Salted Brown Butter Bourbon Rice Krispie Treats

These Salted Brown Butter Bourbon Rice Krispie Treats are made with fragrant brown butter and your favorite bourbon. Crunchy and chewy, this upgraded childhood sweet treat gets a sprinkle of flaky sea salt to boot.

Salted Brown Butter Bourbon Rice Krispie Treats stacked on a white background

Some childhood treats stand up to the test of time, and others do not.

Chocolate chip cookies, puppy chow, peanut butter blossoms, classic rice krispies treats.

They are all still just as amazing as they were when I was a kid.

But sometimes it’s fun to give them upgrades, especially adults-only ones. Like chocolate chip cookie shot glasses, Moscow mule ginger cookies or puppy chow popcorn.

Or how about… adding bourbon to rice krispie treats?

Salted Brown Butter Bourbon Rice Krispie Treats recipe

Crunchy and chewy all at once, the texture of these rice krispie treats is just like you remember the original recipe — with crispy rice cereal and melted marshmallows.

The flavors are just a tad more complex than the ones of our childhood. Perfect for grown-up taste buds.

Instead of melted butter, they have brown butter, which brings in its warm, nutty aroma and robust flavor.

A splash of bourbon adds oaky, vanilla, caramel notes and a deep complexity.

Lastly, a sprinkle of flaky sea salt gives the rice krispie treats some balance for the sweet marshmallowy goodness.

I have to say, this is the perfect blend. These are the best rice krispies recipe I’ve ever made! They would be so perfect for a Christmas cookie plate, or you could even make them for a Kentucky Derby party! (Mint julep, anyone?)

a grid of Salted Brown Butter Bourbon Rice Krispie Treats on a marble background

What is brown butter?

Brown butter is melted butter that’s cooked just a little longer to toast the milk solids. It has a bold, nutty flavor and it can be used in both savory and sweet dishes (like brown butter rice krispies treats!).

I made a brown butter sage turkey for Thanksgiving this year, and the browned butter gave the skin of the turkey a lovely crispness. I also love making pasta with brown butter sauce for a quick meal.

But brown butter is also excellent in sweets. These cinnamon rolls have a brown butter glaze that’s to die for. Brown butter Moon Pie ice cream is another favorite of mine!

There is so much wonderful depth of flavor in browned butter, and if you’ve never tried it, you will love it!

a dish of Salted Brown Butter Bourbon Rice Krispie Treats with an aqua kitchen towel

Ingredients

Here is what you will need to pick up at the grocery store for Salted Brown Butter Bourbon Rice Krispy Treats:

  • crispy rice cereal
  • butter
  • mini marshmallows
  • bourbon
  • vanilla extract
  • kosher salt
  • flaky sea salt

Crispy rice cereal

I most often turn to the Kellogg’s Rice Krispies brand of cereal, but feel free to use store brand. I have before and have noticed very little difference in the cereal mixture!

Butter

Unsalted butter will yield the best results for browned butter, but you can use salted butter. Just omit the 1/4 teaspoons of kosher salt in the recipe. (You can still add flaky sea salt but may not want to add as much.)

Marshmallows

You will need a bag of marshmallows for this brown butter rice krispie treats recipe. I use a package of miniature marshmallows because they melt faster, but there’s nothing wrong with using the jumbo marshmallows.

Vanilla extract

Use the best vanilla extract you can find. I love this bourbon vanilla extract for some extra bourbon flavor, or better yet, use homemade vanilla extract!

a glass of bourbon with Salted Brown Butter Bourbon Rice Krispie Treats

Bourbon

Bourbon is the star of the show here. Even the tiniest hint of bourbon flavor brings a kick to these rice krispie treats. It makes a very fun upgrade to favorite childhood treat.

Use your favorite or use up the one you’ve been avoiding in the back of your bar cabinet. No rules here!

My favorite bourbon to bake with is Maker’s Mark, but we also usually have Old Forester on hand too. Check out more favorite brands in my Bourbon 101 guide.

You don’t need a lot — a shot of bourbon would make the rice krispies cereal a bit soggy.

Flaky Sea Salt

Flecks of sea salt are amazing on sweet and savory dishes alike. I keep Maldon sea salt on hand for just this occasion!

Use it like you’d use salt on savory items like meat or fish, buttery popcorn, salads, scrambled eggs and, of course, avocado toast.

Sweets-wise, a sprinkle of salt is a dream atop chocolate chip cookies, brownies, fudge and caramels and even ice cream! (I love this salty peanut butter ice cream.)

Other ingredients

If you’d like you can also sprinkle on chocolate chips or drizzle on white chocolate. Any big fan of rice krispie treats would love any of these options.

a stack of three Salted Brown Butter Bourbon Rice Krispie Treats

How to make Salted Brown Butter Bourbon Rice Krispie Treats

First, you’ll want to measure out the ingredients so you’re ready to put together the marshmallow treats once the butter is browned. Reserve 1 cup of the marshmallows to stir in at the end.

Next, melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.

Stir the butter often as it melts — I use a silicone spatula. It will begin to foam up and turn bubbly. You can also gently move the pan around over the burner.

When this happens, don’t take your eye off the pan! Brown bits will begin forming at the bottom of the sauce pan, which can burn easily. Keep stirring!

The butter will begin to smell like hazelnuts when it’s ready. The browned bits will become more prominent and the liquid will be light brown in color.

Remove your skillet from the heat and stir in the marshmallows (minus 1 cup), bourbon, vanilla and salt until combined.

Lastly, stir in the rice krispie cereal. Once it’s mixed in, stir in the remaining 1 cup of marshmallows.

Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper, or spray it with cooking spray, and press in the marshmallow mixture in an even layer. Use the back of a spoon to press it in compactly.

Sprinkle with flakes of fresh sea salt.

Once the bars cool to room temperature, you can cut them into 12 pieces. (Or smaller if you like!)

More rice crispy treats recipes

S’mores rice krispie treats are some of my favorites to make. They’re dipped in chocolate and feature graham cracker chunks and crumbs as well.

Made with cocoa krispies, these chocolate rice krispie treats are so fun for the holidays.

I love the color of these pretty pink strawberry rice krispie treats!

a green ceramic dish of uncut Salted Brown Butter Bourbon Rice Krispie Treats

The Sweetest Season

The Sweetest Season Cookie Exchange is my good friend Erin’s annual virtual cookie swap.

Every year, she gets food bloggers together to share new holiday cookie recipes to make and give. I’ve participated for most of the years I’ve been blogging, which is really fun to think about!

Check out the LITERAL hundreds of cookie recipes for your holiday inspiration.

cookies 4 kids’ cancer

And some good news: This year we’re raising money for Cookies 4 Kids’ Cancer, which is a recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to funding research for new, innovative and less-toxic treatments for childhood cancer.

Since 2008, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer has granted nearly $17 million to pediatric cancer research in the form of 100+ research grants to leading pediatric cancer centers across the country. From these grants have stemmed 35+ treatments available to kids battling cancer today.

Isn’t that amazing?! If you’d like to donate, you can find our fundraising page here.

Also, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is in a matching window with their friends at OXO, who will be matching every dollar raised through the end of 2021, up to $100,000. Whatever money we raise will automatically double on our fundraising page!

a stack of three Salted Brown Butter Bourbon Rice Krispie Treats

Salted Brown Butter Bourbon Rice Krispie Treats

Yield: 12 bars
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Salted Brown Butter Bourbon Rice Krispie Treats are a boozy, no-bake dessert.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 12 ounces mini marshmallows, divided
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 1 tablespoon flaky sea salt

Instructions

  1. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with wax paper or spray it with cooking spray. Set aside 1 cup of the marshmallows.
  2. Brown the butter. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Stir often as it melts.
  3. When the butter foams up and turns bubbly, stir quickly until brown bits begin forming at the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring. Shake the pan if necessary to keep the liquid moving.
  4. Remove from heat when butter begins to smell like hazelnuts and the liquid is light brown in color, about 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the marshmallows (minus 1 cup), bourbon, vanilla and salt until combined.
  6. Lastly, stir in the cereal. Once it's mixed in, stir in the remaining 1 cup of marshmallows.
  7. Press in the rice krispie treat mixture. Use the back of a spoon to press it in compactly. Sprinkle with flakes of fresh sea salt.
  8. Cut into 12 bars.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 bar
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 729mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 0gSugar: 18gProtein: 2g

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