Rice Krispie treats are packaged and processed bars of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies or similar cereal products bound together with sugary syrups, moistened marshmallows, or mixtures of oil and sugar1.
Owing to their popularity in most parts of the United States, rice krispies have become a commonplace dessert or snack in many American family pantries.
While rice krispie treats mostly consist of simple carbohydrates that are often ignored by bacteria and fungi, they are still perfectly capable of spoiling when stored in conditions that may help promote microbial life or otherwise affect their quality.
Yes, freezing rice krispie treats is completely fine, and even advisable should you have made large batches or if you have purchased too many rice krispie treats to store in your pantry. However, because of the harsh environment of the freezer, it is vital to employ the proper storage procedures in order to maximize their shelf-life.
Can Rice Krispie Treats be Kept at Room Temperature?
Rice krispie treats are among one of the most commonly found confectionaries in American grocery stores because they retain their shelf-stability quite well at room temperature, removing the necessity for refrigeration or other forms of storage.
Rice krispie treats bought from the store generally can last up to several days after the best-by date printed on the packaging. Keep in mind that this only applies if the packaging itself has not been damaged or otherwise compromised in any way.
If you have baked the rice krispie treats yourself on the other hand, they will only last for up to two days in an air-tight container. Keep this container of rice krispie treats away from any direct sources of heat or light, as this will accelerate their degradation at room temperature.
Can Rice Krispie Treats be Kept in the Refrigerator?
It is perfectly fine to store rice krispie treats in your refrigerator, especially if you have personally baked the confectionary bars yourself. Storing home-made rice krispie treats in your refrigerator is one of the few ways to extend its shelf-life without compromising its quality in any significant capacity.
However, if instead you have purchased rice krispie treats in their commercially packaged form, there is no need to do this, as the rice krispie treats will remain shelf-stable for approximately the same length of time inside or outside of the refrigerator.
Rice krispie treats either removed from their packaging or baked in your kitchen will last up to two days in the refrigerator so long as they are stored properly.
To do this, allow the rice krispie treats to cool off on their baking tray. This will prevent condensation within the container or wrapping when they are placed in the fridge, as the high temperatures will cause water to turn into steam.
After cooling, wrap each individual rice krispie bar in plastic cling film. It is not advisable to store the bars together without separating them in some way or another, as they will fuse together when subjected to any amount of pressure.
After wrapping each individual rice krispie treat, place the bars in an air-tight container made of a material strong enough to prevent them from being crushed.
How to Keep Rice Krispie Treats from Going Stale
The primary reason previously crispy food becomes stale is because it is stored in an environment with either large amounts of oxygen or quickly moving air-flow.
In the case of rice krispie treats, this often means that they have been stored improperly or otherwise have ingredients that accelerate this process.
In order to prevent rice krispie treats from growing stale, it is best to store it in plastic cling wrap or a resealable pouch with all the air pushed out of it.
Apart from reducing the confectionaries’ contact with air as much as possible, using small amounts of salt or even salted butter instead of unsalted butter will help extend the amount of time it takes for the rice krispie treats to become stale.
How long do Rice Krispie Treats Last in the Freezer?
Stored in the proper manner, rice krispie treats that have been freshly baked can last for up to six weeks in the freezer, so long as they have not been thawed and refrozen after initially freezing.
However, this time frame only applies to rice krispie treats that do not have the usual added preservatives or have undergone the sterilization procedures common in food production factories.
If instead you find yourself freezing commercially purchased rice krispie treats for whatever reason, a more accurate time frame would be approximately six months before their quality will begin to drop.
How to Freeze Rice Krispie Treats
In order to freeze your rice krispies, first allow them to cool to room temperature so as to reduce the chance of steam forming ice crystals within the storage container and along the walls of your freezer.
Once the treats have cooled completely and can no longer cause condensation, wrap each individual rice krispie treat in plastic cling wrap or aluminum foil. Do not use wax-lined cling wrap or wax paper, as this will freeze solid and become difficult to unwrap.
It is also possible to wrap the rice krispie treats in both plastic cling wrap and aluminum foil in order to better protect them from freezer burn and being squashed. To do this, first wrap the treats in plastic before swaddling them in the foil.
Place the individually wrapped rice krispie treats in a resealable plastic pouch or freezer bag, taking care not to squeeze too many into a single bag as this may deform them.
Move the bags of rice krispie treats to your freezer and keep them in the darkest section, far from any sources of moving air such as freezer vents or fans, as these will cause freezer burn.
How to Tell if Rice Krispie Treats are Spoiled
As rice krispie treats are generally low in moisture, they do not emit as much of an odor as other foodstuffs that are beginning to spoil. Instead, the best way to identify signs of spoilage in your rice krispie treats is to visually inspect them as well as to feel their texture.
Discolored spots, furry growths or the presence of other types of molds are all clear warnings that the rice krispie treat is no longer safe to eat and that it should be thrown away.
However, while rice krispie treats may grow stale or overly soft to the touch, this does not mean that they have become inedible and should be thrown out. Most likely, the rice krispie treats have simply been exposed to moisture or the open air, and may still be eaten. It is also possible to place them in your toaster or oven in order to return their texture to normal.
1. Unknown Author. (N.D.) “The Original Rice Krispies Treats™ Recipe”. www.ricekrispies.com. Kellogg’s