Christmas puppy chow, also known as muddy buddies or reindeer chow, is a delicious holiday treat you can serve for parties or even give as gifts. It’s a must-have recipe for the holidays!
I love making this Christmas Puppy Chow for parties and then watching everyone gather ’round. I think it’s the mixture of peanut butter and chocolate combined in a crunchy cereal kind of treat that makes this everyone’s favorite sweet finger food! It doesn’t hurt that it’s so easy to make, too.
If you want a puppy chow recipe without the holiday vibe, be sure to try this Vegan Puppy Chow.
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- Adding a bit of vegan butter to the chocolate sauce creates a smooth, spreadable consistency to coat the cereal pieces.
- Spreading the chocolate coated cereal pieces out on a baking sheet helps the chocolate set into more individual pieces, rather than clumping together.
- Using powdered sugar creates a coating around each treat, making it perfect finger foods for parties.
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
- Lemon — We’ll use both the zest and the juice of the lemon.
- Oats — I used rolled oats for this recipe, but you can substitute instant oats.
- Chia — We’ll add some ground chia seeds to create a thicker texture. You can use whole chia seeds; I just prefer ground because it creates a smoother finished texture.
- Syrup — I used maple syrup, but you can substitute agave nectar.
- Milk — We’ll use almond milk for the best overnight oats! Substitute your favorite plant-based milk.
- Yogurt — I love adding some plant-based yogurt (plain, unsweetened) for an even more tangy flavor.
- Protein Powder — I add some vanilla protein powder for increased flavor and nutrients. If your protein powder is not sweetened, you may want to add an extra teaspoon or two of sweetener.
- Cornstarch — We’ll use cornstarch to thicken the lemon curd topping.
- Turmeric — A pinch of turmeric makes that lemon curd sunny yellow.
- Chex cereal — Use either the store-brand or your favorite rice chex cereal.
- Dairy-free chocolate chips
- Peanut butter
- Vegan butter — Use any dairy-free butter or margarine or make your own vegan butter. Substitute refined coconut oil.
- Powdered sugar — This recipe uses a bit less powdered sugar than some, but I think you’ll find it’s still plenty sweet.
- Skittles — To keep this dairy-free, and to keep the holiday theme going, we’ll use red and green skittles. Substitute your favorite red and green candy.
To offset the sweetness of this recipe, consider adding a few pretzels to the mix for a salty/sweet combination of flavors.
How to Make Christmas Puppy Chow
- Measure cereal and pour it into a large mixing bowl.
- Melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter by combining them in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, let it sit for 1 minute, then stir. If it’s not melted, repeat in 30-second increments.
- Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal. Gently stir until the cereal is evenly covered with the chocolate. Transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper.
- Drizzle with powdered sugar and gently stir to distribute it.
- Place the pan in the fridge to speed up the chocolate setting process.
- To serve, add the Christmas puppy chow to a serving bowl along with holiday-themed candies.
Step One: Measure Cereal
Measure out the cereal and pour it into a large bowl. I prefer to use the cereal at the top of the box because I’ve noticed the cereal at the bottom has a lot of “cereal dust.”
Step Two: Melt Chocolate Chips & Peanut Butter
Place the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a pyrex measuring cup (microwave-safe bowl). Microwave for 1 minute, let it sit for 1 minute, then stir. If it’s not melted, repeat in 30-second increments.
Step Three: Pour Chocolate Mix Over Cereal
Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal and stir it gently, to coat individual pieces.
Once it’s fairy distributed throughout, transfer it to a large baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper.
Step Four: Powdered Sugar
Sift some of the powdered sugar over the chocolate-coated cereal and then gently stir it. Repeat until all the powdered sugar is gone and the pieces are adequately coated.
Step Five: Serving
When you’re ready to serve, add the Christmas Muddy Buddies to a bowl along with green and red candies.
There are some dairy-free M&M type candies these days (see more about them on my Vegan M&M Cookies recipe), but the colors are limited and they may not offer green and red colors. Skittles make a great substitute or use your favorite green and red candies.
Store the Christmas Puppy Chow in a large ziplock bag or in an airtight container. It will keep up to 4 days at room temperature, or up to 10 days in the fridge. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months.
Vegan Christmas Sweets
Christmas Puppy Chow
- Measure cereal and pour it into a large mixing bowl.
- Place the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a pyrex measuring cup (microwave-safe bowl). Microwave for 1 minute, let it sit for 1 minute, then stir. If it's not melted, repeat in 30-second increments.
- Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal. Gently stir until the cereal is evenly covered with the chocolate.
- Transfer the chocolate-coated cereal to a large baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Sift some of the powdered sugar over it and then gently stir it some more. Repeat until all the powdered sugar is gone.
- Refrigerate the pan to speed up the chocolate setting process.
- To serve, arrange the puppy chow to a serving bowl. Add holiday-themed Skittles and enjoy!
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in 2020 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.