Extra Good Puppy Chow Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Extra Good Puppy Chow

18 reviews / 4.9 average

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

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

Prefer To Watch Instead Of Read?

Puppy chow is best when it's:


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.


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.

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Big bowl of puppy chow.

Extra Good Puppy Chow

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 16-18 cups of puppy chow! THE MOTHER LOAD 1x


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


Units Scale
  • 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)


  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!


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

Other Chocolatey Summer Desserts

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    But of course, you must mix it in the paper grocery sack. Love that you included this most important step 😊
    And yes, I’m from the Midwest.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      We haven’t tested with almond butter, we think it’s worth a try! Let us know how it goes!

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      Has anybody made it with a different kind of nut butter? I usually leave the peanut butter out and up the chocolate quotient. I used Nutella once. I also add cashews. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna have to make some now. Waiting for some cooler weather.

    3. Skillful Cook Logo

      I don’t use peanut butter. I used Nutella once and I also added more chocolate. I think it would be fine to use almond butter. I might do that next time.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Totally, 1000% agree that frozen (or at LEAST refrigerated) is the best way to eat Puppy Chow. Room temperature won’t cut it.

    Another life-changing variation I made when I was eating DF a few months ago was Coconut Chocolate Puppy Chow (swap out coconut oil and coconut butter for butter and peanut butter, use Enjoy Life chocolate chips, and add a little unsweetened finely shredded coconut to the powdered sugar step). Crave-inducing.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Lactose intolerant here and so grateful for this tip! Thanks, Jen!

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      So yummy! I was glad to find a recipe for puppy chow that actually uses the whole box of cereal, so thank you! Love all the frozen clumps of deliciousness!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made this with my kiddo tonight – so fun!
    We used Trader Joe’s peanut butter Puffin cereal which was FANTASTIC.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Having this frozen is absolutely life changing! Does not even compare to room temp puppy chow. This recipe is perfect!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Did you bother to read the narrative? Not even a Disney dog would be doing:

      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

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    The puppy chow of my Midwestern dreams. This is so good – storing in freezer is such a game-changer! Thank you!!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I got Covid for the first time this week and made this as a treat to myself to help get through. It’s so delicious and so easy and so addictive….and this week (at least) I’m also calling it medical. Thank you for the wonderful idea of freezing this…will never turn back!!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    This inspired me to try a raw cookie dough (or, lazy person’s) version of this based on my mom’s recipe. Microwave some chocolate chips and peanut butter, add some salt, mix in some Crispex and eat with spoon (or mini spatula used to mix).

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Lindsay’s not wrong… this is definitely a superior puppy chow recipe! Couldn’t stop eating it.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I used natural and the peanut butter flavor is really overpowering. I wish I had used milk chocolate or maybe half the amount of pb.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Dogs cannot have chocolate; it is poisonous for them. Instead, use carob chips.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      It’s also called muddy buddies, white trash, snowman poop, reindeer chow etc. I can’t really believe anyone would think it’s for dogs but who knows.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am a believer in freezing puppy chow now. OMG – the clusters! I’ve never been a fan of puppy chow with huge amounts of powdered sugar – so this is perfect!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    My family tells me that this was divine. I can’t eat peanut butter after having my gallbladder removed several years ago so it is testing my willpower to not dig in! Lol!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Two big tips: mix the cereal and powder sugar IN the cereal BAG! you’re going to throw that away anyway! I did mine in two batches in the and rolled the top and it worked great. Secondly, I added about 1/2 cup cocoa powder to the powdered sugar for an extra chocolate boost and a moody coating. Sooooo good

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    THE MOTHER LOAD – you are adorable. Your writing always makes me laugh because I talk the same way; I crack everyone up. This recipe will be made soon – it sounds fantastic, definitely superior to the regular recipe….thank you and keep that sense of humor!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    I made a half recipe because 16 cups seemed like too much, CLEARLY AN ERROR. This is addictive. 🙂