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Gluten-Free Muddy Buddies (Puppy Chow)

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Learn how to make the BEST gluten-free muddy buddies (aka puppy chow) with our simple tricks. This classic no-bake treat has never been better!

gluten free muddy buddies in a white bowl

Are our new recipes making you feeling nostalgic yet? Between our recent Chocolate Zucchini Cake, Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars and today’s Gluten-Free Puppy Chow recipe, I’m channeling lots of childhood favorites lately!

Whether you call this family favorite Muddy Buddies or Puppy Chow, this yummy recipe is a delicious snack or perfect treat to satisfy your sweet tooth. It’s such a fun way to get in the kitchen during the summer–you don’t even need to turn on the oven!

This popular dish only requires a few pantry-staple ingredients + some cereal! The ingredients aren’t fancy, but the real secret is getting just the right proportions.

We’re breaking it all down + spilling our secrets for THE BEST gluten-free puppy chow ever…

ingredients for gluten free puppy chow

Ingredients You Need TO Make Muddy Buddies

  • Chex Cereal. You can make gluten-free muddy buddies with either Rice Chex or Corn Chex (or a mix!). I usually go for Corn Chex or a 50/50 mix of corn and rice Chex, but this part is personal preference.
  • Chocolate Chips. Most Muddy Buddy recipes recommend semi-sweet chocolate chips, but I really love dark chocolate chips here since there’s the powdered sugar adds plenty of sweetness. Use your favorite! (Milk chocolate chips will be too sweet!)
  • Peanut Butter. You can use either classic peanut butter (like Jif, Skippy, etc.) or natural peanut butter (with just peanuts + salt) to make muddy buddies. We’ve used both with great results. I do prefer creamy peanut butter/smooth peanut butter over crunchy peanut butter/chunky peanut butter.
  • Butter. This helps the chocolate peanut butter mixture blend extra glossy and smooth.
  • Vanilla. The subtle notes that vanilla extract adds are LOVELY!
  • Salt. This is one of THE BEST things you can add to puppy chow to make it taste amazing! A little salt makes the chocolate and peanut butter flavors taste more vibrant, AND it helps balance all the sweetness from the powdered sugar! Speaking of which…
  • Powdered Sugar. Last, but not least, you’ll need some powdered sugar. After coating the cereal in a melty chocolate peanut butter mixture, you’ll toss it in powdered sugar to coat it. This powdered sugar coating gives muddy buddies their signature look!

Muddy Buddies Vs Puppy Chow

Are Muddy Buddies and Puppy Chow the same thing? Basically, yes! This chocolate peanut butter cereal treat goes by many names–muddy buddies, muddy munch, puppy chow, and even monkey munch!

Despite the name, puppy chow is NOT safe for dogs (it’s not actual dog food!), but it IS a really fun no-bake dessert recipe to bring to sleepovers, potlucks, picnics, movie nights, car trips, and more. I first remember having it when we lived in the Midwest (hi, Minnesota!), but this sweet treat has become popular all over the United States over the years, especially in during the holiday season.

making a gluten free muddy buddies recipe step by step

How To Make Gluten-Free Muddy Buddies, Step By Step

  1. Measure Cereal. Add the cereal to a very large bowl, (your largest mixing bowl!) and set aside. 
  2. Melt. In a medium or small microwavable bowl, combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter. Melt in the microwave in 15-20 second increments, stirring between each interval, until the chocolate mixture is smooth and no lumps remain. Add in the vanilla and salt and stir to combine. (If you prefer, you can melt these ingredients together in a small saucepan on the stove over low heat))
  3. Coat. Pour the melted chocolate over the cereal and gently stir with a spatula to coat the cereal evenly with the chocolate peanut butter mixture. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl so the chocolate mixture ends up on the cereal, not the bowl! (You want all the cereal pieces coated with chocolate peanut butter goodness!)
  4. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and stir to coat the cereal evenly in the powdered sugar. 
  5. Optional: Chill. If you’d like to form clusters, chill the muddy buddies in the refrigerator or freezer for about 30 minutes. (This goes faster if you spread the coated cereal mixture out in a single layer on a large baking sheet or pan lined with parchment paper.) 
  6. Serve & Store. Enjoy right away, or store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days. 

OR, USE A BAG. Alternatively, you can add the cereal and other ingredients to a large ziploc bag/plastic bag to combine them, but I find you lose a lot of the chocolate mixture to the sides of the bag and it’s harder to see if the cereal has been evenly coated. If you’re using this method, add cereal to the large bag. Pour chocolate mixture over the cereal in the bag. Seal the bag and shake to coat the cereal. Add powdered sugar, close bag, and shake to coat with powdered sugar. 

gluten free muddy buddies on a sheet pan

3 Secrets For The BEst Puppy Chow:

1. Switch Up Your Ratios

Our gluten-free muddy buddy recipe uses a slightly different recipe than the original Chex Muddy Buddies recipe. We use a little less cereal, a little more peanut butter, and we add salt to balance the flavors. This helps each piece of cereal get more fully coated in the chocolate peanut butter mixture and makes the flavor even better!

2. Use A Bowl

If you really want to coat the cereal evenly, the best way is to use a large mixing bowl instead of a large ziplock bag for mixing. When you use a bag, some of the chocolate mixture ends up sticking to the sides of the bag instead of the cereal. When you use a bowl, you can scrape up every last bit of the chocolate peanut butter mixture and get it on the cereal! It’s also easier to see when everything’s been coated evenly.

3. Try Chilling Them!

My family often popped our puppy chow in the fridge or freezer to help it set up faster. This also helps you get delicious muddy buddy clusters since some pieces will set together as they chill. YUM. These are THE BEST!

gluten free puppy chow in a white bowl

FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The BEst Gluten-Free Puppy Chow

Are Crispix Gluten-Free? Some puppy chow recipes use Crispix instead of Chex cereal, so you may be wondering if Crispix is safe for Celiac disease. Crispix is owned by Kelloggs, who has not tested Crispix to be certified gluten-free. While it’s made from gluten-free ingredients (no malt extract!), it is not certified gluten-free. You’ll be safer with Chex cereal if you have Celiac disease.

Can You Make Buddy Buddies Without Peanut Butter? Yes! Have A Peanut Allergy? You can make gluten-free puppy chow using other nut butters, like almond butter, cashew butter, or a peanut-free seed butter like sunflower seed instead! Just know the flavor of the nut/seed butter you use will come through.

Make Them Dairy-Free! You can easily make vegan muddy buddies/vegan puppy chow by using vegan butter and dairy-free chocolate chips (like Enjoy Life). Easy-peasy!

🌟 Leave a star review below when you try our Gluten-Free Muddy Buddies recipe! We can’t wait to hear what you think!

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gluten free muddy buddies in a white bowl

Gluten-Free Muddy Buddies (aka Puppy Chow)


  • Author: Emily Dixon, Sweets & Thank You
  • Total Time: 17 minutes
  • Yield: about 10 cups 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Make the BEST gluten-free muddy buddies (aka puppy chow) with our simple tricks. This classic treat has never been better!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 cups corn Chex or rice Chex cereal*
  • 1 cup (6 oz./170 grams) semisweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips*
  • 2/3 cup (6 oz./165 grams) creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/41/2 teaspoon kosher salt**

Instructions

  1. Measure Cereal. Add the cereal to your largest mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter. Melt in the microwave in 15-20 second increments, stirring between each interval, until the chocolate mixture is smooth and no lumps remain. Add in the vanilla and salt and stir to combine. (If you prefer, you can melt these ingredients together in a small saucepan on the stove over low heat)
  3. Coat. Pour the melted chocolate over the cereal and gently stir with a spatula to coat the cereal evenly with the chocolate peanut butter mixture. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl so the chocolate mixture ends up on the cereal, not the bowl! (You want all the cereal squares coated with chocolate peanut butter goodness!)
  4. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and stir to coat the cereal evenly in the powdered sugar.
  5. Optional: Chill. If you’d like to form clusters, chill the muddy buddies in the fridge or freezer for about 30 minutes. (This goes faster if you spread the cereal out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.)
  6. Serve & Store. Enjoy right away, or store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.

–>Or, Use A Bag. Alternatively, you can add the cereal and other ingredients to a large ziplock bag to combine them, but I find you lose a lot of the chocolate mixture to the sides of the bag and it’s harder to see if the cereal has been evenly coated. If you’re using this method, add cereal to the large bag. Pour chocolate mixture over the cereal in the bag. Seal the bag and shake to coat the cereal. Add powdered sugar, seal bag, and shake to coat with powdered sugar.

Notes

*My favorite combination is corn chex and dark chocolate chips. I find the powdered sugar keeps it plenty sweet even with dark chocolate chips!

**If you’re using an unsweetened peanut butter, you may not need as much salt. Feel free to start small with 1/8 teaspoon and work your way up. If you are using fine grain table salt instead of kosher salt, reduce the salt by half.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: No-Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: gluten-free muddy buddies, gluten-free puppy chow

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