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Here's the secret ingredient for the best Rice Krispies Treats

This nostalgic, no-bake, no-fuss dessert comes together in minutes.
Is there anything better than a big pan of these sweet, sticky treats?
Is there anything better than a big pan of these sweet, sticky treats?Katie Stilo
/ Source: TODAY

Rice Krispies Treats are pure, sweet, edible nostalgia. There's nothing like the buttery flavor of the melted marshmallows paired with the crunch of the cereal. But it's an even bigger treat to be able to recreate that taste and texture in your own kitchen — with all your favorite flavors.

Think of all the possibilities: pumpkin spice, peppermint, apple pie, candy corn and beyond. If you're feeling crafty, tint the Rice Krispies mixture into a few colors before layering in your baking dish to make a fun design.

Also, most importantly, you don't need an oven to make them. We're all about no-bake, no-fuss desserts that come together in minutes.

The secret behind the ultimate Rice Krispies recipe is, of course, the Marshmallow Fluff. It keeps the treats moist and, along with mini marshmallows, really amps up that toasty, buttery flavor that some treats lack.

A few quick tips before we get started

  • When spreading the mixture into the baking dish, spray your hands with non-stick cooking spray and gently pat the mixture into the edges of the pan. The spray helps to keep the marshmallows from sticking to your hands and allows you to smooth the top.
  • To make cutting the treats a breeze, spray a knife or cookie cutter with non-stick cooking spray beforehand. This will prevent the marshmallow from sticking to the knife. If you have fun cookie cutter shapes, this is a great non-cookie use for them.
  • To take the garnishes up a notch, dip your treats in melted chocolate or caramel sauce and roll in your favorite toppings. Insert a popsicle stick or lollipop stick into the treat to keep your hands mess free.
  • Some great mix-ins to take your bars to the next level are peanut butter, browned butter, chocolate chips, assorted candies, nuts, extracts and flavorings, food coloring and assorted cereals.

1. Prep the dish

If you don't have cooking spray, brush the bottom of the dish with vegetable oil or spread a thin layer of softened butter.Katie Stilo

Start by spraying a 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. You can also line the dish with overlapping pieces of wax paper to help prevent the treats from sticking.

2. Melt the marshmallows and butter

Stir mixture constantly to avoid marshmallows burning on the bottom of the pot.Katie Stilo

In a large pot set over medium-low heat, melt the butter and marshmallows together, stirring constantly.

Stir mixture over low heat until no lumps remain.Katie Stilo

Once marshmallows and butter are melted, add in fluff, vanilla and salt. Continue stirring until mixture is completely melted.

3. Fold the mixture together

Using a large bowl will allow you to have more room to ensure everything is evenly coated.Katie Stilo

Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add puffed rice cereal and mini marshmallows and fold to combine. This may take about 2 to 3 minutes to completely incorporate everything. If you have a large enough pot, you can combine the puffed rice and mini marshmallows in there, as long as you have enough room to fold everything together.

4. Transfer to baking dish

Lightly spray your spatula or hands with non-stick cooking spray to help press mixture into baking dish.Katie Stilo

Immediately transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish and firmly press into the edges of the dish. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit till treats have set fully, at least an hour but preferably overnight.

5. Cut into squares

Grease the blade of your knife with non-stick cooking spray before cutting to help ensure you have clean edges on your squares.Katie Stilo

Cut into squares using a lightly greased knife or use your favorite cookie cutter! Garnish and embellish as desired.

Now that you've mastered the treat, here are some tasty twists on it:

Peeps Rice Krispies Treats