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Rice Krispies Basketball Treats

Brown butter Rice Krispies Basketball Treats are made by cooking butter until it browns, giving the treats a complex nutty taste. These treats are made like basketballs for March Madness, but you can try other shapes or cut into bars to suit your occasion. 

Made with Browned Butter

Try making basketball-themed Rice Krispies Treats to serve while watching the madness of March basketball! These treats are easy to make and have dark chocolate lines to mimic a basketball.

These brown butter treats do not differ from other Rice Krispies treats except for the butter. These are made with brown butter, which is butter cooked until the milk solids brown or toast. It is easy to brown butter, but it takes patience to reach the brown stage without burning it. The secrets to success are to be careful not to overheat, stir often, and remove from the heat when it starts browning. Alternatively, you can skip the butter browning and make these treats with regular melted butter.

Rice Krispies Basketball Tteats

Prepare the Pan for Rice Krispies Treats

Use a large shallow baking sheet (around 12 x 17 inches) for these treats. Butter the bottom of the pan and then add a parchment sheet to it. The butter will help the paper adhere to the pan and stay in place. The paper will keep the mixture from sticking to it. Spread the mixture evenly throughout the pan.

Rice Krispies Basketball Tteats

How to Brown the Butter

Brown the butter in an ex-large thick-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. After it melts, it will start to bubble and sputter. Continue heating it (turning down the heat if necessary to reduce sputtering) until it starts to foam. This can take 5 minutes or more. Stir it often to check for browning milk solids in the bottom of the pan. Once they brown, remove the pan from the heat because the butter can quickly go from brown butter to burnt butter.

Adding the Marshmallows and Cereal

Remove the butter from the heat and stir in the marshmallows, vanilla, and a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter. Use fresh marshmallows to ensure easy melting. After the butter and marshmallows are well mixed, add gel coloring to tint it orange. Continue adding coloring until it reaches the shade you like.

Add the cereal and work fast to mix well to coat it with the marshmallow mixture. Then, spoon it into the prepared pan, dividing it evenly into all areas of the pan rather than a centralized clump in the middle.

Use Parchment Paper to Smooth Rice Krispies Basketball Treats

The best way to spread the sticky cereal mixture is to place parchment or waxed paper over it. Then, press and smooth it with your hand or a large spoon. The paper will keep the cereal mixture from sticking to your hand. Spread the mixture to the same depth for even bars. Then, cut the cereal mixture with a round cookie cutter.

Rice Krispies Basketball Tteats

Cookie Cutter

Sometimes, it helps to grease the cookie cutter with butter to help it cut through the cereal mixture. Use a small folded towel to help press the cookie cutter through it if you don’t have one with a “comfort” grip.

Rice Krispies Basketball Tteats

Re-Form Leftover Scraps

Work quickly while the treats are still warm and pliable so you can re-form all the leftover scraps and cut circles out of them.

Rice Krispies Basketball Tteats

Use Melted Chocolate to Draw Lines on Rice Krispies Treats

It is easy to turn Rice Krispies Treat cutouts into abstract basketballs. Melt chocolate and then add it to a resealable sandwich bag. Snip off a small corner of the bag. Follow these steps to draw on the basketball lines.

How to Store Rice Krispies Basketball Treats

Store your basketball treats in an airtight container on the countertop. Place wax or parchment paper between each layer to prevent them from sticking together.

Rice Krispies Basketball Tteats

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Rice Krispies Basketball Treats

Rice Krispies Basketball Treats

Brown butter Rice Krispies basketball-shaped treats
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chilling Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 18
Calories 170 kcal


  • parchment paper
  • 1 resealable sandwich bag
  • 1 large rimmed sheet pan
  • 1 3 to 3 1/2-inch round cookie cutter
  • (1) 12 x 17-inch (approximate) rimmed sheet pan


  • 2 sticks salted butter
  • (2) 10-ounce bags miniature marshmallows
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4-5 drops orange gel food coloring (optional)
  • 10 cups crispy rice cereal like Rice Krispies
  • extra butter or cooking spray
  • cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips


  • Coat the bottom of the baking sheet with the extra butter or cooking spray. Place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan. The butter will help the paper adhere to the pan. Set aside.
  • Melt 2 sticks of butter in a large pan on medium-low heat until it bubbles and foams. This may take 5 minutes or more. Keep the heat low so it doesn't brown too quickly, or it can burn. Stir frequently until the butter starts to turn brown. Remove from the heat.
  • Add the marshmallows, vanilla, and pinch of salt if using unsalted butter. Stir until the marshmallows melt. Add the food coloring and mix well.
  • Add the cereal and stir until it is coated with the marshmallow mixture.
  • Place the mixture on the baking sheet, spreading it with a spoon. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the cereal mixture and use a spoon or your hand to flatten and smooth the mixture evenly in the pan. Use the cookie cutter to cut circles. Work quickly and reform the leftovers. You can cut about 18 circles.
  • Use a microwave-safe bowl to melt the chocolate chips on high for 30-second intervals. Stir between each interval. It will take about 1 1/2 minutes total time to melt. Place the mixture into a resealable sandwich bag. Use scissors to snip off a tiny corner of the bag.
  • Make basketball lines on the round cutouts. First, draw a line across the circle from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock. Then, draw a line from top to bottom from 12 to 6 o'clock, crossing the other line in the middle of the circle. Add side semi-circles by starting on the center edge of a quadrant and drawing down to the center of the quadrant below. Repeat on the other side.
  • Chill the basketballs in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to set the chocolate. Store in airtight containers. Place a sheet of parchment paper between layers. Make sure the chocolate is hard before stacking.



You can use salted or unsalted butter for this recipe. If using unsalted, add a pinch of salt.

Food Coloring

Food coloring is optional. You can make orange gel coloring by adding several drops of yellow and 3 or 4 drops of red.


If the finished bars are hard, instead of chewy, the butter was too hot when the marshmallows were melted.

Substitutions and Changes 

You may substitute large marshmallows for miniature ones. Use the same number of ounces listed in the recipe and cut them in half to make melting easier.
You can make this recipe without browning the butter. Add the marshmallows as soon as the butter melts.


Calories: 170kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 1gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 163mgPotassium: 42mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1350IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 5mg
Keyword brown butter rice krispies treats, rice krispies basketballs
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