Can’t get enough of Rice Krispies treats but trying to stay healthy?
My healthy chocolate and peanut butter rice krispie squares are just what you need.
They’re mouth-wateringly delicious and are made without marshmallows or refined sugars, making them a guilt-free indulgence.
And they’re super easy to make. There’s no baking involved, and you only need a few everyday ingredients.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Rice Krispies (puffed rice cereal): The light and crispy base for our treats… you can use regular or brown rice Krispies, and any brand will do. You can also substitute gluten-free rice krispies.
- Natural peanut butter: A wholesome and rich source of protein that adds a lovely creaminess to the rice krispies and helps hold everything together. You can swap this with any nut butter you want, such as almond, or cashew butter. Or use sunflower butter if you have a nut allergy.
- Rice malt syrup: A healthy, natural sweetener that replaces the sweetness of marshmallows, and gives the treats their signature stickiness. You can substitute this with honey, agave syrup, or maple syrup.
- Pure vanilla extract (optional): Every baker’s best friend. Just a few drops will add a delightful warm flavor to make these treats even more moreish.
- Chocolate (milk, semisweet, or dark): Choose your favorite type or use a mix to top your rice Krispie treats. You can use dairy-free chocolate if you want to keep the treats vegan.
- Salt: Just a pinch helps enhance the flavors and balance out all the sweetness. You can also sprinkle some on top for a final touch of elegance.
Step 1: Prep the baking tin and cereal
Grease and line an 8×8-inch baking tin and set it aside. Then, pour puffed rice cereal into a large bowl.
If you’re using a 9×13-inch pan, then you’ll need to double the recipe.
Lining the tin with parchment paper will make it easier to lift the treats out when they’re ready.
Step 2: Melt the peanut butter mixture
In a small saucepan, combine the peanut butter, salt, rice malt syrup, and vanilla.
Gently warm over low heat and stir until everything is melted and well combined.
Step 3: Combine and set the cereal mixture
Pour the peanut butter mixture over the cereal and stir until all the puffs are coated. Transfer the mixture to your greased baking tin and flatten the surface using parchment paper and your hands.
I like using parchment paper to keep my hands clean! Press down firmly to make sure the treats hold together.
Refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes to set.
Step 4: Melt the chocolate topping
Near the end of the chilling time, start melting your chocolate topping together with a small amount of peanut butter (if you have no spare peanut butter, use coconut oil instead).
I like using a double boiler, which involves putting the chocolate in a heatproof bowl that’s set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until smooth and melty.
You can also use the microwave. Zap the chocolate in 20 second intervals, stirring during each break
Step 5: Add the chocolate layer and set
Pour the melted chocolate mixture over the chilled cereal base and smooth the surface.
Then return the tin to the refrigerator for another 30 minutes or until the chocolate is set.
Hint: To ensure an even chocolate layer, use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the mixture.
Psst… if you’re in a real hurry, you can skip the chocolate topping and just eat the treats plain.
Step 6: Cut and serve
Remove the rice krispie treats from the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for a few minutes. Cut them into 16 squares using a sharp knife, cleaning the knife after each cut (or you can go for 9 squares if you want bigger portions, but be aware they’re quite rich).
Allowing the treats to soften slightly at room temperature will make cutting easier and prevent the chocolate from cracking.
What can I do if my mixture is too dry?
If the mixture is too dry and it’s not sticking, add more peanut butter and rice syrup 1 tablespoon at a time, until it’s sticky enough.
If this happens, chances are you probably added too many rice puffs.
These rice krispie treats are pretty simple, which makes them an excellent base to get creative with!
Here are some ideas:
- Add-ins: Consider adding some chopped nuts, dried fruits, or seeds to the cereal mixture for extra texture and to make them even healthier!
- Drizzle: Instead of a full chocolate layer, drizzle melted chocolate or caramel over the top of the treats for a lighter touch (I did this with my updated photos, they used to have a solid chocolate top).
- Spice it up: Add a dash of cinnamon or a pinch of cayenne pepper to the peanut butter mixture for a unique flavor kick.
- Spectacular speculoos: Make your own Biscoff spread and use it in place of peanut butter. Trust me, this is one not to miss!
This version melts the chocolate into the rice krispies mix – not exactly healthy – but still delicious and ‘mallow free nonetheless!
Place leftovers in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to a week. This will keep the treats firm and stuck together, and mean the chocolate topping won’t melt.
After all, cereal stores well under the right conditions.
Let the treats sit at room temperature for a few minutes before you eat them to soften the chocolate slightly.
You can also freeze these rice krispies treats for up to two months.
Separate the treat with parchment paper to make sure they don’t freeze together, then place them in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag.
To enjoy, thaw the treats in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
If you have some leftover treats that are starting to lose their crispiness, you can crumble them up and use them as a topping for ice cream, yogurt, or even as a mix-in for a homemade trail mix.
This will give new life to your rice krispie treats while still allowing you to enjoy their delicious flavors.
Chocolate & Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Treats
- 3 cups puffed rice cereal
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 cup rice malt syrup honey or agave will also work, but will lend a different flavor
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 250 g milk semisweet or dark chocolate (your choice, or a mix!), chopped
- 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
- Grease and line an 8×8-inch baking tin.
- Place cereal in a large bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, combine peanut butter, salt, rice malt syrup and vanilla. Heat gently and stir until thoroughly combined and melted.
- Pour the peanut butter mixture over the cereal and stir until all the cereal is coated.
- Transfer the peanut butter cereal to the prepared tin and spread out evenly. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the cereal and use another pan, or your hands, to flatten the top.
- Place the tin in the refrigerator to set for around 30 minutes.
- Near the end of the 30 minutes, place the chopped chocolate and 1tbsp peanut butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water (water should be about 1-inch high and the bowl should not touch the water), ensuring no water comes in contact with the chocolate mixture. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth.
- Take the peanut butter cereal from the refrigerator, pour the melted chocolate on top and smooth the surface. Return to the refrigerator for another 30 minutes or until chocolate is set.
- Cut into squares with a sharp knife, cleaning the knife after each cut.
- Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator; let them warm up to room temperature to soften up the chocolate before serving, if desired.