Making a 3D Rice Krispies Treat Christmas Tree is sticky work, but with my tips and tricks, you can have this pretty winter tree for your holiday centerpiece or party buffet table (if the kids don't eat it first)!
Who doesn't love puffed rice cereal treats? No one I know. Now, you can elevate your love of the marshmallow cereal treat experience to something elegant and worthy of the Christmas spotlight.
This recipe post and its contents may include affiliate links for your consideration. I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases, but your prices are never increased as a result. Thank you.
- The ingredients:
- Ingredient information
- Kitchen tools and equipment needed:
- How long does this 3D tree take to make?
- Can the marshmallow treats be made on the stovetop instead of a slow cooker?
- How tall is this rice Krispies tree?
- How to store a puffed rice cereal treat tree?
- Can other decorations be added to the tree?
- Can royal icing be used as snow in place of the confectioner's sugar?
- Can lights be added to this edible tree?
- My tips and tricks for recipe success:
- Additional whimsical Christmas recipes:
- Printable Recipe Card
*Please note that the exact measurements along with a new "shop the recipe" feature from Instacart is available in the printable recipe card.
PUFFED RICE CEREAL - You can use whatever brand of puffed rice cereal you want. I used Rice Krispies and bought a giant box because I have other marshmallow cereal treat ideas swimming around in my head that I hope to bring you soon.
BUTTER - Feel free to use unsalted butter, but as with everything I cook and bake, I use salted butter. You'll need eight tablespoons melted.
MARSHLALLOWS - Jumbo marshmallows were my choice. Go big or go home, right? You certainly don't have to use the jumbo size; you can use whatever size you like, but you'll need approximately 12 ounces of white marshmallows.
GREEN GEL FOOD COLOR - I love using the gel food color because it's concentrated, and the gel consistency won't alter textures or consistencies. However, in this recipe, using a liquid green food coloring will work since the point here is to turn the marshmallows into a sticky, fluid mass so that a liquid color will work just as well as gel.
CONFECTIONERS' SUGAR - When the forecast turns to snow, that's when to bring out the confectioners' sugar. Dust it lightly (or heavily) over the tree and watch it transform magically into a winter forest wonderland.
Kitchen tools and equipment needed:
LARGE SLOW COOKER - I find that a large slow cooker (at least 6 quarts) is the best way to make Rice Krispies treats in shapes and forms. As you'll notice me mention several times in this post, the slow cooker can be kept on "warm" after the treats are mixed and ready, which will leave them pliable for a long time without the fear of them burning on the stovetop.
SILICONE SPATULA - I like a silicone spatula because the sticky mixture won't stick quite as much as it would to a wooden spoon.
BAKING SPRAY - This is an invaluable tool for making any sort of sticky marshmallow treat. Spray it liberally onto your work surfaces, hands, spatula, and star cutters to take some of the sticky frustration out of making a sculpted rice marshmallow treat.
GRADUATED STAR COOKIE CUTTERS - These star cutters are the best. Since the stars come in graduated sizes, they make a perfect tree once the pieces are stacked. Just remember to stack the stars with their points going in different directions for the best and most authentic-looking pine tree.
BAKING SHEETS - You'll need at least one or two for the number of stars required for the tree shown and even more than that if you plan on making a taller tree.
Here's a good tip: if you live in a cold climate and don't have freezer or fridge space for chilling the stars before assembly, set them outside (away from animals) to chill. I love to use the outdoors in the winter as my walk-in refrigerator.
PARCHMENT PAPER SHEETS - Parchment paper makes life much easier with less cleanup. I don't know about you, but the less dishwashing I have to do...the better.
CAKE LIFTER - I love using my cake lifter for larger projects and pieces when a standard-size spatula just won't cut it. You may not use it often, but when you need it, you'll be so thankful you have one on standby. I highly recommend having one!
CAKE STAND - Something pretty is nice but optional. It's really all about the tree. Of course, a large plate or platter will also work as long as it's at least as large as the base star.
SUGAR SHAKER (optional) - Again, this tool is optional, but once you have one, you'll be thankful for the convenience. You can also use a fine mesh strainer and shake the icing sugar over the pine tree, but that will require another dish to wash. Since confectioners' sugar can be stored in the sugar shaker itself, so it's at the ready whenever you feel the need for a pretty dusting of white.
LAYTEX GLOVES (optional) - I didn't use gloves, but you can if you prefer to keep the sticky cereal treats off your skin. The gloves won't prevent sticking (you'll still need to grease them), but it will make cleaning your hands easier if that's important to you.
How long does this 3D tree take to make?
Not as long as it looks like it would. I think it took me about 30 minutes from start to finish after the marshmallow treat mixture was melted, colored, and mixed.
Can the marshmallow treats be made on the stovetop instead of a slow cooker?
Yes, but I like using the slow cooker because I was able to keep it on the "keep warm" setting once the marshmallow treats were mixed. This way they will stay warm and pliable for an extended period.
The stovetop method can also do that, but I find that the sticky mixture is more likely to burn after an extended period on the stovetop.
How tall is this rice Krispies tree?
In the photos it looks larger than it actually is. It's approximately 7 inches tall.
However, if you want a taller tree, you can easily make two each of the different sizes of stars and stack them all in order.
How to store a puffed rice cereal treat tree?
I used plastic wrap to cover the tree on all sides. It can sit at room temperature for several days.
Can other decorations be added to the tree?
Get as creative as you like! I only suggest that you use edible decorations, or make sure you remove them (if they're not edible) before serving...(but you already knew that)!
Can royal icing be used as snow in place of the confectioner's sugar?
You bet and I think that would be so pretty!! My recipe for royal icing (which I adore) is within this post for making homemade royal icing eyeballs!!
Can lights be added to this edible tree?
No. At least not if you want a tree shape and not a melted green blob on a plate. lol
My tips and tricks for recipe success:
My number one tip is to keep your hands, as well as the star cutters, well-greased with either butter or baking spray to avoid excessive sticking when working with the warm puffed rice treats.
A cake lifter is your friend in a sticky situation. Grease it well (as with everything else) and you're ready to scrape, lift, and maneuver the sticky star layers easily.
Assembling the tree layers before freezing (or chilling) will lead to droopy "limbs." I found that freezing (or refrigerating) the layers first made a huge difference with the final appearance and structure of the branches/limbs.
A sugar shaker is a wonderful kitchen gadget for evenly sprinkling the confectioners' sugar over the completed tree to make it look like snow. You can also use a fine mesh strainer to shake the sugar over the Christmas tree but with a sugar shaker you can store confectioners' sugar inside and have dusting sugar on hand to sprinkle any time you need to make it snow.
And last, but not least is to use a slow cooker (as mentioned above) to make the sticky marshmallow treats as it will keep the mixture warm and easily pliable throughout the assembly making of the tree.
Additional whimsical Christmas recipes:
With a few simple ingredients and some easy instructions, you can warm the hearts of your family and friends with this gloriously easy to make realistic looking Grinch Guacamole.
Ho! Ho! Ho! This tasty and charming Buttermilk Honey Santa Bread is as whimsical as he is delicious. With my easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions, he'll be on your holiday table in no time.
When you want a showstopper dessert this holiday season, this Bourbon Pecan Pie with Painted Poinsettia Crust is just the ticket!
This Goat Cheese Christmas Wreath appetizer with dried cherries and pistachios is as festive looking as it is delicious. It's sure to make a statement on the buffet table at the annual holiday party!
When you make this recipe (and I hope that you will), I'd appreciate it if you'd take the time to come back and give it a star rating along with a comment on why you rated as you did. Google appreciates ratings on recipes and, in turn, will show my recipes to more people. Thank you!!
Printable Recipe Card
3D Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Tree
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter I used salted.
- 1 bag Jumbo Marshmallows
- 6 cups puffed rice cereal
- green gel food coloring
- Heat the slow cooker to low and add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the marshmallows and heat, stirring occasionally, until the marshmallows are completely melted.
- Once the marshmallows are melted. Add the gel food color a little at a time, stirring continually, until you get to your desired color of green and the color is completely incorporated with melted marshmallows.
- Stir the rice cereal into the marshmallow mixture (make sure to spray the wooden spoon or spatula well with baking spray to help with the stickiness) stirring well to completely incorporate the color and cereal mixture.
- Starting with the largest star cutter, dipped into melted butter (or sprayed with baking spray) press enough of the rice Krispies treat mixture well and into every corner of the star cutter. *Note - spray hands and working surface well with baking spray or rub with melted butter to make the cereal treats easier to work with. Place the largest rice Krispies star onto a serving platter and remove the cutter.
- Continue the same process with the additional star cutters and rice cereal mixture, greasing hands and cutters continually during the process. Place each star shape onto a parchment lined baking sheet and remove the cutter for each. *Note - a cake lifter makes the process of moving the stars onto the baking sheets easier.
- Once all the stars are finished and on the baking sheet, sculpt a small cone for the top of the tree. Freeze the stars and cone for at least 10 minutes before assembling the tree.
- Add the graduated sizes of stars to the largest star (placed on the serving platter) alternating where the points of the stars are so it resembles a pine tree, pressing lightly after the addition of each star.
- Once the tree is assembled, shake the confectioners' sugar over the rice Krispies tree to your desired level of coverage.
- Cover the tree loosely with plastic wrap and store at room temperature (or chill in the refrigerator) until ready to serve.
I sincerely hope you've enjoyed today's 3D puffed rice marshmallow pine tree treat as much as I've enjoyed bringing it to you!
Thank you so much for visiting me today in my Kudos Kitchen. I hope you found something you'll love and that you will come back and visit me often. Please know that there is always room for you around my kitchen table!
Should you have any questions or comments regarding anything you've seen on my site, please don't hesitate to reach out to contact me. It is always my distinct pleasure to get back with you just as soon as I possibly can!
Until we eat again, I hope you have a delicious day!