Are Rice Krispies Treats Suitable For Vegans?

Who didn’t grow up snacking away at Rice Krispies Treats?

If you’re born in the United States, then you’re bound to feel nostalgic at the sight of the Treats. The classic cereal bar combines crunchiness and chewiness to give you one of the most iconic snacks in American history.

Whether you pack it for school or eat it as a midnight snack — the Krispies are timeless.

However, I’m not here to just revere cereal bars so let me cut to the chase.

The Original Rice Krispies Treats are not vegan. 

And in order to tell you why — we must look at their composition.

Side note: If you’re interested in healthy, vegan cereals, check out this blog post I wrote on some of my favorite vegan cereals. They’re tasty, healthy, and nutritious.

Are Rice Krispies Treats Vegan?

rice krispie treats

At first glance, the Rice Krispies Treats appear to be vegan.

That’s what one would expect since the original cereals are made from rice, sugar, salt, malt flavor, and several vitamins.

What’s more, almost every variation of flavor is vegan (Strawberry, Cocoa & Frosted), with one sole exception. The Rice Krispies Treats-flavored cereals are non-vegan, and so are the bars. 

Here’s the list of ingredients that make up the Rice Krispies Treats (both cereals and bars):

Rice, sugar, maltodextrin, palm oil, salt, natural and artificial flavors (contain milk), gelatin, malt flavor, colorants, BHT (for freshness), sodium ascorbate, ascorbic acid, niacinamide, reduced iron, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamin hydrochloride, palmitate, folic acid, vitamin b12 and vitamin D.

Now let’s put the focus on the bolded ingredients and break down each one to understand why they may not be vegan.

Gelatin Is Made From Animal Parts

Gelatin is a gelling agent obtained by boiling the skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones of cows and pigs. It’s what Kellogs uses to shape the marshmallows within the Rice Krispies.

While you can probably find and source vegan marshmallows, those within the Krispies are animal-based.

Palm Oil Is Highly Destructive

Whether palm oil is vegan or not is debatable. While it’s technically considered vegan because it comes from a plant-based source, unsustainable palm oil practices are still detrimental to both the environment and living species.

Palm oil is a source of huge profits for multinational companies, but it’s also responsible for the displacement of indigenous people, deforestation, and loss of biodiversity. The palm oil industry is also the strongest reason why species like the orangutang, Borneo elephant and Sumatran tiger are being pushed closer to extinction.

If palm oil is so destructive, why should we continue consuming it?

Dairy Farms Are Disturbing, And So Is Milk

People believe drinking milk does not inflict any pain on the animal, but that is wrong.

Cows are artificially inseminated to give birth to calves and produce milk. When they finally give birth, the calves are isolated from the mother and prevented from feeding.

Most male calves are sent to be killed for veal, while female calves are left alone, isolated in a tight perimeter.

Meanwhile, mother cows are regularly milked by machines, which can result in sore, infected udders (often mastitis). Naturally, a cow can only produce so much milk, so when production declines, it’s more profitable to sell them for slaughter.

Aside from the physical pain, cows can also feel emotionally distressed, which can be picked up by their dull behavior.

Iron Can Come From An Animal-Based Source

Iron comes in two forms: heme and non-heme iron.

Heme iron comes from animal-based foods: dairy, meat, and fish, while Non-heme iron comes from plant-based sources like fortified cereals, beans, spinach, and lentils. While this is pure speculation, the Rice Krispies Treats may actually contain heme-iron.

And I say this for two reasons:

  1. Our bodies absorb the iron from animal-based protein (heme iron) better than the iron from plant-based protein (non-heme). 
  2. Animal products are heavily used on this product, so the connection makes sense.

So many products contain iron (even plant-based products), so it’s always a good idea to ask companies what type of iron is being used in their products.

Vitamin D & Sheep’s Wool

Some types of vitamin D are not vegan-friendly. While vitamin D2 is suitable for vegans, vitamin D3 can be derived from an animal source (such as sheep’s wool) or lichen (a vegan-friendly source).

Whenever you see vitamin D on a product, there’s a chance an animal source is being used, since it’s typically less expensive.

Generally, that information is not disclosed on the product label, so you need to contact the company to be sure.

Make Vegan Rice Krispies Treats At Home

vegan rice krispies treats

Just because Rice Krispies Treats are not vegan, that doesn’t mean you can’t replicate the recipe.

In fact, you can easily make your own version at home.

Alison, the person behind Loving It Vegan shares a vegan recipe of this classic snack. She integrates all the goodies that make this iconic snack a winner in the eye of consumers, without making it too complicated.

Actually, if you follow the recipe, it will only take you 10 minutes. Besides, you only need four ingredients.

  • Vegan Butter
  • Vegan Marshmallows
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Rice Krispies (you can also use a different brand of cereals)

Aside from the marshmallows, the other ingredients are easily traceable. This being said, Walmart sells a brand of vegan marshmallows called Dandy, which seems quite expensive online.

I couldn’t find any other options, so please let me know if you hear of other, more affordable options.

Anyway, if you want to see the recipe, just click here.

Conclusion: Rice Krispies Treats Are Not Vegan

At the end of the day, the original Rice Krispies Treats are not vegan.

I’ve also tried to search for vegan alternatives for this snack, but there are none available. If you really want to eat Rice Krispies Treats, you have to make your own vegan version.

And frankly, it’s way more achievable than you think.

If you have ten minutes of your day to spare, you can make a batch of 20 Krispie bars!

Thank you for reading this blog post. 🙂

Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than five years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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