Vegan Crunch Bars

You can make the best homemade crunch bars with just 3 ingredients, a few simple steps, and 10 minutes of active time! This crispy chocolate bar recipe is a dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan copycat of the classic Nestle Crunch Bar that tastes every bit as good! And it’s easy to make – just melt, stir, fill, and chill.


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You would think chocolate crunch bars aren’t much different from a regular old chocolate bar. After all, they’re basically just chocolate bars with the addition of crunchy rice cereal thrown in. But wow, do those little rice crispies make a huge difference! 

I love chocolate bars and could eat them every day…but they’re just not as instantly satisfying as Crunch Bars, which have always been one of my favorite candy bars. There’s just something about them that just keeps drawing you back in. 

Even T, who usually is much more reserved when it comes to chocolates than he is with sour jelly candies, was a big fan and went back to the fridge four times in an hour!

After that endorsement, I decided that even though we have a simple chocolate bar recipe, the world needed this vegan crunch bar recipe too. 

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Are Nestle Crunch Bars vegan?

Nestle’s classic Crunch bars are not vegan. Among other things, the original recipe contains lactose (milk sugar), nonfat milk, and milkfat. I would think those last two would cancel each other out. What I do know is our homemade Crunch bar recipe is vegan, dairy-free, and just as delicious!

Overhead photo of crunch vegan chocolate bars with a bowl of rice crispy cereal to the bottom left

Why We Love These Crispy Rice Chocolate Bars

  • Just 3 ingredients is all you need – vegan chocolate chips, refined coconut oil, and rice cereal!
  • They are the real thing and taste just like a classic milk chocolate Crunch bar. You’ll be shocked you made them yourself!
  • It’s a gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan way to get your chocolate sweet treat craving on!

Crunch Bar Ingredients

You only need a few simple ingredients to make these homemade vegan crunch bars.

  • Vegan-friendly chocolate chipsEnjoy Life is probably the most popular brand of allergen-friendly vegan chocolate chips in the grocery stores, but there are a ton of options out there! Nestle makes “Allergen-Free Semi-Sweet Morsels” that are vegan. We usually use ShopRite’s “Bowl and Basket” store brand of semi-sweet chocolate chips which are “accidentally” vegan (see below!). We don’t necessarily recommend unsweetened chocolate chips for this.
  • Coconut oil – We suggest using refined coconut oil which has zero coconut flavor or smell. If you want your crispy chocolate bars to have a coconut flavor to them, feel free to use unrefined or virgin coconut oil. We love Nutiva brand for both versions.
  • Rice cereal – Nature’s Path makes a vegan rice cereal. See the notes below for more info on vegan-friendly rice cereal options!

You’ll also want a silicone chocolate candy mold. We used this chocolate candy bar mold we ordered on Amazon for under $15! I like it because it comes with 2 different bar options – the small squares and the rectangles. The silicone molds are perfect for this homemade crunch bar recipe and make the actual Nestle Crunch shape of a rectangle! Or make smaller candy pieces in fun shaped molds for a themed party treat!

Alternatively, if you just want to make a solid bar, you can use one of those rectangular take-out containers or any Tupperware. Even a small loaf pan or cookie sheet or sheet pan lined with parchment paper would work. Just fill the bottom of the container with the chocolate liquid to about 1/2 inch depth.  

Vegan Puffed Rice Cereal

Cereal can be one of those tricky items for vegans because of things like vitamin D. Vitamin D can be a difficult ingredient to navigate because most products don’t put the source of their vitamin D in the ingredients. There are a few things you can look for.

Vitamin D3 is almost always, like 99.9% of the time, animal-based. Most often from the lanolin found in wool. There is a lichen-based D3 that is vegan-friendly, but it seems to be used mostly in vegan supplements and is still kind of rare in things like cereal. Animal-based vitamin D may sometimes be parenthetically labeled as cholecalciferol, like on Walmart’s Great Value crispy rice cereal. An easy way I remember this is the animal based one is by the word’s root “chole” and cholesterol.

Vitamin D2 is derived from yeast or fungi and is suitable for vegans. This will sometimes be labeled as ergocalciferol. An easy way I remember this one is 1) ergo in Greek means “work”, so “ergocalciferol works”, or 2) ergo in Latin means “therefore”, as in “The cereal contains ergocalciferol, therefore it is vegan”. 

Lastly, you can check the vitamin nutrient information to see if Vitamin D is even present. Nature’s Path list 0% vitamin D on their panel. Vitamin D free rice cereal is usually vegan.

Vegan Rice Cereal FAQs

What rice cereal is vegan? Nature’s Path Crispy Rice cereal is vegan. If you’re looking for an extra chocolatey chocolate bar, Cascadian Farms and Mom’s Best both make a chocolate crispy rice cereal that is vegan and also lists no vitamin D in their ingredients.

Is Kellogg’s Rice Krispies vegan? Kellogg’s Rice Krispies contain D3 and are not vegan.

Is Great Value Rice Krispies vegan? Walmart’s store brand Great Value is not vegan. It lists “cholecalciferol” (animal-based) parenthetically after Vitamin D on their ingredients.

Substitution Options

If you don’t have or can’t tolerate one of the above ingredients, here are our best substitution tips. Remember though, substituting any of the ingredients may lead to a varied degree of difference in the final product. Let us know in the comments if you try any subs and how they work out for you! 

For the vegan chocolate chips: Peanut butter chips or white chocolate chips could be a fun twist. We got some absolutely delicious vegan peanut butter chips from Choc Zero at Expo East last year. And Enjoy Life now makes vegan white chocolate chips that are delicious! The peanut butter chips with the Cascadian Farms chocolate rice krispies could be an interesting twist!

For the coconut oil: Vegan Butter or vegetable shortening could work in a real pinch but would give you a softer texture. We have not tried this, so let us know if you do!

For the rice cereal: I think this could work with other cereals, but if you’re using something with big pieces, I would chop them up a bit. Chopped nuts can also be a great option to add some extra crunch!

Overhead photo of two vegan crunch bars on a square white plate. One square of the chocolate bar is falling off the plate

How to Make Homemade Nestle Crunch Bars

These vegan crunch bars could not be easier to make! You’ll melt the chocolate, mix it with the cereal, and spoon it into the molds.

Step 1: Make the vegan chocolate mix.

Add the chocolate and coconut oil to a small saucepan on low heat, stirring often. When the chips are almost completely melted, remove from heat and stir vigorously until only a chocolate liquid remains. Then, gently stir the rice cereal into the melted chocolate mixture.

Step 3: Fill and chill.

Place your silicone chocolate mold on a flat stable surface like a plate, tray, or cutting board. Carefully spoon the mixture into the chocolate bar mold and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or (for best results) overnight to set. 

The freezer could speed this process up, but we’ve seen best results when chilled in the fridge overnight. Freezing too quickly could also cause “chocolate blooms”. That’s those grainy, whitish spots you sometimes see. They’re fine to eat, just not as pretty.

Once set, remove the chocolate bars from their molds and enjoy these little crispy treats!

How to Store This Nestle Crunch Bar Recipe

Store leftover vegan chocolate bars in a well-sealed container in the fridge or freezer for up to 4-5 months. 

Usually refrigeration isn’t suggested as necessary for storing crunch bars, but we do with this recipe because of the coconut oil, especially in the warmer months.

Again, be mindful of surface condensation on the chocolate usually formed by rapid temperature changes and especially humid environments. This can cause sugar blooms or fat blooms in the chocolate which create little whites spots and a slightly grainy texture caused by sugar degradation of the surface. That doesn’t mean the chocolate is bad. 

Overhead photo of 4 homemade chocolate crunch bars with a silicone chocolate bar mold in the upper right corner

More Vegan Chocolate Recipes

I hope you’ll make and enjoy these homemade Crunch bars as much as I did, and as much as T did. And we really did. They totally took me back to Halloween as a kid!

When you try the recipe, it would mean so much if you left a star rating and review in the section below. That really helps more people see our recipes, and we just love cheering you on in the kitchen!

Yield: 4-6 crunch bars

Chocolate Crunch Bars

Overhead photo of a tower of homemade crunch bars on a plate. There is a bowl of chocolate chips and rice cereal behind the bars.

You can make the best homemade crunch bars with just 3 ingredients, a few simple steps, and 10 minutes of active time! This crispy chocolate bar recipe is a dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan copycat of the classic Nestle Crunch Bar that tastes every bit as good! And it’s easy to make - just melt, stir, fill, and chill.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes

Instructions

  1. Melt the chocolate: Add the chocolate and coconut oil to a small saucepan on low heat, stirring often. When the chips are almost completely melted, remove from heat and stir vigorously until only a chocolate liquid remains. Then, stir in the rice cereal.
  2. Fill and chill: Place your silicone chocolate mold on a flat stable surface like a plate, tray, or cutting board. Carefully spoon the mixture into the chocolate bar mold and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or (for best results) overnight to set. The freezer could speed this process up, but we’ve seen best results when chilled in the fridge overnight.
  3. To use: Once set, remove the chocolate bars from their molds and enjoy! 
  4. To store: Store leftover homemade Crunch bars in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 4-5 months.

Notes

  • Rice cereal options: Nature’s Path Crispy Rice cereal is vegan. If you’re looking for an extra chocolatey chocolate bar, Cascadian Farms makes a chocolate crispy rice cereal that is vegan and also contains no vitamin D.
  • Chocolate Mold Options: We used this chocolate bar mold we ordered on Amazon for under $15! I like it because it comes with 2 different bar options - the small squares and the rectangles. Alternatively, if you just want to make a solid bar, you can use one of those rectangular take-out containers or any tupperware. Just fill the bottom of the container with the chocolate liquid to about 1/2 inch depth. 
  • Vegan Chocolate Chips: Enjoy Life is probably the most popular brand of allergen-friendly vegan chocolate chips, but there are a ton of options out there! Nestle makes “Allergen-Free Semi-Sweet Morsels” that are vegan. We usually use ShopRite’s “Bowl and Basket” store brand of semi-sweet chocolate chips which are “accidentally” vegan. We don't necessarily recommend unsweetened chocolate chips for this.
  • Coconut Oil Notes: We suggest using refined coconut oil which has zero coconut flavor or smell. If you want your chocolate bars to have a coconut flavor to them, feel free to use unrefined or virgin coconut oil.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1 large candy bar

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 318Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 29mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 3gSugar: 24gProtein: 2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not always be accurate.

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