We bet you have at least one of these genius substitutions in your pantry right now.

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Most of us began our baking endeavors with a simple, three-ingredient recipe that could easily be handled on our own or with a little bit of parental oversight. That recipe is the one and only Rice Krispie Treat. Melt marshmallows with butter, add cereal, stir, and pat into a greased pan. Cool and cut and enjoy. The simplest of pleasures, and one that does not disappoint to this day.

As we got older, we might have learned some tips and tricks for gilding the treats. Adding mix-ins like chocolate chips or peanut butter or sprinkles. Changing to Cocoa Krispies for a chocolate version. Slathering on frosting or dipping in melted chocolate. My favorite upgrade is simple: I add some mini marshmallows when I stir in the cereal, which melt just a little in the residual heat of the mix and provide little pockets of chewy marshmallow throughout the treats, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt on top before they set.

But perhaps the best thing you can do to a Rice Krispie Treat is swap out the Rice Krispies themselves for another crispy ingredient. Of course, you can do this with other cereals, like Chex and Kix. Kids love versions made with cereals like Lucky Charms and Cap'n Crunch, but I find they get a little too sweet for me with sugared cereals. I'm here to say, let's get out of the cereal aisle altogether.

Rice Krispie Treats
Credit: Getty / cookedphotos

Creative and yummy Rice Krispie swap-outs

Ready to have your mind blown? Instead of using Rice Krispies (or any cereal) in your treat recipe, try the following substitutions:

  • Fried chow mein noodles
  • Fried wonton strips
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Potato sticks
  • Popcorn (you'll end up with an amazing flavor halfway between kettle corn and caramel corn)
  • Homemade Chex Mix (avoid overly intense flavors like garlic or onion)
  • Puffed or popped sorghum, barley, amaranth or quinoa

More creative ways to stir up crispy treats

Once you start stirring up these variations, you'll see that the variations are nearly limitless. You can use a single crispy substitute in the list above or mix it up. You can add toasted nuts, or any flavor baking chip. If you like a chocolate layer, spread some mini chips on top while the mix is still warm and spread with an offset spatula. Whichever way you mix it up, you'll get a treat that is still nostalgic, but with a fabulous fresh twist.