Get a delicious recipe for gluten and dairy-free Puppy Chow (also known as Muddy Buddies), the chocolate peanut butter covered cereal treat!
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Do you love Puppy Chow or Muddy Buddies? This chocolate peanut butter treat has been a big hit in my house for a few years now. I don’t think I ever was introduced to it as a kid, but I tried it as an adult and I have to say it’s one of the easiest ways to impress my kid. It’s also a quick and easy treat to feed a crowd!
Turn an otherwise boring cereal into a full-fledged sugar bomb? My son is here for it! It’s also a fun activity to do with your kids!
While I won’t be scoring many health points when we make this, there are a few things that I like about making Puppy Chow at home – namely that we can choose ingredients that work for us and my gluten-free and dairy-free diet.
Here are the adjustments that I make to the traditional Chex Muddy Buddy (or Puppy Chow) recipe to work for our family’s needs:
- Since I follow a gluten-free diet, we only use the Corn and Rice Chex cereals (you can also use generic store brands as well).
- Since I also avoid dairy products in my diet, we choose dairy-free chocolate chips. I often use the Kirkland Signature brand, but you can use Enjoy Life, Trader Joe’s, or another dairy-free brand of chocolate
- We can decide how much chocolate and powdered sugar is included – ultimately deciding how sweet it is
Read on: Is Chex cereal gluten-free?
Let’s go through the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe, as well as how to make your own Puppy Chow or Muddy Buddies step-by-step!
Ingredients for gluten and dairy-free puppy chow
If you’ve been wondering about how to make Puppy Chow or Muddy Buddies to work for you and your gluten and dairy-free diet, let’s go over what ingredients you’ll need!
Dairy-free chocolate chips
You can use any type of dairy-free chocolate for this recipe. I find that using chocolate chips makes it easy to melt the chocolate more quickly in the microwave.
We usually have a big bag of Kirkland Signature chocolate chips on hand, and these contain no dairy ingredients. I’m happy to use these in this recipe as well as many of my other desserts that call for chocolate chips.
I don’t put too much thought into what I use, so if you have a strong preference for a certain brand or dark chocolate vs semisweet chocolate, go ahead and use what you know you already love!
The peanut butter in this recipe needs to be creamy. It will coat the cereal perfectly once it melts down with the chocolate and vegan butter. Again, I use the Kirkland Signature brand of peanut butter.
I like peanut butter that has no added sugar or “extras” and this brand fits the bill. Whatever peanut butter you’d usually use in your kitchen will work well for this recipe – just make sure it’s creamy!
If you can’t eat peanut butter, try a different type of nut or seed butter that your body can tolerate better.
Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks
In a normal Muddy Buddy or Puppy Chow recipe, you’ll use butter. But in this dairy-free version, we’re going to use vegan butter instead. I usually use Earth Balance brand of vegan butter, but there are loads of other great ones out there.
In this recipe, the added salt in the Earth Balance is a nice juxtaposition against the strong sweet flavors of the chocolate and powdered sugar.
Powdered sugar is essential in this recipe to coat the chocolate and peanut butter covered cereal. I’ve tried in the past to go light on the powdered sugar, and I have to say… if you’re going to truly enjoy this treat, don’t skimp!
Use the full amount of powdered sugar to fully coat the chocolate coated cereal. I promise you won’t regret it!
Now that we’ve covered what ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe, let’s go through how to make it step-by-step!
How to make gluten and dairy-free puppy chow (aka muddy buddies)
Here’s how to make your own gluten and dairy-free puppy chow (muddy buddies)!
Combine the chocolate and peanut butter
In a large bowl, combine the dairy-free chocolate chips, peanut butter, and vegan butter.
Melt chocolate and peanut butter together
Transfer the bowl to the microwave and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring with a spatula each time to combine ingredients. Continue to heat and stir until the chocolate, peanut butter, and butter are fully melted and incorporated.
Add the vanilla extract to the chocolate mixture and stir well to combine.
Add the cereal to the chocolate peanut butter mixture
Add the cereal to the bowl. Using the spatula, toss the chocolate mixture and cereal until everything is evenly coated in the chocolate.
Add the powdered sugar to a gallon-sized freezer bag
In a gallon sized freezer bag, add the powdered sugar.
Add the coated cereal to the freezer bag
Transfer the chocolate coated cereal mixture to the freezer bag. Zip the top up so that it’s secured well.
Shake the bag to combine
Shake the bag to coat all the cereal in powdered sugar.
Transfer the puppy chow out onto a sheet of wax or parchment paper to cool
Transfer the puppy chow to a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper to cool completely.
And try not to eat it all straight off the counter!!
Transfer to a bowl or airtight container to enjoy later
After the puppy chow has cooled, transfer to a bowl to serve immediately or an airtight container for later. This will keep in the fridge or at room temperature for up to 4 or 5 days.
If you are trying to avoid gluten and dairy and still want to enjoy puppy chow or muddy buddies, I hope you enjoy this recipe! This is a great treat to enjoy for movie nights, holiday festivities, gatherings with kids, and snow days!
- 9 cups rice and corn Chex cereal
- 1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- ¼ cup vegan butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- In a large bowl, combine the dairy-free chocolate chips, peanut butter, and vegan butter.
- Transfer the bowl to the microwave and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring with a spatula each time to combine ingredients. Continue to heat and stir until the chocolate, peanut butter, and butter are fully melted and incorporated.
- Add the vanilla extract to the chocolate mixture and stir well to combine.
- Add the cereal to the bowl. Using the spatula, toss the chocolate mixture and cereal until everything is evenly coated in the chocolate.
- In a gallon sized freezer bag, add the powdered sugar.
- Transfer the chocolate coated cereal mixture to the freezer bag. Zip the top up so that it's secured well.
- Shake the bag to coat all the cereal in powdered sugar.
- Transfer the puppy chow to a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper to cool completely.
- After the puppy chow has cooled, transfer to a bowl to serve immediately or an airtight container for later. This will keep in the fridge or at room temperature for up to a week.
Be sure to use creamy peanut butter. Crunchy peanut butter doesn't work as well here!
Use whatever brand of dairy-free chocolate chips or chocolate you enjoy. I've used Kirkland Signature and Enjoy Life with this recipe.
Rice and Corn Chex are the gluten-free varieties of Chex. Avoid Wheat Chex to ensure this recipe is gluten-free.
For a version without peanut butter, opt for another nut or seed butter your body can tolerate.