Kids and adults will never know that these corn syrup-free, nut-free, and dairy-free treats are healthier snacks. They'll just know that the gooey marshmallow cereal treats taste great. In this post, I'll share tips to make Keto, Vegan, and Gluten-Free Rice Krispie Treats too.
As far as desserts go, Rice Krispie treats are a reasonably healthy choice. One 2-inch by 3-inch treat made using our very BEST Rice Krispie Treat recipe only has 115 calories and is loaded with crisp rice cereal. That's not bad.
You can make a healthy Rice Krispie treat by swapping out the butter and marshmallows with honey and nut butter. But, there are 140 calories in one 2-inch square of our Honey Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats. Plus, those treats cannot be enjoyed by anyone with a nut allergy.
So, I wanted to find a way to make our traditional recipe healthier by using healthier ingredients.
These non-GMO treats are made using organic brown rice crispy cereal, coconut oil, and corn syrup-free and artificial color-free marshmallows.
To make these healthier Rice crispy treats you'll need:
Organic Brown Rice Crispy Cereal or Sprouted Brown Rice Cereal - I used 365 by Whole Foods Organic Brown Rice Crisps which are made with organic brown rice, organic cane sugar, and salt. If you prefer, you can use sprouted brown rice cereal made with coconut sugar.
Coconut Oil or Plant-Based Butter - Use Refined coconut oil if you prefer your treats to have no coconut flavor. Use unrefined coconut oil if you enjoy a little coconut flavor. I used unrefined coconut oil and love the flavor it imparts in these treats. Plant-based butter will work well in this recipe too.
Marshmallows - You'll want to choose marshmallows that do not contain any artificial coloring or flavor. You can also use keto, gluten-free, and vegan marshmallows to fit your special dietary needs.
Our favorite brand of marshmallows (Jet-Puffed) contains corn syrup, food coloring (blue 1), and artificial flavoring. To make a healthier treat, I chose to use Smashmallows, but you can also use Dandies Marshmallows or Max Mallows.
To Make Healthier Rice Krispie Treats use Smashmallows
- Non-GMO Smashmallows are colored and flavored with fruit and vegetable juice and do not contain corn syrup.
- They are made using organic cane sugar and tapioca syrup.
- Smashmallows do contain gelatin so they are not vegan.
- Smashmallows come in a variety of fun flavors including cookie dough, mint chocolate chip, cinnamon churro, and strawberry cream. I used Toasted Vanilla for a more traditional flavored treat.
To Make Vegan and Gluten-Free Rice Krispie Treats use Dandies Marshmallows
- Dandies Marshmallows are vegan and gluten-free and also include cane sugar and tapioca syrup in their ingredients list.
- They are flavored using natural vanilla flavor and are really delicious. I actually would choose to eat these marshmallows straight out of the bag over any other marshmallow. I love them!
- They contain soy and carrageenan (an extract from a red seaweed commonly known as Irish Moss).
- They don't melt easily, so be sure to allow them plenty of time to melt on low heat.
- Use Dandies marshmallows to make our vegan and gluten-free Rice Krispie Treats and our vegan and gluten-free chocolate rice crispy treats. Be sure to check out those recipes.
To Make Keto Rice Krispie Treats use Max Mallows
Max Mallows - If you want to use guilt-free & zero sugar marshmallows that are low carb, zero fat, gluten-free and ketogenic, use Max Mallows. I personally didn't enjoy the flavor of these marshmallows, but I love sugar, so I'm not a good judge.
I actually bought a box of HighKey Keto Protein Breakfast Cereal which has 0 net carbs, no sugar, is grain & gluten-free, non-GMO, Paleo, diabetic-friendly, and Ketogenic, and made a batch of Keto Rice Krispie Treats.
The texture of the Keto crispy treats was also quite sandy. If you are used to healthy desserts, you might just love these Keto marshmallow cereal treats.
To make the Keto rice crispy treats follow the recipe below but use:
- 2 (3.4-ounce) bags of Max Mallows
- 2 tablespoons butter or plant-based butter
- 1 (8-ounce) box of HighKey Protein Cereal
How to make healthier rice crispy treats?
Step 1 - Make the cereal treat mixture.
- Begin melting your coconut oil or plant-based butter over LOW heat in a medium-large saucepan set on the stove.
- Add the marshmallows and allow them to melt slowly over low heat, stirring them as needed until about 75% are melted.
- Then, remove from the heat and continue to stir until melted and smooth.
- Grease a large mixing bowl and an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with coconut oil or plant-based butter.
- Pour the cereal into the bowl.
- Pour the melted marshmallows over the cereal, then toss to coat.
If you prefer, you can melt the coconut oil and marshmallows in the microwave using 30-second bursts of high power, stirring after each until melted.
Do not overheat your marshmallows, or your treats will be hard!
Step 2 - Spread the cereal mixture into a pan.
- After the marshmallow and cereal are blended together, gently press the mixture into a greased baking pan.
- Be sure your spatula or your hands are greased with coconut oil or plant-based butter to make spreading the cereal mixture into the pan easier.
- DO NOT compact the cereal in the pan. You want the treats to be flattened, but loosely packed. This will ensure your treats are nicely chewy, not hard.
Healthy Rice Crispy Treats
- 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan
- large mixing bowl
- medium-large saucepan (or microwave-safe mixing bowl)
- 4 cups organic (or sprouted) brown rice crispy cereal
- 3 ½ tablespoons coconut oil or plant-based butter
- 9 ounces Smashmallows, Dandies Marshmallows, or Max Mallows
- Grease your square baking pan and large mixing bowl with coconut oil or plant-based butter.
- Pour the cereal into the greased mixing bowl and set aside.
- Heat the coconut oil or plant-based butter in a medium-large saucepan set over LOW heat on the stove.
- Add the marshmallows, and allow them to melt, stirring often, until about 75% are melted.
- Remove the marshmallows from the stovetop and stir until melted and smooth.
- Pour the melted marshmallows over the cereal and toss to coat.
- Pour the cereal mixture into the greased pan and gently press it into an even layer.
- Cover and allow the treats to cool at room temperature for about an hour before cutting into 16 squares.
- Store your healthy rice crispy treats in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
- Or wrap well in wax paper or tin foil, and place in a zip-top bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
- To melt the marshmallows in the microwave, heat your coconut oil and marshmallows in a microwave-safe mixing bowl, for 30-second bursts of high power, stirring after each, until 75% are melted. Then, remove and stir until melted and smooth.
- Do not overheat your marshmallows or your treats will be hard.
- Do not compact the cereal mixture in the pan or your treats will be too hard.
Storing your treats.
- Place the treats in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Store at room temperature.
Can they be frozen?
- You can wrap your cereal treats in wax paper or tin foil then place them in a zip-top bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
- To thaw frozen rice crispy treats, take them out of the freezer and allow them to come to room temperature for a few hours before unwrapping them.
Healthy Mix-In Ideas
- Add chopped apple rings and freeze-dried apples. See our Apple Cinnamon Rice Krispie Treat recipe for details.
- Or, use freeze-dried strawberries to make a healthier version of our Strawberry Rice Krispie Treats.
- Top the treats with finely chopped nuts, for those without nut allergies.
- Add a dash of lemon extract and lemon zest. Check out our Lemon Rice Krispie Treat recipe.
You can also swap out the brown rice crispy cereal to make more delicious treats, like these Raisin Bran Crunch Bars.
Or add fresh berries to make Blueberry Rice Krispie Treats.
Or toss in some mini chocolate chips to make Chocolate Chip Rice Krispie Treats.