Copycat Nutty Bars (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan)
One Bowl Recipe
It’s amazing how much these homemade Nutty Bars taste like the real deal! Ultra LIGHT as air, super CRISP, melt in your mouth pb chocolate YUM. So so so good.
It totally takes me back to junior high when I ate these for lunch lol! Just Nutty Bars and no actual FOOD. Omg what was I thinking?
Anyway, now I found a way to replicate that DELICIOUS taste using healthier ingredients.
I love that there’s only ONE bowl to mix all the ingredients for this recipe! Less mess, less to clean, more time to enjoy!!
I used a large (4 cup) glass measuring cup, but a large glass bowl would also work great. I recommend glass because you’ll need to pop it in the microwave for 30-60 seconds or so.
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7 Simple Ingredients
These are made with common pantry staples you probably already have at home! Yay!
- crisp rice cereal
- natural peanut butter
- coconut oil
- cacao powder
- powdered sweetener
- pink salt
The original Nutty Bars have wafer cookies inside, layers of peanut butter cream plus a chocolate coating, but I found that rice crispy cereal recreates that texture perfectly when mixed with peanut butter & chocolate! SO good!!
Easy, No-Bake Method
To make these homemade Nutty Bars, you’ll be happy to hear there’s
- NO baking
- NO cooking
- NO complicated techniques
These are simple enough for kids to make, and delicious enough for kids and adults alike!
You’ll need to melt together the oil and peanut butter either using a microwave or saucepan on a stovetop. That’s the extent of the “cooking.” But if it’s summer and super hot outside, you could probably “cook” these on your patio, haha.
TIP #1: Don’t skip lining your pan with paper! It will make it so much easier to remove them from the pan. You can just lift them right out. I like to use parchment paper, but wax paper may work fine here. Just leave a few inches of overhang so you can grab the sides and remove them to slice.
Tip #2: Packing the mixture firmly in the pan helps them hold together better.
Tip #3: Use a 7.5 x 5.5″ (6 cup) glass dish. Any bigger, and your bars could be too thin and fall apart. Any smaller, and they could be too thick. It depends on *how* much bigger/smaller your dish is, but the 7.5 x 5.5″ size makes these bars the perfect thickness to me! Just right.
Note on rice cereal: Something I learned not too long ago is that regular Rice Krispies cereal contains gluten in the form of malt.
So if you are gluten-free like me, look for one that is labeled as such.
- Aldi makes a store-brand that is GF,
- and there are several options at natural stores like Sprouts and Whole Foods that carry gluten-free varieties.
- Some are even made with brown rice and no additives at all, so there are some more natural alternatives out there.
- I found some options on Amazon, too!
What can I use besides rice cereal? aka How to make this KETO and/or Paleo
I figured since a chunk of my readers are Keto and low-carb, you may want to find an alternative to rice, since it is higher in carbs.
Rice is also a controversial ingredient in Paleo circles.. some say white rice is “approved.” Others condemn all grains. I’m not here to debate. You do you.
One possibility is pork rinds. I haven’t tried it myself, but since it has a light and crispy texture, that may work! Just blitz them in a food processor first to form flakes.
Something I did want to point out is that even though there are 2 cups of cereal in this recipe, it only amounts to about 2 1/2 Tbs in each bar.
For my tolerance level, it works. I can’t do a whole bowl of cereal or my stomach will rebel, but a little bit I can tolerate, and ENJOY it 🙂
What can I use besides coconut oil?
To lower the carbs significantly, I used monkfruit, my favorite sugar-free sweetener.
And to ensure it was not gritty, I blended it into a powder first to essentially make homemade powdered “sugar.” Did you know you can turn any granulated sweetener into a powder by blending it in a blender? It’s true! And it only takes 10 seconds.
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If you try these bars, please leave a rating or review below! Those are so very helpful to me and my readers. Thank you and I hope you enjoy! 🙂
Copycat Nutty Bars (Gluten/Dairy/Added Sugar-Free! Vegan + Paleo/Keto options)
- 2 cups gluten-free rice crispy cereal
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter - no sugar or oil added
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 3 Tbs raw cacao powder
- 3 Tbs homemade powdered monkfruit - *see notes* or powdered sweetener of choice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- pinch of pink salt
- Line a 7.5 x 5.5" dish with parchment paper.
- In a large glass bowl or measuring cup, melt together peanut butter and coconut oil (I used a microwave - about 30 seconds, but a saucepan and stovetop work, too)
- Stir in cacao, sweetener, salt and vanilla and whisk well to combine.
- Fold in rice crispies.
- Pour mixture into parchment-lined pan and press firmly to pack together.
- Cover and chill or freeze bars until set.
- Slice into 12 bars. Enjoy!
These were amazing! So good! The only change I made was I subbed stevia for the monkfruit sweetener because I was too lazy to blend it up!
Yay! So glad you liked them! Which kind of stevia did you use? That’s great to hear it worked!
I used Sweet Leaf Sweet Drops Liquid Stevia.
I forgot to mention that I made these with almond butter instead of peanut butter. I just made another batch this morning! Thanks again for an awesome recipe!
Oh yum I’ll have to try almond butter too! I like to add almond extract for an extra pop of flavor! You are so welcome. thank you for leaving a review! 🙂
Dangerously addictive. These were SO good. I doubled the recipe for the 5 of us and I think I’m 10lbs heavier. I want to make these again NOW….but I shouldn’t….
So glad you liked them! Go ahead and enjoy another batch
Hi can I sub the rice cereal
We don’t get them in our country
You could try coconut flakes or any kind of chopped nuts/seeds, or even pork rinds 🙂 Let me know how it goes if you try it
I made these using the high key zero carb cereal! 10 servings of this recipe came to 1.9 net carbs! Amazing! Thanks for the recipe!!!
Yay! That’s awesome! I’m gonna have to hunt down some high key
You are so welcome
SOOOOO delicious!!! The only thing I miss about nutty bars was being able to pull apart the layers. I told my husband he could try them but I wanted the whole batch to myself lol!
Haha I totally understand not wanting to share
Crunchy and delicious! Just like the original Nutty bars!
Great to hear! Thank you Allison!
I knew just by reading through the recipe that I was going to be in love with these, so I tripled the recipe and boy am I glad I did! Although, now I can’t stop eating them! Can I just say that you totally nailed this recipe?! I think these taste better than the original nutty bars! Way to go! You rock! Next time I’ll try the pork rinds option to compare.
Oh awesome!! Thank you! So glad you like them, and even more than the original – wow! Let me know how it goes w the pork rinds!
Sherry R Queen
This sounds a lot like the no cook chocolate oatmeal bars that I remember fondly from elementary school. Unfortunately, I don’t remember which type of oatmeal they used, I am sure it it was whatever was cheapest 50+ years ago. If someone tries to substitute the cereal for oats start at 1 cup and add more for proper consistency.2 cups oatmeal to 1/2 cup peanut butter may not be moist enough.