Rice Krispies are one of the oldest breakfast cereals in America and have been around since 1927. Compared to most of the other sugar-laden cereals on store shelves, Rice Krispies have fewer ingredients, no artificial flavors, or chemically-derived preservatives.
The real reason you’re here, though, is because you’re wondering, “Are Rice Krispies vegan?”
From an ethical vegan standpoint, Rice Krispies aren’t considered vegan. Although the ingredients are all-natural, the cereal contains refined white sugar, which is filtered through animal bone char.
Additionally, it also contains vitamin D3, which almost always comes from animal hair fibers.
I know, it’s kind of disappointing, right?
If you’re a simple dietary vegan, then Rice Krispies are an acceptable breakfast cereal.
However, if you’re an ethical vegan who’s actively avoiding any and all products that use the slightest bit of animal by-products in their production, then you’ll want to find a vegan alternative to Rice Krispies.
In today’s post, I’ll give you a full breakdown of all of the ingredients in Rice Krispies, explain which ones aren’t vegan, and answer a few questions about the cereal. Then, I’ll show you some of my favorite vegan-friendly alternatives to Rice Krispies!
Do Rice Krispies Contain Dairy?
Unlike many of Kellogg’s other cereals, Rice Krispies cereal does not contain any dairy or dairy by-products. There’s no milk fat, casein, milk solids, or whey that you’ll need to worry about. This is part of the reason why most dietary vegans are okay with eating this cereal brand.
Do Rice Krispies Contain Gelatin?
Gelatin is another common additive that’s often found in breakfast cereals, candy, and breakfast treats like Pop-Tarts. It’s essentially pure powdered animal fat and it’s a low-cost ingredient that’s used as an emulsifier to add texture to food.
Thankfully, Rice Krispies do not contain any gelatin, whatsoever!
Since the cereal is relatively simple, it doesn’t need any advanced emulsifiers or texture additives. It’s pretty much just pure puffed rice with a touch of salt, sugar, and added vitamins.
Vitamin D3 In Rice Krispies: Why It’s A Problem
So if Rice Krispies use such a natural formula, why do ethical vegans avoid the cereal?
The main reason why Rice Krispies are considered non-vegan by ethical vegans is that it contains an added vitamin that’s derived from sheep’s wool (a non-vegan textile).
The vitamin in question is vitamin D3.
Generally speaking, vitamin D is considered a vegan-friendly additive and is very healthy. Your body naturally synthesizes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight.
However, many people don’t get enough natural sunlight, so they need to supplement by consuming foods with added vitamin D.
While vitamin D2 is vegan, vitamin D3 is almost always extracted from sheep’s wool, making it non-vegan.
Is Vitamin D3 Ever Vegan?
Vitamin D3 can be vegan, though. Vegan D3 is extracted from lichen, a type of mossy plant that’s grown in labs and used as a source of vitamins and minerals.
That being said, vegan D3 is a lot more expensive and labor-intensive to extract, so most mainstream food companies don’t use it. They typically use animal-derived D3 as it’s far more affordable and allows them to price their food cheaper.
Rice Krispies Ingredients: Listed
Now that you know a little bit more about which ingredients to look out for, I figured that this would be a good place to give you a complete breakdown of all of the main ingredients in Rice Krispies!
Here’s the shortlist from the back of the box:
Now, I’ll go through the list and explain all of them.
As you may have guessed, Rice Krispies is considered a puffed rice cereal. Each little bit of cereal is essentially just a toasted grain of white rice. As the main ingredient, rice is 100% plant-based and vegan-friendly.
The second main ingredient in Rice Krispies is sugar, specifically refined white sugar. This sweetener is a problem for most ethical vegans, as it’s filtered through high-carbon animal bone char, which is used to remove the cane sugar’s natural brown coloring.
Vegan cereal brands use organic unrefined cane sugar, which is always vegan as it’s not processed with any animal by-products.
Rice Krispies aren’t a sweet cereal. Instead, they have a lightly sweet taste with a slightly salty aftertaste. Salt is always vegan, so no worries there!
4) Malt Flavor
Unlike most other cereal brands, Rice Krispies don’t use any artificial flavors or contain any artificial coloring. Instead, the brand uses a bit of all-natural malt flavoring, which is vegan and plant-based.
This flavoring is extracted from sugar and malted grains and is known for having a toasted, nutty, almost caramel-like flavor. It also gives the Rice Krispies a slightly toasted appearance, which makes them look more appealing.
5) Added Vitamins & Minerals
Lastly, Kellogg’s adds vitamins and minerals to all of its cereal products. This is what allows them to market the cereal as a healthy breakfast option and makes it more appealing to parents who buy it for their kids.
While most of the vitamins and minerals in the cereal are vegan-friendly, vitamin D3, which is extracted from sheep’s wool, is not vegan.
Are Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Vegan In The UK?
One of the most interesting things I’ve learned in my travels is that food in the UK and Europe is a lot different from food in the United States. Take McDonald’s, for instance.
In the US, McDonald’s Fries contain meat-derived seasoning and are cooked in palm oil. In the UK, however, the fast-food chain’s fries are completely vegan.
Unfortunately, though, this isn’t the case with Rice Krispies. The same US recipe is also used in the UK.
Are Cocoa Krispies Vegan?
Cocoa Krispies are the delicious chocolate-flavored cousin of Rice Krispies. For the most part, they contain the same ingredients as regular unflavored Rice Krispies. However, they still contain refined white sugar and vitamin D3, which make it a non-vegan cereal as well.
What Are Cocoa Krispies Made Of?
Here’s a full list of the ingredients used in Cocoa Krispies, so you can see for yourself:
Are Rice Krispies Treats Vegan?
Believe it or not, Rice Krispies Treats are actually more vegan than the Rice Krispies cereal! This is because they don’t contain any of the added vitamins and minerals, which means they don’t have any vitamin D3.
The only questionable ingredient in Rice Krispies Treats is sugar since it’s refined and filtered through animal bone char. However, if you’re a dietary vegan, then this shouldn’t be an issue for you.
The Best Vegan Rice Krispies Alternatives To Try
Alright, so now that you know the full story behind Rice Krispies and what makes them not-so-vegan, here are a few of my favorite vegan Rice Krispies alternatives!
All of these cereals use all-natural ingredients, are dairy-free, and don’t contain any refined white sugar or animal-derived vitamins.
You can either find them on Amazon or at your local health foods store:
The Verdict – Are Rice Krispies Vegan?
If you’re a simple dietary vegan who doesn’t mind consuming a bit of white sugar or wool-derived vitamin D3, then Rice Krispies can be considered vegan.
However, if you’re an ethical vegan who wants to avoid any and all animal by-products in their food, then you’re better off going with one of the vegan-friendly Rice Krispies alternatives I mentioned above.
If you’re a fan of cereal, then you’ll love my latest post listing the best vegan cereal brands!