If you like Rice Krispie treats, then you’ll go head over heels for no-bake Scotcheroos, one of the most decadent peanut butter and chocolate dessert you’ll ever have. They’re ready in minutes and devoured in seconds.
Chocolate and peanut butter fanatics unite! My grandma’s No Bake Peanut Butter Bars might be better than store-bought peanut butter cups. My chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting are also divine, and you can't go wrong with peanut butter Buckeyes from Ohio. See more sweets and treats here.
It’s impossible to resist a sweet and salty Scotcheroo, a midwest staple at birthday parties, potlucks and picnics. More of a candy than a cookie, this recipe is perfect to whip up at the very last minute, when all of a sudden, you need a dessert.
Making peanut butter Scotcheroos for a troop of scouts? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
- Crispy rice cereal. I prefer these made with cereal like Rice Krispies, but maybe you don’t! Some cooks make Scotcheroos with Cheerios, Special K cereal, Chex cereal, or cornflakes. It all depends on what cereal you prefer.
- Corn syrup. Light corn syrup, such as Karo brand, is lightly vanilla flavored.
- Sugar. Granulated white sugar is standard, but one reader swears by brown sugar for extra richness.
- Creamy peanut butter. Store-bought is preferred here, making this recipe extra easy. And since 18 ounces is the standard size for peanut butter, you can use the whole jar. (18 ounces= 2 1/4 cups of peanut butter, if you buy it in bulk!)
- Butterscotch chips. Optional in some circles, but required as far as I'm concerned!
- Chocolate chips. Milk chocolate, or if you want to go darker, that’s delicious, too.
How to make Scotcheroos:
- First, grease a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan.
- Then mix together the sugar and the corn syrup in a heavy-bottomed pan. Bring the mixture to a boil. As soon as that happens, remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter.
- Gently fold in the cereal until it is evenly coated, then press the mixture into the prepared pan. Damp fingertips can help keep the mess to a minimum.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips together. This can also be done in a microwave, by placing the chips in a glass bowl and heating for 30-second increments, stirring in between, until completely melted.
- Spread the melted chocolate butterscotch mixture over the cereal bars. This may be tricky, but an offset spatula can help make the top presentable. Finally, allow everything to cool completely before cutting into squares.
Great tips for making your best Scotcheroo yet:
Keep them soft. Ever taste a rock hard Scotcheroo? That’s easy to prevent! Don’t overcook the sugar and corn syrup; bring it to a boil, then remove the pot from the heat. Over boiling the sugar mixture makes the consistency more like candy.
For extra moist Scotcheroos, some readers like to add 1/2 stick of butter (2 ounces) to the pot along with the peanut butter to make it even more lovely and rich, and keep the consistency soft and gooey.
Add chopped nuts or toasted coconut to the chocolate while it’s still warm. Gently press down the toppings into the chocolate with your fingertips so they stay put once they’re cut.
What’s a good substitute for corn syrup?
If you need a Scotcheroo recipe without corn syrup, try these suggestions.
- Make your own corn syrup using sugar. You can replace 1 cup of light corn syrup with 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water or other liquid used in the recipe.
- Brown rice syrup. Vegan and gluten-free, brown rice syrup is a natural sweetener that can work in this recipe. (Let me know how you like it!)
- Glucose syrup, golden syrup, or confectioner’s syrup. Outside of the U.S., these may be more readily available to you.
A few important things to note for Celiac or those with gluten intolerance:
- Rice Krispies brand is not gluten-free; they contain malt, which is made from barley.
- Some name brand butterscotch chips may also contain malt, so please read your labels carefully.
To make Scotcheroos gluten-free, find a gluten-free crisp rice cereal (or other type of cereal that you like) and follow the recipe. Easy!
Looking for fun desserts for someone who can’t tolerate peanuts?
Try almond or cashew butter in place of peanut butter, but you may want to add a tiny bit more sugar to the recipe. Also, read your labels carefully—some nut butters are made in a facility that processes peanuts.
If you try an alternative nut butter, please leave a comment about how it went!
How to store Scotcheroo bars:
Store the bars at room temperature in an air-tight container or covered with plastic wrap. They should stay fresh for up to 5 days, if you have the will power to not eat every last one.
Can you freeze Scotcheroos?
These freeze like a dream! Once they’re completely cool, wrap up the whole pan in foil and freeze.
Or place the cut squares in a single layer in a freezer bag and seal well. They’ll keep for several weeks (unless someone finds them)!
Then, the hardest part: allow them to come to room temperature when you’re ready to serve them.
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 18 ounces creamy peanut butter
- 6 cups crispy rice cereal
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- Coat a 9-inch by 13-inch pan with butter or nonstick spray.
- Combine corn syrup and sugar in a large stock pot or Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter.
- Add cereal to pot and stir until evenly coated. Press into prepared pan.
- In medium sauce pan, combine butterscotch chips and chocolate chips and heat until melted and smooth. Spread evenly over cereal bars and cool completely. Cut into squares.