In the realm of beloved American desserts, Scotcheroos hold a special place. These delightful bars, known for their chewy texture, peanut butter flavor, and chocolate topping, have been a staple at bake sales, picnics, and family gatherings for decades. Originating in the Midwest, Scotcheroos have spread across the country, winning hearts with their irresistible combination of ingredients and easy-to-make recipe. Let’s delve into the history, ingredients, preparation, variations, FAQs, serving suggestions, and conclusions surrounding these iconic treats.

History and Origins

Scotcheroos: A Classic American Dessert

The exact origins of Scotcheroos are somewhat shrouded in mystery, but they are believed to have gained popularity in the mid-20th century. Some attribute their creation to a cereal company’s recipe campaign, while others suggest they were a home cook’s invention that gained widespread appeal. The name “Scotcheroos” is intriguing, as it contains no Scotch whisky but likely refers to their sticky, sweet nature. Despite their ambiguous beginnings, Scotcheroos quickly became a favorite across the United States, especially in the Midwest, where they are a staple at community events and family gatherings.


Scotcheroos are characterized by a few key ingredients that work together to create their distinctive flavor and texture:

  1. Rice Krispies Cereal: This crispy rice cereal forms the base of Scotcheroos, providing a light and crunchy texture that contrasts beautifully with the chewy peanut butter and chocolate layers.
  2. Peanut Butter: Creamy peanut butter adds a rich, nutty flavor and acts as a binding agent for the cereal mixture. It contributes to the chewiness and enhances the overall taste of Scotcheroos.
  3. Sugar: Granulated sugar sweetens the base mixture, balancing the flavors and providing the necessary sweetness to complement the chocolate topping.
  4. Corn Syrup: Light corn syrup is used to add moisture and chewiness to Scotcheroos. It helps bind the ingredients together and prevents the bars from becoming too dry.
  5. Butterscotch Chips: These chips melt into a smooth, creamy layer that sits atop the Scotcheroos. They add a subtle caramel-like flavor that complements the chocolate and peanut butter.
  6. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: Used for the final layer, semi-sweet chocolate chips provide a rich and decadent topping. They melt easily and create a luscious chocolatey finish to the bars.
  7. Vanilla Extract: A small amount of vanilla extract enhances the overall flavor profile of Scotcheroos, adding a hint of aromatic sweetness.
  8. Salt: A pinch of salt balances the sweetness and enhances the flavors of the peanut butter and chocolate, creating a more complex taste profile.


Making Scotcheroos is a straightforward process that requires no baking, making them a convenient dessert option for any occasion. Here’s a step-by-step guide to preparing Scotcheroos:

  1. Prepare the Base: In a large saucepan, combine granulated sugar and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat.
  2. Add Peanut Butter and Cereal: Stir in creamy peanut butter until smooth and well combined with the sugar mixture. Add a splash of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt, stirring to incorporate.
  3. Mix in Rice Krispies Cereal: Gradually fold in the Rice Krispies cereal, stirring gently until all the cereal is evenly coated with the peanut butter mixture. The mixture should be sticky and slightly thick.
  4. Form and Press into Pan: Transfer the cereal mixture into a greased 9×13-inch baking pan. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, press the mixture firmly and evenly into the pan to create a smooth, compact layer.
  5. Prepare the Chocolate Topping: In a microwave-safe bowl or using a double boiler, melt together the semi-sweet chocolate chips and butterscotch chips until smooth and creamy. Stir occasionally to ensure even melting.
  6. Spread the Chocolate Topping: Pour the melted chocolate mixture over the pressed cereal base, using a spatula to spread it evenly and completely cover the surface.
  7. Chill and Serve: Allow the Scotcheroos to cool and set at room temperature or in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or until the chocolate topping is firm. Once set, cut into squares or bars using a sharp knife.

Serving Suggestions

Scotcheroos: A Classic American Dessert

Scotcheroos are best enjoyed chilled or at room temperature. Serve them on a platter or dessert tray for parties, picnics, or as a delightful after-dinner treat. They pair well with a glass of cold milk or a cup of hot coffee, allowing the flavors of peanut butter and chocolate to shine.


While the classic Scotcheroos recipe is beloved, there are several variations you can explore to customize this dessert to your taste:

  • Nutty Variation: Substitute almond butter or cashew butter for peanut butter to add a different nutty flavor profile.
  • Gluten-Free: Use certified gluten-free crispy rice cereal to make Scotcheroos suitable for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
  • Dairy-Free: Use dairy-free chocolate chips and butterscotch chips to make Scotcheroos dairy-free while maintaining the rich chocolatey flavor.
  • Fruity Twist: Add dried fruit such as chopped dried cherries or cranberries to the cereal mixture before adding the chocolate topping for a sweet and tart contrast.

FAQ about Scotcheroos

Q: Can I substitute ingredients in Scotcheroos?
A: Yes, you can experiment with different types of nut butter such as almond butter or cashew butter for a variation in flavor. Honey or maple syrup can be used instead of corn syrup for a different sweetness profile.

Q: How should Scotcheroos be stored?
A: Scotcheroos should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. They can also be frozen for longer storage, though they may lose some of their crispiness upon thawing.

Q: Can I make Scotcheroos gluten-free?
A: Yes, you can use gluten-free crispy rice cereal to make Scotcheroos gluten-free. Ensure that all other ingredients used are also certified gluten-free to avoid any gluten contamination.

Q: Are Scotcheroos suitable for vegetarians?
A: Yes, Scotcheroos are vegetarian-friendly as long as the ingredients used, including the chocolate and butterscotch chips, are vegetarian.

Q: Can I make Scotcheroos ahead of time?
A: Yes, Scotcheroos can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container until ready to serve. This makes them a convenient dessert option for parties and gatherings.


Scotcheroos are more than just a dessert—they are a nostalgic taste of homemade goodness that has stood the test of time. With their crispy cereal base, creamy peanut butter filling, and decadent chocolate-butterscotch topping, Scotcheroos offer a delightful contrast of textures and flavors in every bite. Whether you’re making them for a special occasion or simply to satisfy a sweet craving, Scotcheroos are sure to bring joy and indulgence to those who enjoy them. Embrace the tradition, experiment with variations, and share the joy of Scotcheroos with family and friends. Celebrate the simple pleasures of homemade treats with this classic American dessert.

Read Also: The Complete Guide to Fettuccine Alfredo: History, Recipe, Variations, and More