Puppy Chow. Muddy Buddies. Monkey Much. Reindeer Chow. Whatever you love to call it, Puppy Chow is a sweet snack made with Chex cereal, chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla, butter, and powdered sugar. It’s quick to make, easy and fun to customize, and it’s making a heck of a comeback. Read on to find out what it is, how to make it, and discover 25 different variations!
What Is Puppy Chow?
Puppy Chow is a snack supposedly invented in the Midwest by Elizabeth Cooney and is called such because it resembles the dog food of the same name. Fun fact: Chex was created by Ralston Purina Co…the company that created Dog Chow and later, Puppy Chow! These days Chex — now owned by General Mills — sells pre-made Chex Mix Muddy Buddies (as, well, it would be confusing if there were two official versions of Puppy Chow for sale).
How To Make Puppy Chow
The ingredients in classic recipe for puppy chow (or if you prefer, muddy buddies) call for Chex cereal, semi-sweet chocolate chips, smooth peanut butter, melted butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Depending on the Chex box you pick, the puppy chow is naturally gluten-free. I’ve also included the full classic recipe below.
If you’re wondering how to make puppy chow, it’s very easy. Pour the cereal into a bowl. Place chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla, and butter into a smaller bowl. Melt this in the microwave until smooth. Pour over cereal and mix together until all the cereal is coated. Put powdered sugar in a gallon (or larger)-sized sealable plastic bag and pour in cereal (this is, by far, the hardest step. Good luck not getting it on the floor. Ahem.). Shake! Shake! Shake! Pour into a clean bowl. Munch. (This is also how to make muddy buddies.)
Ingredients (for making whole box):
9 cups Chex
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1. Place Chex in medium-sized bowl.
2. Put chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in smaller, microwavable bowl. Heat for 1 minute. Stir.
3. Pour over Chex. Mix until fully combined.
4. Put powdered sugar in 2 gallon-sized Ziploc and add cereal mixture. Shake until fully coated. Enjoy.
Can I Customize Puppy Chow?
Can you ever! Yes. You can definitely customize your own recipe for puppy chow. You can eliminate the peanut butter entirely or use any other kind of nut or seed butter. You could swap it for Nutella. You can skip the butter. You can exchange the vanilla extract for another flavoring. You can use white chocolate or dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet chocolate. You can add spices. No wonder it’s so popular. You can do so much with it.
I’ve seen so many delicious versions of puppy chow/muddy buddies out there. Cookies and Cream. Snickerdoodle. Butterfinger. Red Velvet and I’ve included some below! For the holiday season, I made two different versions: Peppermint Bark Puppy Chow and Christmas Puppy Chow.
Peppermint Bark Puppy Chow
The recipe for Peppermint Bark Puppy Chow took a few more minutes, but was equally easy. I have a total weakness for Candy Cane Hershey Kisses and am so glad they only come out once a year. White chocolate peppermint is my jam.
For this recipe, I put the cereal in a bowl and then placed 1/3 a cup of these candy cane kisses (whole) and 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips in a smaller bowl and microwaved them for 90 seconds, stopping at 1 minute to stir them. I poured the chocolate mixture onto the Chex cereal and tossed it until it was fully coated.
Pour this mixture into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and add 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Shake until you fully coat the cereal and place in a clean bowl. Crush 5 candy canes (leaving small chunks is ok) and stir these, 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, and red M&Ms and you’re done!
Peppermint Bark Puppy Chow (Muddy Buddies)Print Recipe
- Ingredients : (multiply by 4 if you want to use the whole box)
- 3 cups Chex
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (divided)
- 1/3 cup Candy Cane Hershey Kisses
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup red and white M&Ms
- 5 candy canes (crushed)
- Place Chex in medium-sized bowl.
- Put chocolate chips and Hershey kisses in smaller, microwavable bowl. Heat for 1 minute. Stir. Heat for another 30 seconds.
- Pour over Chex. Mix until fully combined.
- Put powdered sugar in gallon-sized (2 gallon-sized if doubling or quadrupling recipe) Ziploc and add Chex mixture. Shake until fully coated.
- Empty bag in clean bowl and add candy canes and M&Ms. Mix together. Enjoy.
Christmas Puppy Chow
For this version of muddy buddies, I decided to essentially follow the back-of-the-box instructions for the snack. But since I wanted to make a few versions, I chose to use only 3 cups of Chex cereal instead of the usual 9.
I also used more chocolate and peanut butter than the original recipe called for because seriously, how can you go wrong by adding more peanut butter and chocolate? You can’t.
To make Christmas Puppy Chow, put the Chex mix – you can use any version of the cereal you like – into a medium-sized bowl. In a microwavable bowl, I added 1/3 cup of chocolate, 1/3 cup of peanut butter, 1 1/2 tablespoon butter. I microwaved this for 1 minute and then poured it over the cereal.
I stirred the chocolate mixture into the cereal until all of the cereal was fully coated and then added it to a gallon-sized Ziploc. Or at least I tried to. This is seriously the most difficult part of the whole process. At least five chocolate-covered Chex pieces ended up on the floor. But, for reals, how does one not get them all over the counter/floor?
Once you’ve finally gotten the chocolate and peanut butter coated Chex mix into the bag, add 1 cup of powdered sugar. (I started with less, but the peanut butter and chocolate mixture really called for more to coat it.)
Seal the bag and shake the bag until you fully coat the Christmas Puppy Chow mix with powdered sugar. Then pour it out a cookie sheet. This is where me and the recipe differ. I didn’t want the snack to have the powdered look, so I gently worked the mix in my hands until I worked in all of the powdered sugar.
Toss the coated cereal with pretzels and red and green M&Ms and try not to eat it all at once!
Ingredients (multiply by 4 if you want to use the whole box):
3 cups Chex
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup pretzels
1/3 cup red and green M&Ms
1. Place Chex in medium-sized bowl.
2. Put chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in smaller, microwavable bowl. Heat for 1 minute.
3. Pour over Chex. Mix until fully combined.
4. Put powdered sugar in gallon-sized (2 gallon-sized if doubling or quadrupling recipe) Ziploc and add Chex mixture. Shake until fully coated.
5. Empty bag onto cookie sheet and work Chex mix until you work in the powdered sugar.
6. Add pretzels and M&Ms. Mix together. Enjoy.
22 Muddy Buddy Variations
Frozen Muddy Buddies
How sweet is this Frozen-themed Puppy Chow recipe? And so totally perfect for the holiday season.
Peanut Butter Snickerdoodle Muddy Buddies
Chew Out Loud created this peanut butter snickerdoodle cookie muddy buddies recipe based on the classic cookie
Birthday Cake Muddy Buddies
Who doesn’t love birthday cake? To recreate it, this recipe calls for yellow cake mix, Flipz, and mini marshmallows.
Halloween Puppy Chow
Chocolate, peanut butter, and your favorite Halloween candies combine to create this spooky Halloween Puppy Chow!
Vegan Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Muddy Buddies
Um. Whoa. This Muddy Buddy recipe looks amazing. Great for vegans and non-vegans alike.
Sugar Cookie Puppy Chow
Sprinkles and funfetti cake mix give puppy chow that sugar cookie look and flavor!
Super Bowl Puppy Chow
I can’t imagine anything more perfect to munch on during the Puppy Bowl than this recipe! Just look at the adorable almond footballs!
Lighter Puppy Chow
Made with chia seeds and hemp seeds, this one ups the fiber content, cuts back on the sugar, but is still delicious!
Banana Berry Minions Muddy Buddies
How cute are these muddy buddies? Inspired by the Minions movie, this recipe uses banana cream instant pudding and berry blue gelatin dessert mix.
Red Velvet Puppy Chow
This one is great for Valentine’s Day! Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt committed to the red velvet-ness of this recipe with red velvet-flavored candy melts, cake mix, and M&Ms. Don’t forget the heart-shaped sprinkles!
Peanut Butter and Butterscotch
This interesting twist uses butterscotch chips and pairs them with peanut butter for a sweet and salty combo.
Circus Puppy Chow
Marshmallow fluff and round sprinkles give this puppy chow big top flair.
Valentine’s Day Puppy Chow
The classic muddy buddy recipe but with a festive V-day twist!
Protein Packed Puppy Chow
If you love the idea of puppy chow but are trying to eat healthier, this is the healthiest version I could find. It uses vanilla whey protein powder, milk, and peanut flour instead of butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar to up the protein content and lower the sugar. I totally want to try it.
Pumpkin Pie Muddy Buddies
When you’re ready for your pumpkin spice fix, try this muddy buddy recipe!
Fluffernutter Puppy Chow
Throw in some bananas (or maybe some banana extract) and Elvis would have loved this one!
Low-Carb Muddy Buddy Trail Mix
Looking for a low-carb version? This one by Joy Filled Eats nails it.
Reese’s Muddy Buddies
There isn’t much better than chocolate and peanut butter, especially when they’re together. This one takes the classic flavor to the next level.
Cinnamon Roll Muddy Buddies
Get the cinnamon roll experience without proofing dough. Crazy for Crust used Duncan Hines Cinnamon Roll Frosting Creations, vanilla frosting, and pecans to give it the right flavor.
Lemon Bar Muddy Buddies
Lemon curd and lemon extract makes these muddy buddies taste just like a lemon bar!
S’mores Muddy Buddies
This recipe is campfire ready. Pack a bag of it the next time you’re camping or toasting marshmallows!
Dirt Puppy Chow
Instead of powdered sugar, crush Oreos and throw in some gummy worms for a cute recipe kids will love.
What is YOUR favorite Puppy Chow recipe? Tell me in the comments!
My background is in publishing (I've worked at Parade, Men's Journal, Us Weekly, Stuff, Blender, Beachbody, and more), mostly with a focus in health, fitness, and entertainment. I've also run my own baking company and competed on Cupcake Wars, so hit me up with your baking questions!
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