Puppy Chow Recipe (Muddy Buddies)

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The Best Puppy Chow Recipe  (AKA: Muddy Buddies) ever! Only 4 ingredients (no butter) and a few minutes results in an irresistible dessert loaded with chocolate and peanut butter! The perfect sweet treat to feed a crowd! 

Overhead view of a bowl of the best puppy chow recipe in a bowl


Listen carefully,  my Puppy Chow Recipe is not for the faint of heart. You will never find weak puppy chow in my kitchen. You know what I mean? The stuff that is so thinly coated with chocolate and peanut butter that the powdered sugar barely sticks to it? Not on my watch. I want clumps, and globs, and hunks, and chunks of chocolate-peanut buttery goodness.

Now the name of this treat can be controversial. I’m a midwesterner (born and raised) so I call this treat “Puppy Chow.” It has other names too, like muddy buddies, monkey munch, etc., but no matter what you call it, it’s delicious.

Overhead view of a bowl of the best puppy chow recipe in a bowl

How to make puppy chow

This puppy chow recipe is very easy to make, however the method matters, a LOT.  I consider myself a muddy buddies expert, so I devised the absolute perfect method to making the best puppy chow ever – no butter required.

Melt Chocolate and Peanut Butter

Melt equal parts of chocolate (semi-sweet or dark) and peanut butter together. Start by warming it for 60 seconds, stir and then warm in increments of 30 seconds so you don’t make it too hot!

Overhead photo showing how to make puppy chow - combining peanut butter and chocolate chips

Stir until combined

The chocolate peanut butter mixture together until it’s smooth and glossy.

overhead photo showing how to make puppy chow - stirring melted chocolate and peanut butter

Combine cereal and chocolate/peanut butter mixture

Next, put some cereal in the bottom of a large bowl, pour some of the peanut butter/chocolate mixture on top, and continue to alternate cereal/chocolate/cereal, etc. until you’ve used up all the ingredients.

The key here is to start VERY conservatively with the amount of cereal! You do not, I repeat, do not want to use too much cereal. It will ruin your puppy chow, and consequently, your day.

front view showing how to make puppy chow - pouring melted chocolate mixture onto cereal in a bowl

Chill 

Next, mix it all together, making sure the cereal is thickly coated . Then put the muddy buddies somewhere to cool off (outside in the winter, or in the refrigerator) before adding any powdered sugar.

This step is absolutely crucial. I am not into sickeningly  sweet desserts, so I like to use as little powdered sugar as possible. If you add the powdered sugar while the mixture is still warm it will soak right in and won’t help separate the chunks at all.

Making sure your mixture is slightly cooled will mean you can use less powdered sugar in the end. 

Overhead photo showing how to make muddy buddies (puppy chow) - peanut butter chocolate mixture stirred onto cereal

Add powdered sugar

Once the mixture is at or just below room temperature, but not hard, add the powdered sugar until there is a thin coating and some of the pieces start separating. It’s helpful to use a bowl with a lid, so you can shake it to coat the cereal evenly.

Chill Again!

Next, let the muddy buddies cool down even more (for about 15 or 20 more minutes) before adding a little more powdered sugar. You want to add just enough so that the puppy chow can be eaten without making your hands a chocolatey-mess.

Let harden

Let the puppy chow sit at room temperature for about 2 hours until it’s hardened. This process can be expedited in the refrigerator. Just be sure to serve it at room temperature!

Store/freeze

Store this puppy chow in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week (if it lasts that long) or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Side view of a bowl of the best puppy chow recipe

Puppy Chow Recipe: Ingredients & Substitutions 

There are only 4 ingredients in this muddy buddies recipe! But there are a few ways you can adapt it if you’d like.

  • Chocolate. I recommend using a dark or semi-sweet variety. In my opinion, making this Puppy Chow Recipe with milk chocolate makes it too sweet. But if you have a serious sweet tooth by all means use whatever chocolate you prefer! If you need an allergy-friendly chocolate both Sunspire and Enjoy Life Foods make great options!
  • Rice Cereal. Chex is my favorite cereal to use (or a generic equivalent)! However many people love Crispex!
  • Peanut Butter. You can substitute any nut or seed butter if you’re allergic to peanuts!
  • Powdered sugar. There’s really no substitute for this. You could make your own refined sugar free variety but it will NOT be white. So if you’re OK with that then go for it! 😉
Overhead view of a bowl of the best puppy chow recipe in a bowl with two hands taking some out

FAQs about puppy chow

Can you freeze puppy chow?

Yes! this puppy chow recipe can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months! 

How long is puppy chow good for? 

This puppy chow stays fresh for up to 1 week stored in an airtight container (but it usually gets eaten way faster)!

What if I’m allergic to peanut butter?

You can substitute sunflower seed butter, almond butter, cashew butter, etc. for peanut butter.

front view of hands holding a bowl of puppy chow (muddy buddies)

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Puppy Chow Recipe (Muddy Buddies)

Laura
The Best Puppy Chow Recipe  (AKA: Muddy Buddies) EVER! Only 4 ingredients (no butter) and a few minutes results in an irresistible dessert loaded with chocolate and peanut butter! The perfect sweet treat to feed a crowd! 
5 from 231 votes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 15 servings
Calories 230.6
Prep Time10 minutes
Chilling time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Melt peanut butter and chocolate together, either on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  • Next, add 3 cups of cereal to a large bowl. Pour 1 cup of your chocolate/peanut butter mixture over the cereal.
  • Add 3 more cups of cereal to the bowl and then pour the rest of the chocolate/peanut butter mixture on top.
  • Stir until the cereal is evenly coated. If there are pools of chocolate/peanut butter at the bottom of your bowl, add more cereal 1/4 cup at a time until all that deliciousness is coating your cereal. Remember we WANT clumps, so do NOT add too much cereal!
  • Let the mixture cool slightly (I throw mine in the fridge or outside on my porch if it’s cold out). You do not want it to harden!
  • Once your mixture is at or below room temperature, add 1 cup of powdered sugar. Mix until combined.
  • Let cool for about 15 minutes.
  • Add more powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time until your cereal is coated to your satisfaction.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature, if it lasts more than 0.3 seconds.

Video

Notes

Ingredient Substitutions 

  • Chocolate. I recommend using a dark or semi-sweet variety. In my opinion, making this Puppy Chow Recipe with milk chocolate makes it too sweet. But if you have a serious sweet tooth by all means use whatever chocolate you prefer! If you need an allergy-friendly chocolate both Sunspire and Enjoy Life Foods make great options!
  • Rice Cereal. Chex is my favorite cereal to use (or a generic equivalent)! However many people love Crispex!
  • Peanut Butter. You can substitute any nut or seed butter if you’re allergic to peanuts!
  • Powdered sugar. There’s really no substitute for this. You could make your own refined sugar free variety but it will NOT be white. So if you’re OK with that then go for it! 😉

Chilling

  • Just a note that chilling the cereal/peanut butter/chocolate mixture before adding any powdered sugar is critical to making sure you have delicious clumpy, not overly sweet, puppy chow! 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 230.6kcal | Carbohydrates: 28.6g | Protein: 6.1g | Fat: 12.2g | Potassium: 62.4mg | Fiber: 2.7g | Sugar: 1.3g | Vitamin A: 200IU | Vitamin C: 3.3mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you enjoy this recipe? Have a question? Leave a comment below!

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225 Comments

  1. Hi! I have to make a big batch for a church and was wondering how much of the 12oz chex mix box is used in the recipe? This would help figure out how many boxes to get!

  2. Wanting to use up Canadian Shreddies (like Wheat Chex) and Cheerios, I added Marcona Almonds to the dried ingredients, made the wet mixture using butterscotch chips and peanut butter. I mixed it up and then added a bag of Skor Bits before shaking it up with icing (aka powdered) sugar. It was amazing! I think a few small pretzels would be a great addition but none left in my pantry.

  3. Hi, When searching on Pinterest for a dairy & gluten free dessert, your recipe popped up saying it is free of both on the photo and little description link. I’m not very knowledgeable about gf/df things but need options for a guest and want to be sure. Don’t the chocolate chips contain dairy?
    Thanks for your help!

    1. Hey Lori! It’s very easy to find dairy-free chocolate chips actually! Brands like Enjoy Life Foods, Ghirdelli and more all make dairy-free chips. Especially if buying semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, they are often made only with cocoa butter and with no milk. So check labels in your baking aisle and you will find many different options!