How to Make Puppy Chow / Muddy Buddies with Chex + Clean Ingredients!

Puppy chow, muddy buddies, monkey munch, reindeer chow, WHATEVER you like to call it—this crunchy-salty-sweet holiday treat is hard to beat! And, with just a few simple swaps, you can make the traditional puppy chow recipe SO much cleaner.

The standard muddy buddies / puppy chow recipe is pretty straightforward. Melt together chocolate and peanut butter, add your Chex cereal, and coat with a delicious dusting of powdered sugar! But, there’s lots of wiggle room to make this basic recipe more wholesome.

For this health-ified puppy chow recipe, I’ve stuck with those scrumptious, classic flavors but used cleaner ingredients! Granted, this IS still a sweet holiday dessert more than a healthy snack, and is best enjoyed in moderation.

But, even when we’re indulging, the foods and ingredients we put into our bodies matter. This lightened-up puppy chow recipe is a bit more wholesome, just as easy to make, and just as hard to resist!

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How to Make Puppy Chow That’s Healthy-ish

First, you can lighten up the classic puppy chow recipe by using a darker chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Usually, sweet milk chocolate contains more added sugars and sometimes sneaky trans fats.

Instead, opt for a dark chocolate with 60% cacao or more! You’ll cut down on added sugars and reap more antioxidant benefits from the cocoa. Or, you could cut down on sugars even more by using stevia-sweetened dark chocolate.

Then, as a cleaner, unrefined alternative to regular powdered sugar, I made my own powdered coconut sugar! Simply blend coconut sugar with a bit of corn starch or arrowroot starch—or use stevia to make sugar free powdered sugar.

Finally, I cut down on sugar even more by replacing half of the powdered sugar with powdered peanut butter! I still get the finger-lickin-good powdered coating, but with a boost of protein and added salty goodness.

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Classic vs. Health-ified Puppy Chow Recipe

Compared to the traditional muddy buddies / puppy chow recipe, this lightened-up version is pretty similar in terms of total calories and fat. But, the main difference is that the ingredients providing the calories in this recipe are far cleaner and more fuel-filled.

And, thanks to those simple swaps, this healthy-ish puppy chow recipe is a few grams lighter on sugar! Use caution when making these goodies—and be prepared to eat the entire batch at once.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Puppy Chow Recipe

a.k.a. Muddy Buddies
5 stars (3 ratings)


Puppy Chow:

  • cup chocolate chips, milk, dark, dairy-free, etc.
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • cups Chex cereal
  • 3 Tbsp powdered peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp powdered coconut sugar, see below

Powdered Coconut Sugar:

  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot starch or corn starch


  • Add 1 cup coconut sugar and 1 Tbsp arrowroot/corn starch to a blender and blend to make powdered coconut sugar. (Package and store leftover powdered coconut sugar to use in other recipes!)
  • To a bowl, add 3 Tbsp powdered coconut sugar and 3 Tbsp powdered peanut butter and mix to combine.
  • Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler until smooth.
  • Stir in peanut butter. Remove from heat.
  • Add Chex cereal and stir to coat.
  • Sprinkle with powdered peanut butter and powdered coconut sugar mixture and toss to coat.
  • Store in the fridge (if you don’t devour it all at once).
  • Yields ~2½ cups puppy chow.


*Nutrition calculated using 60% dark chocolate chips.
Calories: 105kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 6g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 7g
Did you make this recipe?Share a photo and tag us @mindovermunch — we can’t wait to see what you’ve made!