14 Secret Ingredients For Ridiculously Good S'mores

If you're gearing up for a summer cookout or camping trip, there's a good chance that s'mores are on your list. Made with graham crackers, chocolate, and roasted marshmallows, this summer favorite is easy to make and assemble. All you need to do to prep is roast the s'mores and get all of your favorite ingredients to put between two pieces of graham cracker. If you want to make your s'mores even more memorable, you can upgrade them with unique and unexpected ingredients that add interesting notes like salty or spicy. Other fun additions can bring more crunch to your s'more or turn a simple treat into a large dessert to share with a crowd.


Some of these secret ingredients bring extra flavor or texture to your s'more via additions to the classic lineup, like including fresh fruit or salty pretzels alongside your chocolate and marshmallows. Other options replace the classic trio of graham crackers, chocolate, or marshmallows with an upgrade that brings a new twist, such as infused chocolate or gourmet marshmallows.

Salted caramel

The sweet-salty combo of salted caramel is a fantastic way to get an absolutely amazing s'more. The caramel is enhanced since foods taste sweeter with a dash of salt, and it can even add a hint of crunch if you're using a version with coarse fleur de sel or another sea salt on the outside of the candy. For something faster, you can use chocolate bars with caramel or salted caramel filling, which make a nice replacement for a traditional candy bar for an easy upgrade.


You can drizzle salted caramel sauce over the s'more or add an actual salted caramel candy. Soft caramels work the best because they soften more as they heat and meld into the rest of the s'more ingredients. Put the caramel on top of the warm marshmallow as soon as it's done roasting, which will help the caramel melt even faster. It'll make your s'more a bit chewier than a traditional one, so be ready to eat it slowly and savor every delicious bite.

Peanut butter and chocolate

Replace the chocolate in your s'more with your favorite chocolate and peanut butter candy bar for an unexpected boost of flavor. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are the ideal size to fit between most individual-sized graham cracker s'mores. But any chocolate and peanut butter candy will work to bring this delicious flavor combination to your s'more. You can also tuck a peanut butter M&M into the soft roasted marshmallow to turn it into a stuffed marshmallow. Press it down before you put the marshmallow in the s'more to get an extra burst of chocolaty peanut butter flavor when you bite into the center.


You can also add a smear of peanut butter to the inside of your graham crackers before you assemble the s'more. Spread it to the edges for maximum peanut butter flavor, or leave a small margin at each edge if you don't want it to ooze out the sides when it's time to eat it. Crunchy peanut butter will add a bit more texture, but creamy peanut butter melts into the soft marshmallow perfectly. 

Mini waffles

Waffles are engrained in American culture, so why not use them for a classic American treat? Use mini waffles instead of graham crackers for some extra oomph and tenderness to your s'more. They're a bit softer but can still hold the weight of the insides of the s'more. If you're cooking over a campfire, you can toast your pre-made frozen waffles alongside your marshmallow to make things go faster. If you're making s'mores at home, simply popping the waffles in the toaster will do the trick. 


Upgrade them further with mix-ins to the batter if you're making them from scratch. Chocolate chips, fruit, and even a few drops of vanilla extract will boost the flavor of your waffles. Use an adorable mini waffle maker, or use a smaller amount of batter in a full-size waffle maker. You can even find novelty makers with character faces or seasonal flair like pumpkins at Halloween or flowers during spring. Frozen waffles come with extra add-ins like blueberries or chocolate chips, but you might have to search a bit to find them in a mini size. Fortunately, a full-size waffle also works for a delicious s'more-inspired sandwich. Just make sure to roast extra marshmallows and keep extra chocolate at the ready if you're planning to put together a giant s'more. 


Homemade marshmallows

This upgrade doesn't introduce new ingredients but uses the best quality traditional ingredients, whether you get them from a boutique store or make a batch of marshmallows yourself. You can whip up a batch of marshmallows in your own kitchen before your next camping trip to use with your s'mores. Marshmallows made from scratch are often lighter and more airy than mass-produced marshmallows that might have been sitting in the package for some time. It's pretty easy, and you only need a few ingredients. White sugar and cornstarch make up the bulk of the actual marshmallow, and gelatin or egg whites help it all come together. You have to whip the mixture to incorporate plenty of air for that fluffy marshmallow texture, then shape them, let them set, and enjoy.


You can even add flavorings, such as orange or mint, to customize the sweets. This is a fun way to create a one-of-a-kind marshmallow, which you can then use in a one-of-a-kind s'more. If you're planning a themed s'mores bar, consider adding food coloring to your homemade marshmallows to make things interesting.


Your s'more will get a salty, savory upgrade with the addition of bacon. Fry up some crispy bacon to add extra crunch to your s'more, but be sure to cut the pieces down to size to make them fit between the graham crackers. Crispy bacon works especially well because it breaks apart as you take bites of your s'more, allowing you to get a burst of salty flavor with every morsel. You can layer them between the chocolate and marshmallow, both of which will melt around the bacon and envelope it in sweet flavor.


For a shortcut, you can use bacon-infused chocolate bars in place of your standard chocolate bar. Pre-cooked bacon is also a great option to save time or make things easier to assemble. You do need to heat it and crisp it up to get the best texture and flavor, however, this is easy to do at home with a few seconds in the microwave.


Another salty option that works on a delicious s'more is a pretzel that brings some extra crunch. You can use mini pretzels, pretzel sticks, or even crumble up some full-size pretzels to sprinkle in your s'more. Hard pretzels add a distinct crunch that works well with the creamier ingredients in the rest of the s'more but soft pretzels can also work, especially to make the s'more a bit more filling. You can get unsalted pretzels as well if you just want the added texture or opt for a chocolate-covered or yogurt-covered pretzel to change up the flavor.


Whatever you use, press the pretzels into your roasted marshmallow while they are still soft and warm to keep the pretzels in place. If you're using smaller pieces, put them over the roasted marshmallow while it's still warm and let them sink into it. You'll be rewarded with a delicious blend of creamy, sweet marshmallow and crunchy, salty pretzel.


If you like the softness of s'mores but not the crispiness of the graham cracker, swap out your outside ingredient with croissants, which are soft and pillowy, just like marshmallows. You can use them just like you would graham crackers, sandwiching your chocolate bar and roasted marshmallows between the bread. To keep things neat and tidy, don't slice the croissant all the way through. Instead, cut it length-wise and leave it intact on the far edge. This gives you a place to hold the croissant where the marshmallow and chocolate won't get all gooey.


Depending on their size, you might need to use multiple marshmallows and extra chocolate to create a s'more sandwich, but that doesn't sound like a hardship. If you want to stick with a snack size, look for mini croissants. Switching your graham cracker for a croissant will turn your s'more treat into a sandwich. You can also give it some extra filling ingredients like peanut butter and use marshmallow fluff to turn your lunch sandwich into a s'more-inspired version.

Sliced fruit

To add a brighter flavor to your s'more, add sliced fruit to the assembly. Fresh fruit can be juicy, so consider the overall texture of your s'more when you're deciding what to add. Some people like a s'more that's a bit messier and won't mind fruit juice added to the mix. But if you want to keep things neater, use smaller pieces of fruit so that you don't need to worry about biting into them when you eat your s'more.


Strawberries, raspberries, and bananas work great on their own or together, but oranges are a hidden gem that's worth trying — although you should use small pieces to avoid the stringy pith of the fruit. Chocolate and oranges are a fantastic pairing, so take advantage of this flavor combination in your s'more. You can also pair your fruit with flavored marshmallows or infused chocolate bars to give it extra depth.

Vanilla wafers

Switch up your graham crackers with vanilla wafers for a similar flavor that has a vanilla spin instead of honey. They don't have a strong flavor so they're a great option if you want to let the chocolate, marshmallow, and any other add-ins take center stage in your s'more.


Traditional vanilla wafer cookies are smaller than most graham crackers and make the perfect bite-sized s'mores. You can use a smaller marshmallow and piece of chocolate to keep the proportions right. If you still want to create a large dessert, layer vanilla wafers with roasted marshmallows and chocolate in a bowl or dish. Not only does this shared dessert look impressive, but it's also a bit easier to eat since you'll use a spoon to dish out individual servings. Of course, it doesn't have the same nostalgia factor as licking gooey marshmallow off of your fingers, but you'll still get to enjoy all of your favorite flavors.

Chili powder

Adding a touch of heat to your sweet s'more with chili powder will be unexpected and delicious. Chili powder is a blend of a variety of spices that typically includes cumin, paprika, and dried peppers. You can also use cayenne, which is one ingredient within chili powder, for extra heat. But don't be afraid to experiment or even make your own blend with extra garlic powder, onion powder, or other ingredients to suit your preferred spiciness level. There are also plenty of chocolate bars out there that are infused with chiles or other peppers to bring a nice balance of sweet and spicy to your s'more.


If you're opting for chili powder, sprinkle it over your roasted marshmallow while it is still hot. This ensures that it sticks to the s'more. If you want something a bit more subtle, try pepper jam spread on the graham cracker. These come in a variety of flavors and are often paired with other sweet ingredients like pineapple or peach. For something extra unique and unexpected, try sweet pepper relish, which will bring a bit of vinegary bite to the s'more.


The chocolate-hazelnut combination is a scrumptious addition to a s'more. Nutella is a great way to get this combo on your treat because it combines hazelnuts with cocoa powder, sugar, and other ingredients that give it a smooth texture and balanced flavor. Plus, it comes in a spread, so it's easy to add to the graham cracker before you assemble the s'more. 


You can also sprinkle chopped hazelnuts over the melted marshmallow or chocolate bar to bring some extra texture to the s'more in addition to the rich hazelnut flavor. If you are making your own marshmallows, swirl some Nutella into the mix to bring the flavor into your sweets. For s'more sandwiches or s'more-inspired dips that use marshmallow fluff in place of roasted marshmallows, a chocolate-hazelnut spread mixes well with the fluff and can create a marbelized effect that makes the dessert look much more impressive than its simple assembly would suggest. There is no shortage of ways to upgrade your s'more with this delicious flavor combination.

Powdered sugar

Adding powdered sugar adds a touch of extra sweetness to the s'more, but another benefit to using this extra ingredient comes from the upgraded visual appeal. A small dusting over the top makes your s'more look like it was featured at a high-end restaurant, even if you made it in your own kitchen. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top of your graham cracker using a sifter for extra style and sweet flavor. It also helps you control exactly where the powdered sugar goes and creates a consistent dusting over the entire s'more.


You can also coat your marshmallows in powdered sugar or sanding sugar before roasting them, which will result in a caramelized crispy crust. When heated over the fire, the moisture in the sugar molecules evaporates, and you're left with an intensely flavorful and crispy shell. A small kitchen torch is a helpful tool to use because you can control the direction and intensity of the heat. But an old-fashioned fire for roasting marshmallows will also get the job done, although you should watch your roasting carefully to avoid burning the sugar.


Consider replacing your marshmallow with a Peep marshmallow, which turns a standard s'more into a themed treat. You can use any flavor and color, which can be fun to experiment with when making s'mores since seasonal flavors come out at different times of the year. A classic marshmallow Peep is the most similar to a standard marshmallow, although the texture will be a bit different since the Peep has extra sugar on the outside. 


As the Peep melts when roasted, try not to get too upset at the sight of this super cute treat turning into a crème brûlée. Because Peeps have a dusting of sugar on the outside, they caramelize very well when you roast them. They have a bit more crunch than a standard roasted marshmallow, although it can be tricky to get the outside caramelized without melting the inside into a gooey blob. Put it over the fire for short intervals to let the outside roast without heating the inside too much at once. You can also use a small kitchen blow torch for precision roasting.

Marshmallow fluff

If you can't roast your marshmallow but still want a gooey, sweet texture, consider using marshmallow fluff instead. This spread has the same taste as a creamy marshmallow without requiring any extra work. Because it goes on straight from the jar, you won't have the same texture or taste as a s'more made with a roasted marshmallow, but the time savings can be a blessing, especially if you're making s'mores for a large group. You can also try making your own homemade marshmallow fluff, which only requires a few ingredients, including sugar, water, corn syrup, egg whites, and cream of tartar. You can add food coloring or flavoring, just like when making homemade marshmallows.


Spread the fluff between your chocolate bars in a s'more-style dip or assembled dessert; you can even make a larger version to share with vanilla or honey cake, fresh fruit, and your favorite add-ins. You can dip graham crackers in the fluffy chocolate mixture to get the s'more taste that you love.