Christmas Puppy Chow is a beloved holiday snack that has the perfect mix of chocolate and peanut butter that you crave with the satisfying crunch of Chex mix and a sweet powdered sugar coating. The M&M’s add a classic flavor and crunch we all know and love. You won’t be able to stop grabbing handfuls of this delicious snack!
If you’re looking for a quick and easy holiday treat to make that will be a crowd-pleaser for all ages, this one is perfect! If you’re cooking with kids, this is an ideal recipe for them to help with.
Christmas Puppy Chow is one of those timeless snacks that almost everyone knows about. Interestingly enough though, there are so many other names for it: Muddy Buddies, Reindeer Chow, Monkey Munch, Muddy Munch, Doggy Bag.
No matter what you call it in your house, this easy Christmas candy is a must-have for the holidays.
One thing I love about making Puppy Chow is being able to customize and make it my own. I’ll give you some of my favorite substitutions below if you want to try some new things.
Why You’ll Love This Christmas Puppy Chow Recipe
- It’s incredibly simple! I love the extra time baking around the holidays, but sometimes you just want something you can whip together quickly. This is perfect for last-minute gifts, parties, or even for a movie night at home.
- No added equipment or extra dishes to cleanup. You don’t have to pull out your mixer, food processor, crockpot, or even turn on the oven for this. All you need is a microwave, a bowl, and a bag. Easy cleanup is the selling point for anything I’m cooking.
- There won’t be any left! Whether you are making this for guests at a get together, a night with friends, or for your family, you can guarantee you aren’t going to be wondering how to get rid of the leftovers. These get scooped up by the handful and it’s hard to stop eating!
Ingredients For Your Christmas Muddy Buddies
This section includes ingredient notes and substitution options. Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
- Chex Cereal – This will be the base of your muddy buddies. I prefer using the Rice variety for puppy chow, but you can try other varieties if you want to. Crispix cereal works too!
- Peanut Butter – Grab a jar of your favorite creamy peanut butter
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips – Combines with the peanut butter to form the coating that will cover the Chex.
- Melted Butter
- Vanilla Extract – Adds a little depth to the flavor but can be omitted if you don’t have any on hand
- Confectioners Sugar – Coats and helps set the muddy buddies, add a little extra sweetness.
- Christmas M&Ms – Give this reindeer chow it’s festive Christmas color.
Equipment Needed To Make Reindeer Chow Recipe
- Large microwave-safe bowl
- Large zip-top storage or freezer bag
How To Make Christmas Puppy Chow with M&Ms
This section shows you how to make the recipe with step-by-step photos and instructions. For the full printable recipe, see the recipe card below.
Step 1: Add the chocolate chips and peanut butter to a large, microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate has melted. Stir in melted butter and vanilla extract.
Step 2: Add the Chex cereal to the bowl and toss to coat. Work gently so that you do not break the cereal pieces.
Step 3: Open a large zip-top baggie and spoon the cereal mixture into it. Pour the confectioners sugar in, seal the bag, and gently shake it to coat the cereal in the confectioners sugar. You may have to do this in batches if you have smaller bags.
Step 4: Pour the coated cereal into a bowl and add the holiday m&m’s. Serve and enjoy!
Store your Christmas Muddy Buddies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the fridge for up to one week. Personally, I prefer enjoying my puppy chow straight from the fridge.
Variations and Additions
What I love about Christmas puppy chow is how much you can customize it to make it your own. If you want to switch it up from the classic holiday M&Ms and go with a different kind, you can.
To keep with the Christmas theme, you can add sprinkles or other Christmas candies in. A delicious favorite of mine is to make a s’mores version with mini marshmallows and graham cracker pieces added.
You could also substitute your peanut butter for other nut butters or even Nutella for a rich chocolate hazelnut flavor.
I have even made it with peppermint bark for another festive holiday muddy buddy version.
Christmas Puppy Chow FAQs
What you call this treat usually has to do with what region you are in. Puppy Chow is what it is typically called in the Midwest, where the recipe is said to have originated from. Chex Mix started putting the recipe on the back of its cereal boxes and called it Muddy Buddies. General Mills actually came out with a pre-packaged bag of Muddy Buddies in 2010.
The name puppy chow came to be because it resembles dog food. That’s why around the holidays, some call it reindeer chow instead.
Fun fact: Purina actually invented Chex cereal in the 1930s.
More Homemade Christmas Candy Recipes
Christmas Puppy Chow
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- 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
- ⅓ cup butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 9 cups rice Chex cereal
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- holiday m&m’s
- Add the chocolate chips and peanut butter to a large, microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate has melted. Stir in melted butter and vanilla extract.
- Add the Chex cereal to the bowl and toss to coat. Work gently so that you do not break the cereal pieces.
- Open a large zip-top baggie and spoon the cereal mixture into it. Pour the confectioners sugar in, seal the bag, and gently shake it to coat the cereal in the confectioners sugar. You may have to do this in batches if you have smaller bags.
- Pour the coated cereal into a bowl and add the holiday m&m’s. Serve and enjoy!
The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by a third party and intended to serve as an estimate only. The accuracy of nutritional information is not guaranteed.