This Christmas Puppy Chow recipe has the perfect combination of decadent chocolate, chunky peanut butter, and crunchy cereal coated in powdered sugar, with festive M&Ms and candy canes, making it the deliciously addicting festive sweet treat everyone craves!
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Sprinkle a little joy into your holiday season with a simple but mouthwatering treat that is sure to become a new tradition. Our Christmas Puppy Chow, also known as Muddy Buddies, is not just easy to whip up for any occasion, but it's an absolutely delightful way to spread some cheer.
I grew up loving puppy chow (the snack mix for humans, not dogs!) but my husband had never even heard of it until we started dating. It also goes by another name, Muddy Buddies, which is actually the more popular name for it on the West Coast as compared to the Midwest, where I grew up.
I've posted a classic puppy chow recipe and even a small batch muddy buddies recipe before, but it's so easy and fun to dress up for different holidays and makes a great Christmas treat to gift to neighbors during the holiday season.
Making Puppy Chow is a simple process, and this easy recipe is a crowd-pleaser, perfect for all ages. Whether you're making treats for cookie exchanges, movie nights, or just looking for the perfect recipe for Christmas parties, this sweet snack mix hits all the right notes.
Check out my Christmas Crack Saltine Cracker Toffee, Peppermint Marshmallows, Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bark, Homemade Turtles Candy, and this Christmas Crockpot Candy for more of our favorite Christmas treat recipes!
Why We Love This Recipe
- Whether you're catering to a large crowd at a holiday party or just making a small batch for a cozy movie night at home, you can adjust the quantities easily.
- Using super simple ingredients, Christmas Muddy Buddies are perfect for last-minute edible gift-giving! Just wrap up a big portion in a cute gifting bag or festive tin for a heartwarming, thoughtful present that's perfect for teachers, neighbors, and friends.
- The kids will love choosing their favorite festive add-ins, and then it's a simple process of mixing and shaking everything together!
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Chex Cereal - Plain Rice Chex cereal is the classic choice for the base of puppy chow, providing a crunchy texture that holds up well to the coating.
- Chocolate Chips - I use melted semi-sweet chocolate chips to create a rich, chocolatey coating for the cereal.
- Peanut Butter - Chunky peanut butter is my go-to for this recipe. It adds a creamy but also crunchy element that pairs perfectly with chocolate.
- Salted Butter - Helps to thin out the chocolate and peanut butter mixture while adding a bit of richness.
- Kosher Salt - To enhance the flavors of the mix.
- Vanilla Extract - A splash of vanilla adds depth to the chocolate mixture.
- Powdered Sugar - To coat the Chex cereal, giving it the classic puppy chow look and a sweet finish.
- M&Ms - Christmas M&Ms add a festive touch and a slight crunch, but any holiday-themed candy will do if M&Ms aren’t your favorite.
- Candy Canes - This is optional but brings a great peppermint twist to the treat, enhancing the Christmas vibe.
How to Make Holiday Puppy Chow Mix
- Mix coating ingredients. In a small glass bowl, combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter.
- Melt coating mixture. Melt in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring each time until the chocolate is all melted and the ingredients are smooth and combined. (Alternatively, melt on the stovetop using a double boiler.) Stir in the vanilla extract and salt.
- Coat Chex mix. Pour the Chex mix into a large bowl and drizzle over the melted chocolate mixture. Mix very well to completely coat all the cereal in the chocolate. Let it cool for 8 minutes.
- Put mixture into a bag. Once cooled, scoop the coated Chex mixture into a large gallon zip-top bag.
- Add powdered sugar. Pour powdered sugar on top.
- Seal and shake. Seal the bag and shake it well to coat all the cereal.
- Add candy. Next, add in whatever kind of M&M or candy you want, like the crushed candy canes, and shake it again until evenly dispersed.
- Serve. Pour the Christmas Puppy Chow into a large bowl or spread it out on a large cookie sheet to serve.
Absolutely! While Rice Chex is the traditional choice, Corn Chex would work well too. Different flavors like Cinnamon Chex, Chocolate Chex, or Honey Nut Chex would work well to give you a different flavor to the treat. If you do this, try to match the other add-ins to the base flavor you have chosen.
This Christmas Puppy Chow will keep fresh in an airtight container or in a Ziploc bag at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
You can easily make this Christmas treat in advance, or you may simply want to portion it out so that you don’t risk eating it all in one sitting, so freezing it is a great option. Once set, place the Puppy Chow in a Ziploc bag or freezer-safe container to keep it nice and fresh. Thaw or eat frozen (your choice).
Tips for Success
- Use chunky peanut butter and have a higher chocolate-to-cereal ratio than the original recipe called for.
- Use lots of powdered sugar to make sure every last bit of the puppy chow is coated in a sweet dusting of sugar.
- Make sure all of the cereal pieces are evenly coated with the chocolate mixture. To do this, pour the chocolate mixture on top of the Chex mix slowly, mixing it in slowly.
- Use a spatula or large spoon to gently fold the cereal until it's completely covered. Aggressive mixing will result in a lot of crushed cereal!
- Make sure your chocolate-coated cereal is cool to the touch before adding the M&Ms to prevent the colors from the candy from bleeding onto the cereal and powdered sugar.
What Do I Serve With Christmas Puppy Chow?
Christmas Puppy Chow is a sweet and decadent treat on its own, but it will work well with other holiday favorites on your holiday dessert table.
When planning your holiday party or family gathering, consider serving it alongside savory snacks to balance the sweetness.
Substitutions and Variations
- For those with a peanut allergy, this recipe can be easily modified to be allergy-friendly. Swap out the peanut butter for sunflower seed butter, and you've got a treat that's just as delicious and inclusive. I have also used biscoff cookie butter in place of peanut butter before with good results.
- You can use white chocolate, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate chips if you prefer. Baking chips are also a good choice if you want to change the color of the snack.
- Use your favorite kind of festive candy for this treat. Try using crushed toffee bits, peppermint patties, or another kind of crushed candy. Reese's Pieces, Mini M&M's, or crushed Werther's Originals could also be great options.
More Easy Christmas Dessert Recipes
- Christmas Crack Saltine Cracker Toffee
- Easy Buckeye Candy
- Gingerbread Truffles
- Grandma Nash's English Toffee
- Churro Popcorn
- Easy Christmas Crockpot Candy
- 35+ of The Best Christmas Cookies
- 25+ Easy Homemade Christmas Candy Recipes
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Christmas Puppy Chow (aka Festive Muddy Buddies)
- 9 cups plain Rice Chex Cereal
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- 4 Tablespoons salted butter
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- ¾ cup Christmas candy colored M&Ms
- 3-4 candy canes, crushed
- In a small glass bowl combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter.
- Melt in the microwave in30 second increments, stirring each time until chocolate is all melted and ingredients are smooth and combined. (Alternatively melt on the stovetop using a double boiler)
- Stir in vanilla extract and salt.
- Pour the Chex mix in a large bowl, drizzle over the melted chocolate mixture.
- Mix very well to completely coat all the cereal in the chocolate. Let cool for 8 minutes. Scoop into a large gallon ziploc bag.
- Pour the powdered sugar into the ziploc bag. Seal and shake well to coat all cereal. Add in m&m's and candy canes, shake once more to combine.
- Pour into a bowl or on a large cookie sheet to serve.
- Yield: Makes about 12 cups. A serving size is about 1 cup.
- Store: This Christmas Puppy Chow will keep fresh in an airtight container or in a Ziploc bag at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
- Freeze: You can easily make this Christmas treat in advance, or you may simply want to portion it out so that you don’t risk eating it all in one sitting, so freezing it is a great option. Once set, place the Puppy Chow in a Ziploc bag or freezer-safe container to keep it nice and fresh. Thaw or eat frozen (your choice).