The controversy of what is vegan or not floods the minds of everyone from time to time, especially those who are looking to make the switch to a vegan diet. Many persons are interested in knowing if they must quit their favorite cereal. Most cereals are drenched with minerals, vitamins, and an excess amount of sugar and coloring. Rice Krispies is known as a popular breakfast staple for many folks around the globe.
Rice Krispies mainly consists of rice and sugar, and because of that, you would assume it is easy to be written off as vegan, right? Well, unfortunately, it is not that simple. Keep reading as this article has the answer you are looking for.
Are Rice Krispies Vegan?
Rice Krispies is a treat that has been around since 1928 and is quite popular in the States for its crispy and crunchy texture and various delicious flavors. Now to answer the big question that is on everybody’s mind of, “is Rice Krispies vegan?” The answer is yes, it is vegan, but it is a bit complicated when considering the ingredients.
While the cereal does not have any visible animal-derived products or ingredients present, it contains components such as iron, vitamin D, and sugar, which are not completely vegan. This is what makes it slightly complicated.
The ingredients found in Rice Krispies are sugar, brown rice, malt flavor, salt, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, folic acid, iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin D3. There are three main ingredients that some vegans may have an issue with: sugar, iron, and vitamin D3.
Sugar is quite debatable in the vegan community since non-organic cane sugar is filtered to make it white. Considering the refinement process, some vegans find plain sugar to be non-vegan as some companies use charred bones to help give it the color and taste. Other people who are vegan do not worry much about it.
Iron is next on the list, and shockingly, iron can be considered non-vegan as there are two types, which are heme and non-heme. Heme is referred to as the type that is obtained from animal-based sources such as milk, meat, and fish. The issue with Rice Krispies is it is not clear which type is used. This might raise some red flags with some vegans.
Finally, like iron, there are two types of vitamin D, which are vitamin D2 and D3. The latter is from two sources, which are lichen and an organism that is found in algae and sheep wool. In this case, the type that is used is also not clearly stated on the box, which might not sit well with some vegans.
The answer is also dependent on the type of vegan you see yourself as. Some vegans’ main concern is for health and this group might not have an issue with animal-based additives as most, if not all, present no health risks or complications. At the same time, one variation (Rice Krispies Treats) is not vegan as it includes animal-derived ingredients such as milk, palm oil, and gelatin.
Do Rice Krispies Contain Gluten?
While the cereal is made from rice, which is naturally gluten-free, with the addition of malt flavoring in the recipe, the final product does contain gluten. Malt flavoring is made from barley, which is a whole grain that is directly related to wheat and rye. Consequently, it contains gluten. Due to celiac disease, diet choice, or other personal preferences, many people are on the hunt for gluten-free food options that are still delicious.
Are Cocoa Krispies Vegan
Cocoa Krispies is another variation of the Rice Krispies cereal there are just minor changes made to the recipe. Therefore, this one is no more vegan than the original variation. It contains the same ingredients with the addition of semisweet chocolate, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), niacinamide, alpha-tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), and vitamin A palmitate. So, as you would expect, this variation is debatable at best.
Are Rice Krispies Squares Vegetarian
Rice Krispies Squares, also known as Rice Krispies Treats, are not vegan as was previously stated. It contains animal-derived ingredients though the recipe is somewhat the same. It is these additions that make it undoubtedly non-vegan.
One of those ingredients is gelatin, which is used to produce the gooey marshmallow coating. Other ingredients are palm oil and milk. All are particularly known for their influence on living species and nature.
If the original is not vegan, that does not mean you cannot make your own and add your twist to things. Round up all your vegan ingredients such as vanilla extract, vegan marshmallows, and vegan butter. You can even use a different cereal brand that’s not Rice Krispies to achieve the same effect. Just like that, you have yourself a tasty, crispy homemade treat and according to your diet, you can make various substitutes that are nut-free and gluten-free.
Other Vegan Alternatives
There are different brands and types of Rice Krispies you can explore. Who says you cannot enjoy the Rice Krispies you love simply because you are vegan? Some of these off-brand versions still contain fortified vitamin D and sugar, which is a similar situation to the original. Thankfully, there are still vegan options though very strict vegans are not likely to be on board with the ones that contain these ingredients. Here is a list of 14 options that you can find in the stores or on Amazon:
- One Degree Organic Foods Cereal Brown Rice Cacao Crisps
- One Degree Organic Foods Sprouted Brown Rice Crisps
- Trader Joe’s Rice Krispies
- Great Value Rice Crispers Rice Cereal
- Clover Valley, Crispy Rice
- Toasted Rice Breakfast Cereal
- Malt-O-Meal Breakfast Cereal, Crispy Rice
- Barbara’s Bakery Organic Brown Rice Crisps Cereal
- Millville Crispy Rice
- Nature Path Organic Crispy Rice Cereal
- Kroger Crispy Rice
- Arrowhead Mills Natural Puffed Rice Cereal
- Harvest Morn Crisp Rice
- Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice- Gluten-Free Cereal
Rice Krispies cereal is vegan depending on where on the vegan spectrum you stand and the composition of that batch or brand. The one exception is Rice Krispies Treats, which contains animal-based ingredients. While vitamin D is extracted for Rice Krispies may be from animal-based sources, it can also be taken from plant-based sources. You can never truly know unless it is written on the box, or you speak to a representative.
As a vegan, your options should not be limited, as there are 14 alternatives highlighted here alone. If you do not mind iron, sugar, vitamin D, and other grey-area ingredients in your cereal, you can continue with your usual morning routine, and you should be satisfied with your choice. If you do mind, then one of these off-brand ones may be just what you are looking for.