I never had scotcheroos as a kid, can you believe it? In fact, I hadn’t even heard of them until my mid 30s!
Classic Scotcheroos are a no bake treat made with puffed rice cereal (Rice Krispies), peanut butter, chocolate and butterscotch chips. The ultimate no-bake bar dessert with varying layers and flavors.
They Used to Be Called Million Dollar Bars
One day I sent hubby to the store to buy Rice Krispie cereal for my Chocolate Rice Krispie Bowl with Whipped Peanut Butter Dip. He came back with the generic store “puffed rice cereal”.
On the side of this box was the recipe below. Since I had leftover cereal and similar ingredients from my intended recipe, I made a batch.
The recipe had no name, so judging by the amazing flavor profile, I decided to call them Million Dollar Bars. Why? Because they were delicious and worth a million dollars.
It was only then that I saw something similar pop up in my Pinterest feed because you know, the internet stalks you. And much to my surprise, these bars DO have a name and apparently I am the only poor soul that never had them growing up.
What are Scotcheroos?
If you aren’t familiar (and clearly I am not judging because I never had them) they are essentially a Rice Krispie treat, sans the marshmallows, held together with peanut butter and corn syrup.
But it doesn’t end there. No way, Jose. Now you top them with a nice frosting of semi-sweet chocolate. They are chewy, sticky and sweet cereal bars.
Why Are They Called Scotcheroos?
The recipe I originally used had just chocolate, but then I kept seeing the addition of butterscotch chips. Which honestly made sense, the “scotch” part of the name hails from “butterscotch.”
Some melted chocolate and butterscotch together and others made a pretty swirl. Either way, it is all headed to the same place.
But why “eroo”? I never found out. So if you know, please tell me! I do know the recipe as originally seen on a Rice Krispie box in the 1960s… but that is about it.
Chocolate and peanut butter, it’s the dream bar! Kinda like a Rice Krispie Treat, but also a little candy like.
For me, these are all simple ingredients and pantry staples, making this an easy dessert to make on the fly with my kids. One of their favorite desserts.
- Light corn syrup – While your other favorite no bake dessert (rice krispie treats) uses marshmallows to hold it all together, this easy recipe uses corn syrup.
- Sugar – Corn syrup in and of itself is already sweet, but we do need to add some sugar as well.
- Peanut butter – I definitely recommend using creamy peanut butter for these delicious scotcheroos. Crunchy peanut butter makes this no bake bar, well, crunchy.
- Vanilla extract – Vanilla extract helps to balance out all the flavors. You can make your own or use some from the store.
- Rice Krispie cereal – You can use brand name or off brand, it doesn’t really matter as long as it is puffed rice.
- Butterscotch chips – These chips are where these classic treats get their iconic name and gives it the butterscotch flavor.
- Milk chocolate chips – I like the sweetness that milk chocolate brings to this scotcheroo recipe, but you could use semi-sweet chocolate chips if you prefer.
- Butter – Butter helps the chips to melt into a smooth, pourable mixture.
How to Make Scotcheroos
Make this classic treat in just 15 minutes!
- Prepare pan. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.
- Make corn syrup mixture. In a medium or large saucepan, stir together light corn syrup and sugar, cooking over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boil. Alternately, you can do this in a mircowave-safe bowl at 30-second intervals, but there is a higher risk of burning.
- Add peanut butter and vanilla. Remove sugar mixture from heat, stirring in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth.
- Fold in cereal. Fold the crispy rice cereal into the peanut butter mixture until entirely coated. Press into prepared pan.
- Melt chips. Melt chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and butter in a double boiler until shiny and just melted. See notes for the best ways to melt chocolate above.
- Add to cereal. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal mixture, spreading evenly, and place into the refrigerator to let the chocolate set.
- Cut and serve. Remove after chocolate topping has hardened. Cut into squares. Serve and store this classic scotcheroo recipe at room temperature.
- Store. Cover the dish with plastic wrap or stack bars in an airtight container. You can also layer them with parchment paper to keep from sticking.
Feel free to put your own spin on these dessert bars and come back to tell us about it in the comments section.
- Change up the cereal – You can use another cereal like Cheerios. And they happen to be quite tasty. You can even use Chex cereal or Special K.
- Nut butter – Unfortunately, there really isn’t a good substitute for peanut butter except for another nut butter.
- Don’t like butterscotch? Just double the amount of regular chocolate chips or use another flavor of chip. Peanut butter or white chocolate work well, but you can also use the candy flavored kind. Or… I’m getting crazy here… sprinkle chopped candy over the top of chocolate while it is still tacky.
How Do You Make Scotcheroos without Corn Syrup?
If you don’t want to use corn syrup, it can be substituted with honey or light agave nectar. Use a 1:1 ratio of either. In this case, it would 3/4 cup of honey or agave.
Tips and Tricks for The Perfect Scotcheroos
- Don’t make them over high heat, corn syrup and sugar burn and they burn fast.
- Make sure the sugar has fully dissolved or you’ll have grainy bars.
- Use a heavy bottom saucepan. This helps evenly distribute the heat.
- Stir frequently to prevent scalding and burning.
- Line your pan with parchment paper so you can easily pull out the bars.
- Allow bars to cool completely before cutting.
- Run knife under hot water for a clean cut. Wipe after each cut.
- For storage, separate layers with parchment or wax paper to prevent sticking.
Make Ahead & Storage
They are perfect for camping, hikes and potluck parties since they don’t need to be refrigerated and are easily carried wrapped in aluminum foil or an airtight container.
How Long Do Scotcheroos Stay Good For?
Scotcheroos can be made a day or two ahead of time with no fears of getting stale.
Can You Freeze Scotcheroos?
I don’t recommend freezing them. They get super hard and dry.
More Easy Dessert Ideas
- Caramel M&M Cookie Bars
- Cranberry Corn Flake Bars
- Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Brownie Bars
- Grasshopper Bars
- Coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, stir together light corn syrup and sugar, cooking until sugar dissolves and starts to boil.
- Remove from heat, stirring in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth.
- Fold in Rice Krispie cereal until entirely coated. Press into prepared pan.
- Melt chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and butter in a double boiler until shiny and just melted. See notes for the best ways to melt chocolate above.
- Pour over Rice Krispie mixture, spreading evenly, and place into the refrigerator to set.
- Remove after chocolate topping has hardened. Cut into squares. Serve and store at room temperature.