How to Make Healthy Vegan Rice Krispie Treats

Rice Krispie Treats.  A childhood favorite since they were created, a classic.  They are fun, easy to make, and delicious.  But, they are not the most healthy treat.  Even vegan versions are packed with margarine and marshmallows, which equates to quite a lot of sugar and fat.

A healthier version of Rice Krispie Treats! Nicer Krispie Squares by Dreena Burton - vegan, soy-free, gluten-free

In eat, drink & be vegan, I created two versions of vegan rice krispie squares.  The first version was a more ‘traditional’ recipe, using vegan marshmallows.  I named them Nice Krispie Squares.  They veganized that classic recipe, but I wanted something more – a healthier version, made with less processed ingredients.  So, on the very next page of ed&bv you will find… “Nicer” Krispie Squares!

In this newest “Dreena & Daughters” video, I show you how to make these Nicer Krispie Squares – and how replace the marshmallows and margarine with more healthy – plant powered! – ingredients.  Have a watch, see how it is done.  (It’s easy-pleasy, folks!)

“Nicer” Krispie Squares gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free Link to print/share.

This recipe mimics the flavors and textures of Rice Krispie Treats using more natural ingredients.  These squares taste phenomenal, with the buttery richness of the macadamia nut butter and the sweetness of brown rice syrup.

1⁄2 cup macadamia nut butter (I use “Nuts To You” brand)

1⁄2 cup brown rice syrup

3 tbsp unrefined sugar (can reduce or omit, to taste)

1⁄4 tsp sea salt

1⁄4 tsp agar powder

1 – 1 1⁄2 tsp pure vanilla extract

4 cups natural brown rice crisp cereal

Line an 8×8-in (20×20-cm) pan with parchment paper. In a large saucepan on low-medium heat, combine macadamia butter, syrup, sugar, salt, agar powder, and vanilla. Stir continually as mixture heats until agar powder is fully dissolved (reduce heat if mixture starts bubbling). Remove from heat and stir in cereal, making sure to fully incorporate with nut butter mixture. Transfer mixture to pan and press in evenly (use an edge of parchment paper to press without sticking). Refrigerate to cool completely, then cut into squares. Makes 16 squares.


While we are on the topic of treats, please have a look at this new ebook from Lisa Pitman.  Lisa is one of the dearest souls I have ever met, and she has teamed up with Nicole Axworthy for this project.  Not only does this ebook deliver a collection of whole-foods vegan desserts, one-third of all their ebook proceeds are being donated to the Elephant Nature Park in Northern Thailand.  Link through to read more, and pick up a copy! I have, and I am telling you, it is one of the most GORGEOUS and creative set of recipes I have ever seen. Please support this lovely, compassionate duo and effort.

Enjoy the Nicer Krispie Squares, and tell me… what is your favorite healthy cookie recipe to make for your kiddos – (or for you!)?

39 Responses to How to Make Healthy Vegan Rice Krispie Treats

  1. Meg says:

    Hi Dreena! I was wondering if it is okay to use pumpkin or pumpkin spice in this recipe at all? Thanks!

    • Dreena says:

      Hi Meg,

      You can add pumpkin spice for sure, would add a lovely flavor twist. I wouldn’t add pureed pumpkin, it will add too much moisture to the mix.

  2. Roxanne says:

    Hi! I only managed to find AgarAgar flakes at my foodstore. If i process it in the food processor to have a powder would that work the same? :)

    • Dreena says:

      Hi Roxanne, yes, if you grind it in a blender, coffee/spice grinder or otherwise until very powdery – will work fine!

  3. can i use mashed up banana instead of the sugar?

    • Dreena says:

      Nicholas, you can omit the granulated sugar, I have, and they are still nicely sweet with the brown rice syrup. Using mashed banana will change the texture, you’ll have a different result altogether.

  4. Kim O says:

    should these stay chilled until serving? I just made a batch and will bring them to a party tomorrow. Just wondering where to keep them overnight. I sprinkled crushed candy cane on top for a little holiday pizazz

    • Dreena says:

      Hi Kim, yes, I keep them refrigerated. The texture is best, plus it helps keep them fresher. Love the idea of the candy canes on top!! Have a great party!

  5. Wow Dreena these look so great. Beautiful photos! Need to learn how to take better food photos. Every time I see yummy ones like yours I’m reminded I need to get on that! :)

    I’m totally making these. Love that you don’t need to rely on vegan marshmallows which are not so readily available, even in the big city.

    Wondering how Brazil nuts would be or peanuts. Hmmm.

    Thanks so much for this recipe! :)
    Sharon @BigCityVegan recently posted..Vegan Pennsylvania Dutch Corn Noodle RecipeMy Profile

    • Dreena says:

      Aw, thanks Sharon! I don’t think I’m a terribly skilled photographer, so I appreciate that compliment! Hope you try them – and love ‘em! :D xx

  6. dee says:

    JUST made these! Wow! Delicious and easy and fast! Can’t wait ’til they’re fully cooled…although I did tell the hubbie that there would be some when he gets home…

  7. James says:

    I made this last week. I had a bit of a problem. I made a double batch and they became too hard. I had to use cashew butter instead of macadamia butter, but I don’t think that was the problem. Could it have been to much cereal?

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  9. These look superb! I want to make these for my sister, she used to love these as a child. What happens if I omit the agar powder?
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  10. Mike says:

    WOW this is fantastic thank you!

    Would it be possible in the future to pull the video camera back a little bit so we can see what you are doing with the food?


  11. Heather says:

    We use a similar recipe from Your Vegan Mom. We have 7 people in our family so we do a 9 x 13. We use peanut butter and corn syrup. They have that mouthfeel and my kids prefer them to the marshmallow ones they use to eat. We sometimes add chocolate chips.

  12. Mattheworbit says:

    This was one of the first desserts I made for James’ family.. What a nightmare – he had gone vegan, his sister had given up sugar, and his dad had given up chocolate. His mum is already wheat-free. I think I ended up using “fructose” (still technically a sugar, I know!) in place of the sugar. Was a real palaver. They loved ‘em. And rightfully so.

  13. Sarah says:

    Hi Dreena,

    Is there a substitute that can be used for the brown rice syrup? I cannot seem to find brown rice syrup anywhere? Wondering if agave syrup or maple syrup would work?

    • Dreena says:

      Sarah, can you purchase barley malt? It isn’t gf, but is thick like brown rice syrup. Agave and maple syrup are both much thinner in texture. The other option I might suggest is coconut nectar, it’s closer in texture (but I haven’t tested it myself with it). Sometimes stores will bring it in if you ask – worth a try! :)

  14. Patrick says:

    Thank you very much for the awesome recipe, I can’t wait to try it out!


  15. Johanna says:

    Ive made these many times. They are delicious. Thanks for reminding me to make them again.

  16. Even as an adult I still love rice krispie treats…good to know you’ve given them a healthier makeover :)

  17. Rice krispies are one of my absolute favorite treats on earth. This is a must try and it seems very easy! Thanks for sharing :)

  18. Jay says:

    Delicious Dreena! Will have to try these with the Macadamia!

    I’ve got something in the same line, rice crispies are in it:

    • Dreena says:

      oh WOW, those look dynamite Jay. Definitely a hit of decadence to those – a must try! Thanks for sharing – and really nice job on the video segment! :)

  19. Ozlem says:

    Hey Dreena- I have the book at home so I can check but just curious can you use another nut butter as in alond or even peanut? Let me know what you think. Thanks!

    • Dreena says:

      Ozlem, certainly you can – the flavor won’t mimic the marhsmallow flavor using something other than mac butter (or raw cashew)… but, they will still be a tasty, nutty/krispie treat. So, give it a whirl!

  20. Nicole says:

    Thank you for the ebook shout-out, Dreena! Lisa and I are so grateful for the support.

    I can’t wait to make your Nicer Krispie Squares. I am a big fan of agar :)

  21. You are right that Lisa is a dear soul! I also bought their ebook and love it. Thanks for the tip to use agar for these Krispy bars!

    • Dreena says:

      Sarina, I adore Lisa! Probably a good thing we don’t live nearby, I might smother her. ;) Hope you find the agar useful – thanks!!

  22. Dreena–more videos! You’re a natural in front of camera (& so beautiful!).

    Love, love this recipe. Making it TONIGHT w/ my kids.

    (I made your almond toffee cookies from LTEV the other night & ate 1/2 the cookie dough before I even baked the cookies, they were so good.)

    I don’t know if I have a favorite cookie–I like ‘em all!

    • Dreena says:

      So hard to choose a favorite, I fully agree Janae! Never a bad thing to eat cookie batter – as long as it’s vegan. ;) Thank you, super sweet of you to say, btw. xoxo

  23. Lynn says:

    Oooooh, I LOVE this recipe! You’re right, they’re delicious with macadamia OR cashew butter! I’ve tried almond butter but it doesn’t do them justice. I like to top ‘em with melted chocolate chips. Mmmmmm….if I had Crispy Rice in the cupboard I’d be tempted to make them right now! :p

    • Dreena says:

      Lynn, why haven’t *I* topped them with melted chocolate?!! On ‘to-do’ list. :) And, yes, almond butter doesn’t measure up to mac or cashew butter for these particular cookies… good, but not great!

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