7 Sweet Snacks You Can Make With Cereal
We all love cereal, but can anyone really get through an entire box without it going stale? With so many varieties on the market today, it’s hard to commit to one brand morning after morning, eating it until it’s gone, but if you don’t, all too often your Rice Krispies or Chex become just a little too stale, or lose their ‘Snap, Crackle, Pop,’ and then it’s game over for them. These neglected cereal boxes typically find themselves in the trash, only to be replaced by their fresher cousins. Instead of wasting your money week after week, check out these other options that you can try today.
Currently, there are a number of homemade snack and dessert recipes circulating around the Internet, and some of them feature our ingredient spotlight of the day: cereal. Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Chex, Corn Pops, and more are all proving that they can serve more than one purpose, and we have the recipes to prove it. So next time you find an old box of cereal in the back of your pantry, instead of ditching it, visit one of this snack formulas and see if you can repurpose your old breakfast treats. No one likes to waste money and food, so instead make everyone happy with one of these delectable snacks.
1. Puppy Chow
Perhaps the most popular way to use up old cereal is to throw it into the fan favorite: puppy chow. Chex Mix soaked in melted chocolate and peanut butter, then covered in powdered sugar. What’s not to love? This snack is delicious and definitely not nutritious, but still something that can everyone enjoy. Next time you have stale Chex cereal sitting in your pantry, make your kids’ day by serving up this sweet snack from Food.com and get ready to be regarded as the best mom or dad ever.
- 9 cups Chex cereal (any kind)
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, melted
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 -2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Directions: Measure cereal in large bowl. Set aside. Microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter for 1 minute on high. Stir. Cook for 30 seconds longer or until smooth. Add vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until coated. Pour mixture into large Ziploc bag and add powdered sugar. Shake until well-coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in Ziploc bags or large sealed bowl.
2. No-Bake Cereal Bars
Or, you have the option of using up cereal bags by whipping up No-Bake Cereal Bars from Taste of Home. These sweet treats are the perfect snacks to stash in kids’ lunch boxes or eat yourself while on the fly, and unlike the first recipe highlighted on this list, nutrition-wise, they aren’t even half bad. Calling for only a handful of ingredients, you can make these cereal bars in no time, then reap the benefits for weeks. Forgotten cereal never tasted so good.
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups corn syrup
- 1 jar chunky peanut butter
- 6 cups Cheerios
- 6 cups rice cereal
Directions: In a large saucepan, cook and stir sugar and corn syrup until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat. Add peanut butter; mix well. Stir in cereals. Spread quickly into two lightly greased 15 x 10 x 1-inch pans. Cut into bars while warm.
3. Rice Krispies Treats
Don’t forget about Rice Krispies Treats, because they may be old-fashioned, but they still do the job of using up old Rice Krispies. There are now many spins on the versatile recipe, but just in case you want to whip up the classic, use this formula from RiceKrispies.com. This snack is quick and sweet, and of course, it’s a crowd pleaser. It doesn’t matter if you make Rice Krispies in the microwave or on the stove — just make sure you make them.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 package (10 ounces, about 40) marshmallows, regular sized
- 4 cups miniature marshmallows
- 6 cups rice cereal (ex: Rice Krispies)
Directions: In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add Rice Krispies cereal. Stir until well-coated. Using buttered spatula or wax paper, evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.
4. Alton Brown’s White Trash
This next recipe from Alton Brown is one that you should only make if you know you can exercise quality self-control. The name ‘white trash’ might not sound appetizing, but rest assured, it’s the perfect (dangerous) combination of salty and sweet. If you’re ready to make a snack that everyone can get excited about, grab your Cheerios, Chex Mix, Corn Mix, candy, and get going. This is the best kind of ‘trash’ you’re ever going to taste, and we can guarantee you’ll keep coming back for more.
- 3 1/2 cups Cheerios toasted oat cereal
- 3 cups Rice Chex
- 3 cups Corn Chex
- 16 ounces M&M’s plain chocolate candy
- 2 1/2 cups salted mixed nuts
- 2 cups small pretzels
- 2 (11 ounce) packages white chocolate chips
Directions: Dump the cereals, M&Ms, nuts, and pretzels in a large bowl. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler. Melt very slowly, stirring occasionally, being careful not to burn the chocolate. Dump melted chocolate over the rest of the ingredients and fold over and over until you have well-coated hunks and chunks. Spread the whole mess out on parchment paper and set in a cool place until it sets up, then break it into pieces. Store in zip-top bags or air-tight containers.
5. Snickers Special K Bars
Snickers Special K Bars — because why not? It’s better than wasting cereal, and your sweet tooth deserves it. When you feel like treating yourself, prepare these sweet treats from I Am Baker, and see just how good the once-healthy cereal can taste when it comes in contact with chocolate and peanut butter. We’re warning you now: you might never look at Special K cereal the same again, but we think it’s worth it, and you will, too.
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
- 7 cups Special K cereal
- 3 full-size Snickers bars
- 1 stick butter, room temperature
- 2-2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 bag fun size Snickers, each bar chopped into at least five pieces
Directions: Prepare a 9 x 13-inch pan. (I spray my pan then line it with parchment paper.) In a large sauce pan, combine sugar and light corn syrup and cook over medium heat until boiling. Stir in peanut butter until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the cereal. Pat the cereal mixture into the prepared pan.
For the frosting, melt three full-size Snickers bars with 1 stick butter in a saucepan over very low heat (about five minutes). Once melted, remove from heat and add confectioners sugar, then the milk. Pour warm frosting over bars and sprinkle chopped Snickers bars over frosting, allow to set for at least 3 hours. (You can refrigerate to set quicker, but let bars come to room temperature before serving.)
6. Peanut Butter Date Special K Bars
If you still have Special K left over or want to try a slightly more healthy route, try these Peanut Butter Date Special K Bars from Half Baked Harvest. Naturally sweetened by medjool dates, they’re more nutritious than the former recipe we highlighted, but we know from firsthand experience that they’re just as delicious. You won’t believe these bars are healthy once you try them, and your kids or other eaters don’t need to know your little secret, either.
- 1 cup packed medjool dates, pitted + chopped
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2-3 tablespoons almond milk, coconut milk, or regular milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4-5 cups corn flakes (use gluten free corn flakes for a gluten-free bar)
- 10-12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
Directions: Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Set aside. Add the dates and salt to the bowl of a food processor and process until they form a thick paste. Add the peanut butter and 2 tablespoons milk, process until smooth and creamy. Scoop the mixture out and into a microwave safe bowl, microwave 30 seconds, stir and microwave another 30 seconds. Continue until the mixture is warm and melty. This took me 1 minute. Stir in the vanilla. If the mixture seems too stiff add 1 more tablespoon milk, but no more. If you add too much milk, the cereal will become soggy. Add the cereal to a large bowl. Slowly mix in the peanut butter mixture until throughly combined. Press the cereal into the prepared baking dish in an even layer.
Microwave the chocolate on 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted. This took me about 1 1/2 minutes. Spoon the melted chocolate over the bars in an even layer. Cover the pan and place them in the fridge for 1 1/2 -2 hours or until firm. You may also put them in the freezer for 30 minutes, but I find the fridge works best. Remove the bars 10 minutes prior to serving, cut and store in the fridge.
7. Healthy Banana Oat Snack Bars
We’re ending this list on a healthy note thanks to these Banana Oat Snack Bars from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. Why throw out cereal when these are so sweet and simple? As long as you have some puffed rice cereal (Rice Krispies), some oats, and some baking staples, you’re good to go. There is no added sugar in these bars, and their sweetness comes from bananas and honey alone. Who knew natural sweetness could taste so good?
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 11/2 cups Puffed Rice Cereal (like Rice Krispies)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 bananas (very ripe, peeled and mashed)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels (or bittersweet)
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9 × 13-inch baking pan with parchment or foil, leaving a slight overhang on each of the long edges. Lightly coat the pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, rice cereal, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon, stirring well to combine. In a second large bowl, combine the banana, honey, yogurt, nut butter, and vanilla. Whisk together until the mixture is fairly uniform and smooth.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ones and stir until they come together. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Transfer to the prepared pan and flatten down lightly with a spatula or your hands. Bake for anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. If you want them firm and golden, continue baking until they are starting to brown on the top, more like 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the bars cool completely before removing from the pan and cutting into squares.