Chocolate, graham crackers, and toasted marshmallows—s’mores are basically perfect. But that doesn’t mean they’re not also begging to be updated with your own personal spin, so why not set up a s’mores bar with interesting ingredients at your Labor Day party? Hacking your s’mores is nothing new, but there may be combinations you haven’t considered, so we’ve put together a mix-and-match guide to interesting s’mores variations.
Bonus: All you have to do is make a quick store run and set everything out, so they’re a perfect last-minute dessert that doesn’t seem like an afterthought.
Related Reading: Who Invented S’mores?
Whether you’re going camping, commandeering a mini grill at a beach picnic spot, or hosting a BBQ in your own backyard, you have ample opportunities to play around with monster s’mores this season. And when you set up a s’mores bar with so many options, your guests are sure to be delighted (if not also a touch overwhelmed). You can offer pairing suggestions to those who need a little guidance.
S’mores Bar Basics
To serve, set out platters with your array of ingredients grouped by type, and consider adding labels in the form of index cards or mini chalkboards to identify what each one is:
CB Accessories Mini Chalkboard Place Card Signs with Easel Stands and Chalk, 10 for $22.97 on Amazon
These mini slates are perfect for identifying your offerings (and noting vegan and gluten-free options).
Have plenty of marshmallow roasting forks (or clean, sharp sticks) for everyone, as well as a bucket or other receptacle for placing them in once used.
SUMPRI Marshmallow Roasting Sticks, 6 for $16.95 on Amazon
Not into whittling sticks? Try these 34-inch extendable steel forks instead.
An ample supply of napkins or paper towels for melted marshmallow and chocolate messes are a must. And wet naps or a hand-washing station wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
Finally, if you don’t have an open flame or glowing embers for roasting your marshmallows, no worries—you can set up little s’mores stations with DIY flowerpot roasters, simple cans of Sterno, or a store-bought tabletop s’mores cooker.
Sterno Family Fun S'mores Maker, $22.51 on Amazon
Use indoors or out.
As for what exactly to offer, here are some ideas to get you started.
S’mores Bar Ingredients
There are three basic ways to switch up your standard s’mores from the outside in: use flavored graham crackers or entirely different types of cookies; stuff them with non-vanilla marshmallows and/or a chocolate other than Hershey’s; or add extra ingredients to the usual trio. If you’re truly daring, do any combo of the above. You may just invent the next great iconic campfire treat.
Instead of graham crackers, try:
- chocolate chip cookies
- Girl Scout cookies (if you’re fresh out, try our homemade versions of Thin Mints and Samoas)
- Petit Ecolier biscuits (a personal favorite for camping since the chocolate is built right in!)
Lu Petit Ecolier Milk Chocolate European Biscuits, $3.28 at Walmart
For fancy French s'mores.
- Oreos, Brussels cookies (an easier shape to contend with than Milanos), or any other sandwich cookie (twisted apart for dainty appetites—or use two intact cookies for a stacked club sandwich effect)
- brownies (made in mini cupcake tins for the perfect size right out of the gate—er, oven)
- Rice Krispie treats
- mini doughnuts
- Ritz crackers (the buttery crisp actually really works!)
- matzo (or matzo brittle/matzo crack for extra impact; flip it over so the chocolate is on the inside)
- apple slices (not as exciting, but naturally gluten-free)
Instead of vanilla marshmallows, try:
Stuffed Puffs Chocolate Filled Marshmallows, $3.98 at Walmart
Depending on your views, these either obviate the need for extra chocolate, or they are the extra chocolate!
- literally any other marshmallow flavor (cookies and cream marshmallows, cold brew marshmallows, bourbon marshmallows, caramel marshmallows, lambic ale marshmallows…)
- Peeps, if you’re a fan
Instead of milk chocolate, try:
- dark chocolate, white chocolate, oat milk chocolate (which is vegan, so a great partner to vegan marshmallows!), or any chocolate bar that strikes your fancy (with cocoa nibs, candied ginger, sea salt, almonds, etc.)
- peanut butter cups, Rolos, or pieces of any chocolate candy bar you like
To gild the lily, add:
- cookie butter
- caramel sauce
- nut butter
- crispy bacon
- fresh fruit (strawberries, raspberries, bananas)
- jelly, jam, or preserves
- toasted coconut
Mix, match, and play mad scientist to come up with your own creations in the pursuit of the perfect s’mores specimen!
Unique S’mores Recipes
Check out a few more s’mores variations for even more inspiration when it comes to putting everything together.
Rainbow-swirled tie-dye marshmallows and white chocolate make for an eye-popping and even sweeter take on traditional s’mores, which you are all but obligated to dub unicorn s’mores. That said, StudioDIY also has a recipe for red, white, and blue marshmallows for a more patriotic option, perfect for 4th of July and Labor Day BBQs. Get the Unicorn S’mores recipe.
If you want to turn things completely upside down, savory s’mores are the obvious answer—and a super fun starter for your next camping trip or cookout. Herbed cheese cookies, toasted brie, and salty prosciutto are a powerhouse flavor/texture trio, and they’re drizzled with honey for a sweet contrast. Get the Savory S’mores recipe.
Add a slice of banana for an extra-tropical twist, or skip the coconut and add bacon and banana to the peanut butter-chocolate combo for an Elvis-inspired option. Get the Peanut Butter Toasted Coconut S’mores recipe.
No time for toasting individual marshmallows? Make one big, ooey-gooey grilled s’mores quesadilla (and do not try to eat the entire thing yourself; you will regret it). The brown sugar and graham cracker crumbs sprinkled on the outside are a chef-kiss-worthy touch. Get the S’mores Quesadillas recipe.
Are you a s’mores purist, or have you hit upon an amazing variation everyone should know about? Let us know in the comments!
Header image by Chowhound