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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




86 Comments

  1. 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.

    1. 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!
      Kelsey

  2. 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!!

    1. So happy to hear, Kari!! 🙂 Thanks for the great review – I appreciate it!
      Kelsey

  3. 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

    1. 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! 🙂

  4. 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!

    1. 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

  5. Pauline Beth Peterson says:

    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.

  6. Jon Golsteyn says:

    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.

    1. So so so happy to hear, Jon. This was such a fun experiment and the end result is SO tasty! 🙂

  7. Alex 💕 says:

    5 stars
    Literally the best scotcheroos I’ve ever had. So easy to make and loved following along with your pictures!!!!

  8. 5 stars
    These were awesome! Thanks! God bless!

    1. So happy to hear!! One of my favorite no-bake desserts!

  9. Jeffrey Ketterer says:

    5 stars
    Best Scotcheroo recipe ever! I made a double batch yesterday and they turned out perfect! Very moist, chewy, and flavorful! And for once, not hard as rock! I had so many failed attempts at making these in the past, and I finally figured out that you can NOT let the sugar & corn syrup come to a boil! So many of the other recipes tell you to do this…and they turn out too hard!

    1. YES YES YES!!! “Not hard as a rock”….exactly why I did this experiment after many pans of hard, way too crunchy scotcheroos. So glad others have enjoyed the fruits of this experiment, too!! 🙂 -Kelsey

  10. I just came across your website. I have had many Scotcheroo failures. I like the myth explanations and recipe comparisons. I appreciate you doing all the work to come up with the best ever recipe. I am anxious to try it. Thank you

    1. It was such a fun experiment!! And I’m SO pumped with the results! 🙂 I hope you give it a try – let me know what you think! -Kelsey

  11. Helen Hanley says:

    Thank you!!

    I have a almost full 9x 13 pan of Hard Scothcheroos…..
    How can I soften them?

    Hate to throw out but cheaper than dental work.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Helen – Did you use this recipe? I’ve never had them harden on me….wondering if maybe the sugar/corn syrup mixture boiled? I don’t have any ideas for softening…sorry!!

  12. Instead of corn syrup I use honey. Adds flavor and they are not so hard to slice cold!

  13. I am in my 50’s and have been making these since around 1980. My mother never bought corn syrup but always had cheap pancake syrup. In my opinion, the best way to make them is with with that! The maple-y flavor is absolutely perfect with the chocolate and peanut butter!

  14. 5 stars
    Another key factor is not pressing the rice krispie mixture into the pan too hard. It can make them rock hard pretty quickly. However, not enough pressure leaves them a bit crumbly. I’ve found using a glass pan helps me not smash them down too much
    Going through all the variables is just what I would do! Thanks! Now I don’t have to! Haha!!

  15. Oh my gosh! These are amazing!! Made these for a friend’s birthday and we all agreed hands down these were the best Scotcheroos we’ve ever had. Followed your recipe exactly as written. Thank you for such a yummy recipe!! Next time I make them going to try using a GF crispy rice cereal so I can make them gluten free for my hubby.

  16. Amanda Walhowe says:

    5 stars
    Softest, gooiest recipe for these bars-I am always asked to bring these to gatherings and told they are the best ones people have ever had, all thanks to this recipe 😃👍🏽❤️

    1. So happy to hear, Amanda!!! 🙂 You just can’t go wrong with a pan of scotcheroos!

  17. Penny Davidson @realizinghome.com says:

    5 stars
    Loved these and will be making them again! Thanks for all your scientific experimentation.

  18. Maria Harvey Starkey says:

    5 stars
    Great research!!! Plan to make these in the ‘best’ version tomorrow!
    Thank you! Thank you!

  19. 5 stars
    Made these for a party and they went down a treat! No leftovers and someone asked for the recipe, delicious.