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Are Rice Krispies Vegan? (3 Problematic Ingredients)

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: March 29, 2023

Most breakfast cereal today are packed with vitamins and minerals, which puts them on the healthier spectrum if you disregard the fact they're laden with sugar and artificial colors.

If you enjoy morning cereal and practice a vegan diet, you must wonder — are Rice Krispies vegan?

I did all the research, and here's everything you need to know about Kellogg's Rice Krispies cereal.

Quick Summary

  • Rice Krispies are vegan as they are puffed rice typically made from brown rice.
  • The ingredients used to make rice Krispies include salt, sugar, brown rice, Vitamin D, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, and barley malt flavoring.
  • The three problematic ingredients which make people question if rice Krispies are vegan are sugar, iron, and vitamin D.

Are Rice Krispies Vegan?

No, unfortunately, Rice Krispies aren’t vegan! However, the answer is more complicated and depends on your definition of veganism.

Kellogg's Rice Krispies has been around since 1928.

Their crunchy and crispy texture, combined with the variety of flavors the company offers, made them one of the most popular crispy rice cereals in the US.

Kellogg's Rice Krispies cereals may not have any visible animal-derived ingredients, but this rice cereal isn't wholly plant-based.

Rice Krispies cereals contain iron, sugar, and vitamin D3, which can be animal-derived.

Let’s see what makes this breakfast cereal non-vegan.

Ingredients List

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies is a puffed rice cereal typically made from brown rice.

The rice cereal's ingredients vary from country to country, so here are the US's Rice Krispies' ingredients:

Brown Rice, Sugar, Salt, Barley Malt Flavouring, Vitamins & Minerals: Niacin, Iron, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Folic Acid, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12.

Vegan Ingredients

Kellogg’s has a lot of vegan products, but you need to pay attention to the cereal ingredients. Looking for vegan ingredients may not seem easy, but I’m here to help you.

Pay attention to the following ingredients:

Vitamin B12, Vitamin D2, Vitamin B2/riboflavin, Lactic acid • Proteolytic enzymes, Rennet, Emulsifiers (including monoglycerides, diglycerides and polysorbate), Enzymes, Glycerin, Yeast ingredients.

These are all vegan ingredients and they’re included in Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereals and other Kellogg’s products.

3 Problematic Ingredients

Non vegan rice krispies

As I mentioned, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereals don’t have vegan-friendly ingredients. However, some people consider it vegan. There’s an ever-going debate whether sugar, iron, and vitamin D3 are vegan or not. I’ll state the facts and leave it up to you to decide.

1. Sugar

Sugar is typically available in two forms — organic and plain. The problem with plain sugar is the way in which it's processed. Many producers use animal bone char for processing sugar, so many vegans consider it non-vegan [1].

Sugar in the US is mainly produced from sugar cane, even though it can also be produced from sugar beet. The production of sugar from sugar beet doesn't require bone char processing, making the final product vegan and organic.

"There are no technical reasons preventing the production of organic beet sugar; it has been done in Europe."

- Dr. Stephen Clarke, Director of Technical Services at Florida Crystals

2. Iron

Iron may also not be vegan, as there are two types — heme and non-heme iron. The heme iron is derived from animal sources, such as seafood, poultry, and meat.

On the other hand, non-heme iron is derived from plant foods, such as seeds, legumes, nuts, grains, and leafy greens [2].

3. Vitamin D

Vitamin D  is also available in vegan and non-vegan forms in vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 forms. Vitamin D3 is derived from sheep wool and lichen (an organism present in algae).

Kellogg’s doesn’t indicate in the ingredients list whether these three ingredients are vegan-friendly or not.

Vitamin D3 derived from animals would mean that Rice Krispies are not vegan, so you may want to stay away from Rice Krispies cereals if you don’t consider these ingredients vegan. Or, you could call or email Kellogg’s representatives and ask for details.

Now, besides these three ingredients, there’s one more non-vegan angle to Rice Krispies, and that’s Rice Krispie Treats. Rice Krispie Treats contain animal-derived ingredients, such as milk and gelatine.

Milk is obviously an animal product, but if you didn’t know, gelatine is made by boiling animal skin, tendons, ligaments, or bones.

Finally, Krispie Treats also contain palm oil, which is obtained unethically by harming the environment, animals, and people who work in that industry. Hence, vegans consider it not vegan-friendly.

Are the Original Rice Krispies Vegan?

No, the Original Rice Krispies are not vegan. Kellogg’s states on their website that this flavor contains vitamin D3 derived from animals.

Are any Rice Krispies Vegan?

Vegan rice krispies alternatives

The answer depends on the recipe of the cereals. The same cereals can be vegan in one country and non-vegan in another.

That’s why it’s essential to pay attention to the table of contents and study every ingredient.

Sadly, Kellogg’s products are mostly not vegan. The only product that’s entirely vegan in the US is Kellogg’s Mini Wheats Unfrosted Bite Size.

The Special K Protein Plus used to be vegan. However, some recent posts have revealed that it’s not vegan since it contains D3 vitamins, which are not vegan.

However, Australians have it much better, as there’s an entire vegan cereal section on the brand’s website. Some of the numerous vegan options include:

  • Kellogg’s® All-Bran® Wheat Flakes
  • Kellogg’s® Corn Flakes
  • Kellogg’s® Nutri-Grain® cereal
  • Kellogg’s® Rice Bubbles®

Vegan Rice Krispie Treats Quick Recipe

Luckily, there are tons of vegan Rice Krispie Treats recipes on the internet, and they’re all incredibly easy to make. Here’s a quick recipe. You’ll need:

  • ¾ cup vegan butter
  • 2 10oz bags vegan marshmallows (or make your own)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 cups vegan rice krispies cereals (since Rice Krispies aren’t technically vegan, you can use Nature’s Path which is vegan and gluten-free)
  1. First you’ll need to line a 9 x 13 inch pan with parchment paper and lightly spray it with oil. Then, melt the butter over low heat and add the marshmallows in slowly.
  2. Vegan marshmallows don’t melt as easily as non-vegan ones, so there may be some chunks left, but they won’t spoil the final product or the taste. Make sure you coat every cereal in marshmallows.
  3. 2. Next you’ll want to remove the pan from heat and add in the vanilla extract. Then, fold in the vegan Rice Krispies with a spatula or a spoon. Your spatula or spoon may get sticky, but you can grease it with butter.
  4. The next step is to transfer the mixture to the lined pan. Press down the mixture to even it out. Put the pan in the fridge and let it cool for one hour. Use the parchment paper to remove the dessert from the pan, cut into squares, serve, and enjoy!

Are Rice Krispies Vegan? The Final Verdict

As I said, the answer depends on your definition of veganism.

Rice Krispies contain animal-derived vitamin D3, iron, and sugar. If you’re a strict, hard-core vegan like I am, these ingredients are a deal-breaker, making the product non-vegan.

However, many vegans are OK with consuming these ingredients.

So, are these cereals vegan to you? Whatever your answer is, be sure to try the Rice Krispies treats recipe.

Share your opinion, vegan Rice Krispies alternatives, and your favorite recipes in the comments.


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