Nutty Bars (Gluten/Dairy/Sugar-Free, Vegan)

Copycat Nutty Bars (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan)

These Copycat Nutty Bars use a few simple ingredients and an EASY no-bake method to recreate a favorite childhood treat full of rich chocolate peanut buttery goodness. No gluten, dairy, or added sugar. Vegan with Paleo and Keto options!

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!

  1. crisp rice cereal
  2. natural peanut butter
  3. coconut oil
  4. cacao powder
  5. powdered sweetener 
  6. vanilla
  7. 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!!

Nutty Bars (Gluten/Dairy/Sugar-Free, Vegan)

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.

Nutty Bars (Gluten/Dairy/Sugar-Free, Vegan)

Ingredient Alternatives

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?

Another oil that is solid at room temp should work fine, such as palm oil, cacao butter or dairy butter. I haven’t tested these other options, but in my experience, they would be an even swap. I want to try coconut butter at some point, too!
Nutty Bars (Gluten/Dairy/Sugar-Free, Vegan)

Sweetener Specifics

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.

Word of caution on store-bought powdered monkfruit. Be sure to check your label. The Lakanto brand powdered monkfruit is labeled 2x. It’s TWICE as sweet as regular monkfruit. So if that’s what you want to use, cut the sweetener amount in half. This may result in bars that are a little more fragile or melty since there’s less substance to thicken or for the “glue” that holds them together.
Alternatives to homemade monkfruit: powdered Swerve, powdered coconut sugar, regular powdered sugar.
Nutty Bars (Gluten/Dairy/Sugar-Free, Vegan)

Helpful Tips

It’s important to note that these do melt at room temp and must be kept refrigerated at all times.
It’s 100 degrees here in Texas right now and with the heat blasting in from all sides, these were not able to sit out long before melting. (I had to do a really quick photo shoot before ending up with chocolate-covered hands, ha)
I was thinking of ways to make these less melty and I thought about trying cacao butter or coconut butter in place of coconut oil. I didn’t get to try it yet, but since those oils are more firm at room temp, they may work. (However, at the same time, they will result in a firmer texture). If you try a sub, please report back how it goes. 🙂
Side note: these can be frozen, but eating them straight from the freezer makes the texture a bit too hard for my liking, but it does work. Let them thaw just a little if they’re frozen for optimum crispness and light texture.
Nutty Bars (Gluten/Dairy/Sugar-Free, Vegan)

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Nutty Bars (Gluten/Dairy/Sugar-Free, Vegan)

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! 🙂

Nutty Bars (Gluten/Dairy/Sugar-Free, Vegan)

Copycat Nutty Bars (Gluten/Dairy/Added Sugar-Free! Vegan + Paleo/Keto options)

Light and crispy peanut butter chocolate bars that taste like the classic Nutty Bars, but made with healthier ingredients.
4.72 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 12 bars
Author: Emily



  • 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!


To store: Must be kept refrigerated. Melts at room temp. Store in an airtight container for 7-10 days, or freeze for one month, tightly wrapped.
To make homemade powdered monkfruit (or any powdered sweetener):
Place at least 1/3 cup of granulated sweetener, such as Lakanto classic monkfruit into a small blender (I use either a Ninja smoothie cup or Vitamix smoothie cup and both work great). Blend for about 10 seconds until powdered. That's it!
Use code PRETTYPIES at to save 20% on all monkfruit products
For strict Paleo or keto sub the peanut butter with sunbutter, cashew butter or almond butter and use pork rinds (see my ideas in the post.)
Nutrition Facts
Copycat Nutty Bars (Gluten/Dairy/Added Sugar-Free! Vegan + Paleo/Keto options)
Serving Size
25 g
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Sugar Alcohol
Net Carbs
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Tag #prettypies!


  • Jennifer

    5 stars
    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!

  • Leona O

    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….

  • Rebecca

    5 stars
    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!!!

  • Holly

    5 stars
    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.

  • 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.

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