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This easy puppy chow recipe (aka muddy buddies) is made with just 5 simple ingredients! The peanut butter chocolate combo makes it such a delicious sweet treat that’s absolutely addicting.
Puppy chow (aka muddy buddies) is one of my all-time favorite holiday treats that I grew up eating as a kid. Even as an adult it’s always been a staple at our house this time of year. You just can’t beat the combo of crunchy cereal coated in chocolate peanut butter goodness and then tossed in powdered sugar.
Those of you who have had puppy chow before already know how addicting it is and if you haven’t made it, you’re in for a real treat (literally)!
The recipe I’m sharing today is a real deal puppy chow recipe, except we’re skipping the butter and using more peanut butter instead. And here you won’t find thinly coated cereal where the powdered sugar melts into the chocolate (that’s the worst!)… not in my kitchen! This easy-to-make recipe results in perfectly coated cereal every time that’s hard to put down!
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s super easy to make with only 5 simple ingredients!
- The combo of chocolate + peanut butter = pure perfection!
- This recipe is made without butter.
- It’s a classic recipe that both adults and kids will love
- It makes a big batch making it the perfect shareable treat for parties and holiday gatherings.
What is Puppy Chow?
Puppy chow is a popular sweet and crunchy snack mix that’s made by coating Chex cereal in a chocolate peanut butter mixture and then tossing it in powdered sugar. It is believed to have originated in the Midwest around the 1950’s. The exact origin isn’t documented, but it quickly became a popular treat due to its ease of preparation and sweet, satisfying taste. It’s a party favorite, especially during the holidays.
Puppy chow is known by various names across the country such as muddy buddies, monkey munch, muddy munch, trash and reindeer chow. The name muddy buddies was popularized thanks to General Mills. They started featuring the recipe on the back of their Chex® cereal boxes in an attempt to reach a wider audience and bring a fresh and appealing twist to the well-known snack. The name “muddy buddies” suggests a more social and enjoyable snacking experience shared with friends or “buddies. It also emphasizes the “muddy” aspect, referring to the chocolate coating that gives the cereal a messy appearance and texture.
Why is it Called Puppy Chow?
The name puppy chow comes from its resemblance to dog food. Despite the name, don’t feed this to your fur babies! This recipe is for human consumption only as chocolate can be toxic to dogs. If you’re looking for a real dog treat check out my peanut butter dog treats recipe instead.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Rice Chex® cereal – the base of our puppy chow! I prefer the the Rice Chex cereal, but you can use Corn Chex if that’s what you prefer. Crispix will also work, but the shape of your puppy chow will be a tad different than the photos.
- chocolate chips – can’t have puppy chow without chocolate! I used Enjoy Life semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, but feel free to use your favorite variety of chocolate chips. Dark chocolate and milk chocolate chips will work well and for a lower sugar option use Lily’s Dark Chocolate Baking Chips.
- peanut butter – make sure you use creamy peanut butter with no added sugar, just peanuts and salt! For a peanut-free option use almond butter or another nut butter of choice and for a nut-free option use sunflower seed butter! Both will work well and taste delicious in this recipe.
- vanilla extract – just a dash to enhance the flavors!
- powdered sugar – a.k.a. Confectioners’ sugar. This adds sweetness and what gives our puppy chow its signature dusted look.
How to Make
This recipe couldn’t be any easier to make! Here’s how to make a big batch of puppy chow:
- Start by adding your cereal to a large mixing bowl and setting it aside.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and peanut butter. Place it in the microwave on high for 1 minute, then take it out and give it a good stir. If it’s not fully melted, continue heating in 30-second increments until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. Add the vanilla to your melted chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
- Here’s where it gets fun! Pour your warm chocolate mixture over your cereal. Gently stir it all together, making sure each piece of cereal is evenly coated with that chocolatey goodness.
- This is important! Place your chocolate-coated cereal into the fridge for about 10-15 minutes to chill. This helps cool the chocolate down before coating it with powdered sugar otherwise the powdered sugar will soak into the cereal not allowing the pieces to separate properly.
- After your cereal chills, transfer your coated cereal into a large resealable plastic bag. Pour in your powdered sugar, seal the bag, and then give it a good shake. You want to make sure every piece is evenly coated.
- Once your cereal is nicely coated, spread it out onto parchment paper to cool to help ensure your pieces don’t stick together. To speed up the process spread it onto a parchment-lined baking tray and place it in the fridge.
- You can enjoy this sweet treat immediately or store it in the fridge or freezer for later.
- Use creamy peanut butter: Chunky peanut butter won’t melt together with the chocolate as nicely.
- Stir gently: When coating the cereal in the chocolate peanut butter mixture be sure to stir gently with a spatula as to not crush the cereal.
- Be patient: Don’t rush the process and skip chilling the chocolate-coated cereal before tossing in the powdered sugar otherwise you’ll end up with powdered sugar that soaks into the puppy chow.
- Close the bag tightly: Make sure your zip-loc bag or whatever you’re tossing your cereal and powdered sugar in is sealed properly otherwise you could end up with a mess on your hands! Only speaking from experience here!
How to Store Puppy Chow
Once your puppy chow has cooled and hardened store it in an airtight container on the counter at room temperature for 1-2 weeks. You can also store it in the refrigerator if you prefer chilled puppy chow.
For longer storage, freeze this puppy chow in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 2 months. I love making a big batch for the holidays and storing it in the freezer. It’s delicious eaten straight from the freezer!
Puppy Chow FAQs
While Rice Chex is the traditional choice due to its shape and texture that perfectly catch the chocolate and peanut butter, you can experiment with other similar cereals. Corn Chex or Crispix are other good options to use.
Absolutely, you can substitute peanut butter with SunButter (sunflower seed butter) for a nut-free alternative without compromising texture or flavor.
Yes, dark chocolate will give your puppy chow a richer, slightly bitter taste, offering a nice contrast to the sugary coating.
Yes! Puppy chow stores beautifully in the freezer for up to 2 months when stored in an airtight container.
More Healthy Treats to Try
- Homemade Samoas Cookies
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites
- No Bake Almond Cookies
- Cottage Cheese Cookie Dough
- Frozen Cottage Cheese Bark
- Coconut Crunch Donuts (Hostess Copycat)
- Healthy No Bake Cookies
- Healthy Peanut Butter Balls
- Oat Flour Brownies
- Healthy Vanilla Cupcakes
- Vegan Chocolate Pie
- Almond Joy Baked Oatmeal
Be sure to check out the full collection of dessert recipes on EBF!
- Add cereal to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Place chocolate chips and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1 minute, then stir. Continue warming mixture until smooth and combined, in 30 second increments.
- Stir in the vanilla to the chocolate peanut butter mixture.
- Pour chocolate mixture over cereal, tossing cereal as you pour. Stir until evenly coated. Place coated cereal into the fridge to cool for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a 2-gallon resealable plastic bag.
- Add powdered sugar to the bag and seal; shake until well-coated. Evenly spread cereal out onto parchment paper to cool.
- Enjoy right away or store in the fridge for later!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.