Sometimes the best kind of treats are the ones you haven’t made in FOREVER. That includes the very famous rice krispie treats that were always in lunch boxes and at your aunt’s house during family birthday parties.
Man, I loved those sweet little marshmallow pull apart oozy-gooey sticky bars more than anything. One time I ate so many individual treats out of those bright blue wrappers that I ended up with a stomach ache for two days straight. I also remember eating the rice krispie treat cereal straight from the cereal box. Handfuls upon handfuls, and another stomach ache later, I was sure I was done with rice krispie treats for GOOD.
Years later at a friend’s house, I discovered something known as ‘Special K’ bars. Basically these bars were a combination of butter, peanut butter, butterscotch and Special K cereal in a bar, then and topped with semi sweet chocolate + butterscotch chips. These too, became another favorite treat I could eat without any control. #oops #savage
Now that I’m into full blown adulthood (and a food blogger!) I’ve LOVED bringing you my favorite childhood meals & desserts with healthier, simple twists. It’s a great way to still enjoy your favorite foods but also make more nutritious choices.
So what are these chocolate peanut butter rice krispie treats exactly? A combination of a rice krispie treat and a special k bar. There’s no refined sugar or marshmallows involved and the bars are made with only 6 ingredients (or 7 if you make them with a little protein powder!).
Ingredients in healthy peanut butter rice krispie treats
- Peanut butter: to help keep these healthy rice krispie treats together without using marshmallows. Feel free to use cashew or almond butter as well!
- Virgin coconut oil: virgin, or unrefined coconut oil has a slight coconut flavor that adds a subtle sweetness to these bars and helps the filling stay together. You can also sub melted butter or vegan butter.
- Pure maple syrup: for an all natural sweetness. You can sub honey or brown rice syrup as well.
- Vanilla extract: extra delicious flavor! Not necessary, but always delish.
- Rice Krispies or Brown Rice Krispies:either will work in this recipe. Be sure to check your labels to ensure the brown rice krispies you’re using are certified gluten free.
- OPTIONAL: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides: For a boost of protein, you can add a little collagen (or your favorite protein powder). Read more here about why I love collagen.
- Dark chocolate bar: you can use a fun flavor of choice or a regular dark chocolate. I love Divine, Theo, Hu, Evolved and Alter Eco brands. To make these bars vegan, use a vegan/dairy free dark chocolate.
How to make peanut butter rice krispie treats without marshmallows
- Place a medium pot over low heat and add in peanut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth and well combined, about 1 minute.
- Next add in the protein powder (optional) and crispy brown rice cereal; stir until combined and cereal is completely coated. Pour into prepared pan, and use a spatula to flatten the top so it is even.
- You’ll then make the chocolate topping by adding chocolate to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals, stirring in-between, until chocolate is completely melted. You can also melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over very low heat if you prefer.
- Finally, pour the melted chocolate over the bars and tilt your pan so that they’re evenly coated. Place pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until bars are completely cool and chocolate is melted. Sprinkle bars with fancy sea salt, then cut into 16 bars and enjoy!
Storing homemade rice krispie treats
- In the fridge: Store these bars covered in the fridge for up to 1 week. When you’re ready to eat them, just let them come to room temp for about 5 minutes so that they soften a bit.
- In the freezer: yes, you can freeze this chocolate peanut butter rice krispie treats! Place them in the freezer for up to 2 months in an airtight container. I’d recommend separating the bars with parchment wax paper as well. When you’re ready to eat them, let the bars thaw in the fridge and then bring them to room temp as described above.
Optional swaps in these healthy peanut butter rice krispie treats
- Instead of peanut butter: feel free to use cashew, almond or sunflower butter. You may need to add an extra 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil.
- Instead of coconut oil: you may use butter or vegan butter.
- Instead of maple syrup: feel free to use honey, brown rice syrup or coconut syrup.
To be honest, these are one of my new FAVORITE no bake treats EVER. They’re so easy to make, ready in less than 30 minutes and taste like a combination between a peanut butter cup and a rice krispie treat. I had a few people over after I made these and they were completely gone before the night was over.
P.S. Don’t forget to sprinkle them with a little sea salt for a sweet and salty treat!
See how to make the healthy rice krispie treats:
If you try these peanut butter rice krispie treats, be sure to rate it below and let me know how you liked them. And of course, don’t forget to snap a photo and tag #ambitiouskitchen on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. xo!
Healthy Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats
Healthy Rice Krispie Treats made with peanut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup and brown rice krispies. These vegan and gluten free peanut butter rice krispie treats are topped with dark chocolate and sea salt for an indulgent treat that tastes just like a crunchy peanut butter cup. Options to add a bit of protein powder to make these a great post workout treat!
- For the treats:
- 3/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt (if your peanut butter isn’t already salted)
- Optional: ½ cup Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
- 2 1/2-3 cups crispy brown rice cereal (or rice krispies)*
- For the chocolate topping:
- 3.5 oz 85% dark chocolate bar, broken up into pieces
- To garnish:
- Fancy sea salt, for sprinkling on top
Line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Place a medium pot over low heat and add in peanut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth and well combined, about 1 minute.
Next add in the protein powder (optional) and crispy brown rice cereal; stir until combined and cereal is completely coated. Pour into prepared pan, and use a spatula to flatten the top so it is even.
Next make the chocolate topping by adding chocolate to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals, stirring in-between, until chocolate is completely melted. You can also melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over very low heat if you prefer.
Pour melted chocolate over the bars and tilt your pan to spread out the chocolate evenly.
Place pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until bars are completely cool and chocolate is melted. Sprinkle bars with fancy sea salt, then cut into 16 bars. Enjoy!
Bars should be kept covered in the fridge and will stay good for up to 1 week. Take bars out 5 minutes before you are ready to serve to ensure they aren't too crunchy! They soften up at room temp.
*Note that traditional Rice Krispies cereal is not certified gluten-free, so be sure to check your box and use a brown rice krispies cereal alternative that's gluten free if need be.
Feel free to use cashew, tahini, almond or sunflower butter in place of the peanut butter. You may need to add an extra 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil.
Instead of coconut oil, you may use butter or vegan butter.
Feel free to use honey, brown rice syrup or coconut syrup instead of maple syrup.
Post originally from June 2018, republished March 2020