The original Rice Krispies treats recipe from 1940 & its delicious history

Rice Krispies treats - bar dessert vintage recipe

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The original Rice Krispies treats were invented in the 1930s. By 1940, the recipe was known across the country — and their popularity has hardly waned since.

How were the original Rice Krispies Treats created?

Back in the 1930s (the timeline is a little vague), two women reportedly created snack food history.

The story goes that while working for the Kellogg Company, Mildred Day and Malitta Jensen needed to create with a recipe that kids in the Campfire Girls could make for troop fundraisers.

They eventually came up with something they called “marshmallow treats” or variations of “crispy marshmallow squares” — or what we know today as Rice Krispies Treats.

By the end of 1940, the recipe for original Rice Krispies Treats was so popular that it was printed right on Rice Krispies cereal boxes, and quickly became known as a quick and easy go-to dessert all across the country.

Even though the recipe seems simple today — a gooey mix of Rice Krispies cereal, marshmallows, butter (and optional vanilla) — Mrs Day’s obituary noted that she worked for days on end to develop the dessert.

The 1996 story also said that when Mrs Day’s daughter Sandra asked her mom why she never whipped up a batch of the popcorn-ball-inspired treats at home, her mother said simply, “If you’d made them for two weeks from 6:30 in the morning until 10:30 at night, you wouldn’t want to make them again, either.”

Here, get the original version of the treats recipe, along with some modern variations!

Rice Krispies treats

The original Rice Krispies Treats recipe — early version

One of the earliest published versions of the original Rice Krispies Treat recipe, published in The Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) on December 2, 1940:

Have you made the marshmallow squares using rice crispies? They are on the box of one company. They may be called either candy or cookies, as you desire.

Crispie marshmallow squares

Melt 1/3 cup butter and 1/2 pound of marshmallows in a double boiler. Add 1/2 teaspoonful vanilla, beat thoroughly to blend.

Put a box of rice crispies in a large buttered bowl, pour on marshmallow mixture, stirring briskly. Press into shallow, buttered pan. Cut into squares when cool.

Two ounces of melted unsweetened chocolate, or 4 ounces of melted bittersweet chocolate may be added to the marshmallow mixture just before pouring over the rice crispies.

Rice Krispies treats

Rice Krispies Treats recipe: Today’s version

Yield: 24 squares


  • 3 tablespoons butter (do not use tub spread or reduced-fat margarine)
  • 1 package (10 ounces, or about 40) marshmallows OR 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 6 cups Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal


1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add fresh marshmallows, and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

2. Add Rice Krispies. Stir until well-coated.

3. Using a buttered spatula or waxed paper or parchment paper, evenly press the mixture into 13x9x2-inch pan that has been buttered or coated with cooking spray.

4. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares.

Microwave directions

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat butter and marshmallows on high for 2 minutes, stir, then heat for 1 more minute. Stir until smooth. Follow steps 2 through 4 shown above. (Note: Microwave cooking times may vary.)

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 2 squares
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 142Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 121mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 0gSugar: 11gProtein: 2g

Click Americana offers approximate nutrition information as a general reference only, and we make no warranties regarding its accuracy. Please make any necessary calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, and consult with a qualified healthcare professional if you have dietary concerns.

Fun Rice Krispies treats recipes for holidays & special occasions!

  1. Make Rice Krispies birthday ice cream cups! (1997)
  2. Peanutty mini-footballs with Rice Krispies treats (1996)
  3. Skippy’s cocoa peanut squares (1959)
  4. Scotcheroos: Chocolate & butterscotch on peanut butter cookie bars (1965)
  5. Cocoa Peanut Logs with Cocoa Krispies cereal (1968)
  6. Crunchy Ice Cream Bars (1967)
  7. Choco-Scotch clusters recipe (1967)
  8. Cool ‘n crispy ice cream treats – with Rice Krispies (1982)
  9. ‘Tis the season for Merry Rice Krispies Treats (1972)
  10. Little Easter candy nests made with Rice Krispies treats (1997)
  11. Easter Rice Krispies treats: Bunnies, eggs & more (1982)

Rice Krispies treats for holidays and fun

Take a look back at the crunchy history of the original Rice Krispies Treats recipe

Quick treat — so delicious! (1948)

Easy to make! Easy to take! Try these Rice Krispies Marshmallow Squares — a yummy treat or dessert! And downright good with light, crunchy Rice Krispies.

As cereal or sweet, these golden pops of rice offer quickly-digested fuel-food — food for oomph ‘n’ energy!

(1948) Original Rice Krispies Marshmallow Squares
Original Rice Krispies treats recipe from 1948

Howdy Doody: “You’ll all go for marshmallow crispy squares” (1953)

“We’re sure wild about this homemade candy treat!” – Wild Bill & Jingles (Andy Devine & Guy Madison), who co-star in Kellogg’s Wild Bill Hickock radio and TV shows

Howdy Doody: You'll all go for marshmallow crispy squares (1953)

Marshmallow Crispy Treats aka original Rice Krispies treats (1955)

Make ’em in six minutes with Kellogg’s RICE KRISPIES and MARSHMALLOWS

Serve up some Marshmallow Crispy Treats and little hands will clean the plate quicker’n you can fill it. And that’s fast.

Because you can heap a platter in the time it takes to count leisurely to 360. What do you need? Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, butter, marshmallows and six minutes’ time.

Bet you know some little kiddies who’d love to be sweetened right now. So why not make for the kitchen and make ready some of these crispy candy treats?

DON’T MISS: 40 favorite breakfast cereals from the 1960s (1967)

Original Rice Krispies Treats recipe - Marshmallow Crispy Treats (1955)

Woody Woodpecker with a Marshmallow Crispy Treats recipe (1958)

It really pays to try this recipe! It’s quick and easy. And we’re so sure you’ll want to whip it up often for the family — we’ll give you a quarter just to try it.

Woody Woodpecker with a Marshmallow Crispy Treats recipe (1958)

Dennis the Menace with a 6-minute Marshmallow Crispy Treats recipe (1960)

“Golly, these are good!”

Dennis the Menace with a 6-minute Marshmallow Crispy Treats recipe (1960)

Marshmallow treats recipe (1969)

Marshmallow treats recipe (1969)

The original Rice Krispies Treats (1970)

Snap! Crackle! or Pop! will send you a quarter just for making Marshmallow Treats. They’re fun to make ’cause they’re so easy.

All you need is 3 ingredients (1/4 cup regular margarine or butter, 6-10 ounces [about 40] regular marshmallows, or 4 cups miniature marshmallows, and 5 cups Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal) to follow these 3 easy steps:

1. Melt margarine in 3-quart saucepan. Add marshmallows and cook over low heat. stirring constantly. until marshmallows are melted and mixture is very syrupy. Remove from heat.

2. Add Rice Krispies cereal and stir until well-coated.

3. Press warm mixture evenly and firmly into buttered 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Cut into squares when cool.

Yield: 24 squares. 2 x 2 inches

Note: About 2 cups marshmallow creme may be substituted for marshmallows. Add to melted margarine and cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Proceed as directed in step number 2 above.

Original Rice Krispies treats recipe (1970)

DON’T MISS: 70 popular vintage 1970s cereals we loved & we miss

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Comments on this story

5 Responses

  1. My mother made Rice Krispies square, but with peanut butter instead of marshmallows. They were a hit with everyone, but you had to keep them chilled lest they melt.

    1. My childhood friend’s mom made them with both peanut butter and marshmallows, and my husband STILL makes them that way to this day (basic recipe plus heaping tablespoon of pb) – no refrigeration needed 🙂

  2. My grandmother’s recipe was melted Peanut Butter and Butterscotch chips instead of Marshmallow. These do not need refrigeration, but there are rarely many left to save..

  3. Thank you for sharing the ORIGINAL RECIPE! It is so hard to find. I knew they have changed it a few times over the years but after seeing 3Tbsp butter everywhere I began to doubt my memory of it being 1/4cp! I will keep making this recipe, and a few more I’ve spotted on your site, because it truly is the best version!

  4. Back in the 1960’s, when I was a kid, I sent in for recipes and it came with a quarter taped to it. It had a recipe for rice krispie ice cream sandwiches using corn syrup and butter. No marshmallows or peanut butter. Could you please send me that recipe. Thanks! Debbie

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