The Secret Ingredient for Extra Chewy Rice Krispies Treats That Stay Soft for Days

Rice Krispies treats

Rice Krispies treats are a childhood delicacy that most of us still haven't outgrown. And who can blame us? They're sweet and crunchy and chewy and pretty darn perfect. Oh, and they're also incredibly easy to make and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

But because Rice Krispies treats are so simple, they're also a bit of a blank canvas for home cooks. In the recent past, we've tried roasting them over a campfire, making them with brown butter and even eating them like cereal.

And this urge to tweak the recipe makes sense. Rice Krispies treats have been all about experimentation and ingenuity from the start, when Mildred Day and her co-worker Malitta Jensen came up with the now-iconic recipe in 1939 (or earlier, depending on the source). The story goes that the recipe was inspired by a treat that originally called for puffed wheat and molasses. The puffed wheat got swapped out for Rice Krispies and Day suggested less messy marshmallows in place of the molasses.

In our quest for the best-ever Rice Krispies treat, we've come along yet another upgrade for your consideration: sweetened condensed milk.

Related: The Secret Ingredient for Moist and Fudgy Brownies

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What Does Sweetened Condensed Milk Do to Rice Krispies Treats?

If this is your first time hearing of this trick, buckle up because you might not make Rice Krispies treats any other way ever again. According to food writer, cookbook author, marshmallow enthusiastic and Rice Krispies treat queen Jessie Sheehan, a simple addition of ⅓ to ½ cup of sweetened condensed milk will give you an extra-milky flavored treat that's soft and stretchy and will stay fresh for days.

Sheehan credits this ingenious idea to Meme's Diner, a now-closed Brooklyn eatery. After sampling dozens of the restaurant's Rice Krispies treats she was smitten. Although she didn't quiz owner Libby Willis about what was in the treats, another food editor, the Kitchn's then-EIC Faith Durand, did and unlocked the secret ingredient. Sheehan took that info and ran with it and came up with her ultimate version of the cereal treat.

In addition to the extra flavor and extra chewy texture, Sheehan notes that Rice Krispies treats that are made with sweetened condensed milk will stay softer days longer than standard Rice Krispies treats, though it's unlikely that they'll last that long.

Related: The Secret Ingredient for Making Jarred Pasta Sauce Taste Like It Came From an Italian Restaurant

How Do You Add Sweetened Condensed Milk to Rice Krispies Treats?

If you want to try this it home, it's as easy as stirring in 1/3 cup of sweetened condensed milk into the melted butter in the standard Rice Krispies treats recipe. Sheehan suggests other upgrades (more marshmallows, a glug of vanilla, flaky salt), so if you want to go the full nine yards you can try her fully loaded recipe. But even if you don't go for all the upgrades, just the sweetened condensed milk addition will give you a superior Rice Krispies treat that's sure to be a hit.

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