If you want to know how to make Rice Krispies Treats even better, there’s an easy answer, and it’s probably in your pantry right now.

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Photo courtesy of Jessie Sheehan

Rice Krispies Treats are sweet, chewy, cereal-y blocks of deliciousness, but they’re not all created equal. Some have a secret ingredient that puts them head and gloopy shoulders above the rest.

What ingredients should you use?

The ingredients in Rice Krispies Treats are:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag mini marshmallows, plus 1 cup (to keep aside for sprinkling in later)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies
  • Flaky sea salt (if that’s your bag)

So, what’s the secret ingredient?

We saved the best for last… it’s sweetened condensed milk.

What utensils will you need to make Rice Krispies Treats?

To cobble this together, you’ll need:

  • an 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking pan
  • cooking spray
  • a large pot

So, why is sweetened condensed milk such a blessing in this recipe? (Ah, no — we gave the game away.)

For the uninitiated, sweetened condensed milk is evaporated milk with added sugar. This gives the product a longer shelf life. But it’s also the magic that elevates the texture of Rice Krispies Treats without making them too sweet, producing a wonderfully chewy dessert that you can (maybe) share.

Here’s our recipe for Rice Krispies Treats that use sweetened condensed milk to take your dessert all the way to Texture Town (with flavors to match).

  1. Grease an 8 x 8 x 2-inch pan with cooking spray or softened butter.
  2. Place the butter in a large pot on the stove and melt it over medium heat. Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir with a rubber spatula for about 2 minutes, until the butter and condensed milk combine. Small bubbles should form in the center of the mixture.
  3. Add the marshmallows and stir until melted and smooth.
  4. Add the vanilla and salt and stir again.
  5. Off the heat, add the Rice Krispies and the remaining 1 cup of marshies and stir to combine.
  6. Transfer to the prepared pan and press down lightly with a sheet of plastic wrap (you don’t want to pack the Rice Krispies Treats down or they’ll lose their inherently soft and gooey texture). Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if using.
  7. Let sit on the counter for at least 1 hour to set up. Cut into 16 slices and serve.
  8. You can store any leftovers in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days. (But don’t worry, there won’t be any.)

The extra cup of mini marshmallows for folding in at the last minute is optional — not everyone is *as* into gloopy Rice Krispies Treats. The tablespoon of vanilla works wonders with the melted, buttery marshmallows too.

In short, sweetened condensed milk, some extra marshmallows, salt, and vanilla is all that stands between you and the Rice Krispies Treats hall of fame.

Rice Krispies Treats are perfect for holiday potlucks, a stellar addition to your cookie box, and a great gift (but if you’re sending them through the mail, wrap them in plastic wrap first so they don’t dry out).

Or you can simply enjoy them while standing at your kitchen counter, uninhibitedly slicing slivers from the pan (when they’re just this side of room temp) and not doing a very good job of sharing.

Not feeling like the manual labor is worth it? Here are some boxed mix options that hit the mark.