These salted caramel vegan rice crispy treats are a sweet and salty, chewy and crunchy treat that will make you forget "traditional" rice crispy treats ever existed. Yes, they're that good.
When I was a hip, young kid in my twenties (I'm pushing 40 now. YIKES), I had an awesome condo in Denver's Capitol Hill neighborhood. It was only a few blocks from Whole Foods and I would often walk down there to buy groceries. They always had their own bakery-made salted caramel rice crispy treats at the checkout, and I almost always got one because I couldn't resist the rich sweetness paired with a hint of salt, or the delightful chewy crunchiness.
They were SO GOOD, but also so full of bullshit ingredients. I've wanted to make a veganized and healthified version since, like, 2009.
They're finally here. And HOLY SHIT, they're GOOD.
Let's talk about the recipe!
- These vegan rice crispy treats are the perfect mix of sweet and salty, and the crunchy texture is super addictive.
- They’re made from wholesome plant-based ingredients, like nut butters, brown rice syrup, and organic brown rice cereal. They're also dairy-free and gluten-free, as long as you use gluten free rice cereal.
- No baking is required. Just heat up the caramel ingredients, mix everything together, and press into a pan. The hardest part is waiting for them to firm up in the fridge!
Ingredients and Substitutions
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, but here's a quick look at the ingredients you'll need to make these salted caramel vegan rice crispy treats.
- vegan crispy rice cereal, like this one
- almond butter for its toasty, sweet flavor
- cashew butter for its light, buttery creaminess
- brown rice syrup for sweetness and to help hold the bars together
- coconut sugar for that rich brown sugar flavor
- coconut oil to help them firm up and hold together (optional)
- a pinch of salt to balance the sweetness
- vanilla extract for flavor and fragrance
- flaked sea salt for sprinkling on top
I don't recommend making any substitutions to the recipe. I tested this several different ways and none were nearly as amazing as the recipe I'm sharing today, but if you absolutely need to make some swaps, here are a few options.
The almond + cashew butter combination can be swapped out for all cashew butter or all almond butter, but will be less caramely in flavor. For a nut-free version, you could use all sunflower seed butter, but the taste will be very different and probably won't taste like caramel at all. Peanut butter would work, but it would take these in a whole different (non-caramel, but delicious) direction.
The brown rice syrup's thick, sticky texture plays an important role in holding these bars together. Using all maple syrup would not work as a replacement because it is much thinner and less sticky, but you might be able to get away with replacing a couple tablespoons of brown rice syrup with maple syrup. Coconut nectar could work, but I haven't tested it.
These might still work if you use less coconut oil than the recipe calls for. You can make them without the coconut oil, but they won't firm up or hold together as well as they will with coconut oil.
For the very best, most caramelicious results, stick to the recipe as written.
First, gather all your ingredients and line your pan with parchment paper.
Measure your crispy rice cereal into a large bowl and set it aside for now.
Next, combine your caramel sauce ingredients in a saucepan and heat it until the coconut sugar has dissolved, the coconut oil has melted, and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
Pour the caramel sauce over your cereal and mix until all the cereal is coated.
Pour the mixture into your parchment-lined pan and press it into an even layer.
After pressing the mixture into the pan, sprinkle it with some delicious flaked sea salt.
Finally, stick the pan in the fridge and let the rice crispy treats firm up for at least 45 minutes. Longest 45 minutes of your life!
When they're nice and firm, you can cut into them, take a bite, and enjoy the mouthgasm.
- Use unsalted and unsweetened nut butter. I like Simple Truth brand because it's affordable and easy to find in the small hillbilly town I live in. (Not an ad. I just love them.)
- If the mixture is very sticky and you're having a hard time pressing it into the pan without making a mess, lay a piece of parchment or wax paper on top and try again.
- Let them refrigerate for the full 45 minutes to firm up or they will be a crumbly mess... which is totally fine if you don't mind eating them with a fork instead of having a nice little hand-held bar.
Are Rice Krispies vegan?
Nope, Kellogg's Rice Krispies aren't vegan. They source their vitamin D from sheep. Kinda gross and unnecessary, right? There are a few vegan options, like Barbara's Organic Brown Rice Crisps, Nature's Path Organic Crispy Rice Cereal, and Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal. I found all three at my local health food store.
How do I store rice crispy treats?
Since these rely on coconut oil to help keep them firm and held together, I recommend storing them in the fridge. I just stick my pan in the fridge, uncovered, and the bars are fine for up to five days. After that, they can start to dry out.
Can this recipe be doubled?
Yes! As written, this recipe makes an 8"x8" pan of rice crispy treats. When you select the "2x" button on the recipe card, it will give you measurements for a 9"x13" pan. You can also make a small batch by cutting the recipe in half and making it in a loaf pan.
You might also like my Double Chocolate Espresso Cookie recipe, or these No Bake Key Lime Pie Tarts from my friend Freya at Sweeter Than Oats! And if you have leftover cereal, you can use it to make this Chocolate Coconut Cereal from Audreythena: Food Goddess. Yum!