Rice cereal treats are a classic no-bake dessert. These browned butter pecan Rice Krispie treats are extra delicious with toasted butter, golden pecans, and a touch of sweetened condensed milk to make them soft and chewy.
I include ingredient notes here when I think they’ll be helpful, but be sure to check out the recipe card below for the full list of ingredients!
Pecans: Buy whole pecans and chop them before adding to the butter or take a shortcut and buy already chopped pecans! Just make sure that you are getting raw pecans, not roasted or salted.
Sweetened Condensed Milk: This is my "secret" ingredient for making treats that are soft and pliable for up to two days after preparation. The rice cereal stays crisp and the contrast in texture is perfection.
Mini Marshmallows: There's no mystery here, but always use fresh marshmallows in your Rice Krispie treats. Stale marshmallows will lead to rock-hard bars, no matter what else you do!
My Favorite Way to Line a Baking Pan with Parchment Paper
Before you start with the stove, you need to prepare the pan. I use a 9-inch square pan, but an 8-inch one will work equally well. Because this is a no-bake recipe, there's no worry that the thicker treats (from using a smaller pan) will affect cooking.
The best way to line a square (or rectangular) baking pan is to tear off a sheet of parchment paper about 2-inches larger than your pan on all sides. Lay the paper flat on your counter and center your pan on top. Cut slits along the four corners as pictured above so that they create 4 flaps in the paper.
Place the paper into the pan and fold the flaps up so that they now line the sides of the pan. It takes a bit of fidgeting, but you eventually get the entire inner surface of the pan lined with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with a light layer of cooking spray and now you have a completely nonstick surface and you can easily pull the whole batch out for slicing once it has cooled.
Preparing the Browned Butter Pecans
Heat a large pot or saucepan over medium heat. I like to use my enameled Dutch oven since the light colored surface makes it easier to see the progress of the brown butter and catch it before it burns. Don't be tempted to use more heat, browned butter can go from golden and fragrant to burned and acrid so quickly!
When you brown the butter what you are actually doing is evaporating off the water and toasting the milk solids. The result is a nutty, fragrant butter with caramel notes.
Add the butter and the pecans to the pot and stir gently until the butter is completely melted. With this method, you will be toasting the pecans and browning the butter all at once and the aroma is heavenly. Continue to heat the butter and stir until the mixture is foamy. This is the water evaporating out of the butter. Once the foam subsides, the butter is almost done.
Heat the butter and pecans until the mixture is golden, fragrant, and intoxicating. When you have reached that point, pull the pot off the heat and proceed with the recipe quickly so that the milk solids in the butter don't burn.
Making the Treats
Add the marshmallows and the evaporated milk off of the heat. The pot will have plenty of heat to melt the marshmallows and the added ingredients will prevent the butter in the milk solids from burning. Stir the marshmallows until the whole mixture is melted and smooth. Doing this off of the heat also ensures that you don't cook the sugar in the marshmallows too much. Heating the marshmallows to too high of a temperature can make for rock hard treats.
Add in the Rice Krispies and stir until they are completely coated in the marshmallow and pecan mixture. Transfer this mixture to your prepared pan and press the cereal mixture with your fingers until you have a solid layer.
Avoiding a Sticky Mess
If you've made Rice Krispie treats before, you know that this last step can get sticky! I have two methods to help out with that. First, spray your hands and any spoons or spatulas with cooking spray. This will make it easier to get the marshmallow mixture to stay where it is supposed to.
My favorite trick is to use the wrapper from my stick of butter! Turn the wrapper so that the butter side is facing down and use it to help press the mixture into the pan. You can also rub the residual butter on your hands if you find that easier.
Cooling and Slicing
Cool the mixture in the pan for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days on your countertop. I like to slice mine right before serving so I often leave them right in the pan covered with plastic wrap.
When it is time to slice the treats, remove the whole batch from the pan at once using the parchment paper as handles. Place it directly on a cutting board and slice with a sharp chef's knife into squares or bars. If the treats have cooled sufficiently, you'll get clean cuts!
Serving and Storage
These homemade butter pecan Rice Krispie treats are great for a potluck or for delivering to a friend. They don't need to be refrigerated and stay fresh for 2 days when you keep them in an airtight container. You can also store them right in the baking pan as long as you cover it with plastic wrap.
Try These and Share
I hope you make these Soft and Chewy Browned Butter Pecan Rice Krispie Treats and share the recipe with family or friends. I want to see your results! Tag your photo with #planeatpostrepeat and mention me @planeatpostrepeat on Instagram or Facebook. I can give you a virtual high five and thank you for cooking one of my recipes! Comment below with any questions and please leave a review so others can find this recipe more easily.
Soft & Chewy Browned Butter Pecan Rice Krispie Treats
- 4 tablespoon butter, salted
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 10 oz. mini marshmallows
- ⅓ cup sweetened condensed milk
- 6 cups crisp rice cereal (e.g. Rice Krispies)
- Line a 8- or 9-inch square pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
- Heat butter and pecans over medium heat in a large saucepan or stock pot.
- Stir often and heat until the butter foams. The foam will subside, keep stirring until the butter and pecans are browned, fragrant, and toasted.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in marshmallows and the milk until everything is melted together.
- Stir in the rice cereal until well mixed.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press down with greased fingers until the mixture is in a flat layer.
- Cool the bars for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. Remove the batch from the pan using the parchment paper and slice into 16 squares using a sharp knife over a cutting board.
Nutrition facts are sometimes provided below and are calculated using an online calculator. With specific brands of ingredients and additions, omissions, or substitutions the nutrition facts may change. We encourage you to use your own nutrition facts caculator to obtain the most accurate nutrition facts for your meal.