Easy Healthy Homemade No Bake Peanut Butter Cup Protein Rice Krispy Treats- Using just 5 Ingredients, this healthy copycat is made with no butter, no marshmallow, and no margarine, but better than the classic! A delicious vegan, gluten free, sugar free and dairy free snack!
Why are childhood and school snacks so darn delicious? I grew up eating apricot delight and the classic homemade protein bars, but something just took it up a notch- Krispie Treats meets a popular peanut butter chocolate candy bar!
With the summer heat in full swing, I’ve been avoiding the oven like the plague because….
- It’s an excuse to make my favorite candy bars
- It technically saves on electricity and gas (or that is what I’m telling myself…)
- I use it as my excuse to replace meals with no bake snacks
- I don’t sweat whipping up a protein shake post workout with these no bake treats which are totally acceptable
After speaking with some friends, we all came to the conclusion that Rice Krispie Treats (or to my Australian friends, Rice Crispy Treats/LCM’s) were our childhood favorite. Instead of reverting to my own homemade healthy version of it, I wanted to give it a little ‘mature’ makeover. By mature makeover, I mean making it taste like a peanut butter cup AND keeping it super healthy!
Traditional Rice Krispie treats have three key ingredients- Crispy generic rice cereal, marshmallows, and either butter or margarine. My version doesn’t contain any of those ingredients, and instead, uses a few smart swaps.
You literally one need five ingredients to make these protein-packed treats, and less than 10 minutes total time. This includes the preparation and simple hacks to make it a quick, fuss-free recipe which even the kids can be involved with.
I wanted to incorporate one of my favorite candy chocolate bars in it, Reese’s peanut butter cups. By using peanut butter in the base AND the topping, it gives you a hit of the sweet, salty, crunchy and crispy deliciousness we can expect from BOTH a Rice Krispie treat and a peanut butter cup!
The ‘Rice Krispie’ base is a combination of brown rice cereal (Vegan and gluten-free friendly), mixed with peanut butter, a sticky sweetener of choice (see notes below!) and your favorite protein powder. The chocolate layer can be made two ways- Either melting my favorite chocolate chips over it (which are dairy free and delicious on its own!) or adding an extra dose of peanut butter with it.
I am a huge fan of texture, so using crunchy all-natural peanut butter was my first choice. Please feel free to use smooth peanut butter if that is what you prefer. If you have a peanut allergy or aren’t a fan of peanuts, almond butter is a great substitute. For those with nut allergies, sunflower seed butter or soy nut butter are also great.
A sticky sweetener is necessary to form and shape these bars, and there are several options which you can use. I wanted to keep this 100% sugar free, so used this monk fruit sweetened maple syrup. Please note, this is the ONLY zero sugar maple syrup or sweetener which will work. Other ‘sugar free’ or ‘zero calories’ sweeteners are similar in texture to water, and won’t hold the treats up.
If you are okay with using natural liquid sweeteners, I would recommend using maple syrup or brown rice syrup. These aren’t overpowering in flavor but add a delicate sweetness. You can also use agave nectar or honey, however, the latter has a very distinct taste.
Speaking of sweeteners, you can’t have a peanut butter cup inspired treat without some chocolate! As always, I choose to use either dairy free chocolate chips or dairy free chocolate chunks. Alternatively, my sugar free friends can use these stevia sweetened chips. I don’t mind using these particular chocolate chips, as they don’t leave you with a bitter aftertaste.
If you want to keep this snack chocolate-free, just omit it completely!
For the protein powder, I recommend using a brown rice protein powder, a casein protein powder or a paleo protein powder. These types of protein powders are best for using IN recipes as opposed to a smoothie or a protein shake. I never recommend whey protein powder, especially for no-bake snacks or homemade protein bars. Using whey protein powder will yield a sticky texture and bars which won’t hold their shapes.
While the protein powder gives these Krispie treats an impressive protein punch, it is totally not necessary- You can omit it completely without needing to adjust any of the other ingredients. In fact, if you prefer a chewy, gooey bar, you’d be best to leave it out all together!
So why does this healthified childhood treat need to be made STAT? Well, they are…
Packed with protein
Completely vegan, gluten free AND sugar free
Dairy free and wheat free
Ready in 10 minutes
What I really love about these Peanut Butter Cup Protein Rice Krispie Treats is that they are a guilt-free way to enjoy a childhood classic. They are also super versatile and can replace your post-workout protein shake or help fuel a tough workout. If you are anything like me, you have a post-dinner sweet tooth and this fits the bill for that too!
If you enjoy the original Rice Krispie (Krispy?) Treats AND Peanut Butter Cups, you’ll love this lightened up and guilt-free version.
Peanut Butter Cup Protein Rice Krispie Treats
- Line a 10 x 10-inch baking tray with parchment and set aside. Alternatively, use any deep dish or large loaf pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, add your crispy rice cereal and protein powder and set aside.
- In a microwave safe bowl or stove top, melt your peanut butter with sticky sweetener until combined. Pour over your dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Pour into the lined tray and press firmly into place. Put into the refrigerator.
- Melt your chocolate chips of choice and pour over the Rice Krispie Treats. Allow to cool and cut into bars and enjoy.
More delicious no bake snacks which are protein-rich? Gotcha covered!
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