Tahini Brown Rice Crispy Treats

Try a new take on rice crispy treats with these gluten-free tahini brown rice crispy treats! They're marshmallow free and sweetened naturally! An option to make them vegan is also available. One bite and the childhood memories will be flooding back! 

A stack of three tahini brown rice krispy treats topped with sesame seeds.

Growing up, Rice Crispy treats were quite the well… a treat. My mom used to make them all the time with a chocolate drizzle on top. I remember not being able to wait until they were fully cooled and I’d be sneaking chunks of warm the cereal marshmallow mixture before anyone noticed (more like before they could stop me).

They were ooey gooey and perfectly sweet. It should come as no surprise that I preferred them without the chocolate drizzle since chocolate was never my thing. My how things have changed! But my mom, being the chocolate lover that she is with her favorite saying “It’d taste better if it was chocolate” there was always a chocolate drizzle.

A baking dish with squares of tahini brown rice krispy treats topped with sesame seeds.

Fast forward many years and here I am, yearning for a childhood favorite. It was no problem when I wanted to make them gluten-free, there are plenty of gluten free brown rice crisp cereals that are gluten-free and Kellogg’s themselves have a gluten-free variety.

No, the issue was the whole sugar, butter and marshmallow thing. How do I make a rice crispy treat that is refined sugar free and dairy-free? Coconut oil? Brown rice syrup? Refined sugar free marshmallows? What would work? Many, many trials later I think I found a great option!

My first successful batch ended up being a combination of peanut butter and honey. I adored the flavor and the chewiness was just right! I brought them to work for my coworkers to try and quickly realized the problem. People are accustomed to rice crispy treats to be nut free.

Now this wasn’t a problem since none of them are allergic to nuts but I didn’t want to take any chances. I found myself saying “These contain nuts!” every 2 minutes to anyone who wanted to take one. So, I decided then and there that peanut butter was off the table.

A hand holding a square tahini rice krispy treat topped with sesame seeds.

While also testing peanut butter I wanted to test brown rice syrup too for a vegan option. The chewiness was there but the flavor was just a bit milder. If I wanted these to be vegan, I’d definitely use it. I just preferred the honey taste overall.

Next batch was a lower honey batch. I reduced the amount of honey to 1/4 cup to make it lower in sugar. Did it work? Kind of. It held together but was very crunchy and didn’t have that classic chew I love so much. So back to the full amount of honey (that’s ok, we’ll make this a once in awhile treat!).

A few batches later and I spotted the tahini in my refrigerator. Nut-free, as it’s made from sesame seeds; Creamy just like natural nut butters; Mild flavor so it wouldn’t overtake the treats… Did I find a winner? You bet I did!

These treats are sweet and have an interesting flavor from the tahini. You won’t be able to quite place the flavor but I think that’s what makes these treats so delicious! While mixing these together, at the last minute I decided to throw in some sesame seeds and I’m so glad I did! They added a little bit of crunch and made the dessert look so pretty!

A stack of three tahini rice krispy treats on a white plate with more treats in the background.

More Gluten-Free Treat Recipes

Tahini Brown Rice Crispy Treats

Try a new take on rice crispy treats with these gluten-free tahini brown rice crispy treats! They're marshmallow free and sweetened naturally! An option to make them vegan is also available. One bite and the childhood memories will be flooding back! 
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 9 servings
Calories: 196kcal
Author: Megan


  • 3 cups gluten-free brown rice crispy cereal (not rice puffs)
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup honey (or brown rice syrup if vegan)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds


  • In a small pot over medium heat, combine tahini, honey, vanilla and sea salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is warm and thinned.
  • Pour mixture over brown rice crispy cereal and sesame seeds. With a spatula, carefully stir until the cereal is completely covered. Spoon into an 8x8 inch baking dish. Place in the refrigerator to set for at least 30 minutes.
  • Slice into 9 pieces to serve.


Calories: 196kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 313mg | Potassium: 102mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 630IU | Vitamin C: 6.6mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 4.1mg
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about megan

I’m Megan

A gluten-free food blogger from Chicago and lover of all things food, showing you gluten-free can be easy and delicious, too. Let’s make gluten-free stress free together! Read more…

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  1. Love these marshmallow free rice crispies. Pinned to try soon.

  2. Sarah | Well and Full says:

    These look amazing! Looks like all of your experimentation paid off šŸ˜‰

  3. Oh this absolutely makes my day! I used to love Rice Krispie Treats but I’ve been a vegetarian for 6 years and avoid gelatin! I’m definitely pinning these right now and make them very soon! Thanks!

  4. What do you think of using maple syrup?

    1. Maple syrup isn’t as sticky as honey or brown rice syrup, but I still think it should work in a pinch.

  5. Susan Day says:

    5 stars
    These are AMAZING! Thank you so much for the recipe. I was looking for a vegan Rice Krispie treat that was a little healthier and these looked perfect, and are: the tahini and sesame seeds make them extra special, and they end up having a good amount of iron due to the fortified amounts in the cereal and the iron in sesames/tahini. And they are terrific with non-dairy ice cream!

    1. So glad you enjoyed these, Susan!!

  6. Hello, I was wondering.. If I wanted to use less of the brown rice syrup could I increase the tahini to 3/4 C. & do 1/4 C. of the syrup? Do you think they’d still come out ok? Thank you

    1. Hi Sarah, I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure but my concern is that the brown rice syrup is needed to make the bars really hold together and to give them that chewy texture, similar to rice crispy treats with marshmallow.