Overhead of a bowl of reindeer chow surrounded by festive red and white decorations.

Get ready to elevate your holiday snacking game with the irresistible charm of Christmas Puppy Chow! This delightful treat, also affectionately known as “Reindeer Chow,” is the perfect way to infuse some festive magic into your holiday season. From its sweet and crunchy texture to its delightful chocolate-peanut butter flavor, Christmas Puppy Chow is a favorite among kids and adults alike. 

Whether you’re planning a cozy family movie night or looking for something to bring to a holiday party, Christmas Puppy Chow is sure to become the star of the show.

A wide and deep serving bowl filled with Christmas puppy chow rests among decorations on a holiday table.

Why is puppy chow called puppy chow?

The name “puppy chow” might be a bit misleading because, despite its moniker, this delicious snack is not meant for our furry friends. In fact, it’s a sweet and crunchy concoction that’s perfect for humans of all ages to enjoy. The name likely originated because the finished product resembles dry dog food, but don’t let that fool you! It’s a holiday favorite made from Chex cereal coated in chocolate, peanut butter, and powdered sugar. You may also see it called Muddy Buddies, Monkey Munch, or, during the holidays…reindeer chow!

What do I need to make this Christmas puppy chow recipe?

If you’ve ever made a variation of puppy chow before, most of this ingredient list will look familiar:

  • Rice Chex cereal
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Unsalted butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar
  • Holiday-colored M&M candies

Protip: Mix it up with mint!

While standard M&Ms make a delicious muddy buddies addition, we love this holiday version even more with mint M&Ms. They add a refreshing, festive flavor to the snack mix!

Close view of reindeer chow in a bowl with red and green M&Ms.

Is this reindeer chow gluten-free?

Sure is! Rice Chex is gluten-free, so you really just need to check the label on whatever brand of chocolate chips you use to make sure there is no hidden gluten!

Protip: Keep it gluten-free!

Can’t find the Rice Chex? Corn Chex will also work for this recipe and will keep it gluten-free as well!

How do you make Christmas puppy chow?

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper. Pour cereal into a large bowl.
  2. Put the chocolate, peanut butter, and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for one minute, and stir to combine. Stirring should help melt any lumps of chocolate or peanut butter, but if not, microwave in ten-second increments until everything is melted. 
  3. Add the vanilla to the chocolate peanut butter mixture.
  4. Pour the chocolate over the cereal and stir well.
  5. Transfer the cereal mix to a gallon zip-top bag and add the powdered sugar. Seal the bag and shake until all the cereal is coated with sugar.
  6. Pour the puppy chow onto the baking sheet, and gently stir in the M&Ms. Cool completely.
Top view of Christmas puppy chow in a large serving bowl with holiday decor around.

How long does reindeer chow last?

Store puppy chow in an airtight container for up to two weeks. It can be stored at room temperature, so this is a great gift to make the week before Christmas—just seal it in a pretty tin, and your gift wrapping is done!

Want more easy food gifts like this one?

We have over 45 simple food gift ideas, including soup mixes in a jar, homemade limoncello, and the best hot chocolate mix!

Overhead of a bowl of reindeer chow surrounded by festive red and white decorations.

Christmas Puppy Chow Recipe

Yield: 20 servings
Prep Time: 9 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 10 minutes

Get into the holiday spirit with this sweet favorite! Christmas puppy chow makes a great snack you can gift or enjoy while watching your favorite holiday movie.

Ingredients

  • 7 cups Rice Chex Cereal
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 cups holiday M&Ms (plain or mint)

Instructions

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper, set aside.
  2. Place cereal into a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter. Heat for 1 minute, and stir to combine until completely melted. You can also do this in a double broiler over low heat on the stove.
  4. Stir in the vanilla extract until smooth.
  5. Pour the chocolate mixture over cereal and stir to coat.
  6. In a gallon-size zip-top bag, add powdered sugar and the cereal mixture.
  7. Seal bag and toss to coat. Pour mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
  8. Sprinkle the M&Ms on top, stirring gently to mix.
  9. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Notes

  • We love to make this with mint M&Ms—the combo of chocolate and peppermint is just perfect for the holidays. Plain M&Ms also work!
  • We prefer semisweet chocolate chips in this recipe because there is so much sweetness added from the other ingredients, but if milk chocolate is your jam, that’ll work, too! Or even try white chocolate chips if you aren’t a chocolate lover.
  • You can make this dairy-free by using vegan margarine (we’ve used Earth Balance sticks in this recipe before with great results) and vegan candy-coated chocolate in place of the M&Ms (Unreal dark chocolate gems work).
  • This recipe differs from what you’ll find on the Chex box. We tested it a number of times and found that there is a more flavorful result with less Chex than the original recipe calls for.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 323Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 70mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 2gSugar: 29gProtein: 4g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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