Do you love rice krispie treats but need a gluten-free and dairy-free option? This rice krispie treat recipe is perfect for a gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan diet, and uses gluten-free crispy rice cereal, dairy-free and vegan butter, and allergy-friendly marshmallows.
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Are you a big fan of rice krispie treats like I am? I have lots of memories of enjoying them as a kid, but as I got older they kind of fell off my radar. Every once in a while, I’d remember them and if I saw them in the store, would look longingly at them, knowing they had dairy in them.
I didn’t eat rice krispie treats for years and when I did, I found healthy versions with brown rice syrup and coconut oil. If I’m being honest, those were great too, but they didn’t really taste exactly like the real thing. And if I’m craving comfort food from my childhood, it should taste as close to the real thing as possible.
In the past couple of months, rice krispies made it back onto my radar, and I realized that my son had never had them before! For some reason, that seemed like something that had to be remedied ASAP. So I started doing some research as to how to make rice krispie treats at home so that they were dairy-free.
Along that path of looking into making dairy-free rice krispie treats, I actually learned that rice krispie treats not only contain dairy, but they also contain gluten. What?! I know.
I even wrote a blog post about whether or not rice krispies are gluten-free, because I figured if I had no idea that this was the case, then maybe you didn’t know either.
No, they’re not. Bummer, right? You’d think that if rice is the main ingredient, then how could wheat or gluten sneak in there? But the hidden gluten ingredient in rice krispies is “malt flavoring.” This ingredient is pretty common across the standard brands of rice krispies you can find (and many generic brands too).
Not to worry though, I rounded up a list of gluten-free rice krispies that are safe to use in your own homemade gluten-free rice krispie treats.
After seeking out my gluten-free rice krispies, I then was looking to find out if marshmallows are gluten-free and dairy-free.
Again, I had to do some research into this question to find out if marshmallows are safe for a gluten-free or dairy-free diet, and I found that almost all brands consistently don’t have dairy – hurray!
Many brands of marshmallows do contain hidden gluten. I know, bummer again. The good news is that there are a number of brands that are allergy-friendly, meaning they definitely don’t contain gluten and have statements from the companies that produce them that they are in fact gluten-free.
The one brand that contains no gluten ingredients, but doesn’t have a gluten-free statement is Kraft Jet-puffed marshmallows. This is my go-to brand, because they’re easy to find at almost any grocery store and I’ve never had a reaction to them. Always do your due diligence with any food that’s not labeled gluten-free. If you’re extremely sensitive, you may want to stick with those that are labeled as gluten-free.
Finally, after I found the rice krispies and marshmallows I needed, I knew I had to make one more swap in the recipe for these easy treats.
Read on: Do marshmallows have dairy?
Are rice crispy treats gluten-free? Are Rice Krispie treats gluten-free?
If Rice Krispie treats are made using Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, they contain gluten. Kellogg’s Rice Krispies contain malt flavoring, which is a hidden name for gluten and should be avoided on a gluten-free diet.
If you’re following a gluten-free diet, you will want to avoid eating Rice Krispie treats brand name products.
That doesn’t mean you have to avoid these treats altogether though! You can make your own at home or find a gluten-free option from the store (yes, they do exist!).
Read on: Are rice crispy treats gluten-free?
Read on: 101 Gluten-free Dairy-free Snacks
How to make gluten-free rice krispie treats dairy-free
To make your gluten-free rice krispie treats dairy-free, you’ll want to use vegan butter in place of a normal butter that you’d find in other traditional rice krispie treats recipes.
If you don’t like vegan butter or are having a hard time finding it, you can swap this out for coconut oil, but know that the texture will be much oily in the end result.
How to make gluten-free rice krispie treats step-by-step
With all the ingredients I needed, here’s how I brought my gluten-free rice krispie treats together.
Step 1. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
To get started, prepare a 13-inch by 9-inch glass baking dish by spraying it with cooking spray. This will make removing the rice krispie treats much easier later.
Step 2. Melt vegan butter.
In a large pan over medium heat, add the vegan butter. Melt it entirely in this pan.
Step 3. Make the marshmallow mixture.
In the large pan with melted vegan butter, add the marshmallows. Stir the marshmallows into the vegan butter until they have melted and become gooey, and combined entirely with the butter. Just keep stirring until it forms one unified mixture. Remove the pan from the heat, then add the vanilla extract.
Step 4. Add the gluten-free rice krispies to the mixture.
In your warm pan with the marshmallow mixture, stir in the gluten-free rice krispies. This might take a little muscle to get everything incorporated, but you’re looking to coat the cereal entirely in the marshmallow mixture.
Step 5. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
Once the cereal is combined well with the marshmallow mixture, transfer to the prepared baking dish that you sprayed with cooking spray earlier. You’ll want to spread everything into a nice even layer and press the mixture into the pan.
I like to use a plastic sandwich bag over my hand to do this without getting super messy. You could also use a plastic food safe glove if you have one on hand.
Step 6. Cover and sit for one hour.
Cover the rice krispie treats with plastic wrap (foil or a lid for your baking dish works just as well). Allow the rice krispie treats to sit for at least an hour at room temperature. Before cutting, you want the rice krispie treats to have formed a solid layer and not be warm from the cooking earlier. If you want to speed this process up so you have your rice krispie treats done before the hour, you can put the dish in the refrigerator for about 15 to 30 minutes.
Step 7. Cut into squares and serve.
After your gluten-free rice krispie treats have set, you can cut them into squares. I like to make 12 squares, but you can easily make more or less servings depending on who you’re serving and how hungry they are.
If you’re looking for super clean edges on your rice krispie treats, you can put the pan of rice krispie treats in the freezer for about 5 to 10 minutes before slicing (just don’t forget about them!).
- Spray cooking spray inside a 13-inch by 9-inch glass baking dish.
- Melt vegan butter over low heat in a large pan.
- Add the marshmallows to the pan and stir until the marshmallows have melted. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the vanilla extract.
- Stir in crisped rice cereal and coat the cereal with the marshmallow mixture.
- Transfer the rice krispy mixture to the glass baking dish and spread it into a flat layer. I like to use a plastic sandwich bag over my hand to press the mixture down into the pan.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow it to sit at room temperature for about an hour, or until set.
- Cut into 12 squares, then serve. If you want super clean edges on your rice krispy treats, you can put the pan in the freezer for about 5 to 10 minutes before slicing (just don't forget about them!).
For clean lines on your rice krispie treats, put the baking dish in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into squares.
I hope that if you’ve been looking for an easy gluten-free rice krispie treat recipe with minimal ingredients and loads of that just-like-childhood taste, that this recipe serves you well. Enjoy these treats for your kids’ next bake sale, holiday, birthday party, or any old weeknight if you wish!
If you love this post, you might also like some of my other gluten-free dairy-free recipes.