These 5-ingredient no-bake Brown Butter Pretzel and Cereal Bar Treats are chewy, salty, and sweet. This kid and adult-friendly dessert has easy ingredients and is ready in just 10 minutes.
Adult-friendly cereal bars
Push the bowl and milk aside and let’s make some sweet and crunchy Brown Butter Pretzel and Cereal Bar Treats instead. These homemade marshmallow cereal treats are easy to make, use simple ingredients, and have the best combination of sweet and salty.
All you have to do to make this easy recipe is brown some butter, melt the marshmallows, and then combine everything together. It’s almost like a classic rice crispy treat, but with more flare! Top them with some crunchy pretzels or any toppings you like.
This no-bake recipe comes in handy when you get to the end of the cereal box or when you don’t know what to do with your leftover pretzels. Made without any peanut butter, you can serve these along with other handheld desserts like Cranberry White Chocolate Shortbread and Chocolate Coconut Clusters at holiday parties or small get-togethers.
What are cereal bar treats?
Cereal bar treats and classic rice crispy treats both have a few key components: rice or grain cereal, butter, and marshmallows. The butter and marshmallows are melted before the cereal is added. Once the bars have hardened, you end up with a sticky, sweet, and crunchy dessert or snack.
Kellogg Company invented these marshmallow squares in the 1920s for a fundraiser. Since then, the dessert has become known around the world and sold by the square by a number of companies.
There are lots of variations of rice crispy squares available nowadays, but I would encourage you to go outside the box and try a recipe that has a twist!
Don’t you just love small-batch recipes that take almost no time to make and use simple ingredients? This recipe is the total package! Here’s what you need:
We need cereal to add a crispy crunch to the bars, but don’t feel like you have to only use Honey Nut Cheerios! These bars can be made with a no-name brand or any neutral whole-grain cereal you have at home.
Feel free to make this recipe using any kind of crunchy grain cereal you have laying around. Special K, Raisin Bran, or Rice Chex are all great options!
Unsalted and good quality butter will be cooked over low heat for a few minutes to make brown butter, which will bump up the flavors of the Cheerio bars. I highly recommend using the best butter you can find because low-quality butter will contain more water which can take away from the deep flavors.
Mini marshmallows are the easiest to work with and will melt faster but feel free to use whatever kind you have on hand. You can use large marshmallows or your own homemade marshmallows if you want. Just make sure the weight is the same as noted in the recipe card.
Make sure your marshmallows aren’t stale or hard before making this recipe. Instead of throwing them away, learn how to soften stale marshmallows yourself.
For a salty crunch! Use as many or any kind of pretzels you want. You can even be fancy and use chocolate or yogurt-covered pretzels instead.
How to make homemade cereal bars
These no-bake cereal bars come together and are ready to eat in no time! Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Brown the butter in a saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Step 2: Add the marshmallows and vanilla into the saucepan and lower the heat.
Step 3: Melt everything completely.
Step 4: Stir in the cereal and pretzels until they're well coated.
Step 5: Press the mixture into a prepared loaf pan and leave it to cool completely before cutting.
Substitutes and variations
- Add chocolate: Once the marshmallows have completely melted, take the pan off the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. From there, stir in the cereal, then add either chocolate chunks or chips. Only stir a few times to prevent the chocolate from melting. You can top the bars with more chocolate chips or a drizzle of melted chocolate before putting them in the fridge to harden.
- Add nuts: For extra crunch, either fold some salted peanuts, chopped almonds, hazelnuts, or cashews into the mixture. Feel free to add more on top if you wish.
- Use more marshmallows: Stir an extra half cup of mini marshmallows into the mixture after you’ve already added the cereal.
- If you like extra salt: Top the bars with a sprinkle of flake salt.
Make this small-batch recipe in no time with these helpful tips:
Have everything ready
This recipe moves really fast, so have your pan prepped and the ingredients measured and waiting in individual bowls on the counter before you start making the brown butter.
These bars can easily be made way ahead of time. When they’re ready to eat, keep them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
An 8.5 x 4.5 metal loaf pan is all you need to fit the cereal-marshmallow mixture and is the best size for this small batch recipe.
You can freeze the bars in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic for up to 2 months. Just let them sit at room temperature for about an hour before serving.
It's time to cook!
Okay, friend! It's your turn to make a batch of these treats. When you do, make sure to leave a comment below so I can hear what you think!
Brown Butter Pretzel and Cereal Bar Treats
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups mini marshmallows
- 1 ½ cups honey nut cheerios
- ½ cup chopped pretzels
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Line a 8.5 by 4.5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Brown butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is browned and has a nutty aroma, about 5 minutes.
- Immediately add marshmallows and vanilla. Reduce heat to low and stir to melt completely, about 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add in cereal and pretzels. Stir to coat.
- Press the mixture into the loaf pan and allow to cool compltely before serving.
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