The Healthy Dessert You’ve Been Looking For: No-Bake Crispy Chocolate Treats (Vegan, GF)

I was not always familiar with no-bake desserts, let alone those that are gluten-free and vegan.

A stack of crisped rice cereal treats on a burlap surface, with more in shallow focus in the background, printed with orange and white text.

And to top it all off, I am always skeptical when it comes to desserts that are supposedly “healthy.” The first word that used to come to mind my was “gross.”

It wasn’t until later in college when a friend gave up all animal products that I was introduced to any of those sorts of recipes.

At that point, who could blame me for being cautious? Gluten-free treats were not as prevalent as they are now, so the cookies I had tried were like rocks.

My college friend was dedicated to helping me realize that gluten-free and vegan foods could be delicious, easy to make, and healthy. I will always be grateful to her for that, because she totally changed my world and the way I view the healthier realm of food. Hello, creamy vegan cheesecake!

Crisped rice, sunflower seed, and cocoa clusters are scattered haphazardly on a gathered and creased piece of burlap fabric.

I remember one night when we got together to make a raw dessert that was essentially like a chocolate cookie fudge, and it was delicious. We literally polished off the entire thing, and it was a recipe made to serve six.

(Who needs self-restraint? Definitely not this gal….)

It was then that I started to experiment and tinker with recipes that were gluten free, or made without dairy and eggs. Over the years since, I’ve been mastering these types of recipes, and more and more of my friends have discovered their gluten allergy, lactose intolerance, or other dietary issues that require them to restrict what they eat.

In my circle of friends, there’s at least a handful around at all times that need to have their food allergies taken into account when we plan meals together.

A small stack of crispy chocolate cookie treats with more arranged in the background on a gathered and folded light brown burlap cloth.

This recipe is one that I always love to make when I am hosting a group, or going to a gathering. They are really easy to pack up and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve them, and they’re always sure to please our crowd, despite everyone’s dietary differences.

I used to think that customizing recipes to make them work for everyone meant they instantly became more time consuming to prepare. But the truth is, that doesn’t have to be the case at all.

These crispy, chocolatey treats are proof of that.

I love a good no-bake recipe, especially when it’s still warm out. Any excuse not to heat up my house by turning on the oven is one that I will take, you know?

Vertical image of homemade crisp rice cereal and dark chocolate treats, on a gathered and folded burlap cloth.

I still can’t believe just how simple and straightforward this recipe is. And I’m not saying that in terms of, “If you follow the steps exactly, it’s really easy.”

There are only two active steps to complete this recipe, and the third step is simply letting the treats set up in the refrigerator. After the first time you try these, trust me when I say that you are going to start making them all the time, and keeping them in the refrigerator to munch on whenever your heart desires.

As I mentioned before, I am suspicious of desserts that are labeled “good for you.” This is one recipe that you don’t need to be worried about, because the flavor and texture are pure tastiness.

There is a crispy crunch to the treats, and a deep chocolate richness that falls on your tongue like a big old hug. The flavors are sweet without being too sweet, but also without tasting like you are actually eating something healthy.

Crisped rice and chocolate cookie treats, on a burlap background.

It’s the best of both worlds, with healthy dietary fiber and omega-3s, essential nutrients that you won’t find in your standard empty-calorie cookie or candy bar, and no added sugar.

Chocolate lovers young and old are going to gobble these up, and they’re perfect for nut-free, wheat-free, and dairy-free diets.

Share them with the kids on Halloween, add them to the dessert buffet on Thanksgiving or Christmas, make some for your sweetie on Valentine’s Day, or bust them out after school or in the evening on a busy weeknight, because they’re just that simple to throw together.

You are not going to be able to stop at just one, that’s for sure.

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A stack of dark chocolate and crisp rice cereal treats, with more in the background, on a gathered burlap surface.

No-Bake Crispy Chocolate Treats (Vegan, GF)

  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 Dozen 1x


Our unbelievable no-bake gluten-free and vegan crispy chocolate cookie treats are a healthy dessert solution or afternoon snack.


  • 3 cups gluten-free crispy rice cereal
  • 1 1/4 cups dark chocolate chips, melted + more for drizzling
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed


  1. Stir together all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or waxed paper, approximately 1-1 1/2 tablespoons at a time. You will end up with about 1 1/2 dozen treats.
  3. Drizzle cookies with extra melted chocolate.
  4. Refrigerate until set, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from paper and serve.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Gluten Free
  • Method: No-Bake
  • Cuisine: Desserts

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Melt Chocolate and Measure Remaining Ingredients

Place the chocolate chips in a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15 to 20-second intervals, stirring in between each, until the chocolate is melted.

Overhead shot of a stainless steel bowl of crisp rice cereal, and smaller round and square glass bowls of chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, ground flax, and coconut oil, on a striped brown countertop.

Measure all remaining ingredients as listed.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper.

Step 2 – Mix

Add all ingredients to a large bowl. Stir together until well combined.

Crisp rice cereal combined with melted chocolate and sunflower seeds in a large stainless steel mixing bowl, on a beige wooden countertop.

Distribute the mixture onto to the prepared baking sheet in spoonfuls, using approximately 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons at a time, leaving some space in between each so they don’t run together.

Crisped rice and sunflower seed clusters coated with chocolate, arranged in three rows on a white parchment paper background.

Drizzle with additional melted chocolate.

Want to add more ingredients? No problem! Mix in dried fruit or nuts with the cereal. For flavor inspiration, look into our recipe for toasted pecan and dried cranberry chocolate crunchies, another gluten-free no-bake snack.

Step 3 – Chill

Chill on the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes, until they are set.

Crisp rice cereal and sunflower seed clustered drizzled with melted dark chocolate, arranged in three rows on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

What Kind of Chocolate Should I Use?

Obviously, you want to use an all-natural vegan dark chocolate, but there are several options in this category. Different levels of cocoa will bring out different flavors in the treats, so which one should you choose?

That all depends on whether you have a preference for something more sweet or slightly bitter. The higher the percentage of cocoa is in the chocolate chips, chunks, or broken down bars, the more intense and bitter the chocolate flavor will be.

A stack of dark chocolate and crisp rice cereal treats, with more in the background, on a gathered burlap surface.

Honestly, you can use your own judgment on which to choose, but I recommend going with whatever type you would typically enjoy on its own. Semisweet, bittersweet, or ultra dark, the choice is up to you, and these will be delicious whatever you choose.

I like a high percentage of cocoa, because I love that added component of flavor. It lends itself well to these treats, balanced by the sweetness of the coconut oil and rice cereal, and the earthy nuttiness of the ground flax and sunflower seeds. So good!

What’s your favorite dark chocolate to use? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to come back and rate the recipe once you try it.

If you want another no-bake chocolaty indulgence, make our Avocado Mousse Torte for a restaurant-worthy treat!

And if you’re looking for more vegan cookie recipes, try some of these out:

Need gluten-free? We have those too!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on August 23, 2011. Last updated: December 13, 2022 at 13:40 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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