Best Ever Scotcheroos

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!!  Rich chocolate and butterscotch covers the creamy, crispy, peanut-buttery base layer making for the perfect quick and easy no bake dessert! These are truly the best ever scotcheroos!!

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Best Ever Scotcheroos - a no bake dessert

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 dessert!)

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

Recipe Myths

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

Best Ever Scotcheroos food science experiment

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. 


  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c light corn syrup
  • 1 c creamy peanut butter
  • 6 c Rice Krispie cereal
  • 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c butterscotch chips

Grease a 9 x 13” pan and set aside.  Over medium heat, cook the corn syrup and sugar in a medium sized.  Bring the mixture to a boil and remove from the heat.  Stir in the peanut butter.  Add the cereal and stir until combined.  Pour 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

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,
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
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
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
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!
Best Ever Scotcheroos food science experiment
Best Ever Scotcheroos food science experiment


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

Love all things chocolate??

Here’s a couple more of my favorite chocolate-y treats!
Chocolate Cobbler
Oh Henry Bars
Monster Cookie Bars

stack of scotcheroos

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. Here you have it……the BEST EVER SCOTCHEROOS!

Best Ever Scotcheroos

The perfect addition to any potluck, tailgate, or party, these scotcheroos are chocolatey, peanut buttery, chewy, crispy, creamy, and simply delicious!
5 from 11 votes
Course Dessert


  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 1/3 c light corn syrup
  • 1 1/3 c peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 c Rice Krispies
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • 1 c butterscotch chips


  • Grease a 9×13″ pan and 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 is dissolved. DO NOT let the mixture come to a 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 20 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! 🙂
Keyword chocolate, dessert, peanut butter, rice krispie, snack

Shared on Weekend Potluck and Meal Plan Monday.

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


  1. Love this!! I’ve always felt mine were too hard of texture.. thanks for testing this out; I look forward to trying your new recipe!

    • I feel like my scotcheroos always varied….sometimes they are good and sometimes they were just meh. So, I’m glad I did this little experiment so I will never ever have “meh” scotcheroos again! 🙂

  2. Hi Kelsey, I wanted to stop by and thank you for sharing your Scotcheroos recipe with all of us at Weekend Potluck! Thanks for testing and perfecting! We hope to see you again this Friday, sharing more of your awesome creations in the kitchen. Have a great week!

  3. First of all this is amazing! I really need to do a little experimenting too with something sweet and delicious. Will definitely be making “G” in the future!

    • I had so much fun with this post. Brought me back to my Sensory Scientist days working with several variations of a product….gotta love science! 🙂 Thanks so much for following along, Karly!

  4. I’ll try your recipe, but I always use butter and BROWN sugar
    The best way to make them BY FAR is by using Rice Chex instead of rice krispies

    • I’ve never heard of using brown sugar instead of white….will have to give that a try sometime!! You’ll have to let me know what you think of this recipe! 🙂

  5. Have you ever tried them with Special K cereal? I’ve never made them myself but that’s how my mom always made them (I’m guessing the recipe is similar). Either way you can’t go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter.

    • My mother-in-law makes something very similar with Special K! SO delicious…..I’ll have to try it with this recipe sometime. And I agree – you just can’t go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter!!! 🙂

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I love peanut butter and especially chocolate! I eat rice krispies and have never tried it with the peanut butter and chocolate. Thanks also for showing all the different ways they can be made and issues that happen! It’s a great help for cooks to see the good, bad and or ugly problems that can happen with recipes! Thanks again and God bless!

    • Hi Donna!! Scotcheroos are definitely a classic Midwest/Iowa dessert – one that I just can’t say no to! 🙂 This was a fun post to put together and I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed it. When you get a chance to make the recipe, you’ll have to let me know what you think!! -Kelsey

  7. 5 stars
    Thank you for taking the time to note all the variations to find the perfect Scotcheroos. The boiling method would bring the sweetener to a candy state. No bueno like you said! Running to the store for Rice Krispies to make these for my son. Those little hands are precious!

  8. 5 stars
    This is some serious dedication to the Scotcharoo! Being from Nebraska, I have had good ones and mediocre ones in my day. I had to put your recipe to the test – and it passed with flying colors!! #FamilyApproved Thanks!

  9. 5 stars
    Boy did you do some experimenting! And no I have the perfect recipe to follow! My hubby and son love all things peanut butter and these were a big hit! Thank for an amazing recipe!

  10. I just tried the original recipe for the first time and thought they came out too hard and chewy, so I did some Googling to see if anyone had tested any variations to improve the texture. Found your post and BINGO, questions answered! Just wondering if you’ve ever tried using dark corn syrup instead of light? Or instead of increasing the corn syrup, adding a tablespoon or two of water might might also soften the texture in a similar way?

    • I’m so glad you landed on my page to check out the variations I’ve tried! The biggest factor in my experiment was definitely the boiling of the sugar/syrup mixture. I’ve never tried using dark corn syrup, however I’d guess it would be the same in texture and would give a robust, molasses-y flavor. I consider light and dark corn syrup pretty interchangeable, if you’re okay with a molasses flavor. Water is worth a try, but my concern would be making the cereal a bit soggy. If you end up trying either of these ideas, I’d love to hear how they go!!

  11. 5 stars
    I have made these and I want to thank you for your thorough investigation of these Scotcheroos! I was curious about the boiling of the sugar/corn syrup. I need to make these gluten free, and I also cannot eat chocolate! If I don’t have gluten-free Rice Krispies, I have found that plain Cheerios work very well. I also just use the butterscotch chips, melt them, and drizzle over the bars. Yummy!

  12. Love your scientific breakdown and the pictures! Fantastic. Never heard of this treat while living in Boston but sure love rice crispy treats. Thank you for sharing! Now I’ll have to see what ingredients/brands I can find in Germany and compare the outcomes with your pics 🙂

    • Hi Stefanie!! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. You’ll have to let me know if you’re able to find the ingredients to make these in Germany – I hope you love them!! 🙂

  13. You picture vanilla being added and state when to add it in the recipe, maybe I’m blind, but I don’t see how much vanilla to add.

  14. I have been making these for years and ALWAYS bring my corn syrup and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat once the sugar is dissolved. I use the 1 cup, 1 cup and 1 cup recipe with less rice Krispies so they’re ooey gooey! I also use milk chocolate chips and Nestle butterscotch chips. I have soooo many compliments on these and am asked to have them to every event! My absolute favorite dessert!!

  15. I love reading the experiments you made. I have accomplished a similar result by lessening the amount of Rice Krispies. Using 6 cups always seemed to make them too dry for me. I like your idea of increasing the corn syrup and peanut butter instead — makes more scotcharoos! And adding vanilla can never be bad. My favorite tip is that I cook mine in the microwave. So fast and easy that way. I will definitely try your new recipe.

    • Hi Patrice! I’m so glad you found this post and enjoyed reading about the different experiments I did. Using the microwave is a great idea – so quick and easy! I hope you enjoy this recipe!

  16. 5 stars
    Excellent. Rave reviews every time I make these. Your tip to take off heat before boiling the sugar/corn syrup makes ALL the difference. Thanks!!

  17. as someone who’s currently on a Scotcheroo kick (been making it weekly) this was THE most helpful Scotcheroo-recipe-related things I’ve read. My initial time making it resulted in a horrible result because I unknowingly let it boil, without any knowledge of how crucial that factor is. And many recipes are very vague and don’t include any info about how far to heat it. This page answered a lot of questions and the experiment outcomes are so valuable. Thanks for sharing

    • Oh my goodness – this made my day!!! The experiment was so much fun and I’m happy to hear it’s helping others as well! Cheers to delicious scotcheroos! 🙂

  18. 5 stars
    I quit making scotcheroos a long time ago as I could never get them to be soft like this. Then my kids started asking so I started looking. Thank you so much for taking the time to make this post as I have now made them several times and even took a couple batches to the high school concession stand and they were gone within the hour. Simple tips that made all the difference! Thank you again!

    • So so SO happy to hear this, Brenda!!! Nothing beats a good, soft scotcheroo and I’m glad my post could help you out! And thank you tons for the 5-star rating and review. You have no idea how much this means to me and my small business! 🙂 -Kelsey

  19. my daughter does not like chocolate. I suggested to her to try White chocolate on her Scotcheroos . Her family loved them. that’s the only way she will make them now.

  20. 5 stars
    Thanks for all the effort in getting the best recipe. I made these today and they are perfect. I love the chewiness of these along with the flavor. This recipe is a keeper, and they were very easy to make too.

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