5 Ingredient Vegan Rice Crispy Treats

The first time I enjoyed a rice crispy treat was at my girlfriend Jenna’s house. We’d just finished chowing down on a pot of KD; the staple in any 8 year old’s diet, when she offered to make us a dessert.

The marshmallow mixture never made it to the pan. Instead, Jenna and I sat cross legged on the grass outside with the bowl between us, taking turns wrapping the mixture around our individual forks.

From that point forward, my specialty dessert was the rice crispy treat. They were quick, simple, and with my sister’s infatuation with marshmallows, we always seemed to have the ingredients in the house. Plus, Mom let me make them when she wasn’t home, too.

If I was feeling really creative, I’d add things like cinnamon toast crunch cereal (because I put that stuff in just about everything), chocolate chips, colored mini marshmallows, rolled oats, raisins, coconut, bananas, or cocoa powder, getting my sister to help me taste test the various combinations as I went.

Last week, my sales team at work asked if I’d bring them vegan rice crispy squares and, as usual, I jumped at the challenge. Originally, I’d planned to create vegan marshmallows but after various failed attempts, I decided on a simpler approach. 5 ingredients, prep time of under 15 minutes.

And hey, who want’s to make marshmallow’s from scratch anyways? Laaaame :P

These squares turned out just as I remember them but with less sugar, far less processed ingredients, and a bit of extra fiber to boot!

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4.7 from 7 reviews
5 Ingredient Vegan Rice Crispy Treats
Author: 
Recipe type: Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Nut-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20 squares, 20 servings
 
Healthier version of classic rice crispy treats without the gelatin! Each square is just 5 grams of fat and less than 150 calories.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Lightly oil a 9×13 pan with whatever oil you have on hand. Coconut oil, safflower, sunflower, or vegan butter spread, would work well. Set aside.
  2. Place brown rice cereal and ground flax seed in a large bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized sauce pan or frying pan, add rice syrup, sunflower seed butter and vanilla extract. Heat over medium heat, stirring often, until ingredients have liquified, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour syrup over rice crisp mixture and stir to coat.
  5. Once all crisps have been coated, drop the mixture into the prepared pan and even it out with a spatula, pressing down firmly.
  6. Allow to sit for 1 hour in the refrigerator before cutting into squares.

    I placed all of the ingredients for this recipe in my new 9×13 pan for safe keeping while I cleaned the kitchen Monday morning. Looking at the picture of all of the ingredients stuffed in the pan like this makes me think I could gift something similar to this with a recipe card enclosed, new pan and all!

    Start off by combining the rice crisps and flax in one bowl and the remaining ingredients in another.

    You’ll want to heat the seed butter mixture until it’s runny, about 5 minutes. Be sure to continue to stir so that the mixture doesn’t burn. The longer you cook it, the closer to taffy it will become which can be quite a pain to mix in with the rice crisps.

    Pour syrup over rice crisp mixture and stir to coat.

    Be sure not to crush the crisps by pressing the mixture together with the spoon, but rather rotating the mix up and over itself.

    This will take several minutes and probably result in rice crisps jumping out of the bowl. It is customary to gobble them up as you go, part of the process if you will.

    Once all crisps have been coated, drop the mixture into the prepared pan and even it out with a spatula. Be sure to press the mix firmly!

    Once the treats have set, pull out your handy, dandy measuring tape…

    You don’t actually have to mark the pan with pencil as I did. I swear I only do crazy things like this when I know I’m taking a picture of my food. Otherwise, you can just about guarantee that the sizes of the squares I cut will vary by at least 45%.

    What’s one childhood dessert you’ve always wanted to make healthier?

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    Comments | Leave Your Comment

    1. Ah yes, KD and rice krispie squares were 2 of my childhood staples too! I was also totally obsessed with fruit by the foot and used to wrap it around my finger and suck on it…. now THAT is hot. LOL! If I had a dehydrator, I’d love to try making my own fruit leathers. Have you ever tried making them in the oven?

      • Oh my gosh, you were one of those kids! My sister did the same thing with her fruit roll ups and fruit by the foot. It totally grossed me out. I used to roll mine up into a big ball and eat it that way. I haven’t tried to make fruit leathers in the oven, but I’m sure it could be done. I try to avoid making homemade fruit roll ups just because I eat them all so ridiculously quick!

    2. What a creative recipe! I remember the days of rice krispie squares. Some of my favourite childhood treats: peanut butter ice cream pie (peanut butter/graham cracker bottom) and cookies of all kinds! Especially peanut butter :)

      • Wow, peanut butter ice cream pie, that sounds amazing.

    3. Rice crispy treats are a favorite here too! I like to make them with peanut butter too! These look perfect (seriously, that cut is so perfect!)! Cinnamon bread is a treat of my husband’s youth that I’ve made better for you. It’s a favorite here now!

      • The cut better be perfect! My gosh, who measures out their squares? haha. Oh cinnamon bread… yum! I made a batch of my nut and seed bread with just cinnamon and raisins, it was SO delicious. Gotta love chickpea flour!

    4. These look great! Love healthifying old desserts. I would eat these any time of the day. And I’m so glad they don’t call for marshmallows.

      • Unless I can make vegan marshmallows at home, none of my recipes will ever call for them. I couldn’t believe how much vegan marshmallows cost. $8.00 for 6 marshmallows? Ah!

    5. Not gonna lie, this just made my day! I haven’t had one in soooooo long (for a number of reasons) but I’ll have to try this for sure. Thanks!

      • I’m so happy to hear you’ll get to enjoy one of your favorite treats again, Katie! That’s awesome :)

    6. yummmm I improvised and used puffed quinoa, almond butter and 3/4 c agave. hopefully it turns out!
      M

      • That sounds delicious! How do they taste? Puffed quinoa is softer than crispy rice, so I’m really curious!

      • I was afraid of that too, which is why I spent the whole weekend trying to make vegan marshmallows. But you know, I didn’t miss them at all. So much for all of that work!

    7. Mmmmm I used to love the chocolate rice krispie bars! Maybe I’ll try adding raw cocoa powder and cacao nibs to these…

      • I really, really wanted to go that route with these, Sadie! Definitely will be trying it next time. Would love to know how the cacao nibs work out.

    8. This was perfect timing, as I was in need of a nut-free snack to send with my son to preschool. :) I cut the recipe in half for an 8×8 pan and used homemade sunflower butter and organic cocoa krispies, and I snuck in a little cocoa powder and a few drops of stevia for my little chocoholic. The recipe reminds me a lot of the PB/honey caramel corn I like to make!

      • Wow, Julie! I loved the changes you made to the recipe. I’ve never thought to add chocolate crisps! That’ll be up next in our house for sure. Glad you liked the recipe :)

    9. I used to get ice cream cones that had a chocolate shell sprinkled with peanuts all the time! I wish those could be made healthy!

    10. Oh yum, these look delicious! I think I need to make these,but switch the sunflower seed butter for peanut butter – as well as adding in cinnamon and raisins. Thanks for the idea, Leanne!

      • Oh I like your style, Kristy! Adding cinnamon and raisins would be delightful. Enjoy!

    11. These look awesome! And props to you for attempting homemade marshmallows. I always think it LOOKS like a good idea, but then when I see the directions, I run the other way! ;)

    12. Brilliant! I’ve been craving rice crispy treats for ages but didn’t want to invest in vegan marshmallows. This recipe is seriously brilliant because it allows me to finally use that jar of brown rice syrup that’s currently sitting in my pantry gathering dust…

    13. I don’t remember the last time I ate a rice crispy treat… and haven’t had the desire… BUT but your version looks so good! I must give them a try! Love your childhood story :)

    14. AWESOME idea!

      Can I substitute coconut butter for the sunflower seed butter?
      Can I substitute stevia for the brown rice syrup? (I have fructose malabsorption, so I cannot have sugar).

      And if you’re up for a challenge, how about trying to find a substitution for Fruity Pebbles. I used to love making these treats with Fruity Pebbles cereal.

      Okay, I have no idea what KD is?

      • Hi Chris – yes, coconut butter could replace sunflower seed butter. As for stevia, could be a bit trickier as you won’t need as much. Can you handle medjool dates? If so, puree 1 cup pitted dates with 2 tbsp coconut oil until smooth, then follow directions of recipe.
        Fruity pebbles, sounds fun! I’ll try my best! KD = Kraft Dinner, mac n’ cheese

        • Thanks! Would the 2 tbsp of coconut oil be in addition to 2/3 cup of coconut oil (replacing the sunflower seed butter)?

          I LOVED Kraft mac’ n cheese. And I have been craving it! Do you have any recipe for “kraft” flavor? I have only been able to find zesty and spcy spin off recipes, no true Kraft cheddar.

          • Should be confirmed – coconut butter = mashed coconut meat, coconut oil = the oil from coconut. If you have both, then:
            – replace sunflower seed with coconut butter
            – replace brown rice syrup with 1 cup pitted dates blended with 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
            I do have a recipe for gluten-free and dairy-free Kraft cheddar sauce: http://www.healthfulpursuit.com/recipage/?recipe_id=6005791

            • Thanks!
              In regard to the Kraft cheddar mac n’ cheese, can I leave out the egg? I am allergic to eggs.

            • Yeah!!! Are there any special instructions for making the cheese sauce without the eggs? Also, can I just make the cheese sauce in a vitamix, or must I heat it on the stoe top (itamix gets things pretty warm)! I am sooooo excited to “recreate” childhood memories and top my Kraft mac n’ cheese with salt and pepper. Ah, the careless days of childhood….yes fluorsecent yellow processed junk can taste good…but now we can continue to indulge in the healthy yellow that makes us shine!

            • No special instructions, just remove it from the recipe. It was only in there to hold the noodles together and isn’t need at all. It’ll still be great without! Enjoy :)

            • Would the dates be not as sweet? I just made these and they have yet to harden to cut. But in tasting them, it seems on the sweet side. But I think they will be a hit. I like the healthier ingredients. Also, how do you ensure the ground flax seed is mixed well enough with the cereal. I ended up with flax seed at the bottom of the bow. Will know tomorrow how they turn out.

            • Hi Pam – I’m sure the dates would be just as sweet as rice syrup tends to be on the less-sweet side of the spectrum. I had a bit of flax at the bottom of my bowl too, so I just kept stirring to incorporate. Would love to know how they go once you cut them up!

      • Oh my gosh… I TOTALLY forgot about dunkaroos. I was absolutely obsessed with them as a kid. Okay, on it!

    15. Can I just say I love you and your recipes. There hasn’t been one that I have tried that I didn’t fall in love with. So I just tried the rice crispy treat. Once again I love them. I posted a picture on my fb and said how they were gluten free nut free and all that good stuff and my friend dubbed them freedom bars. I loved the name because that’s what I feel about them. I don’t need all the garbage in my food so around my house they are now called freedom bars.

      • Thank you, Nicole! I love the name! I’ll have to use that on my next allergen-free bar. I’m so happy you like my blog, and my recipes. Hope you’re having a great day :)

    16. This is an awesome recipe! Love the flavor :) but mine came out not so crispy… any advice??

      • That’s weird… did you place the squares in the fridge to harden up? What type of rice crisp did you use? Or was it puffed rice?

    17. Leanne,
      I intend to make these tonight for an office party tomorrow. I’m toying with the idea of subbing another nut butter for the Sunbutter, but I was wondering, what kind of results do you think I’d get if I used coconut butter instead?

      • Oh hmm… that’s a good question. I find people either love or hate coconut. When I make treats for office functions and such I usually steer clear of the coconut. If you’re looking for that same rice crispy texture, coconut butter may be a bit to hard at room temperature to work as well as say, something like cashew butter, almond butter, etc. I’m sure it will work (and probably look good, too!), just not 100% certain it will stay relatively eatable at room temp. Hope that helps, and enjoy the party!

        • In that case, I’m glad I asked. I don’t want anyone complaining about texture, so I think I’ll stick to your original recipe. Thanks!

    18. I have a list of allergies, (gluten, corn, dairy, nuts and querying eggs) so your rice crispy recipe looks great. I am curious do the squares keep their shape out of the fridge ? I haven’t checked yet, but is sunflower butter a dairy butter or is it in name only, the butter part ? Carry on experimenting with recipes as you help the likes of me who gets frustrated when I attempt a recipe that fails, it is extremely helpful that your creations seem to really cooperate. Thanks from the mouse.

    19. I made these today and love them! Thank you for this simple recipe. I’m already thinking up all kinds of fun variations, like with some cocoa powder and almond extract, or cinnamon, or finely chopped nuts. Perfect lunchbox treat!

      • I’ve had a bunch of people recommend I put cacao powder in my next batch, will definitely be doing that! Glad you enjoyed them, Jess :)

    20. Sort of made these today using one of the suggestions to add cocoa powder. I had agave nectar and usweetened natural almond butter so I used those. Added in about 3/4 cup of cocoa (GF), upped the vanilla to 2 tsp and added 1/2 tsp salt. After cooking on the stove until all was melted and incorporated (8 min) I found out that before adding to the crisps, I had made FUDGE!!! Yay…being gluten, casien, soy, refined sugar, corn free as well as vegetarian I thought I would never have fudge again. Added into the crisps it was delicious too! Thanks for the inspiration.

      • Fudge discovery AND chocolate rice crispy squares? You’re having a heck of a good day!

      • I’m sure any of those would work if the ratio was right however I haven’t tried it. Good luck!

    21. Hi, thanks for posting this wonderful recipe. Cannot wait to try it :D

      Just wondering, do you think using almond butter instead of sunflower butter would be an okay replacement?

      • Hi Carissa – yes, I’ve made them with almond butter (smooth) and it’s worked perfectly! Enjoy :)

    22. I made these today and LOVED them. The kids (previously averse to sunbutter) gobbled them up and loved every bite! My only problem was that they crumbled apart as I tried to cut them out of the pan. Do you think I didn’t press them down firm enough? more sunbutter perhaps? I’d love to be able to send these to school and not worry about a big mess so any tips would be wonderful! Thanks for the awesome recipe!!

      • Hi Stephanie, glad you liked the recipe! Sounds like either you didn’t cool them in the fridge long enough, or perhaps you used a different sweetener?

        • ah, yes, thank you. I used Maple Syrup instead of the rice syrup – that’s where I went wrong!

          • No worries. Maple syrup is much different than brown rice syrup so I have no doubt that’s what caused the crisps to not want to hold together. You could try honey instead of the brown rice syrup, just make sure you heat it up as the recipe outlines before adding it to the crisps. I’ve never tried it, but it should yield a better result than with maple syrup. Good luck!

    23. Looks like a great recipe, thanks for sharing it.

      Many have mentioned almond butter, I just wanted to be sure that peanut butter would work?

      Also, I would prefer not to use the brown rice syrup. I saw your pureed dates solution. Would that work without the coconut oil or could I substitute something for that?

      Thanks for your help!

      • I’m sure any type of nut butter would work although I’m allergic to peanuts so I’ve never had a chance to cook/bake with peanut butter. I haven’t tested out the dates, so I’m not sure. Coconut oil will get everything harder, especially if you’re using dates. Although all of this is just ideas, I haven’t tested any of it so I could be way off! If you’d like, honey or agave, or maple syrup would work as a replacement for the brown rice syrup.

    24. Help!! I can’t find crispy rice anywhere! Tried Whole Foods/Sprouts/TJS/ other natural markets nearby and no luck..
      Suggestions?

      • That’s really strange. It can be under a bunch of different names, they’re just gluten-free rice crispies. Kelloggs has a gluten-free brand now. It’s not AS clean as the natural stuff, but also an option. Good luck!

    25. Thanks! Found BRC today at WalMart of all places! Just had first bite…how can these taste so naughty but be so good?
      Seriously obsessed!
      Thanks for deliciousness + extra barre class tomorrow
      Amanda

    26. Made a version of these, I didn’t measure because I half thought you were being a tad wild! No, turns out all mine are so insanely different sizes! So I find myself deciding how much I want and consider it varied portion control depending on the size of my sweet tooth.. Thanks for the recipe Leanne!

      • haha I know, sounds a bit crazy to measure but the pan is so big that you do end up with crazy sizes, eh? Oh well!

      • I’m not too sure. Agave nectar isn’t as sticky as brown rice syrup so I would recommend heating it for longer. Using pumpkin seed butter may result in green rice crispy treats… if you’re okay with that! Enjoy :)

    27. Just made this! it is cooling now. I did use brown rice syrup and sunflower seed butter this time, however these products are fairly expensive and in the future i may substitute more affordable products instead.
      I also added pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, dairy free chocolate chips, cinnamon, chia seeds, a bit of coconut oil and shredded coconut. For the top i melted some sunflower seeds butter and some of the dairy free chocolate chips and then drizzled it all over the top. We will see how it tastes! Thanks for the recipe idea! :)

      • Great to hear you’ve been inspired to put your own touches on it. Hope you enjoyed them!

    28. Hello Leanne,
      Do you think that the flax seed could be replaced with chia seeds? By the way, I just love your blog. It’s beautiful, inspiring and helpful!

      • Hi Sissi – I chose flax instead of chia because chia gets really gummy, you know what I mean? If you were to replace it, I’d use whole chia instead of ground or maybe half of what the recipe calls for in ground flax you could use ground chia. Just concerned that it may turn into a really hard rock with chia. If you give it a try, I’d love to know how it turns out!

    29. Could I substitute 1/2 cup molasses for the 1 cup of brown rice syrup? or would this not have an equal result?

      • Hmm I’m sure you could use molasses in this, I’m just not sure how it would taste. You may want to add extra spices and such to balance the flavors. 1/2 cup may not be enough, but it’s much stickier to you may be okay. I haven’t tested this, but if you give it a try, I’d love to know how it works!

    30. Made these for 40 6-9 year olds, and they LOVED them. We all know that kids have no filter and do not lie about what they like. Super excited to have a treat that ALL the kids in class could eat!

      • Wow, awesome! Thanks for sharing that with me, Dierdre. You’re right, kids don’t lie when it comes to food. Ever! So great that they liked the healthy version. Mission accomplished :)

    31. I dn’t have sunflower seed butter on hand. But I have a bag of almonds and a bag of peanuts. I can easily make a butter, would either be a taste-worthy substitute.

      Thanks.

    32. Hi Leanne,

      I finally got around to buying my crispy rice and I am excited about making this. I was wondering if you have tried to freeze these and if it was successful.

      Thanks for all you do!!!

    33. Some of my fav childhood treats were, chocolate/peanut butter no bake cookies (you know… the ones with oatmeal?), rice crispy treats, and kraft mac’n cheese and those vanilla waffer crisp cookies. The ones that are the waffer crisp on the top and bottom and kind of like a frosting filling in the middle. Oh man, I could probably go on an on, remembering all the yummy processed foods from childhood. I follow the Paleo diet now. I have struggled to find a really good Chocolate Chip cookie recipe and a sub for Mac’n cheese. I love your blog too. Thanks for doing what you do! This recipe looks delicious. Being Paleo, it is hard to find subs for cereal/oats. I could probably make a nut version of this and maybe roll it into balls for a special treat.

    34. Made these with a mix of puffed kamut and puffed brown rice, subbed maple syrup and honey for the brown rice syrup (which I heated in the microwave rather than dirtying a pot!) and they are SUBLIME.
      Have to store them in the freezer, though, to keep them from getting too soft (perhaps I didn’t cook the mixture for long enough?).
      So glad to have vegan Rice Krispie squares!! I love you, Leanne!

      • Hi Jo-Anne – I’m so very happy that you like them! The reason that they’re not sticking together is because you didn’t cook the mixture long enough, you got it. You mentioned that you microwaved the rice syrup which would heat it up, but not begin to crystallize the sugars. So there’s your little issue… at least they taste fantastic!

    35. Hey Leanne,
      My husband LOVES rice crispy squares and I quite making them when I found out I couldn’t have gluten or corn….are these brown rice crisps free of both? If so what is the name brand? I will make it my mission to find them this weekend! haha
      Thanks!

      • I picked up some Erewhon crispy brown rice today and it is certified gluten free and only has brown rice, brown rice syrup and salt in it.

    36. Oh gosh, I used to LOVE these things! Then I gave up animal products and kaput.

      I don’t have brown rice syrup, and I don’t have unsweetened sunflower seed butter. Can I substitute light corn syrup and regular peanut butter? I want to make them now and I have the latter ingredients.

      Thanks!

      • I’m sure those substitutions would work perfectly, Lyla! Enjoy your treat :)

    37. Hi,

      This recipe looks great!

      Do you think that ground chia seeds would substitute well for the flax?

        • I used chia and they came out great!

          Next time I’m going to try almond butter and cinnamon.

          Very excited to find a treat I can actually eat. Am off wheat, dairy, cane sugar, and a whole whack of other stuff.

    38. I’ve been on an elimination diet for 6 days and was missing sweetness and texture. Seriously, your recipe has been a life saver. It is delicious and completely fulfills the craving with things I can have to eat. Thank you for sharing!!

      • That’s so awesome, Becca! I’m happy that you treat yourself to a recipe that you can enjoy fully!! Happy that you found me :)

    39. Hi–just came across this recipe and looks delish! Just out of curiosity, why do you specify crispy rice vs. puffed? I have a box of puffed wheat cereal that I would like to use in a no-bake recipe with my daughter, and this looks perfect. Would it work? Thanks!

      • Hi Jen – many people have told me that the puffed rice doesn’t work for this recipe. I haven’t tried it personally though. Sorry!

    40. Hi Leanne,
      What purpose does the ground flax seed serve here? Does it add crunch, or chewiness, or health benefits? Could it be omitted? Substituted with ground crisp rice cereal?
      If it’s just for health benefits, I’d like to try omitting it: I want a 4-ingredient version!
      In fact, could these be made without the nut/seed butter as well?
      I’d like something as close to the original as possible.
      Thanks,
      Laura

      • Hi Laura! The flax is just there for health, you can omit if you like. I wouldn’t recommend removing the nut/seed butter. I’ve been told a bunch of times that this recipe is as close to the real thing as people have experienced in years…. so I hope that you feel the same!

    41. Oh my gosh, I finally made these yesterday and they are really amazing. I made only some tiny changes and used them as the base of some bars that I’m planning to post on my blog soon. I will be sure to link back here for the recipe, it’s absolutely fantastic. Thank you for all of the amazing food that you share!

    42. How interesting that you didn’t even use marshmallows! I’m gonna make these tonight for a birthday gift for a marshmallow treat loving friend. Celeste :)

    43. HI,
      Can you tell me where you bought the large bag of crispy rice cereal in the picture?

      thanks!

      Tierny

    44. This looks great! One problem: my son is allergic to sunflower, nuts, dairy, and soy… any other substitute for sunbutter or peanut butter? I want to use a recipe with less sugar, but how do I get it to stick together?

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