how to make healthier rice crispy treats
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Healthier Rice Crispy Treats: Good Bye Marshmallows, Hello Protein! VIDEO



I've yet to meet a kid who doesn't love cereal. In fact I bet that it's one of the only foods that kids and adults would devour morning, noon and night. Take rice crispies for example. They are an all time classic for all ages. As a kid when my brother and I were competing for space in the grocery cart and being shuttled down the aisles (I'm sure causing nothing but trouble) the only thing we could agree on was cereal, specifically rice crispies. The same was true when it came to deciding which special treat to make when cooking with my mother. Requiring only a few ingredients, rice crispy treats were always one of our favorites.

Rice crispy treats endure, but they aren't the healthiest thing you can give your kids. Instead I created these Rice Crispy Treat Balls for my latest book Weelicious Lunches implementing a few switcheroos: I use almond butter and rice syrup in lieu of marshmallows (which also means no GMO-laden corn syrup) and roll them into fun little single serving balls instead of big ol' bars.

Looking for a simple homemade recipe to make to make for the holidays? Watch this video to see how to make healthier rice crispy treats. This one doesn't even require cooking!

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  1. Debra McMurray

    September 29, 2016 at 8:02 am

    can i switch rice crispy with bran flakes,,add walnuts ,cranberry ?

    • C. McCord

      October 4, 2016 at 11:00 am

      That should work out just fine! Let me know if you make those changes and how it comes out!

  2. Sonja

    January 1, 2015 at 3:36 am

    These taste great but doing some research I am worried about using the rice syrup as they may not be healthy. . Someone mentioned using coconut syrup so I might try that instead. Too bad as they taste great and my son likes them. Almost a hit.

  3. Lynn

    August 24, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    These look so easy & good, plus it looks like all the ingredients are gluten free, Several of my family members need to follow a GF diet, so I’m eager to make these for the next family event.

  4. Erin

    July 15, 2014 at 8:44 am


  5. Pauline

    May 19, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    I’m going to make these for my grandbaby girl. I’d like to find where you can copy the recipe?


    May 2, 2014 at 5:39 pm


  7. Aslan

    February 4, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Superbly ilmnilnatiug data here, thanks!

  8. Susan

    February 1, 2014 at 12:10 am

    Made these today to use as the “rice” in “sushi” for Chinese New Year! They were fabulous. My 3 year old and I put gummy fish on top and wrapped with natural fruit strips…far from the healthiest combination to put on these yummy treats, but it was fun for the kids and now I have a wonderful rice crispie treat for future use without the nasty gummy fish!

  9. Bec

    January 18, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Hi from Australia :) Just made these late last night as we are having a playdate today so I thought the kids would like them. I of course had to taste test them….YUM! I had to make a couple of variations though as my local health food store and grocery store was out of rice syrup. So I used Coconut syrup and I used cashew butter instead of almond butter. I high recommend trying them with coconut syrup ! I also pushed them into fun shaped ice cube trays (the Ikea ones) so they will be fun shapes for the kids too. Thanks :)

  10. arpender

    January 4, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Please add me to your mailing list!

  11. Pingback: Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding (Vegan) | Figsinmybelly

  12. Caroline

    December 18, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Hi, I tried to roll these into balls, but they fell apart. Did I not cook it long enough? They taste great though!

  13. Kate

    December 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    You two are the cutest! I think my munchkins would really dig these although I can see them following Chloe’s lead and chowing down before I get to turn them into any sort of shape.

  14. Dagmara

    December 10, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Just made them with my kids and they are great…really delicious…thank you :)

  15. Sarah

    December 8, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    While the flavor is good, there isn’t any “crisp” to these. I’ve tried two batches, both on the chewy but no crisp at all side. Should these have a chewy not crispy texture?

    • Catherine McCord

      December 9, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      They are definitely chewy! You get a little crisp from the rice cereal. The texture is pretty similar, maybe a bit softer, to rice krispie treats!

  16. Sandy Bakke

    December 6, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    How many cups of Rice Krispie cereal does this recipe call for? Sounds like a great alternative to the usual recipe using marshmallows.

    • Sandy Bakke

      December 6, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      Never mind my question! I just scrolled down and read through the comments and found the answer – 3 to 3 1/2 cups. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Kim Beaulieu

    December 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Oh my gosh, the video is so cute. Your daughter’s giggle just cracked me up, she’s so adorable. I wish I’d had your book when my hooligans were small. You really make lunches so much fun Catherine. I’m adding rice syrup to my grocery list, but I may need to hit the city for it. Our small town is not too hip when it comes to ingredients. I call it the culinary black hole.

  18. Kathy - Panini Happy

    December 4, 2013 at 11:07 am

    I love Chloe. :-) These sound fantastic, coming soon to our lunch bento!

  19. Susan

    December 3, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    We have a corn allergy in our family so I am sooo happy to have a corn-syrup free version of these! Thank you!

  20. Alicia

    December 3, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    I love your recipes but rarely watch them (hello nosy toddler!). I’d love to be able to read the directions and watch when I can.

  21. Carmen

    December 3, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I like to use brown rice crispies by Barbara’s. Yum!

  22. Ora

    December 3, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….I love it when you cook with your children! Pam Steadman (below), you can buy brown rice syrup at a food co-op, health food store, or nowadays at nearly any grocery store. Lundberg makes a good one.

  23. Pam Steadman

    December 3, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Where do you buy rice syrup?

  24. caroline ward

    December 3, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    loved this post on the balls! SO easy and healthy! thank you !

  25. Barbara @ Barbara Bakes

    December 3, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Adorable little helper. Sounds like a perfect way to eat better.

  26. Jenni

    December 3, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Can you use agave syrup instead of rice syrup?

    • Catherine McCord

      December 3, 2013 at 2:18 pm

      Unfortunately, no. The agave won’t set up like the rice syrup does to hold everything together.

  27. Nancy A.

    December 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    These look much better than the regular ones. I will definitely make these and no one will probably know the difference. Chloe is adorable!!!

    • Viraj

      February 4, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      I’m so glad I found my sootuiln online.

  28. Jessica

    December 3, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    What kind of Rice Krispies are you using? The regular ones have BHT in them. Which I try to avoid.

  29. Heather

    December 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Looks great – thanks! One suggestion for the video recipes — can you also write-out the recipe too so we can just print out a recipe card? Thanks much!

  30. Soccy

    December 3, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Can I sub honey for the rice syrup? Or will that be too sticky?

    • Catherine McCord

      December 3, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      Honey is too sticky and doesn’t set up like the rice syrup does!

  31. Christina Curtin

    December 3, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Did I miss the part on how much cereal to use? I’ve watched it 3 times but still haven’t found it.

  32. mag

    December 3, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    looks great! how much rice krispies?

  33. Jenni

    December 3, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    I cannot wait to try these with my girls. They will love them in their school lunches. Thanks!

  34. Kelly

    December 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Hi, this is so great! If you don;t have the rice syrup…..Which I will totally buy! Can you skip it or will it all fall apart?
    Thank you!

  35. Steph

    December 3, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I didnt catch how much rice krispies were used?

  36. Jennifer J.

    December 3, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    THANKS for this idea! I love sneaking protein into my kids! :) I am also going to try this with Sunflower Butter instead of Peanut Butter, since that is banned at school. I wonder if these would be good with Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter?

  37. Lori B.

    December 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    As a parent of a nut allergy kid (yeah it sucks) I recently found that Sunbutter (sunflower seeds) are an excellent substitution for peanut butter. I even use sunflower seeds instead of walnuts/pinenuts in pesto. Overall, the whole family prefers it to Almond butter and other nut free butters.

  38. HeatherChristo

    December 3, 2013 at 11:18 am

    thank you Catherine McCord. Since rice krispie treats seems to be one of the only things Pia isn’t allergic too we are really into them- what a great alternative.

  39. Julie Jeffery

    December 3, 2013 at 11:04 am

    What could I substitute to make these peanut butter free? As that is banned in my daughters school.

    • Ludicrous Mama

      December 3, 2013 at 11:58 pm

      Or soy butter. WOWbutter, IM Healthy, and there’s another brand out there… also Sneaky Chef makes a yellow lentil butter.

    • Catherine McCord

      December 3, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      You could use all almond butter or use sunflower or any other seed butter!

    • Sheila Rasmussen

      December 3, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      Be careful with sunbutter. My peanut/nut allergic son ate a whole jar of this and when I began my second he had a reaction to that and is now allergic to sunflowers!