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If you live in the Midwest, chances are you’ve had a “scotcheroo” a time or two….and if you haven’t, ohhhhh let me tell you – you’re in for a real treat with this easy dessert!!  Rich chocolate and butterscotch covers the creamy, crispy, peanut-buttery base layer in this no bake dessert! These are truly the best ever scotcheroos!!

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Two scotcheroo bars with a piece of parchment paper between them.

Scotcheroos are the Cadillac of Rice Krispie bars.  I used to love Rice Krispie treats (still do), but I’d say I make scotcheroos 10x more often.    Have you ever brought something to a potluck thinking “this is gonna be a hit!” and been completely wrong?  Or put lots of time and effort into a cake or pie and brought it to an event just to have one or two pieces taken? 

You will never, EVER have that issue with scotcheroos…….they are a potluck staple here in Iowa and are loved by all ages. (They’re also a quick, easy, and no bake treat!)

However, I’ll admit there are okay scotcheroos and then there are flippin’ awesome scotcheroos.  And I’ve made both….I’ve tinkered around with the recipe a bit and had a couple flops and some great successes.  However, I never kept track of what I was changing.  I’d just make a change and hope for the best.  I decided the best way to figure this out for once and for all was to do a little experiment…ehh large experiment! 😊

Best Ever Scotcheroos ingredients including sugar, corn syrup, peanut butter and rice krispies.

Recipe Myths

MYTH #1:  Following the original recipe (boiling the corn syrup/sugar) will result in a hard scotcheroos
MYTH #2:  Using name brand peanut butter will improve the taste and texture of the scotcheroo
MYTH #3:  Adding butter to the sugar and corn syrup mixture will improve taste and texture of the scotcheroo

Best Ever Scotcheroos food science experiment laid out on a cutting board.

The Experiment

After a little searching, I found a few different variables in Scotcheroo recipes floating around the internet.  I had a “control,” which is the recipe that both Karo syrup and Rice Krispies has on their websites.  Then the variations were all in the base layer – I tested cooking methods, peanut butter brands, and amounts of corn syrup and peanut butter. 

One afternoon I mixed up each of the seven variations.  I used a scale to weigh ingredients to make sure they were as precise as possible.  I then cut each test batch into small squares and brought them into work for coworkers to blind taste. 

CONTROL RECIPE: (Scroll to the bottom for my FAVORITE recipe!)
Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 6 cup crispy rice cereal
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips

Directions
Grease a 9 x 13” pan with cooking spray and set aside.  Over medium heat, cook the corn syrup and sugar in a large saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a boil and remove from the heat.  Stir in the peanut butter.  Add the cereal and stir until combined.  Pour the cereal mixture into prepared pan and press into place.  Melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips; stir; spread over base layer.  Cool and cut into bars.

Experiment Variations

EXPERIMENT VARIATIONS
A – Control recipe, no boil
B – Control recipe, boil
C – Control recipe + ½ c extra corn syrup
D – Control recipe, but with Skippy peanut butter instead of cheap brand
E – Control recipe + ½ c extra peanut butter
F – Control recipe + ¼ c butter in sugar/corn syrup mixture
G – Control recipe + 1/3 c extra peanut butter + 1/3 c extra corn syrup

NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, I did not bring the sugar/corn syrup mixture to a boil (as I had tested and noticed a negative affect when boiled) an used the That’s Smart brand of peanut butter

  Change Results
A Control recipe,
no boil
These were good; had decent texture but were
slightly firm
B Control recipe,
boil
Although the recipe says to bring the sugar/corn syrup mixture to a boil, this was by far the worst of all the experiments.  The base layer was simply too hard and crunchy
C Control recipe +
½ c extra corn
syrup
These were the second favorite of the bunch.  The texture was chewy and soft, but was lacking a little bit of peanut butter flavor
D Control recipe,
used Skippy
brand peanut
butter
Using Skippy peanut butter (rather than the That’s Smart brand) changed the flavor (not bad, just different) and made them slightly more crumbly
E Control recipe +
½ c extra peanut butter
Slightly less dense, and a bit less “gooey” than a couple other top favorites
F Control recipe +
¼ c butter in
sugar/syrup
mixture
Different flavor; nobody really enjoyed this one
G Control recipe + 1/3 c extra peanut butter + 1/3 c extra corn syrup This was by far the favorite!  It was soft, chewy, and had excellent peanut butter flavor.  YUM!
scotcheroos cut into squares with their experiment numbers on them.
scotcheroos cut into squares with a bit out of each one with their experiment numbers on them.

Conclusions

MYTH #1:  Following the original recipe (boiling the corn syrup/sugar) will result in a scotcheroo that is too firm……….TRUE!!  DO NOT boil the corn syrup and sugar!!!  This was the factor that seemed to have the largest impact on the end product.  It’s so important to cook the syrup mixture on low just until the sugar has dissolved.  If you see a bubble or two starting to form, pull off the burner immediately so it doesn’t start boiling.

MYTH #2:  Using name brand peanut butter will improve the taste and texture of the Scotcheroo……….FALSE!!  The peanut butter brand doesn’t seem to have much of an impact on the finished product.

MYTH #3:  Adding butter to the corn syrup/sugar mixture will improve taste and texture of the Scotcheroo…………FALSE!!  The butter took away from the peanut butter flavor and didn’t have a large affect on the texture.

VIDEO: How to Make the Best Ever Scotcheroos

Should they be served at room temperature?

Yes, they are best served at room temperature. Cover the pan with a lid or plastic wrap until ready to enjoy.

Can you freeze scotcheroos?

Yes, these cereal bars can be frozen in a freezer bag or in an airtight container. If you can’t fit them in a single layer, be sure to place a piece of parchment paper between layers so they don’t stick together.

Can you use different cereal?

Yes! Many people call these Special K Bars because they grew up using Special K cereal instead of Rice Krispies. I like them either way!

Can you use almond butter?

I tested this once (awhile back) and had good luck using almond butter in the peanut butter mixture (which is great for people with peanut allergies!).

Can you use natural peanut butter?

I don’t recommend it because natural peanut butter would give a different texture that might not hold the krispy treats together well.

Can you replace the butterscotch chips with something else?

Sure. I love the butterscotch flavor (for me, it’s part of classic scotcheroos) but you could use additional chocolate chips or replace it with peanut butter chips.

Can you use brown sugar in place of regular sugar?

Yes. I don’t think there would be any problem with that – it’ll change the flavor a bit, but not necessarily in a bad way!

Can you use crunchy peanut butter?

I’ve never tried it, but I think it’ll work okay. I’d advise against “extra crunchy” peanut butter as it won’t have as much moisture.

Other No Bake Treats

Loaded Scotcheroos – Take the scotcheroos to the next level with some fun add-ins!

No Bake Peanut Butter Treats

No Bake Cookie Bars

No Bake Scores Bars

stack of scotcheroos with parchment paper between them and a pan in the background.

So, what’s the Best Ever recipe?!! I took the learnings from my experiment and added a little vanilla to boost the flavor. Once I tried it, I knew this was THE ONE. The BEST scotcheroo recipe ever.

Here you have it……the BEST EVER SCOTCHEROOS!

5 from 24 votes

Best Ever Scotcheroos

Author: Kelsey
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
24 squares
The perfect addition to any potluck, tailgate, or party, these scotcheroos are chocolatey, peanut buttery, chewy, crispy, creamy, and simply delicious!

Equipment

  • 1 9×13" pan

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 1/3 cups peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips

Instructions

  • Coat a 9×13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, add the sugar and corn syrup and combine.
  • Turn the stovetop on low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. DO NOT let the mixture boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove the saucepan from the heat. (If you see any bubbles begin to form, remove it immediately from the stovetop)
  • Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla
  • Stir in the Rice Krispies, being careful not to crush them, but making sure they're well-combined
  • Pour into the prepared pan and pat into place
  • In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate and butterscotch chips
  • Cook on high in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval until the chocolate is melted and smooth
  • Spread over the Rice Krispie mixture and let cool before cutting into bars…..if you can wait! 🙂

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 301kcal | Carbohydrates: 45.5g | Protein: 4.8g | Fat: 12.5g | Saturated Fat: 5.5g | Sodium: 156mg | Potassium: 93mg | Fiber: 1.5g | Sugar: 27g | Iron: 4mg
“Dance Around the Kitchen” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Best Ever Scotcheroos - a no bake dessert
Trying to take photos with a toddler…..apparently she love scotcheroos as much as her mama!

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Recipe Rating




84 Comments

  1. Could I replace the peanut butter with almond butter?

    1. Yes. I have tried it with almond butter. It’s going to (of course) have a different flavor and the texture is a little different, but it’s a good alternative if needed! ~Kelsey

  2. Made these in Jr High Home Ec class and have been making them ever since. My husband loves them!

  3. Stacey Vander Schoor says:

    I absolutely LOVE this recipe! I tried it after you made it on Hello Iowa so it’s been a while ago but I’ve made it multiple times since then. I thought my recipe was good but this is even better. I threw my recipe away. I love that you experimented to make it the “best ever”. I agree 100%!

  4. 5 stars
    Literally the BEST scotcheroos. I took them to school for the teacher lounge/a birthday and everyone raved about them. Way to go Kelsey, you did it again and created an amazing recipe. Print, save and add this recipe to your recipe book — you will not be disappointed. 🙂

    1. You’re too sweet Katie!!! So glad these scotcheroos continue to be a hit!! ~Kelsey

  5. 5 stars
    First time making these and obsessed!
    I added skor bits after I poured the chocolate/butterscotch
    Used natural peanut butter too. Thought the non natural one would be too sweet
    Can’t wait to share these!

  6. Whitney Hawley says:

    5 stars
    This is the very best recipe! I’ve been been making different ones trying to get the holy grail and I soooo appreciate your testing out the best recipes for yourself and us!
    The added corn syrup and peanut butter and not boiling the mixture was the perfect texture I was seeking and the flavor is *chefs kiss*
    I always do a 2-3 cup of butterscotch chips and the rest semi sweet chocolate.
    Thank you for the perfect recipe! I will be subscribing to see your other recipes ❤️

  7. 5 stars
    Best recipe thank you for all of the notes and all of the studies that you did with all the recipes and it’s awesome with the extra corn syrup and extra peanut butter. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this, so that’s why I’m taking the time to tell you thank you.!!❤️

    1. I’m so glad you found the notes to be helpful. Thanks for sharing!!! ~Kelsey