Healthy Rice Crispy Treats (Vegan)

It’s always a nice surprise when a healthier treat turns out better than the original.

healthy-rice-krispy-treats

And that’s definitely the case with these healthier rice crispy treats!

Rather than using melted marshmallows as a binder, these gluten-free treats are made with brown rice syrup, an all-natural sweetener that is fructose-free and suitable for those trying to reduce their sugar consumption. Brown rice syrup isn’t a sweetener that I use often, but its thick and sticky texture is perfect for binding these crisp and chewy bars.

Paired with crisp brown rice cereal, coconut oil, and a touch of sea salt, these 5-ingredient treats have an irresistibly sweet and buttery flavor that will leave everyone wanting to know your secret recipe.

Healthy Rice Crispy Treats (Vegan)
Makes one 9-inch square pan

Ingredients:

2/3 cup brown rice syrup*
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups brown rice crisp cereal (I used Erewhon brand)

Directions:

Combine the coconut oil and brown rice syrup in a saucepan over medium heat, and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Boil for one minute, then remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Pour the cereal into a large mixing bowl and stir in the boiled syrup mixture until the cereal is well-coated.

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Line a 9-inch baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent sticking, then spread the coated cereal in the pan. Use an additional piece of parchment paper over the top of the cereal, to keep your hands from getting sticky, then press HARD to pack the cereal tightly into the bottom of the pan. The harder you press, the better.

Place the bars into the freezer to cool for 45 minutes, then remove the pan and bring the bars to room temperature. Slice and serve!

rice-krispie-treats

Store any leftover bars in a sealed container in the fridge for best shelf life.

SONY DSC

4.7 from 18 reviews
Healthy Rice Crispy Treats (Vegan)
Author: 
Serves: 16
 
A healthier alternative to the popular crisp rice cereal treat!
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup brown rice syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 cups brown rice crisp cereal
Instructions
  1. Combine the coconut oil and brown rice syrup in a saucepan over medium heat, and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Boil for one minute, then remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Pour the cereal into a large mixing bowl and stir in the boiled syrup mixture until the cereal is well-coated.
  2. Line a 9-inch baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent sticking, then spread the coated cereal in the pan. Use an additional piece of parchment paper over the top of the cereal, to keep your hands from getting sticky, then press HARD to pack the cereal tightly into the bottom of the pan. The harder you press, the better.
  3. Place the bars into the freezer to cool for 45 minutes, then remove the pan and bring the bars to room temperature. Slice and serve!
  4. Store any leftover bars in a sealed container in the fridge for best shelf life.

*A note on using rice products: Research studies have revealed that various rice products may contain arsenic, which has left many consumers concerned.Β  Though the FDA has deemed the levels of arsenic found in rice products to be too-low to cause any immediate or short-term health effects, more research will need to be done to determine any long-term effects. In the meantime, they recommend eating a varied diet to minimize any adverse effects of eating an excess of any one food. Keep in mind that arsenic gets into the rice through water and soil, so it’s likely that rice is not the only food affected– it’s just the food that is getting press at the moment. For more about arsenic, check out the FAQs by Lundberg Farms.

If you’d prefer to avoid using brown rice syrup, I’d recommend trying Coconut Nectar, another low-glycemic sweetener. Honey also works, but just 1/2 cup is required for this recipe, since it’s sweeter. I have a feeling any other crispy cereal could be substituted for the rice cereal, if you prefer to avoid that, as well– just make sure to pack it tightly in the pan. (Please note that cereals like puffed millet, which are not crispy in texture, will not work well in this recipe.)

Enjoy!

Reader Feedback: Are you a fan of Rice Krispie treats?

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Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the body’s detox organsβ€” no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

83 thoughts on “Healthy Rice Crispy Treats (Vegan)

  1. Laura @ Raise Your Garden

    Since I’m avoiding fructose like the plague, I’m super excited to try your brown rice syrup as a binder instead of the marshmallows.

    My kids are 2 and 4 and have never had Rice Krispie treats because I can’t justify making snacks that aren’t good for them, but I’m ok with your version and will give them a whirl. My neighbors all laugh at me because they’ve never had Gold Fish Crackers, or even Pretzels or Hugs drinks, oh well.

    These might rival your Klondike bars though!!!

    Reply
    1. lacy O

      Thank you for sharing this! Sometimes I feel like we’re the crazy parents for not letting our daughter eat processed food. I’m glad she’s not the only “deprived” 2 year old.

      Reply
  2. amy

    My mom always made peanut butter rice crispy treats and we loved them. Im going to try these with some peanut butter in the mix πŸ™‚

    Reply
  3. Red

    What a coincidence – this week I was thinking of and researching healthier alternatives to rice krispie treats!

    My boyfriend loves them (he uses double the marshmallows. Sigh). He’s very wary of my “healthier” versions of most foods, so I’m trying to create an equivalent alternative to feed him. He’s very “Steak and potatoes”, big city eater. It’s been an interesting challenge!

    I’ll have to add this to the list, see what I come up with πŸ™‚

    Reply
  4. Phil

    Megan – any suggestion about how much peanut butter to use if I wanted to make peanut butter variety? Should I reduce the amount of coconut oil since peanut butter is oily? Any help and suggestions would be appreciated. TIA.

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      I actually have a peanut butter version to share soon– that’s the variety that I grew up with!

      Reply
  5. Brianna

    Do you think coconut nectar would be a good substitute for rice syrup? I have everything but the syrup.

    Reply
  6. Kerrie

    I am excited to make healthier rice crispy treats. I have all the ingredients except brown rice syrup. Can I substitute 100% pure maple syrup, or should I purchase brown rice syrup?

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      I tried these with pure maple syrup, and the result wasn’t quite as soft and sticky as traditional rice crispy treats– they were more firm, like a granola bar, if that makes sense. If you don’t mind that texture, the maple syrup will work, but you might want to use a little less than the recipe calls for, because it’s sweeter than brown rice syrup.

      Reply
      1. sara

        I used equal parts maple syrup instead of the brown rice syrup, (prior to reading this) it tasted amazing but it fell apart. Can you tell me what I did wrong?

        Reply
  7. Kerrie

    Thanks for your reply Megan. To follow your recipe, I will go to Whole Foods today to purchase brown rice syrup. I look forward to making and eating them very soon!

    Reply
  8. Rachael Roehmholdt

    These look awesome! Rice crispy treats were one of my favorite summer foods to take camping as a kid. I’ll be giving this cleaner version a try – so much healthier than the marshmallow-y ones.

    Reply
  9. Emma

    These look fantastic but I have to ask– do you think butter would work for the coconut oil, or is the coconut oil vital to the bars setting?? I know the purists out there are clutching at their hearts in horror but I don’t have any coconut oil at the moment! I would be doing the 1/2 cup of honey version, by the way. Thank you!

    Reply
  10. Herbaljo

    My 3 year son and I just made these, he loves them! We have been enjoying baking together recently and I only make healthy versions of treats. Thank you!!

    Reply
  11. Tarik

    Made these yesterday for me because at 50, I am old enough to eat as many as I want without getting in trouble for spoiling my appetite for dinner, however, [weep, weep, sadness] my kids ate them all. They were great. Not as sweet as the marshmallow kind which is why we liked them so much. Off to the store to get more puffed brown rice. Note: will be hiding half the batch in my office behind a locked door!

    Reply
  12. Deb

    Just made these with gluten free chocolate krispie cereal added extra dark cocoa powder for a dark chocolate taste! Delicious Thank you for all your recipes :()

    I think I’ll try a french vanilla version or maybe use orange or almond extract. The possibilities are endless!

    Reply
  13. Christine

    These are AMAZING, and taste just like the “real” thing!!! (I put real in quotes because the healthier version is actually more real) πŸ™‚

    Reply
  14. Natalie

    Megan,

    What is the closest substitute to brown rice syrup for this recipe? Also, I went gluten and dairy free with my kids 3 months ago to my husband’s strong dismay. Your website has made me realize this lifestyle is not only doable but yummy! You have no idea how grateful I am for you and for this website. I am a nurse and have many of the nurses I work with making your recipes!

    Warmest regards!
    Natalie

    Reply
  15. Jo

    In Australia we don’t have rice crispie treats but these are similar to chocolate crackles that we have at kids parties and serve up as a mound in cupcake cases. I added cacao and chia seeds and my 3 yr old looooves them. I may try putting some chopped nuts next time. So easy to make – little mess and no need to cook.

    Reply
  16. Dr. Robyn

    My obsession with the peanut butter blondies is over …..I’ve made with the chocolate rice cereal and also with the plain and added organic Chocolate chips!

    Reply
  17. Stella

    I’ve made a stack of your recipes and they’re always great. I felt compelled to comment for the first time because these were AMAZING!! So easy. I’m struggling not to eat the entire pan…

    Reply
  18. Xinhia

    Wow! Love love this! I feel good giving my kids this healthier version! Mind you i’ve never given the other version πŸ™‚ I subbed the brown rice syrup to agave. Worked out beautifully β™₯

    Reply
  19. Veronica

    Hi Megan,

    These were sooo delicious! I went to Sprouts but they didn’t have the regular brown rice Erewhon, but I got the Cocoa one and it tastes awesome! Weeeeeeeeee!

    Reply
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  22. Natallia

    These came out amazing! I am not a big fan of the original ones as they are too sweet but LOVED these – perfect amount of sweetness! Was very easy to make – thanks again for a great recipe!

    Reply
  23. Sylvia

    I’ve use rice syrup before, but prefer using half honey and coconut sugar with a tbs of water, and follow same directions. Gives it a nice flavour. The kids love chocolate chips in it to. I use enjoy life brand.

    Reply
  24. Kim

    Can you use something else besides brown rice syrup? I just read online that some brown rice syrup has rice barley in it which is not gluten free.

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      Only certain brands contain barley– the brand I used, Lundaberg, is certified gluten-free. However, if you’d prefer to use another sweetener you can refer to my notes in the above post and comments.

      Reply
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  30. Heidi

    I will be subbing the brown rice syrup with agave… Do I still do the same measurement ?
    Also, do these have a hint of a coconut taste? I don’t like coconut and never baked with it, but I did buy it!
    Let me know, I’m dying to make these! Thanks

    Reply
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  37. Alex R.

    I found this recipe to be a little bit salty even though I also used the erewhon brown rice crispy cereal and lundaberg brown rice syrup. I found out the erewhon cereal has some sodium in it. I wonder if we’re used different kinds, if it comes in an unsalted version? otherwise I would recommend halving the salt.

    Reply
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  39. Stephanie

    I am highly allergic to coconut in all forms. What other kind of oil can be used? Other than the oil it sounds great.

    Reply
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  42. Jenn

    I loved these! My husband and 2 kids thought these were delicious. I’m not afraid of the brown rice syrup, thanks for an easy/simple recipe!!

    Reply
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  46. Grace

    Megan, just bought puffed quinoa, do you think I can substitute this for Brown rice crispies? I’m not a fan of coconut oil, what can I use instead?

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      I tried using a puffed cereal when testing this recipe and the results weren’t great… they just aren’t the same “crisp” texture that you get from using the crisp rice cereal. (I don’t recall if they held together or not, but I know they went into the trash because no one in my house wanted to eat them.) If you don’t need a vegan recipe, real butter is always the best substitute for coconut oil.

      Reply
  47. Thea Strand

    My husband just got put on a low sulfur ( gluten/sugar/dairy/eggs free) diet and can only have organic butter sparingly. Is there an alternative to coconut oil AND butter for this recipe? I can’t wait to make it–he has so few treats.

    Reply
  48. Cassandra

    I made a double batch today – the first half got good reviews from adults, tomorrow I’m testing it out on kids. The taste is noticeable different from the traditional treat but they’re definitely tasty (and very easy to make).

    Reply
  49. Monty

    Love these. I am about to make my second batch. I used veganic sprouted brown rice cacao crisps. I’m making them for the neighbors, people should shout the recipe from the rooftops! I was sad to see an advert from Pizza Hut on this website. πŸ˜•

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      Hopefully you know I don’t necessarily endorse the ads in my sidebar– they just help support my site so I can keep creating free recipes! I think Pizza Hut is wasting their time with my readers. πŸ˜‰

      Reply
      1. Monty

        lol. I guessed as much. I’m looking forward to exploring your site. But first, off to the refrigerator to scoff another brown rice krispie treat πŸ™‚

        Reply
  50. Gayl

    I am pleased to find this recipe. However I would like to include peanut butter for a treat with some protein. Have you tried? Any suggestions on proportions?

    Reply
      1. Angie

        If I wanted to add protein powder to this recipe, say 1 cup, how much more brown rice syrup and/or coconut oil do you think would be required? Was going to try to use a whole cup of brown rice syrup, but thought I would ask first in case you or someone else has already been down this road.

        Reply
  51. Carrie

    This is wonderful of you to be putting this whole some recipe up! I will be making this as soon as possible, it looks healthy and just the sweetener I prefer😁. Keep up good the work on this.

    Reply
  52. Tracey

    I got excited as I love rice krispy squares but Brown Rice Syrup is not healthy it seems πŸ™ Similar to agave or HFCS it is processed and the syrup extracted from the rice. It also contains arsenic (as does all rice) so concentrating it makes the levels even higher I would think. Add this to the fact that rice is now being used in so many products that I would steer clear of using brown rice syrup:( I wonder if honey would work?

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      Yes, I mentioned that in the note below the recipe, including the honey alternative. πŸ™‚

      Reply
      1. Tracey

        Oh my goodness, how did I miss that WHOLE big note about the syrup and honey??!?! I think I was so excited about the recipe and then sad that it was the rice syrup that I just lost all focus πŸ˜‰ Thanks so much and I will definitely try with honey. I love your recipes and have never been disappointed with one that I have tried yet so back to super excited πŸ˜‰

        Reply
  53. Mollie

    Apologies if you addressed this earlier but I love the taste of these so much but they are very dry and almost too crunchy when I make them. Any suggestions for tweaks I can make to get a “gooey-er” Rice Krispie???

    Reply
  54. Mei

    Great recipe. People couldn’t believe this was marshmallow free. Substituted with 1/2C honey that you mentioned. Topped with “magic shell recipe”, 4 tablespoons melted coconut oil mixed with 5 tablespoons cocoa powder.

    Reply
  55. mp3z

    I found this recipe to be a little bit salty even though I also used the erewhon brown rice crispy cereal and lundaberg brown rice syrup. I found out the erewhon cereal has some sodium in it. I wonder if we’re used different kinds, if it comes in an unsalted version? otherwise I would recommend halving the salt.
    I loved these! My husband and 2 kids thought these were delicious. I’m not afraid of the brown rice syrup, thanks for an easy/simple recipe!! Megan, just bought puffed quinoa, do you think I can substitute this for Brown rice crispies? I’m not a fan of coconut oil, what can I use instead?

    Reply

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