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Delicious Reindeer Puppy Chow

Tis the season to sprinkle joy and share the festive spirit. When you looking for a yummy Christmas treat or foodie gift, make a bowl of Reindeer Puppy Chow. You may know it as Christmas Muddy Buddies or Reindeer Chow, this treat is delicious and adds a touch of crunchy red and green holiday whimsy to your celebration snack bowl.

This Reindeer Chow Muddy Buddies recipe is SO loved it comes in many many forms. Our version captures the essence of Christmas in every bite, and you can make it quickly so its great for a last minute party treat. Having a last minute party or want a fun family night holiday treat? It just takes a few minutes to make reindeer chow. The combination of the rich chocolate, creamy peanut butter, and the sweet crunch of Chex cereal creates a treat that’s irresistible.

Reindeer Puppy Chow

What is the Difference Between Puppy Chow and Muddy Buddies?

There is no difference. They change the name for marketing purposes but you’re getting the same recipe whichever name your recipe has. Whether you call it Reindeer Chow, Christmas Muddy Buddies, or Christmas Puppy Chow, this recipe is sure to become a holiday favorite.

Share the joy of crunchy peanut butter and chocolate coated Chex mix with SO many sweet and salty additions. Yum! Make a batch to gift to friends and family or serve it at your next festive gathering. Get ready to indulge in the magic of the season with every delightful crunch of Reindeer Puppy Chow!

What is Puppy Chow Made of?

The basic puppy chow snack is made of Chex mix, chocolate chips, peanut butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar.

Reindeer Puppy Chow is the Christmas Twist on this all American favorite treat.

The defining ingredient of puppy chow mix is the cereal. Chex mix is the original cereal used in this recipe. Although, Kellogs Crispix works well too. Both of these cereals are easy to scoop out of a bowl, create a nice crunchy base for all the other ingredients.

Since the original recipe became popular, home cooks have created MANY more versions of puppy chow incorporating different cereals, like crispix, pretzels, nuts and candies. Cooks also change this recipe up endlessly to reflect whatever event or holiday they are celebrating. Valentine Puppy Chow is a thing. Wherever snacks are being served, puppy chow mix is welcome.

Is Puppy Chow a Southern thing? …No. This snack recipe is a Midwest Thing. Puppy chow snack mix began in the kitchens of home cooks in the Midwest back in the 1980s, or possibly earlier. We have an unknown cook in the midwest to thank for this cereal snack.

Some inventive person made up the basic recipe for puppy chow with a box of Chex cereal a few sweet and salty add ins and everyone loved it. And believe me. We here on the West Coast that know about it LOVE puppy chow all Through the year!

Reindeer Puppy Chow
Our Christmas mix is simple and delicious and causes little mess.

Reindeer Puppy Chow Variations:

You’ll never run out of ideas for this tasty Christmas party food with this list of ideas. Feel free to mix and match these ingredients based on your preferences to create a Reindeer Puppy Chow that truly embodies the spirit of Christmas

Begin with your Chex mix. Nowadays there are SO many flavors of Chex mix this incredible party mix has no end of delicious variations. Once you choose your Chex flavor, just make sure the add ins you choose taste and look good together. This is a very fun recipe to involve your kids in. The whole family will enjoy making it up together.

  1. White Chocolate Chips: Melted white chocolate adds a snowy touch to your mix, enhancing the holiday theme.
  2. Peppermint Extract: Add few drops in your chocolate before melting to infuse a refreshing minty flavor, reminiscent of candy canes.
  3. Cinnamon: Add Ground cinnamon to the melted chocolate to provide warmth and a hint of spice, perfect for the holiday season.
  4. Nut Mix: Add a combination of festive nuts like almonds, pecans, or walnuts to the mix for extra crunch and flavor.
  5. Dried Cranberries: These ruby-red jewels add a burst of tartness and a touch of Christmas color.
  6. Holiday Sprinkles: sprinkles, like those shaped like Christmas trees, stars, or snowflakes bring a festive flair.
  7. Crushed Candy Canes: Sprinkle some crushed candy canes for a classic Christmas flavor and a pepperminty crunch.
  8. Gingerbread Pieces: Break up small pieces of gingerbread cookies to add that beloved gingerbread flavor.
  9. White Chocolate Drizzle: Drizzle melted white chocolate over the finished mix for an elegant and decorative touch.
  10. Holiday-themed Marshmallows: Look for marshmallows shaped like Christmas trees, snowmen, or reindeer to add a playful element.
  11. Orange Zest: Grated orange zest can bring a citrusy brightness to balance the sweetness.
  12. Holiday M&M’s: Opt for Christmas colored M&M’s in festive colors or those with holiday-themed imprints.
  13. Nutmeg: A pinch of ground nutmeg adds a warm and aromatic note to the mix.
  14. Maple Syrup: A touch of maple syrup can complement the flavors and add a hint of sweetness.
  15. Gold or Silver Edible Glitter: Dust your Reindeer Chow with edible glitter for a magical, shimmering effect.
  16. Toasted Coconut Flakes: Add a tropical twist with toasted coconut, reminiscent of snowy landscapes.
  17. Holiday-shaped Pretzels: Look for pretzels shaped like stars, bells, or Christmas trees to enhance the festive theme.
  18. Dried Orange Slices: Slice and dehydrate oranges for a natural, fragrant addition.
Candy Melts
You can completely change the look of your snack by coating some or all of your cereal.

Making Puppy Chow With Candy Melts:

Using candy melts allows you to customize the reindeer puppy chow to match your Christmas theme. Think about the colors of your party table and go with that.

Using candy melts (Amazon Carries All the colors here) to change the color of the cereal adds a vibrant color and (possibly) flavor to your snack. Your Christmas Puppy Chow will completely transform when you coat them in colors. Candy melts come in various festive shades like red, blue, white and green.

Experiment with different color combinations and get creative with your Reindeer Chow to make it a standout.

Side View Of Valentines Puppy Chow Recipe
Valentines Puppy Chow makes a fun Valentines snack. Just put it in a cute bowl with red candy. Or add some green to make it about Christmas!

How To Use Candy Melts to Change The Color of the Cereal:

  1. Select the Color: Choose candy melts in the desired Christmas color. You can use one color or a combination of red, white, blue, purple or green for a festive mix.
  2. Melt the Candy: Follow the instructions on the candy melts package to melt them. Usually, this involves microwaving the candy melts at short intervals, stirring in between until smooth.Remember, candy melts of different brands and colors melt differently. READ the instructions!
  3. Coat the Cereal: Once melted, pour the candy melts over the Chex cereal and gently toss until all the cereal is evenly coated. You can do this in a large mixing bowl or even in a resealable plastic bag for easy mixing.
  4. Set and Cool: Spread the candy-coated cereal on a baking sheet to cool and set. Ensure the pieces are separated to prevent clumping.
  5. Proceed with the Recipe: Continue with the remaining steps of your Reindeer Puppy Chow recipe, adding ingredients and festive candies to make your signature Puppy Chow Reindeer style.
Puppy Chow
Christmas Puppy Chow is crunchy and salty sweet

How to Store Reindeer Puppy Chow:

So you make a LARGE batch of Christmas puppy chow and have several events planned for it or you’re planning to gift it to friends. That works! But storing it has some cautions.

Here’s how to store your Christmas Muddy Buddies for a month or more with tips to prevent it from becoming stale:

  1. Cool Completely: Before storing, make sure your Reindeer Puppy Chow has cooled completely. This helps prevent condensation inside the storage container, which can lead to sogginess.
  2. Use an Airtight Container: Transfer the Puppy Chow to an airtight container. A container with a secure seal will help keep the snack fresh and protect it from moisture and air.
  3. Layering with Parchment Paper: If you are stacking multiple layers of Puppy Chow in the container, place sheets of parchment paper between the layers (especially any marshmallows or chocolate candies) to prevent pieces from sticking together.
  4. Store in a Cool, Dark Place: Keep the airtight container in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat. High heat can cause the chocolate and other ingredients to melt. Which defeats the yumminess.
  5. Avoid Refrigeration: While refrigeration might seem like a good idea, it’s not recommended for Puppy Chow. The cold temperature can cause the cereal to lose its crispiness and the chocolate to develop condensation when brought back to room temperature.
  6. Check for Freshness: Periodically check the Puppy Chow for freshness. If you notice any signs of staleness, such as a change in texture or flavor, consider eating it sooner.
  7. Freezing (Optional): If you want to store Puppy Chow for an even longer period, you can freeze it. Place the snack in a freezer-safe, airtight container, or sealable plastic bag. When ready to enjoy, let it thaw at room temperature. Notice: This is not without problems. The snack may not have the crisp crunch you’re hoping for. Fresher is better.

Your Puppy Chow should stay fresh for up to a month when stored in an airtight jar and kept cool. However, keep in mind that the texture may change slightly over time. It’s best enjoyed within the first few weeks for optimal taste and crunch. Timing is everything with this snack.

Puppy Chow Snack
Puppy chow snack can be as messy or clean as you like. Just watch out with the powdered sugar.

Your Printable Recipe:

We’d love to know how you create with this recipe. Tag us on IG, or tell us in the comments section below. And Happy Holidays!

Reindeer Puppy Chow
Yield: 10 Cups

Reindeer Puppy Chow

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes

Puppy Chow Snack Mix is popular for holidays and casual events. Make this sweet and salty snack for friends, families and gatherings. It will vanish quick. Makes a great pot lock offering or foodie gift.


  • 9 Cups Chex cereal (any flavor)
  • 1 Cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 Cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 Cup butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Cups powdered sugar

Optional Additions:

  • 1 Cup mini Reeses cups
  • 1 Cup red and green M&Ms
  • 1/2 Cup hazelnuts
  • 1 Cup pretzels (mini size works well)
  • 1/4 Cup Christmas sprinkles


    1. Place the Chex cereal in a large, sealable plastic bag.
    2. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter together in 30-second intervals until melted and smooth.
    3. Stir in the vanilla extract.
    4. Pour the chocolate mixture over the Chex cereal in the plastic bag and seal the bag.
    5. Gently shake the bag until the cereal is evenly coated in the chocolate mixture.
    6. Place the powdered sugar in a separate, sealable plastic bag.
    7. Add the chocolate-coated Chex cereal to the bag with the powdered sugar and seal the bag.
    8. Shake the bag until the cereal is evenly coated in the powdered sugar.
    9. Spread the coated cereal out on a sheet of wax paper to cool.
    10. Once the cereal is completely cooled, stir in your optional ingredients as desired to make a festive Reindeer puppy Chow
    11. Enjoy!


There are SO many ways to make this Holiday party mix. Feel free to experiment with your add ins and the cereal. READ THE POST for a whole list of exciting ways to change up this recipe!

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

1/2 Cup

Amount Per Serving Calories 331Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 8mgSodium 191mgCarbohydrates 42gFiber 3gSugar 27gProtein 6g

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