These healthy rice crispy treats with peanut butter are fuss-free, protein-packed and whipped together in just under 5 minutes. They are made without marshmallows or butter, partially dipped in dark chocolate, then sprinkled with fleur de sel for a surprisingly good finishing touch. Vegan, gluten-free, egg-free. What else is in there? Simply maple syrup and coconut oil, only the best stuff!
We’re talking about a huge classic here folks. I mean, I can’t think of a more comforting, nostalgia triggering and downright awesome childhood dessert.
- Having one (or two!) of these bars for a quick breakfast or as a post-workout snack is very legit!
- They contain 5 grams of protein per bar.
- These are made of only 4 ingredients and only require one pan and 5 minutes of your time.
How to Make Healthy Rice Crispy Treats
Only the ingredients have changed here. The method for the base recipe is still the same: Melt all of the ingredients together in a saucepan (except for the crispy rice cereal), stir in the cereal then press the mixture into a baking dish.
Let sit for a few minutes then cut into squares. Voila! Nothing too fancy here.
Fun Historical Facts
Rice crispy treats were invented in 1939 by Malitta Jensen and Mildred Day. Both were Kellogg employees at the time, working in the Home Economics department.
It is not until 1995, however, that the company decided to commercially produce rice crispy bars of its own. Both plain and chocolate versions were made available back then.
- Friendly to the following diets: Vegan, gluten-free, egg-free.
- A healthier version: The type of cereal used here is made of brown rice flour, instead of white rice. Brown rice flour has a glycemic of 50, which is considerably lower than the whopping 95 for its white counterpart. (3).
- Organic, non-hydrogenated peanut butter. It contains antioxidants, several essential vitamins and minerals, and is chock-full of heart-healthy fats. It will also help you lose weight by keeping you full longer, as it also contains high amounts of fiber and protein (4).
- Maple syrup also has a much smaller glycemic index (65) than its unhealthy industrial counter-part: white sugar (100). It also contains various cancer-fighting antioxidants. (Note that it could be replaced with the same amount of honey with similar health benefits. Just make sure you buy your honey from a reputable brand, as it is one of the most frauded foods on the planet and often contains huge amounts of industrial fructose syrup.)
And what is glycemic index you ask? Well, put simply, it is a metric which measures how rapidly and how high a particular type of carbohydrate will make your blood sugar spike.
The lower, the better for your health.
Some Helpful Advice
These crispy rice cereal bars are pretty simple to make. But here are a few tips that might still make your life easier:
- Use parchment paper. You could always grease your baking pan, but being able to pull the whole thing off the pan, without flipping it over, and cutting it directly on the piece of parchment paper used to line the baking dish will make less of a mess while also making sure that the whole block does not break apart.
- Press hard. You want your rice crispy squares to be dense and hold well together. So spread the whole thing evenly, then apply a good amount of pressure using your hands.
- Store them in the fridge. Don’t leave them on the counter. Keep them cool, in an airtight container for optimal shelf life (5-7 days, I doubt they will last this long though! *wink wink*).
- Protein Powder is optional. If you’d prefer to skip on this ingredient, fine. Simply replace ½ cup whey protein powder with 1 tsp vanilla extract. The amount of protein powder used here is trivial and won’t affect the final recipe if removed. Plant-based protein powder is a whole different story, please refer to recipe notes for this type of protein.
- Chocolate Chips! Add a handful of dark chocolate chips or chunks.
- Chocolate & Mint! Add a tablespoon of cocoa powder and a teaspoon of mint flavoring.
- Granola! 1 Tbsp of each of the following: Raisins, almonds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds.
- Chocolate & Coconut! Add 1 tbsp cocoa powder and 3-4 tbsp shredded coconut
- Get Creative! Got more ideas? Share them in the comments section below!
More Protein Snack Recipes
- Caramel Apple Pie Protein Bars
- Protein Bounty Balls
- Paleo Pumpkin Spice Protein Cookies
- Raspberry & Dark Chocolate Protein Brownies
Healthy Rice Crispy Treats with Peanut Butter
A healthy and protein-packed version of the classic rice crispy treat recipe.
Line a 10X10 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
Mix rice cereal and protein powder together in a large mixing bowl.
Melt peanut butter and maple syrup together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the liquid starts to bubble, then remove from heat. Pour the mixture into the rice cereal mixture and stir well.
Spread the mixture evenly into your lined baking dish then press it hard using your fist, palm or tool of choice.
Allow to cool down for about 30 minutes at room temperature. Remove from baking dish then cut into bars.
Vegan Version: Refrigerate for 3 hours minimum before cutting. This is important as the recipe won't set and crumble.
Optional: Melt dark chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Partially dip every bar into melted dark chocolate, place them on the lined baking sheet and sprinkle with a little fleur de sel.
***Have you made this recipe? Don’t forget to leave a star rating in the comments section below!***
Protein powder is entirely optional. If you'd prefer not to use protein powder, simply add 1 tsp vanilla extract and use 1/3 cup maple syrup instead of 1/2 cup.
Nutrition facts were calculated for the whey version, without added dark chocolate, which is entirely optional for this recipe.
Macros for the vegan version are similar except that there is a little bit more maple syrup per square and 5 grams of protein instead of 6. The good side is that this type of protein contains a lot more nurtients than whey.