A Healthy Twist On An Old Favorite: The Rice Krispie Treat

March 14, 2012   21 Comments

It is fun to try to make notoriously bad food into something healthier. The Rice Krispie Treat is just lookin' for a makeover.

Healthy Bake Sale Treat

First, your eyebrows need to be plucked, your hair needs coloring, and those clothes! What are you thinking?? (wait, that's not a rice krispie treat - that's me!)

Usually made with Kellogg's Rice Krispies, marshmallows, and butter - these are crunchy, salty, and a kid favorite. Have you seen the size of the ones at your local cafe? They are as big as my five year old's head!

What I did was add some nuts and berries to make them a wee bit healthier. They also ended up tasting better (which was a bonus).

You don't have to use the famous "Kellogg's Rice Krispies" to make the treats. If you are lucky enough to live near a Whole Foods or natural foods store, they have something called "Brown Rice Puffs" which are the same thing except that they contain the entire rice grain.

These would work for this recipe and give it more nutrients. You can use any PUFFY cereal, really, that you like - wheat puffs, Cheerios, anything you have in your cupboard.

Now, I used marshmallows, which are not exactly the healthiest ingredient. I TRIED honey and it just didn't work.

As I ate them, I kept missing the marshmallows and I couldn't give them up. I have seen marshmallows without Blue #1 at Whole Foods (but I didn't buy them because I am cheap).

I did exchange the butter for coconut oil (in the natural foods section of the supermarket) because it has been getting some good press lately. It seems that the saturated fat in coconut oil is actually good for you! It is called "lauric acid" and unlike saturated animal fats it has been found to increase good cholesterol.

Go figure.

So, I used coconut oil which also imparts a sweetness. If you can't find it, don't be too upset. Just go ahead and use butter.

Finally, I added good stuff - dried cranberries, chopped almonds, and dark chocolate chips and this tray of "Crispy Rice Treats" lasted all of 10 minutes in my house.

These are super fun to make, fast, and very satisfying. My daughter (with a little help) can make them for an afternoon snack and they taste SO much better than any packaged cookie or bar.

My Crispy Rice Treats are defined as TREATS, so make sure you freeze some or share them with a crowd.

Another idea is to bring these to the bake sales at your school or church (or anywhere else you are supporting a non-profit). You will get lots of compliments on your revamp!

How have you altered your Rice Krispie Treat recipe?


Crispy Rice Treat Recipe

1.6 from 21 reviews

(makes 12)
2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
2 cups miniature marshmallows or 20 large marshmallows
2 1/2 cups crispy rice or other healthy cereal
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/2 chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts, etc.)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Spray non-stick spray on 8x8 inch square pan (or equivalent). Melt coconut oil in large saucepan over low heat and add marshmallows. Stir CONSTANTLY until melted and mix in cereal and whatever else you choose to add in. Press into prepared pan. Cool for 10 minutes and cut into squares.

For one treat: 128 calories, 5.6 g fat, 17.4 g carbohydrates, 1.7 g protein, 0.7 g fiber, 57 mg sodium, 3 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 21 )

I have a recipe that uses corn syrup and peanut butter instead of marshmallows and butter. Is corn syrup any healthier than the marshmallows?

Yum! What a great snack, almost like a granola bar! Love it!!

@Colleen - they are both sources of refined sugar. I have tried honey and it was just strange - but some people like it. Thanks for your question!

You can buy sugar free marshmallow creme that allegedly works well for rice Krispie treats (I've seen it on amazon) or I've seen people make their own marshmallows using xylitol.

Never thought of doing this. I think it's because if I have a whole pan of them, it means I'll eat a whole pan. I'll make it for a party!

Check out Dandies, which are vegetarian (gelatin free and artificial color free) marshmallows. Totally worth the splurge - I've used them to make krispie treats and couldn't tell the difference! They have them at Whole Foods and a lot of other health food stores too.

I love this post! I heartily believe that eating right doesn't mean you have to completely give up your favorite foods. Instead, my philosophy has always been to either have them in moderation, or to make substitutions to make them healthier. Great example of doing such -- thanks for this!

Post has a coco krispie that is GF. I use flavored marshmallow (chocolate, of course) some dark chocolate chucks and dark tart cherries! To die for, I promise!

I've made a few veganized versions of these using corn syrup or vegan marshmallows (like dandies) and they came out pretty tasty. Unfortunately, I have no way of turning them into something like a trail mix cookie, so we just have to enjoy them as the very, very rare treat. I finally found out how to make them chocolate flavored and we could not stop eating them. Yet another reason we just can NOT have rice krispie treats in this house! :)

I buy a Fiber One chewy bar snack that I absolutely love! It has chocolate on top and mini chocolate chips in it along with a puffed wheat grain. I just realized that they are very similar to rice crispy treats which might be why I like them so much. I was actually going to ask you, @SnackGirl, if you had a way of coming up with a 'better for you' version of these. I think this rice crispy treat might just be the answer though. This is a link to the bar I love...

I love the makeover!!! What's the shelf life if you don't freeze them?

I made these with brown rice puffs, PB, and honey, plus some dried fruit. The honey made them super sweet, but I actually preferred those to regular Krispy treats, probably because of the PB. The coconut oil is a good idea, might try a combo with PB next time?

@Minerva - I didn't test shelf life because they were consumed in minutes. I would think if you wrapped them well - they would last two days - and if you put them in the fridge maybe three? Thanks for your question!

Trader Joe's has Organic Virgin Coconut Oil in 16oz jars for $5.99. Some Wal-Marts carry it as well and you can order it from Amazon. Be sure you are getting organic, virgin, cold pressed and NO hydrogenated anything. THAT is the bad kind of coconut oil. Coconut oil is also a wonderful moisturizer for skin (it has some antibacterial properties as well) ... and as a deep conditioner for hair! Great stuff!

I found this recipe in Glamour mag:
1/2 cup dried cherries (chopped)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup almond butter
2 cups crisped brown rice cereal
2 dark chocolate bars
vegetable oil

heat maple syrup and salt over low heat until liquified. Add almond butter and cook, stirring until well combined and heated through, but not boiling. Pour cereal into a large bowl stir almond butter mixture and chopped cherries into cereal until well coated. Press into a lightly oiled 8X8 pan. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes. Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler. Cut bars into squares and drizzle chocolate over bars. Return to fridge for at least one hour to set.

Instead of using Rice Krispies, I have substituted Kashi Go Lean. While it is more expensive the benefits are amazing and they taste so good. I also added dried cranberries and almonds. Although the almonds tip the scale for points on WW. My grandkids actually like them better. With 13 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protien per serving it is truly a healthier snak

These look delicious - I love it that they are guilt free! I'd definitely add some peanut butter chips to mine :)

I also use Kashi Go Lean or Trader Joes High Fiber O's instead of Rice Krispies. Tastes just as good and has more fiber.

You can also melt the butter and marshmallows in the microwave. A lazy alternative, but it makes it go faster than on the stove. (I kind of don't want to post this on this site, but I make mine with Fruity Pebbles. I guess if you mixed in just a few Fruity Pebbles it would be ok? They are delish.)

What would be the PointsPlus if I omitted the raisins and nuts? Do you think this would still make a yummy bar? My husband doesn't like raisins or nuts.

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