Christmas Trash Treats

published Dec 21, 2023
christmas
Christmas Trash Treats Recipe

These festive no-bake bars have everything but the kitchen sink.

Serves12 to 16

Prep10 minutes

Cook5 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Christmas trash Krispies sliced on parchment
Credit: Photo: Ryan Liebe; Food Styling: Ben Weiner

There is something so wonderful about sitting on the couch after opening presents on Christmas morning and being surrounded by torn wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, and opened boxes (even though it can be a bit of a mess). In its own way, it’s the most delightful trash, filled with colors and memories, and an indication that everyone has been having a great time. These Christmas trash treats are an edible version of the colorful mess that surrounds you after a whirlwind holiday with family. 

Christmas trash treats take everything you love about Rice Krispies treats and combine them with all the fun flavors and textures of kitchen sink cookies. It’s the no-bake dessert that kids (and adults) of all ages will enjoy making — and eating — during the holidays. The best part: You can customize the treats to suit your tastes and what you have on hand. 

Ingredients in Christmas Trash Treats

  • Rice cereal: These treats are a festive take on Rice Krispies treats, so you will want to make sure you pick up a box of rice cereal to make a batch. 
  • Butter and marshmallows: Just like classic Rice Krispies treats, these are bound together with a melty blend of butter and marshmallows. I like to use a bag of mini marshmallows because they melt quicker and more evenly. 
  • Salty and sweet holiday mix-ins: This is where you get to play around and have a little fun. I like to start with pretzels, potato chips, and roasted peanuts for a salty twist, then add in some red and green M&M candies and holiday-themed sprinkles.
Credit: Photo: Ryan Liebe; Food Styling: Ben Wiener

How to Make Christmas Trash Treats

  • Gather your mix-ins. This is a fun way to use up miscellaneous extra snacks you have hiding in your pantry. 
  • Melt the butter and marshmallows. This can be done on the stovetop or in the microwave, depending on your preference. 
  • Add the cereal and mix-ins. Once the marshmallows are melted, add the rice cereal followed by the mix-ins.  

Tips for Making Christmas Trash Treats 

  • Make it colorful. These treats are meant to be fun and festive! Go for the holiday-themed colors of M&M’s as well as the nonpareil sprinkles. 
  • Work quickly. Just like Rice Krispies treats, you want to transfer it to the pan and press it out as soon as possible after combining all the ingredients. If it seems sticky, you can use lightly buttered hands, a spatula coated in cooking spray, or a piece of waxed paper to help coax the mixture all the way to the corners of the pan. 
  • Try a drizzle topping. For added festive flair, you can even top the treats with a drizzle and then even more sprinkles. Try the variations using melted white chocolate or even the eggnog drizzle listed below. 

Christmas Trash Treats Recipe

These festive no-bake bars have everything but the kitchen sink.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 5 minutes

Serves 12 to 16

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 cup

    crunchy pretzels

  • 1 cup

    salted potato chips

  • 1 cup

    holiday-colored M&M’s candy

  • 1/2 cup

    lightly salted, roasted peanuts

  • 2 tablespoons

    holiday-colored nonpareil sprinkles

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1 (10-ounce) bag

    mini marshmallows (about 5 1/3 cups)

  • 5 cups

    toasted rice crisp cereal, such as Rice Krispies

  • 1/2 cup

    white chocolate chips (5 ounces, optional, see Recipe Notes)

Instructions

  1. Lightly coat a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Coarsely chop 1 cup crunchy pretzels and crush 1 cup salted potato chips into small pieces. Place in a medium bowl. Add 1 cup holiday-colored M&M’s candy, 1/2 cup lightly salted, roasted peanuts, and 2 tablespoons holiday-colored nonpareil sprinkles. Stir to combine.

  2. Melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add 1 (10-ounce) bag mini marshmallows and cook, stirring constantly, until the marshmallows are melted and the mixture is smooth. (Alternatively, place the butter and marshmallows in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir and microwave until the marshmallows are melted, about 1 minute more.)

  3. Remove the pan from the heat. Working quickly, add 5 cups toasted rice crisp cereal and stir until mostly combined. Add the pretzel mixture and stir to combine, making sure all the ingredients are evenly distributed.

  4. Immediately transfer the mixture to the baking pan. Using the rubber spatula or lightly oiled hands, lightly and gently press into an even layer. If desired, place 1/2 cup white chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each, until melted, about 2 minutes total. Drizzle over the treats. Let cool to room temperature before cutting.

Recipe Notes

White chocolate chips: White chocolate chips with cocoa butter, such as Guittard Choc-au-Lait, melt the most smoothly. If you can’t find white baking chips with cocoa butter, opt for chopped bars or discs of white chocolate instead (add the vegetable oil if it doesn’t melt smoothly). Don’t use white candy melts, which aren’t as flavorful as white chocolate.

Eggnog drizzle: Instead of a white chocolate drizzle, you can substitute an eggnog drizzle. Whisk 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons eggnog, and1 teaspoon holiday-colored nonpareil sprinkles together in a small bowl until combined. Drizzle over the treats and let sit until set.

Storage: The treats can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.To freeze, place in layers separated by wax paper in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.