in white bowl for microwave rice cereal treats
Garrett Aitken/Getty

If homemade rice cereal treats sound a bit complicated, don’t worry. I felt the same way my first time making them. But with some experts tips, your treats will come out of the microwave perfect. Below are some steps from Leron that I followed for success.

1. Measure carefully

Using the correct ratio of cereal to marshmallows is key to achieving the perfect balance between crispy and gooey. A good rule of thumb is 6 cups of cereal to 10 oz. of marshmallows (about 3 cups of mini marshmallows). Additionally, use fresh marshmallows for better texture.

2. Melt slowly

“It’s important to melt the marshmallows in intervals, stirring after each one,” says Leron. “This ensures the marshmallows melt evenly and doesn’t burn.” Microwave them on low power in 30-second intervals.

3. Grease your tools

Lightly grease your baking dish with butter or cooking spray to prevent sticking and ensure an easy removal of the treats once they’ve set. Additionally, grease your spatula or spoon.

4. Mix it fast

“Once you add the cereal to the marshmallows, work quickly when mixing to combine the ingredients,” advises Leron. She explains that “the marshmallows cool fast and if cooled, it will not mix easily with the cereal.”

“After mixing, get it into the pan and flatten it fast, it hardens as it cools, so to make it easy on yourself, work quickly,” says Leron. Press the mixture firmly in the baking dish with a spatula or your hands. Additionally, allow the treats to cool for 30 minutes before cutting. They taste best at room temperature and cut better having set.

5-minute microwave rice cereal treats recipe

This basic recipe from Favorite Family Recipes uses just 3 ingredients and one bowl. I followed this my first time and loved how soft and chewy the treats came out. You’ll want to use mini marshmallows for easier melting. (For another microwave treat, make microwave s’mores.)

Microwave Rice Cereal Treats

close up of microwave rice cereal treats on white background
LauriPatterson/Getty

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup salted butter (If using unsalted butter, add a dash of salt)
  • 16 oz. (2 cups) mini marshmallows
  • 9 cups crispy rice cereal (i.e. Rice Krispies Cereal)

Directions:

  • Active Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 15 servings
  1. Place butter and marshmallows in a microwave-safe bowl. Then, microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove bowl from microwave and stir. Return bowl to microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir again until marshmallows and butter are completely melted together. You only want it just melted.
  2. Pour the marshmallow mixture into a separate bowl with the rice cereal.
  3. Place mixture in a greased 9×13 dish and press down evenly. Allow to cool before serving.

Storing tips

According to Leron, these treats “don’t stay fresh for long, it’s best to enjoy them within 5 days of making them.” For any leftovers, she suggests “keep them at room temperature, don’t refrigerate or they will get too hard. You can place pieces of parchment paper in between layers of squares so they don’t stick together.”

How to make your treats healthier

Who says treats can’t be healthy? I tried making a healthier version of microwave rice cereal treats and enjoyed them a lot. First, opt for brown rice cereal for added fiber and a nutty flavor. Next, use natural marshmallows, which contain fewer artificial ingredients and sometimes a lower sugar content. I also added a scoop of nut butter for add protein, but you can also use protein powder. And to replace the butter, I swapped in coconut oil, but mashed banana or apple sauce also work to help bind.

Leron also has a recipe for Vegan Strawberry Rice Krispie Treats using 4 ingredients you can make in the microwave or on the stove!

Personalize your microwave rice cereal treats

You can add just about anything you want to your microwave rice cereal treats. Whether you want to whip these up for an event or just want to try something new, any version will surely satisfy. Below are some fun ways to personalize. 

1. Candy and snacks

Have some fun by adding your favorite store-bought snacks like crushed cookies, pretzels or candies like M&Ms or peanut butter cups.

2. Chocolate

Stir in chocolate chips, cocoa powder or dark chocolate chunks for a decadent twist. Or drizzle melted chocolate over the top of your treats before cutting.

3. Fruit

Mix in dried fruits like cranberries or raisins for sweetness and added texture. You can also crush fruity cereal into your treats.

4. Sprinkles

Decorate your treats with sprinkles, chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts. You can also sprinkle some edible glitter for a festive touch.


For more microwave meals, try these recipes below:

Microwave Mac and Cheese Recipe Delivers Gooey, Cheesy Goodness in Just 5 Minutes

This Microwave Brownie Recipe Is Ready in Just 5 Minutes — So Easy + Fudgy

How to Cook Sweet Potatoes in the Microwave — Chef’s Trick for Perfect Results in 5 Minutes

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