Why You Should Never Use Stale Marshmallows For Rice Krispies Treats

Rice Krispies treats are classic childhood desserts for many. Plates piled high with the crunchy and gooey squares adorn snack tables at birthday parties, holiday parties, and sleepovers. Rice Krispies treats are reliably safe snack options for gluten-free adults in the cafe pastry window. Rice Krispies treats, known for their relatively straightforward recipe requiring few ingredients, are quick and accessible comfort food for all ages.

That said, stale marshmallows can complicate your efforts, cautions Eating Expired. The good news is that it's pretty easy to identify whether your marshmallows are too old. According to Eat by Date, marshmallows last six to eight months in an unopened bag. However, as soon as you open them, their lifespan is nearly cut in half, lasting two to four months. The easiest way to tell if they're too old is if the marshmallows feel brittle and stickier than usual.  Rather than the soft pillowy texture of fresh marshmallows, their surface is hard and rough. This is simply because marshmallows lose moisture as they age, explains CIMBAD. Furthermore, a marshmallow's outside turns from bright white to a more yellowish color.

Properly storing opened marshmallows will help you avoid a stale situation in the first place, says Eat by Date. Once you open a bag, use a twist tie to re-seal the bag or put them in an air-tight container in your pantry to keep marshmallows fresh.

What can you do with old marshmallows?

Using old marshmallows for Rice Krispies treats presents a problem because as marshmallows age, they become stale and dry. Lack of moisture means old marshmallows don't melt properly. Instead, the dehydrated marshmallows congeal into a thick mass, says Eating Expired. When making Rice Krispies treats, always opt for fresh marshmallows.

That said, there are plenty of ways to use those dry marshmallows, and eating older marshmallows isn't something to be scared of, per Eat by Date. Since marshmallows have "best before" dates rather than "use by" dates, you have some leeway to eat them after the date on the packaging.

The Kitchn suggests older marshmallows are perfect for s'mores. Furthermore, chopped dried marshmallows make excellent toppings for hot chocolate, ice cream, or even cereal, writes CIMBAD. You can also include them in cookies alongside chocolate chips. While you should keep old marshmallows far from Rice Krispies treats, a little creativity, imagination, and a sweet tooth are all you need to give them a new place in your recipes.