This easy-to-throw-together vegan muddy buddies (aka Puppy Chow!) recipe is a fun dessert and snacking option! There are only 6 ingredients and there’s no baking required. Simple and delicious? Score!

looking down on a bowl of vegan muddy buddies with blue striped towel

Some people call ‘em muddy buddies, others have dubbed this sweet snack puppy chow. However you decide to say it, this recipe makes for a fabulous dessert or nibble! Many prepare this dish for the holiday season, but, honestly, I could eat this all year long!

I’ve transformed this fan-favorite into a vegan recipe. It just goes to show that even if you eat a plant-based diet, you can still enjoy some of your favorite childhood treats. It reminds me of my sticky buns recipe. All of the good memories with none of the animal products.  

Let’s get started!

Ingredients needed (with substitutions)

  • Chex rice cereal – This is the base of the recipe and makes it naturally gluten free. Feel free to swap for wheat or corn Chex if desired!
  • Vegan chocolate chips – All of the chocolatey goodness with none of the dairy. Several brands are naturally vegan friendly, like Trader Joe’s, Guittard and sometimes even generic brands, just check the ingredients list.
  • Creamy peanut butter – This creamy ingredient adds an extra layer of flavor and helps the coating stick to the cereal. If you prefer almond butter (or another nut butter!), you can use that instead. For best results, don’t use the natural no stir kind. Creamy, shelf stable peanut butter works best.
  • Non-dairy butter – The extra fat helps stabilize the chocolate. Coconut oil works too, or you can leave this out entirely since the peanut butter contains natural oils. 
  • Vanilla extract – For flavor!
  • Powdered sugar – The final touch to coat your homemade candy in sweetness. The powdered sugar also gives the classic white coating that you probably associate with this popular treat! Feel free to use more or less than recommended, depending on preference.
close up of cereal with powdered sugar

How to make vegan muddy buddies

Prepare your ingredients. Place the cereal in a large bowl and set it aside.

rice chex cereal in a bowl

Microwave the chocolate/peanut butter mixture. Heat the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in your microwave in 30-second intervals.

butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips in a bowl

Stir well in between, until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is creamy and smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract.

rich chocolate melted in a bowl

Time to assemble! Pour the melted mixture over the cereal and use a spatula to gently stir. Make sure that all of the cereal is well coated. And be careful not to crush the Chex! 

chocolate melted on top of rice chex cereal, before mixing

Add the powdered sugar coating. Carefully pour the powdered sugar into the bowl and use a spatula to coat the cereal with the sugar. Add it in increments, using more or less sugar as needed, until your vegan puppy chow is completely white. Serve and enjoy immediately!

showing chocolate coated rice chex in a bowl and powdered sugar being added

Frequently asked questions

  1. Are muddy buddies the same as puppy chow? This popular dish is called several different names — muddy buddies, puppy chow, monkey munch, muddy munch, and reindeer chow are just a few! It’s often referred to as puppy chow because this homemade candy looks similar to dog food. Don’t worry – the similarities stop there! While the name isn’t the most appetizing, it’s simply a fun way to refer to this sweet treat. Vegan muddy buddies are chocolatey, nutty, sugary, and crispy.
  2. Can you freeze it? Yes, you can! Place the vegan muddy buddies in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag (or any other airtight container). They will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, leave them in the refrigerator overnight to defrost. I don’t recommend thawing at room temp, since the drastic change in temperature might make them a bit gooey.
  3. How should I store it and how long will it last? Keep muddy buddies in an airtight container at room temperature for 4-5 days.
  4. Does puppy chow contain gluten? Because this recipe calls for rice Chex, it is naturally gluten-free! My recipe is also plant-based which means that it is also completely free of animal products. You can also make this recipe nut-free by replacing the peanut butter with tahini. 

Mix-in ideas

There are all kinds of recipes out there, but it can get a bit tricky with vegan puppy chow. Crushed candy canes are a frosty addition, while pretzels add a lovely crunch (grab a gluten-free variety if needed). You could also add in some vegan candies or extra chocolate chips!

Or grab a bottle (or three) of your favorite sprinkles and stir them in with the powdered sugar. You can find all kinds of festive shapes for any occasion. Sanding sugar also adds a bit of shimmer and comes in a variety of colors.

showing mixing of chocolate and powdered sugar with cereal in bowl

More fun holiday treats

square image of bowl of powdered sugar coated cereal

Vegan Muddy Buddies

This easy-to-throw-together vegan muddy buddies (aka Puppy Chow!) recipe is a fun dessert and snacking option! There are only 6 ingredients and there’s no baking required. Simple and delicious? Score!
5 stars (3 ratings)

Ingredients 

  • 7 cups rice chex cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons vegan butter (salted)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (you may use less)

Instructions

  • Add the cereal to a large bowl. Set aside.
  • To a microwave safe bowl, add the vegan chocolate chips, peanut butter and vegan butter. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring well in between, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is creamy and smooth.
  • Stir the vanilla into the creamy chocolate peanut butter mixture.
  • Pour the mixture over the cereal and use a spatula to gently stir, being careful not to break the cereal. You want all the cereal to be coated in the chocolate.
  • Add the powdered sugar to the bowl and use a spatula to stir and coat the cereal with powdered sugar. Use more or less sugar as needed until it's pretty white! Enjoy immediately.

Notes

  1. Store leftover muddy buddies in an airtight container at room temperature for 4-5 days.
  2. If needed, leave out the vegan butter.
  3. Peanut allergy? Try almond or sunflower seed butter instead.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 15 servings, Calories: 372kcal, Carbohydrates: 56g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Sodium: 209mg, Potassium: 107mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 42g, Vitamin A: 447IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 76mg, Iron: 6mg

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