This Puppy Chow aka Muddy Buddy recipe is just 3 INGREDIENTS and takes just under FIVE minutes to whip up, no baking necessary! My version is made without peanut butter and powdered sugar! I know...I know...trust the process!
It's just as addicting and better because it's allergy friendly! I use a SECRET INGREDIENT that makes these muddy buddies incredibly irresistible! Find out what below!
You might also like these Large Batch Holiday Cookie Recipes!
Whether you call it puppy chow, muddy buddies, reindeer much or muddy munch, this sweet holiday treat is hands-down one of the most irresistible snacks I have ever eaten. My Glazed Holiday Pecans With Cinnamon and Brown Sugar are a close runner up.
Before making this recipe, I had only tried puppy chow once prior. That was all I needed. It was love at first bite. Like these cake balls I make every year.
BUT I was not crazy about how sweet is was. The powdered sugar that most traditional puppy chow recipes contains is so very sweet, I substituted it...with something 10x BETTER! (Pun intended.)
OH and I also removed the peanut butter entirely in case you were wondering. Peanut butter is delicious don't get me wrong. But I am a teacher and I like to make these for my students. But many of them have a peanut allergy so I left it out. And I don't miss it one bit!
Check out my other no-bake desserts.
Why is it called puppy chow?
It is named after the way this treat LOOKS.
I mean, it does kinnddaaa look like dog food...
But the phrase, "You eat with your eyes first" is totally overrated right?! So dig in! You won't regret it! 😉
Read more about the history of puppy chow!
Regardless of the name, it is an American snack that has been around for a long time. The origin in unknown...but honestly, who cares?! Whoever created the original recipe idea is genius!
It is such a fun, easy AND irresistible snack made using either Chex or Crispix cereal. And BEST OF ALL? It only takes 5 minutes to whip up!!!
The 'classic' Muddy Buddy recipe uses melted chocolate with peanut butter, butter, and vanilla extract. This drool-worth mixture is then poured all over the cereal and finally tossed in powdered sugar until it forms a nice soft shell.
I mean, how can you go wrong?
BUT because there are thousands of the same recipe out there, I wanted to try a fun twist on the famous puppy chow and substitute the powdered sugar with vanilla instant pudding mix and use NO peanut butter!
You won't be able to stop snacking on these! I promise.
Make sure to check out my other holiday inspired desserts!
- Chex cereal - Chex is the most commonly used rice cereal but Crispix can also be used!
- Chocolate- I like to use these melting wafers from Amazon since they melt wonderfully but any chocolate works. See chocolate tips below!
- Instant Pudding mix- This is used in place of the powdered sugar! It has so much more flavor and is the perfect substitute! I use JELLO brand pudding mix because it tastes the best and comes in so many flavors! You JUST want to use the mix dry!
Step 1: Add cereal of choice (Chex or Crispix) into the largest bowl you have and set aside.
Step 2: Place chocolate in another large bowl and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on high. Remove and stir well. The chocolate should just begin to melt. Be patient.
Step 3: Heat for 15 more seconds and stir again well. Repeat for 15 second intervals until fully melted mixing well in between. (This should not take more than 2 minutes!)
Step 4: Drizzle your melted chocolate all over the cereal and work quickly! Mix it CAREFULLY trying not to break up the cereal. I like to use my hands for this. The cereal might clump together but that's okay, it will separate once the pudding mix is in.
Step 5: Finally, add in your pudding mix and toss again lightly until your cereal is not sticky anymore and everything is fully coated in the pudding mix. (You might need to add more mix.)
**You do NOT want to make pudding! You are simply adding the pudding POWDER straight from the bag, NO MILK!
📃 NOTE: You can print the FULL recipe with all ingredients & detailed instructions below!
Variations and Substitutions
Muddy buddies is pretty versatile even though it has just 3 ingredients.
- Feel free to swap out any pudding mixes. You can use vanilla, chocolate, banana, cheesecake, chocolate or even coconut!
- You can use any type of chocolate. Dark is less sweet. Semi-sweet is the next level up. Milk chocolate is the sweetest. White chocolate would work too but is also very sweet.
- Add festive sprinkles, candies, or anything else that floats your boat.
- Use flavored Chex cereal. They have cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla and other flavors!
Check out my other quick desserts which take less than 15 minutes to whip up!
NO Powdered Sugar!
The secret ingredient that I use to replace the confectioners sugar (powdered sugar) is VANILLA PUDDING MIX!
And guys...it is SO delicious!! The fine texture and sweet flavor makes it the perfect substitution.
If you love pudding as much as me:
Try my Mocha Pudding Cookies or my Individual Banana Pudding Monkey Bread and thank me later!
What kind of chocolate is best?
Use the best chocolate you can find! They have something called "melting chocolate" which is made to melt easily compared to chocolate chips. I recently purchased these milk chocolate melting wafers on Amazon and it melts like a DREAM! Almond bark also melts very nicely. You can find that in the baking aisle of your grocery store.
Use also can use a bar, block of chocolate or chocolate chips. Just know that chocolate chips don't melt as easily as wafers or almond bark does.
If you like your muddy buddies super sweet, use milk chocolate. If you want a less sugary snack, I suggest using semi-sweet or dark chocolate.
- Make sure you do not scorch your chocolate! Melt your chips in the microwave in short 15 second intervals stirring well in between. It will melt! Just be patient.
- Once your chocolate is melted and smooth, work quickly! Waiting too long will cause the chocolate to harden making it difficult to mix.
- Be GENTLE while mixing! The biggest mistake I see when people make muddy buddies is crushing it up. You want to keep the cereal squares whole if possible. Use your hands if you can. They are the best tools.
- Choose a good melting chocolate so your chocolate is easy to pour and mix.
- Add your vanilla pudding mix to a large brown paper bag or Ziploc bag to make shaking and coating easier!
Muddy buddies lasts a long time since the ingredients are individually shelf-stable although I don't think it will last too long in your house. It never does in mine!
Store your puppy chow in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 10 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months in a freezer bag or container.
Puppy chow is an AWESOME gift around the holidays! Like my Christmas Cake Balls, they last at least 5 days so you can make them in advance and gift them just in time!
Purchase these gift bags or these jars to put your muddie buddies in and tie with a cute bow or tag.
Muddy buddies doesn't have to JUST be a holiday treat either. Kids parties or goodie bags would also be a great time to gift this delicious snack!
You can make ANY flavor muddy buddies especially using pudding mix!
Chex is gluten free and Kraft pudding mix is also GF so yes!!
Chunky, smooth, whatever you like best! The only kind that would not work as well would be the natural kind since it is more oily than the others.
Other party desserts you may like:
Cannoli Gingerbread Cream Filled Phyllo Bites
4 Ingredient Gooey Chocolate Cake Cookies
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Vanilla Pudding Puppy Chow aka Muddie Buddies (NO peanut butter)
- 8-10 oz Dark or Semi-Sweet Chocolate ((dark if you want these less sweet))
- 5 Cups Crispix, Chex or Any Rice Squares Cereal
- 2 4.6 oz Packages Instant Vanilla Pudding
- Add cereal of choice into the largest bowl you have and set aside.
- Place chocolate in another large bowl and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on high. Remove and stir well. The chocolate should just begin to melt. Be patient.
- Heat for 15 more seconds and stir again well. Repeat for 15 second intervals until fully melted mixing well in between. (This should not take more than 2 minutes!)
- Drizzle your melted chocolate all over the cereal and work quickly!Mix it CAREFULLY trying not to break up the cereal. I like to use my hands for this. The cereal might clump together but that's okay, it will separate once the pudding mix is in.
- Finally, add in your pudding mix and toss again lightly until your cereal is not sticky anymore and everything is fully coated in the pudding mix. (You might need to add more mix.)**You do NOT want to make pudding! You are simply adding the pudding POWDER straight from the bag, NO MILK!
- Enjoy right away or store in Tupperware for up to 2 weeks! Refrigeration is not needed.
Would it be possible to use non-instant pudding?
Great question..I have not tried it with non-instant pudding but the lack of gelatinized starch might make a difference! Let me know if you do try it!
Thanks for this recipe! I'm making it for a baby shower, so I'm using the strawberry cheesecake pudding since it's a girl.
Ohh that sounds delicious!! Make sure to tag me! 🙂
I just made this with white chocolate chips and lemon pudding Yummy! Did you notice someone makes York peppermint patty pudding. I'm going to try that next time. Thanks for the recipe; I love that there are still so many ways to innovate recipes!
No I didn't know that! 🙂 But that sounds like it would be delicious! Thanks for your review!
I wanted to try the blueberry lemon monkey munch but they don't or didn't have blueberry chex so I found your recipe. I loved the pudding addition, I used chocolate. I mixed the vanilla chex and cinnamon chex. I used a mix of dark chocolate chips and espresso chips. Its fabulous! Thanks for your hints and concise directions. The cereal all clumped together and I thought oh know I screwed it up but no when it went in the powdered sugar pudding bag it separated and coated evenly. Thanks again! Taking it to the hospital as a surprise!
Whoa you're blowing my mind with the addition of espresso chips! Great idea! I am glad you like it! Thank you for your wonderful words! 🙂
Love puppy chow!! This looks so good, perfect for any party snacking! The instant vanilla pudding mix is such a great idea and sounds delicious!
Bite Sized Kitchen
Jas @ All that's Jas
My grandkids would love this vanilla pudding puppy chow. It's less sticky than one made with peanut butter. Great snack!
Bite Sized Kitchen