You might think Kellogg's Rice Krispies are gluten-free, being puffed grains of rice and all but they're not. Rice Krispies are not gluten-free because they contain barley ingredients. This post breaks down the gluten-free puffed rice cereals options out there, their nutritional value and - most importantly - if they actually taste any good!
🕰️History of Kellogg's Rice Krispies
It all started with 3 words: Snap, Crackle, Pop!
Just picture your 7 year old self: You get the cereal in the bowl, you pour the milk overtop (spilling a little), and you get your ear over that giant mound of Rice Krispies.
And what do you hear? SNAP, CRACKLE and POP of course!
Okay, 80s food icons aside, Rice Krisipies have been around for a loooong time. First introduced in 1928(!), Kellogg's Rice Krispies have had quite the ride.
If you really want to go down a cereal-inspired rabbit hole, this page on Wikipedia goes through the complete history of the cereal, the scandals (gasp!), and the different pronunciations of SNAP, CRACKLE, POP in various countries.
You know what? I'll save you a few minutes out of your day and just give you this fun fact about the cereal: in 1963, The Rolling Stones recorded a short song for a Rice Krispies television advertisement!🎸
Now, how many puffed rice cereals have that as part of their marketing history?!
🤷♀️Why aren't Rice Krispies gluten free?
Rice Krispies aren't 100% gluten-free because they contain barley. Specifically, barley malt extract.
📝Review of gluten free puffed rice cereals
If you love rice kripies but need a gluten-free version, here are some other options for gluten-free puffed rice cereals to check out:
1. Kellogg's Gluten-free Rice Krispies
Kellogg's does have a gluten-free variety of their popular Rice Krispie cereal. Hooray!
Unfortunately, the cereal is not widely available in the US (boo) but I found it here in Canada easily at my local Walmart and you can buy it on Amazon.
Nutritional Content of Kellogg's Gluten-Free Rice Krispies
Like most boxed cereals, Kellogg's Gluten-free Rice Krispies are "fortified" which means that they have vitamins and minerals added during processing so that the cereal provides additional nutrition. Because of this fortification, these gluten-free rice krispies are a source of vitamins and minerals, particularly iron and B vitamins. They also provide a good source of whole grains. Like most cereals, they're low in total and saturated fat as well as sodium. What they lack is protein and fibre.
Nutritional breakdown of Kellogg's Gluten Free Rice Krispies for a 1 cup (32 g) serving:
- 120 calories
- Fat 1 gram
- Carbohydrates 27g
- Fibre 1g
- Sugar 1g
- Protein 3g
- Sodium 190mg
Ingredients in Kellogg's Gluten-Free Rice Krispies:
Whole grain brown rice, sugar, salt, BHT. Vitamins and minerals: iron, thiamine hydrochloride, cholecalciferol (vitamin D3), niacinamide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, D-calcium pantothenate.
Interestingly, this box of Kellogg's Gluten-Free Rice Krispies in front of me now has listed "Product of USA" but imported by Kellogg Canada Inc so they're in the US at some point, it's just hard to actually buy them there.
Taste Test of Gluten-free Rice Krispies from Kellogg's:
B+. My super objective scientific rating!
Here's how these gluten-free rice krispies breakdown in their rating:
Pros: when they go SNAP, CRACKLE, POP after pouring my almond milk on there, that just transports me back to childhood. Gotta love it. Plus, if you eat them before the milk gets them soggy (ew), the crunchy mouthfeel they give is awesome.
I also love that they're lower in sodium, low in sugar, and provide the fortification of vitamins and minerals you'd expect from a boxed cereal (iron, B vitamins, etc.)
Cons: in the taste department, don't expect your taste buds to be blown away. That low in salt and sugar "pro" translates into a trade-off: not a ton of taste.
Price: a 340g box of the cereal cost $4.00 CAD ($3.07 USD)
Availability: I was able to easily order these from my local Walmart. As noted above, not available in the US at the time this post was published. Worth trying Amazon if you want to try and order them.
Bottom line on Gluten-free Rice Krispies from Kellogg's:
Definitely a solid choice when you're looking for a gluten free rice krispie option. Taste and mouthfeel a lot like the original rice krispies. Biggest drawback is the lack of availability - they're very hard to find.
2. Nature's Path Organic Crispy Rice
Nature's Path has a brand of gluten-free rice krispies that they describe as "delicious whole grain brown rice crisps".
It's a naturally gluten-free cereal, lightly sweetened, and according to Nature's Path, "is a great pantry staple for morning routines and adding crunch to your baking and cooking."
This cereal is Certified Gluten Free, Non-GMO verified and certified organic.
Nutritional Content of Nature's Path Organic Crispy Brown Rice
For every ¾ cup (30g) of cereal, this one provides 110 calories and is low in fat, sodium and sugar. One serving provides 24 grams of whole grain carbohydrates and 2 grams of that is fibre. The cereal alone provides 2 grams of protein.
Unlike fortified cereals, like Kellogg's Gluten-Free Rice Krispies, Nature's Path version of gluten-free rice krispies is not fortified, which means it doesn't provide any significant source of vitamins or minerals.
It does provide 6% Daily Value of iron but that's naturally occurring from the molasses used for colour and sweetness.
Here's the nutritional info for this gluten-free rice krispie option (per ¾ cup serving):
- 110 calories
- Fat 1.5 grams
- Carbohydrates 24g
- Fibre 2g
- Sugar 2g
- Protein 2g
- Sodium 160mg
Ingredients in Nature's Path Organic Crispy Brown Rice
Brown rice flour, cane sugar, sea salt, molasses.
Taste Test of Nature's Path Organic Crispy Brown Rice: I'm giving them a solid B.
Pros: This gluten free rice krispie option is a crunchy and light cereal. Great texture and mouthfeel. Would be good for making rice krispie squares too.
Cons: Not big in the taste department, a bit bland. I use almond milk, which helps boost the cereal up and slices of banana or chunks of fresh peach in the summer.
Price: a large 750g bag of this cereal cost $12.19 CAD ($9.28 USD). It's also comes in a smaller cereal box (284 g).
Availability: I bought my large bag of this cereal on Amazon and Target and Walmart both carry Nature's Path products (availability will vary by store.) Locally, I can buy it at my major grocery stores (Zehrs, Metro.)
Bottom line on Nature's Path Organic Crispy Brown Rice: Well, I say bland, my husband says, "tastes like Rice Krispies" so there you have it. With your milk choice and maybe some sliced banana or peach on top, a great option for a gluten-free rice krispie cereal.
3. Organic Quinoa Cocoa Crisps
This crispy and cocoa-forward cereal is a fun substitution for Rice Krispies because of the cocoa flavour, aka has a chocolate-feel (but without the sweetness.)
The main ingredient in this cereal is puffed quinoa, which makes it naturally gluten-free.
Puffed quinoa is made by "baking" those small almost seed-like quinoa grains, which makes up them all puff up and out.
Puffed quinoa can be eaten with some milk for a quick breakfast, added to yogurt, used in homemade cereal bars and even in salads for a special crunchy and nutritious touch.
(Psst - these Puffed Quinoa Bars with Almond Butter are an awesome way to use puffed quinoa😄)
And if you don't want the "cocoa" taste of this cereal, you can buy plain, crispy puffed quinoa only from GoGo Quinoa or from a bulk food or health food store.
Although quinoa is gluten-free and there's only the 1 ingredient in puffed quinoa on it's own, cross contamination with gluten-containing products typically cannot be ruled out in a bulk food store setting.
If you know you're very sensitive to any cross-mingling with gluten containing ingredients or have celiac disease, you might want to avoid these.
Nutritional Content of Quinoa Cocoa Crisps cereal: For a ¾ cup (30 gram) serving, the nutritional breakdown of this cereal is:
- 110 calories
- Fat 0.5 grams
- Carbohydrates 27g
- Fibre 4g
- Sugar 8g
- Protein 2g
- Sodium 5g
Coco crisps are not a significant source of any vitamins or minerals, including iron.
Ingredients in Quinoa Cocoa Crisps cereal:
Quinoa flour*, Sugar* (Cane sugar, Molasses), Brown rice flour*, White rice flour*, Inulin* (Agave fiber), Cacao powder*, Pea protein*, Oat flour*.
Taste Test of Quinoa Cocoa Crisps: I give this cereal an A-
Pros: I love the crunch and the coco flavour; it's something different than the more traditional rice krispie cereal. Also, you could use this cereal to make coco gluten-free rice krispie square treats which would be yummy😋
Cons: Not being fortified, it doesn't get any points for extra nutrition. And it's more coco than sweet so if you don't like that flavour profile, you might not care for this cereal.
Price: a 260 gram box of the cereal from GoGo Quinoa costs $5.99 CAD ($4.60 USD) or at my local bulk food store, I paid $3.08 CAD ($2.37 USD) for 0.11kg (or about 5 cups of the cereal.)
Availability: You can purchase coco crisps cereal from a bulk food store or GoGo Quinoa has a plain and coco version too.
4. Gluten-Free Chex
Ok these aren't gluten free rice krispies but I think they're a great alternative for a gluten-free rice crisp cereal.
Chex Cereal has been around for a long time and I found out that they've got quite the face lift on their products! They've got more than half a dozen flavour varieties of gluten-free Chex now and I think, taste great.
Here I'm reviewing the Cinnamon flavour, as I bought both the "regular" and the Cinnamon and I really liked the Cinnamon one.
Nutritional Content of Gluten-Free Chex (Cinnamon): For a ¾ cup (31 gram) serving, the nutritional breakdown of gluten-free Chex is:
- 130 calories
- Fat 3.0 grams
- Carbohydrates 25g
- Fibre 1g
- Sugar 6g
- Protein 2g
- Sodium 190g
Gluten free Cinnamon Chex is also fortified with iron, providing 30% of the Daily Values; plus 10% vitamin B6 and a small amount of folate, pantothenate, calcium and magnesium.
Interestingly, on Chex's website, the US version of the cereal is more fully fortified with vitamins and minerals. This is due to different laws on cereal fortification between Canada and the United States. Check your box of cereal to know what you're getting.
Ingredients in Gluten-Free Chex: Whole Grain Rice, Rice, Sugar, Canola and/or Sunflower Oil, Salt, Rice Fiber, Cinnamon, Molasses, Natural Flavor. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness.
Note: always check your label of cereal for the most accurate ingredient list. On Chex's website, the ingredients and the fortification are different than what's available in Canada.
Taste Test of Gluten-Free Chex:
B+. Overall, a yummy crunchy gluten-free and rice-based cereal.
Pros: the flavour is really, really good. Sweeter than some other cereals on this lists but for only 6 grams of sugar per serving. The cinnamon flavour, along with the crunch is a great combo.
Cons: For me, it's the lack of fibre (only 1 gram) and low vitamin and mineral fortification where this cereal loses points.
(And between my husband and I, he likes the Original flavour of Chex better than the cinnamon one so you know, there really is no accounting for taste😆).
Price: for a 345g box, they cost me $4.77 CAD ($3.68 USD) at Walmart
Availability: Widely available wherever you buy groceries or online.
🏅Best Option for Gluten-Free Rice Krispies
Alright, so when it comes down to finding a substitute for gluten-free rice krispies, in my opinion, here's the best options:
In first place: Nature's Path Organic Crispy Brown Rice. If you're looking for a straight-up replacement for regular rice krispies, this is a great gluten-free rice krispie option.
In second place, I'd put Kellogg's Gluten-Free Rice Krispies. Mainly because of the availability issue. They're hard to find outside of Canada.
And in third, my vote goes to Chex, the cinnamon variety. They have a great taste and are fortified like other cereals so you're still getting the nutrition you expect from a boxed cereal.
Now, let's go make some gluten-free rice krispie treats because yes, marshmallows are gluten free😄
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