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Cookin’ with Kool-Aid

My sister taught high school in the Mississippi Delta for three years through Teach For America.  While she has many interesting stories to tell about this period in her life, one item of particular relevance to this publication includes the snack foods enjoyed by her students – snacks that are common in the Delta but perhaps not so well-known in other locales. In particular, there were two that are worthy of mention- Kool-Aid Pickles and “Special Chips.”

Kool-Aid Pickles are popular throughout the Delta and have gained a fair amount of national attention.  Indeed, Alton Brown has a recipe for Kool-Aid Pickles – which he charmingly calls “Koolickles.” 


  • 1 gallon jar kosher dill pickles
  • 1 package unsweetened cherry Kool-Aid
  • 1 pound sugar

Drain the liquid from the pickles into a large container. Add the Kool-Aid mix and the sugar to the liquid and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the pickles from the jar. Slice them in half lengthwise, and return them to the jar. Return the liquid to the jar of pickles. Not all the liquid will fit, but make sure the pickles are completely covered. Place in the refrigerator.


Special Chips, however, have kept a much lower profile, and I am only really aware of their existence based on reports from my sister (who has kindly provided a recipe).  While Kool-Aid Pickles can be purchased around the Delta, Special Chips are strictly homemade:

1 large bag Lays BBQ potato chips
1 packet Grape Kool-Aid mix

Open chips and Kool-Aid packet.  Pour Kool-Aid powder over chips, then fold over bag to seal.  Shake vigorously, to coat chips with powder (but making sure to not crush chips to powder themselves). Open bag and enjoy.

Special Chips are likely an acquired taste – although they were a favorite snack of my sister’s students.  I cannot offer an opinion because I have not yet sampled “Special Chips,” but you can be sure I will write about it once I do.

So, these two recipes piqued my curiosity- obviously there is a demand for Kool-Aid as an ingredient in foodstuffs.  And, as you might guess, there are in fact dedicated cooks out there on the internet putting Kool-Aid to work in their dishes.  Courtesy of the Kool-Aid FAQ, here are some recipes to satisfy your Kool-Aid jones:

Toasted Kool-Aid 

1 Packet Kool-Aid Unsweetened Drink Mix Powder
1 Cup Sugar
2 Quarts Water
1 Tablespoon Margarine or Butter (softened)
2 Slices Bread

1. Place margarine and two teaspoons sugar in a very small mixing bowl or custard dish and set aside.
2. Place remaining sugar and Kool-Aid powder in a large plastic or glass pitcher and blend thoroughly (keep dry!).
3. Add one teaspoon of Kool-Aid & sugar mixture from pitcher to small bowl from step 1 and blend until smooth. (This is easiest if the margarine is very soft.) It’ll be grainy, that’s OK.
4. Spread onto bread and bake in pre-heated oven at 450F (230C) for about 5 minutes. Or, broil in toaster-oven on high for about 1and a half to 2 minutes until very bubbly on top.
5. While the feature item is baking (or broiling), add water to the pitcher and stir to dissolve. Place in fridge for later 🙂
6. Remove Toasted Kool-Aid from oven and kool briefly before serving.
Makes two slices.

Kool-Aid Rice Krispie Squares

Here is a colorful dessert to make for Christmas.
Make Rice Krispie treats according to the instructions on the Rice Krispie box, except multiply the recipe by 1.5 on all ingredients. Mix in your favorite KA into the marshmallow creme.

If you don’t increase the recipe by 1.5, it will be sour. I was looking in my Sunday paper and noticed an ad for Rice Krispies. They suggest that you add a pack of Kool-Aid to your batch of Rice Krispy treats for fruity flavor and wacky color.

Sour BANG! Kids

A microwave.
Some sour-patch kids!
Some Kool-Aid mix, we used grape.
A plate, we recommend ceramic and not paper!

Spread a layer of Kool-Aid mix on the plate. Make sure you put enough on or else you’ll have to scrape your kids off your plate.
Place some sour-patch kids on top of the Kool-Aid mix.
Sprinkle plenty of Kool-Aid mix on top of the sour-patch kids.

Alright, now your ready to nuke your kids! Place the plate in themicrowave. Microwave on high for about 45 secs. to about 1:30 depending on how many kids you have. We recommend that you watch the microwave process, and shutting off the microwave when you see the Kool-Aid melt into
your kids.
Note: If you over cook your kids they become hard and crispy, but they are still edible. Don’t throw your crunchy kids in the toilet! The more you nuke your kids the bigger the bang of sourness, try to find a good balance of crunchiness and bang.
Eat! Place in mouth and chew. Oh yeah, you should probably cool your kids first. At first you will taste the Kool-Aid mix, but don’t swallow yet, it’s not over! Pretty soon the Kool-Aid wears off and then BANG! your kids turn sour!

So, the sky’s the limit when it comes to cooking with Kool-Aid!   Tear open a packet and let your imagination take you wherever it will……

  1. Ellen
    April 14, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    I want to make blue rice krispie squares for a baby shower (the mother-to-be loves them), can I just add food colouring to it without changing the taste?

  2. Franky
    May 26, 2010 at 10:53 PM

    Hell yeah! Mississippi Delta Kool Aid food represent!

  3. May 18, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    What? No recipes from Sandra Lee?

  1. June 30, 2011 at 9:54 PM

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