My family loves a good treat bar: granola bars, blondies, fruit bars, peanut butter bars, and all the bars! They’re portable and don’t require plates, utensils, and napkins.
Sunflower Butter Crispy Treats are made with crispy rice cereal, marshmallows, sunflower butter (I think it tastes just like peanut butter!), and butter. They are peanut-free and nut-free, making them perfect for lunchboxes and school parties.
They are a riff on Rice Krispies Treats, a no-bake crispy treat of my childhood. These have the nostalgic chewy, crispy texture and taste of the original snack, but with a nutty flavor of sunflower butter woven throughout. The crispy rice cereal makes them light like little clouds.
These no-bake ooey-gooey, crunchy bars are quick and easy to make. They are my go-to “nap snacks”—treats that I can make start to finish during my kids’ naptime. It’s made in one pot and then dumped into a lined baking pan that doubles as a serving tray.
What is Sunflower Butter?
Sunflower butter is made with ground sunflower seeds. It tastes like peanut butter, but it’s low on the allergen ladder—most schools that prohibit peanut butter or nuts will allow sunflower butter. Always check with your school!
You can often find sunflower butter alongside peanut butter and other nut butters at most grocery stores. My local Target carries it.
Scaling Up for a Party
This recipe is scalable with an easy-to-remember ratio. For every cup of cereal, I use about three ounces of marshmallows and one tablespoon of unsalted butter. If you’re adding flavorings, like sunflower butter, use about two tablespoons per cup of cereal.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Crispy Treats
These treats come together easily and quickly. Here are some tips for the best Sunflower Butter Crispy Treats:
- Work fast! As soon as the butter, sunflower butter, and marshmallows are melted and the cereal is added, work quickly to combine everything together. The marshmallows will start to get stringy and sticky, becoming harder to mix.
- I keep scraps of parchment paper left after trimming them for irregular-sized pans. These are great for lining your square pan to help lift out the treats. You can also use two rectangular strips the width of the pan. My secret to keeping them in place? Bag clips!
- The mixture may be hard to flatten into the pan with a rubber spatula. One trick that works for me: Lightly moisten your hands with water (just a little! not dripping wet!) and lightly press down. The water prevents it from sticking to your hands. It’s an easy way to get an even flat surface. The mixture will feel a little hot so work quickly and carefully.
- Fill the pot covered with dried-on marshmallows with hot water. It will melt the marshmallows, making clean-up easier. Promise!
- The bars should cool for about an hour. They will firm up and become chewier. Stick them in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes if it’s difficult to get a clean cut.
Gluten free? Chocolate-lover? Try these ingredient swaps for more tasty ways to mix up your crispy treats.
- Want to use peanut butter? Go for it! If your peanut butter is salted, cut back on the added salt. About 1/4 teaspoon of salt will suffice.
- Make it vegan by using equal amounts of Earth Balance vegan butter and vegan marshmallows instead of the regular butter and marshmallows.
- Gluten-free? Use gluten-free crispy rice cereal. I like One Degree Sprouted Brown Rice Crisps.
- Use chocolate-flavored crispy rice cereal for a chocolate-y version.
- For a sweeter version, add a tablespoon of honey or brown rice syrup. It won’t change the consistency of the treats.
How to Store Leftovers
Store leftovers in an airtight container on your kitchen counter for up to one day. Longer may be okay, but I prefer to refrigerate it after a day since it has butter that hasn’t been fully brought up to If refrigerated, it’ll be good for up to five days. Let refrigerated crispy treats sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before digging in. The cold makes them rock solid.
More Nut-Free Treats
Sunflower Butter Crispy Treats
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower butter, stirred well
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces marshmallows (about 30 regular-sized marshmallows)
3 cups crispy rice cereal
Prepare the baking pan:
Line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with parchment covering all sides and set it aside. I use small bag clips to hold the parchment paper in place on all four sides of the pan.
Melt the butter and sunflower butter:
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add the butter, sunflower butter, and salt. Stir with a rubber spatula until the butter melts and the consistency of the sunflower butter is smooth and runny.
Add the marshmallows:
Add the marshmallows and use the rubber spatula to push them down into the sunflower butter mixture. Lower the heat if the sunflower butter sticks to the bottom of the pan or looks dry. Continuously stir the marshmallows until they are smooth, melted, and fully incorporated with the sunflower butter mixture.
Add the cereal:
Add the crispy rice cereal, continuously stirring until the cereal is evenly coated with the marshmallow mixture.
Shape and cool the treats:
Dump the whole mixture into the prepared pan. Use the rubber spatula (or your fingers) to evenly spread the mixture into the pan.
Let the treats cool to room temperature for about an hour. It will become firmer (but still deliciously gooey) as it cools.
Cut and serve:
Use the parchment paper slings to pull the treats out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Use a knife to cut it into nine equal pieces. If the treat is falling apart or too sticky to cut, place it in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up a bit more.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 12g||15%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||16%|
|Total Carbohydrate 32g||12%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||3%|
|Total Sugars 17g|
|Vitamin C 6mg||31%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|