Extra Good Puppy Chow

Puppy chow piled in a bowl.

Hear me out: summer is absolutely the best time of year for puppy chow. You make it, you freeze it, and you enjoy that salty-sweet crispityness whenever you feel like you need a cold hit of chocolate, peanut butter, and crunch.

Puppy chow is just one of those simple pleasures that takes a hangout / cabin weekend / road trip / evening at home on the couch to a better emotional place, know what I mean? No situation can’t be made better with a handful of this happy little snack.

I’m a child of the 90s and I grew up in the Midwest, so yes, I’m experienced in this area.


In This Post: Everything You Need For Puppy Chow


Puppy chow is best when it’s:

  • EXTRA COLD
  • EXTRA CRISP
  • EXTRA CHOCOLATEY
  • EXTRA CLUSTERED

Let me present to you how I think puppy chow should always look:

Hand holding a cluster of puppy chow.

Beautiful, chunky clusters.

The puppy chow I grew up with was more like individual pieces of cereal that were completely coated with powdered sugar. It was served room temperature and you ate it one piece at a time.

But do you know what’s even more fun? If you go for MORE chocolate and MORE peanut butter and MORE butter, you’re going to get MORE sticking-together, and that’s going to create magical little clusters. And if you make it very cold, it’s… well, it’s a thick and crispy little bite that is just super delicious.

That jumbo cluster you’re looking at in that picture is just a grown up’s version of the original. This stays true to the basics but just dials up everything good: the chocolate, the peanut butter, the butter. It gives just a little more excitement with the texture, the shape, the temperature. It makes for supremely satisfying grazing. It’s a real delight.

What Is Puppy Chow

For those who are young or non-Midwesterners, Puppy Chow, also known as Muddy Buddies, is a snack (dessert? prized possession? Wiki calls it a “homemade candy” – lol) that is made by coating crispy cereal like Rice Chex in melted chocolate peanut butter mixture and tossing it with powdered sugar. It’s meant to be eaten by the handful, like a dessert-y version of Chex Mix.

It is one of the great Midwestern food contributions of the 80s and 90s (my roots!) and because of my strong opinions on freezing it, I’m making my case today that it’s the perfect sweet snack / fun thing that you should be making to bring joy into your life for these last few weeks of summer.

I’m calling this “Extra Good” – it only differs from the recipes on the back of the Chex boxes by having a lot more of that chocolate-peanut-butter coating, therefore making it extra thick, extra clustery, extra delish.

How To Make Puppy Chow

Make a Chocolate Mixture

First: melt chocolate, peanut butter, and butter in a big bowl. Microwave works fine. This is the Midwest. We are not fancy.

Melted chocolate goes in with the cereal.

Melted chocolate being mixed into chex mix in a bowl.

Mix Chocolate with Cereal

Stir it up until it’s coated.

ABSOLUTELY NO PIECE LEFT BEHIND.

Melted chocolate and chex mix together in a bowl.

Toss with Powdered Sugar

Once the cereal is coated, toss it with powdered sugar so each piece is coated and dry enough to touch.

Midwestern kids of the 90s (hello) will agree with me that mixing the chocolate coated cereal in a paper grocery bag is the authentic and proper technique. I mean, is it really puppy chow without the paper bag?

But in reality, any big bag (ziplock, paper bag, even a big mixing bowl that you can toss very gently so as not to break the cereal) will get the job done.

Chocolate chex mix and powdered sugar in a bowl.

Chill Time

Finally, transfer it to some kind of surface where it can “dry” aka set into little bites of crispy delicious chocolate peanut butter heaven.

I normally use a couple baking sheets lined with parchment which I then transfer to the freezer because FROZEN PUPPY CHOW IS LIFE CHANGING.

(For optimal clustering, so don’t spread it out too much! just kind of let it lay how it wants to lay and the freezing process will help the clusters form.)

Finished puppy chow on a sheet pan.

How To Store Puppy Chow

Absolutely store this addictive bounty in the freezer. I keep it in airtight containers (like a lidded plastic food storage container, for example) or just in a Ziplock bag.

Yes, the fridge works, the counter will even work. But the freezer is WHERE IT’S AT for an extra crispity satisfying crunch. Plus, it travels well and makes it last longer.

Puppy chow (especially out of the freezer) is the absolute perfect snack to grab for:

  • cabin weekends
  • road trips
  • bonfire snacking
  • pool days
  • kids and teenagers in general (we don’t often have teenagers in our house, but recently we did and when we brought the puppy chow out, there were actual cheers and then it was pounded)
  • just grabbing a cluster or five for a little cool crunchy treat after dinner
Big bowl of puppy chow.

Oh, the joy and delight of that extra-chocolatey cold crunch! I hope this helps you live a little more lightly in August. HAPPY MUNCHING.

Puppy Chow: Frequently Asked Questions

How do you store puppy chow?

This can be stored on the counter, in the fridge, or in the freezer – just make sure it’s stored in an airtight container or bag. I’m partial to keeping it in the freezer! SO GOOD.

How long does this last?

At room temp in a tightly sealed bag, it should last for up to a week (if you haven’t already eaten it all). In the freezer, this can last for a few months.

I’m allergic to peanuts! With this work with other nut butters?

Absolutely! This also works well with Sun Butter.

Is the paper bag necessary?

Plastic/Ziplock bags would work as well, but you’ll have to do it in several small batches.

Print
A picture of Extra Good Puppy Chow

Extra Good Puppy Chow


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 16-18 cups of puppy chow! THE MOTHER LOAD

Description

Beautiful, chunky clusters of puppy chow with extra chocolate and peanut butter, and a coating of powdered sugar! Midwest summer bliss.


Ingredients

Units
  • 1 box rice Chex cereal (about 10 cups)
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (more as needed / desired)

Instructions

  1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter at 30 second intervals until smooth and melted.
  2. Stir in the vanilla and salt.
  3. Pour chocolate over cereal – this recipe makes a very large batch so I do this in two big bowls. 
  4. Use a wooden spoon to gently mix the cereal with the chocolate, being careful not to break the cereal.
  5. Place the chocolate coated cereal in the bag and add the powdered sugar over the top (yes, just dump it right in). Shake the bag gently to coat all the pieces with powdered sugar –  personally I like to go for a wet/dry hybrid approach for optimal clustering, rather than an each-piece-individually-coated-and-dry approach. 
  6. Transfer to a couple of baking sheets, or just lay it out on parchment paper to cool and set. Store this in the freezer for the best clustering and most satisfying crunch!

Notes

If the paper bag is weirding you out, that’s fine – just use a couple plastic Ziplock bags instead. (They are smaller so you’ll need to work in several small batches.)

Okay, I know that logically it makes more sense to put the powdered sugar in the bag first; however, I find that I get better clustering when I put the sugar on top of the cereal and shake to coat it that way.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: No-Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: puppy chow, muddy buddies, chocolate dessert, peanut butter dessert, chex mix

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Other Chocolatey Summer Desserts

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