Has anyone NOT tried Muddy Buddies? This easy recipe is a childhood classic! Sometimes called Puppy Chow or Reindeer Chow, chex mix Muddy Buddies are super addictive. Chex cereal is coated with chocolate and peanut butter, then dusted with powdered sugar. I’m always hunting for the big chunky chocolatey hunks of stuck-together Muddy Buddies. I’ll show you exactly how to get more of these treasures!
My daughter Charlotte turned 11 a few weeks ago, and we had a little family party to celebrate. Her out-of-state aunt called halfway through dinner to let us know that a gift would be arriving in the mail soon, hopefully any moment if the tracking was correct. Charlotte opened all her other presents and as we were enjoying her birthday cake, the doorbell rang. This must be it!
We all watched as she tore open the package, fully expecting an awesome present from Aunt Reesy, and instead UNDERWEAR spilled all across the table. MY underwear. Underwear that I had ordered a few days before and completely forgotten about. Happy birthday Charlotte!! You’re not just getting underwear for your birthday, you’re getting your MOM’s underwear.
I still remember one time when I was little, my mom took me to JC Penney’s portrait studio to get my picture taken. The photographer was trying to get me to smile naturally and kept saying silly things. At one point she said, imagine your mom running down the street in her underwear! And I about DIED. I could not stop laughing. Maybe her mom’s underwear birthday present will be the thing that makes Charlotte laugh next time she’s getting her picture taken? Circle of life, you know.
How is everyone lately? Are we feeling the spring coming? Or is that just my neck of the woods here in California? It’s gorgeous, our backyard is all in bloom. Masks are no longer a thing for schoolchildren as of March 12, I swear they picked that date so that we could legitimately say “two years” without fudging. Anyone else having a burning party??
Eric and I just got back from a no-kids-beach-vacation in Mexico that was so much incredible fun. Kids are the best, and they also can ruin your vacation faster than you can say tantrum. Sometimes it’s good to get away without them!
We’ve made lots of time lately for fun and treats, and that definitely includes these Muddy Buddies! You’ve had this right? Do you call it Puppy Chow? You’re wrong. Just kidding i love yooou!!
What are Muddy Buddies?
You know things are getting good when your snack is made up of cereal coated in chocolate and peanut butter. Like, I was already pretty excited about the cereal in the first place because I am OLD and have crossed over into the stage of life where eating cereal qualifies as a carby treat.
Puppy Chow is one of those snacks that is definitely more than the sum of its parts. Melt together some butter, peanut butter, and chocolate, toss it with some chex, and poof the whole thing in powdered sugar. It doesn’t sound that life changing, but after you try your first bite you will understand. Pretty soon you will be nabbing your 17th “just one more” bite.
It’s a little bit salty and savory from the peanut butter and butter, a little bit sweet from the chocolate and powdered sugar, and of course that perfect crunch from the Chex. Once it’s all together, and I know I’m not alone here, I can pretty much eat my weight in Puppy Chow.
The Best Muddy Buddies Stick Together in Chocolatey Chunks
I am a snob about my Muddy Buddies though. I don’t know when I got so persnickety. Not just any recipe for Muddy Buddies will do. You know that jerk who hunts through a salad and takes all the goodies and leaves all the lettuce behind? That’s me with Muddy Buddies. (That’s also me with salad..sorry)
When you make Muddy Buddies, most of the Chex pieces get coated individually, and you end up with a sea of single Chex’s LIGHTLY coated in chocolate and powdered sugar.
But SOMETIMES, when the stars align, two (or maybe even, gasp, THREE) of the Chex will stick together, a happy conglomerate of thick chocolately goodness gluing them together. These clumps are the ones I’m always hunting for, and I will tell you why: It’s because they have a higher ratio of chocolate-peanut butter to crunchy chex. And I am ALL about a high chocolate ratio my friends.
So I have made it my mission in life to create a puppy chow recipe that consists almost entirely of these gloriously hunky chocolatey chunks.
You might think this seems a little overkill. Muddy buddies are going to be good no matter what, right? Yes that is true. But we are going for the GOLD my friends! CHUNKY MUDDY BUDDIES OR BUST!!!!
A quick chill in the fridge or freezer is all it takes to get the job done right. Read on! But first:
Why is it called Puppy Chow? Is Puppy Chow a midwest thing?
Growing up in California, I never heard any name for this snack besides Muddy Buddies. But Eric, who grew up in Montana, called it Puppy Chow. I’m sorry, whaaaat?
As best as anyone can tell, this recipe originated in the midwest (like many of our best comfort foods!) and was called Puppy Chow thanks to its resemblance to dog food. So appetizing right?! Ha! As the recipe became more popular, Chex heard about it and published the recipe on the back of their box with the name Muddy Buddies. Apparently trying to avoid the dog food reference. I don’t blame them.
You’ll find that to this day, most midwesterners call the recipe Puppy Chow and most people on the coasts call it Muddy Buddies. My sister in Dallas told me that she made Muddy Buddies with her kids just a few weeks ago, the kids had never tried it. When they asked what Muddy Buddies were, she told them to just watch and see. Once they finished the recipe, her daughter said, “Oh, I’ve had this before. It’s Puppy Chow!” That’s the kind of cultural confusion you get with a California mom raising her kids in Texas!
Ingredients for Muddy Buddies
I always have all these ingredients on hand except for the Chex. Because anytime I buy Chex, my husband eats it as an “after dessert snack” nearly every night while we Netflix. He’s unstoppable!! Sometimes I actually hide the box from him. Here’s everything you need:
- salted butter
- dark chocolate chips
- semi sweet chocolate chips
- peanut butter (not natural pb. I like Jif best!)
- kosher salt
- Rice Chex cereal. Corn is a close second choice. (don’t use wheat! It has the worst texture!)
- powdered sugar
How to make Muddy Buddies
- Melt butter, chocolate chips, and peanut butter
- Stir in salt and vanilla
- Slowly add in chex
- Freeze to make hunkity chunky chunks.
- Add in powdered sugar.
- Fight with all your family members about who ate the most.
Now for the details and photos!
Are you mega jealous of my peanut butter measuring cup?? You press on the bottom and the pb shoonks out into your bowl. No scraping necessary. I love it! 15 bucks on Amazon.
Melt your semi sweet and dark chocolate chips with the peanut butter and butter. This is just me being snooty you guys. Add in all semi sweet chocolate chips if that’s what you have on hand. I just happen to love me some dark chocolate, so I do a mix. Any combo of dark and/or semi sweet is going to be fine. You could try milk chocolate if you want, but I think it would be too sweet (I don’t like milk chocolate in my cookies either, so there you go.)
It’s easy to melt it all together in the microwave, but you can do it in a double boiler if you like to complicate things. Keep heating in short spurts, stirring every time, until you have just a few lumps left, then just keep stirring until they melt. Don’t over heat chocolate, it will scorch!
Here’s an important step to coating your cereal: add the chex a little bit at a time, stirring to coat before adding more. This ensures that No Chex is Left Behind.
A word about Chex choices: They sell corn Chex, Rice Chex, and Wheat Chex. Wheat chex is gross and has this terribly abrasive crunch, don’t even go there. Rice Chex is best in my opinion. It is lighter and has the perfect crunchity texture. Corn chex is fine too, but I find that it annoyingly gets stuck in my teeth in a way that Rice chex does not. Either one is going to work great though!
At this point, clear out some space in your fridge or freezer and stick the whole bowl of melty goodness in to chill for a bit. THIS is the pivotal step that will get you those chunky stuck together pieces that we all adore. Check on it after 20-30 minutes, give it a stir, and let chill another 10 minutes if necessary. Your Puppy Chow should be sticking together nicely in clumps. You want the chocolate to be not completely melty, but also not completely chilled. It should feel tacky, like it’s ready to embrace some powdered sugar without absorbing it completely.
Spread the puppy chow out onto a baking sheet to make it easier to add the powdered sugar. You could also use a massive bowl if you have one.
Don’t add it all at once. Sprinkle about half the powdered sugar on top of the puppy chow, and gently stir with a spatula to coat. Sprinkle the rest of the powdered sugar on and stir again. You don’t have to use all of it. I feel like less it more, personally. I want to be eating chunks of peanut buttery chocolate, not inhaling powdered sugar.
And voila! Puppy Chow goodness! You have my full permission to shove this in a ziplock in the back of your cupboard and not tell ANYONE about it.
Do muddy buddies need to be refrigerated?
No, muddy Buddies will do just fine in a ziplock or an airtight container left out on the counter for about a week. Good luck making them last that long. If you prefer them cold (puppy chow is actually super delicious chilled), you can definitely keep the container in the refrigerator. You can even freeze them! Just toss them in a ziplock freezer bag, seal, and they should be good for 2-3 months.
Muddy Buddies are a GREAT make ahead treat for parties, game day snack, or holiday appetizers. Perfect for neighbor gifts too, throw it in a mason jar, tie a bow, and bam. Neighborly goodness checked off your list. Chexed off? Okay, sorry.
Why does my puppy chow taste stale?
First, before you even start the recipe, make sure the Chex cereal is not stale. Don’t make the mistake of using old cereal that nobody wanted to make this recipe. That old, stale taste will be noticeable even through all the chocolate. Second, make sure when you are finished making the recipe that the Muddy Buddies are stored in an airtight container or sealed ziplock bag. Air reaching the cereal, especially cold refrigerator or freezer air, will cause the cereal to get stale over time.
Look at all these gorgeous chunks of goodness! Which one would you snag first?? I’m eyeing that big clump on the right. No more hunting and gathering for chocolatey chunks in the Muddy Buddies sphere of life. They’re just ALL stick-together chunks. Hallelujah. If you are not heading to your kitchen to whip up a batch of these right now, what exactly are you doing??
More snackity sweet treats to enjoy!
More perfect smorgasbord material for any event. If you love Muddy Buddies, you’ll also love these:
- 10 Minute Caramel Popcorn << crunchy, flavorful, and done in a flash!
- Nutella & Banana Stuffed Crescent Rolls << Nutella, one of the foods of the gods, all wrapped up with bananas in a perfect pastry shell.
- No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies << make these when it’s too hot to turn on the oven
- Rice Krispie Treats << another childhood classic, this recipe is for the softest, gooiest rice krispies around!
- Sticky Sweet and Salty Holiday Chex Mix << Switch out the color of M&Ms, and you can make this favorite any time of year
- How to Make a Dessert Charcuterie Board << Or, go all out and make several of these and style them all to make the most epic Charcuterie Board!
- Smoked Snack Mix from Gimme Some Grilling
- Banana Sushi from My Fussy Eater
- Peanut Butter S’mores Snack Mix from Fun Squared
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Puppy Chow (Muddy Buddies)
- 1/2 cup salted butter, 1 stick
- 1 & 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips, 9 ounces
- 1 & 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips, 9 ounces
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons peanut butter, Jif is my fav
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 12 ounce box of Rice Chex cereal, Corn chex is fine, don't use wheat
- 3 cups powdered sugar, divided
- Clear out some space in your fridge or freezer for a large bowl! In a very large microwaveable bowl, add 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, 1 and 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips, 1 and 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips, and 1 cup + 2 tablespoons peanut butter. (Use regular peanut butter, not natural. I like Jif best! And I always use my adjustable measuring cup for pb. See photos!)
- Microwave these ingredients in 30 second increments until mostly melted, then keep stirring until it is completely smooth. See photos. Chocolate scorches very easily so be careful not to over-microwave.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla, and stir it in.
- A little bit at a time, add the entire 12 ounce box of Rice Chex cereal. Pour in a bit, stir until it's completely coated, then add the next bit and stir. Keep adding and mixing until it's all in the bowl and all the Chex is completely coated in the chocolate mixture. Use a flexible rubber spatula rather than a wooden spoon so you have less chance of breaking up all the Chex.
- Place the entire bowl in the freezer for about 20 minutes, or in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Take it out and stir gently. Your Muddy Buddies should be sticking together nicely in clumps. Put it back in the fridge or freezer for another 10 minutes or so. You want the chocolate to be not completely melty, but also not completely chilled. It should feel tacky, like it's ready to embrace some powdered sugar without absorbing it completely.
- Spread the Muddy Buddies out onto a 12×18 inch half baking sheet. (You can use a very large bowl if you have one). Sprinkle about half of the powdered sugar (1 and 1/2 cups) over the muddy buddies and gently stir to coat. Add the remaining powdered sugar as desired, you can really use as much or as little as you want. Make sure you don't break up all those glorious clumps while you're stirring!
- At this point, you can place the pan of Muddy Buddies back in the fridge or freezer to harden the chocolate completely, or just leave it at room temperature to finish hardening.
- Store Puppy Chow in two large ziplock bags, or in an airtight container. It will keep on the counter for a long time. Not that I would know, it's usually gone within 24 hours! Store it in the fridge for a special treat on a hot summer day. Muddy Buddies are excellent served either cold or room temperature!
I’ve also heard it called People Chow:).
What haha! I haven’t heard that before Marsha 😂