Are Rice Krispies Actually Vegan? (Here’s Everything You Need To Know)

Rice Krispies are classic American cereals. Released back in 1928, these crunchy ‘n crispy rice cereals have conquered the hearts of people, so we need to figure out if they’re vegan. 

In a different post, I tried to figure out if the Rice Krispies Treats were vegan, and I was disappointed to find out they contained gelatin, so I did not have my hopes up for the Rice Krispies cereals. 

Are Rice Krispies cereals vegan? No, unfortunately, the Rice Krispies cereals are not suitable for vegans because they contain vitamin D3, an ingredient derived from lanolin, an oil that is typically extracted from sheep’s wool. 

Let’s dive a bit into this topic and see what options we can find to replace the Rice Krispies. 

Rice Krispies: Introduction

rice krispies
Mike Mozart, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr

Rice Krispies have been around for a long time, and despite what anyone may say, the Rice Krispies still continue to be the crispy, crunchy and floaty cereals of once upon a time. 

Kellogs managed to achieve that feat by manipulating the moisture in the cereals, which requires two phases. 

The first phase is to use the partially dried grain and allowing it to keep 15-30% moisture for the shaping process.

The second phase involves removing a percentage of the moisture and heating the grain at high temperatures so it turns into a product that is lightweight, crispy, and easy to chew.

They have patented this process, so it’s probably difficult to find cereals with an equal texture. 

READ NEXT: Can Vegans Eat Coco Pops? Or Does It Have Animal Ingredients?

What’s In The Rice Krispies Cereals?

According to Kellogg’s official website, they have four Rice Krispies flavors, including:

  • Rice Krispies Original Cereal

Ingredients: rice, sugar, salt, malt flavoring, iron, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), alpha-tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), niacinamide, vitamin A palmitate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin (vitamin B2), thiamin hydrochloride (vitamin B1), folic acid, vitamin B12 (as cyanocobalamin), and vitamin D3.

  • Cocoa Krispies Cereal

Ingredients: rice, sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, semisweet chocolate (sugar, chocolate, dextrose), hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut, soybean and/or cottonseed), salt, malt flavor, natural flavor, iron (ferric phosphate), niacinamide, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B1 (thiamin hydrochloride), folic acid, vitamin D3, and vitamin B12.

  • Frosted Krispies Cereal

Ingredients: rice, sugar, salt, malt flavor, iron (ferric phosphate), niacinamide, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B1 (thiamin hydrochloride), folic acid, vitamin D3, and vitamin B12.

  • Cookies & Creme Krispies Cereal

Ingredients: rice, sugar, salt, rice flour, malt flavor, cocoa processed with alkali, natural flavor, iron (ferric phosphate), niacinamide, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B1 (thiamin hydrochloride), folic acid, vitamin D3, and vitamin B12.

Even though none of the Rice Krispies cereals contain obvious animal ingredients (i.e. milk), they contain vitamin D3, which is not suitable for vegans.

READ NEXT: Is Life Cereal Vegan? Here’s What You Should Know

Why Isn’t Vitamin D3 Vegan?

There are two types of vitamin D: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.

Vitamin D2 typically comes from mushrooms, but vitamin D3 is typically synthesized from lanolin, which is an oil extracted from the wool of wool-bearing animals, predominantly sheep. 

Even though there is also a vegan vitamin D3, which is extracted from lichen; a plant that grows from the symbiotic relationship of algae and fungi, this type of vitamin D3 is not usually added to foods.

It’s typically added to dietary supplements such as the vitamin D supplements I cover in this blog post

Many food items contain vitamin D2, which is vegan, but unfortunately, that’s not the case with the Rice Krispies, which contain vitamin D3 derived from lanolin. 

Is it Wrong to Consume Vitamin D3?

Some people believe it’s okay to consume vitamin D3 because it’s only added to cereals in tiny amounts, so consuming it wouldn’t make us any less vegan. 

However, many vegans disagree because vitamin D3, the one derived from lanolin, still comes from an animal that is exploited, mainly for its wool, so if you consume vitamin D3, you’re still contributing to an industry that profits immensely from animals that must live conditioned for the rest of their lives.

Also, as these animals age, they gradually lose their natural capacity to grow wool, so once they reach a certain point, they’re sent to slaughterhouses where they are killed and sold for meat. 

Being a vegan, I don’t consume vitamin D3, because I know I’d be contributing to an industry that takes away the freedom of sheep and other wool-bearing animals, often for the sake of consumerism. 

READ NEXT: Are Corn Flakes Vegan? Here Is Everything You Need To Know

How Is Kellogg’s Viewed By Vegans?

The company Kelloggs is named after its founder Dr. John Harvey Kellogg.

Dr. Kellogg was a major leader in progressive health reform, including the promotion of vegetarianism, abstinence from alcohol and tobacco, and a regimen of exercise, all of which Dr. Kellogg followed himself.

He created Kelloggs back in 1928, and died 15 years later. The principles he laid (partially) stood the test of time, at least until Kelloggs (the brand) decided to launch products containing gelatin.

Kelloggs has always had pro-health ideals, but those have taken a different turn over the years, which is something that normally occurs with changes in management that lead to more concerning decisions that allow profit to gain full precedence over ethics.

Nevertheless, let me also point out that Kelloggs have also invested in plant-based alternatives in recent years, namely with brands such as MorningStar Farms, Kashi, Gardenburger, and Incogmeato. 

As a vegan, I do not agree with many of the things that Kelloggs does, but I believe we should definitely purchase their products, as long as they are vegan and ethically produced. 

Vegan Alternative to Rice Krispies

Even though Rice Krispies are typically associated with the Kelloggs brand, many people also use the name “Rice Krispies” for any rice-based breakfast cereal that might have a similar taste or texture to the Rice Krispies. 

In fact, most supermarkets in the US or UK have their own version of Rice Krispies, which usually have a different name; but the problem is that most of them contain vitamin D3. 

To help you find a suitable vegan alternative to the Rice Krispies, I did not go to a supermarket near my home, but I did research online, particularly in websites like Amazon and Walmart. 

These are the vegan alternatives I managed to find:

  • Barbara’s Organic Brown Rice Crisps
  • One Degree Sprouted Brown Rice Crisps
  • Nature’s Path Organic Crispy Rice
  • 365 Whole Foods Cocoa Rice Crisps
  • 365 Whole Foods Organic Brown Rice Crisps
  • One Degree Veganic Brown Rice Cacao Crisps

These are some of the options I found online; and two of them are available at the Whole Foods Market. 

READ NEXT: 10 Vegan Cereals That Make Up For A Filling & Nutritious Breakfast!

Final Verdict

The Rice Krispies Cereals are not vegan because they contain vitamin D3, an ingredient that is synthesized from lanolin, which is an oil-like property extracted from sheep’s wool. 

While some people claim that it’s okay to consume products with vitamin D3 because it’s only included in tiny amounts, that doesn’t change the fact that vitamin D3 is of animal origin. 

Here is how the Vegan Society defines veganism:

“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

According to this definition, which is the original definition, products containing vitamin D3 cannot be considered vegan. 


Rice Krispies FAQs

Are Rice Krispies Gluten-Free?

Unfortunately, the Rice Krispies are not gluten-free because they contain malt, which is derived from barley, a cereal that contains gluten. Typically, any product with “malt” on the label is not gluten-free. 

Are Rice Krispies Dairy-Free?

Yes, Rice Krispies cereals covered in this article do not contain milk or milk derivatives, so they’re dairy-free. 

Are Rice Krispies Halal?

Yes, the Rice Krispies cereals are halal. However, other Kellogg’s products like the Rice Krispies Treats contain gelatin, a pork derivative, therefore it’s not halal. 

Are Aldi Rice Krispies Vegan?

Aldi used to sell a Rice Krispies immitation called Harvest Morn Crisp Rice, but unfortunately, it was removed from shelves because it was found to contain pieces of plastic.

In any case, the cereals were not vegan because they did contain vitamin D3. 

Are Tesco Rice Snaps Vegan?

Tesco’s Rice Snaps are not suitable for vegans because they contain vitamin D3. 

Is Trader Joe’s Crisp Rice Cereal Vegan?

Unfortunately, Trader Joe’s Crisp Rice Cereal also contains vitamin D3, which is not vegan. 

Are Lidl Rice Snaps Vegan?

Fortunately, Lidl’s Rice Snaps are suitable for vegans, as they do not contain any animal ingredients; not even vitamin D3, which is often present in cereals.

Are Sainsbury’s Rice Pops Vegan? 

Unfortunately, Sainsbury’s Rice Pops contain vitamin D3, which is typically derived from lanolin, an ingredient derived from sheep’s wool – so it’s not vegan. 

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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