Whether you learned to make it at your first sleepover with friends or standing at the kitchen counter during the holidays with your mom, we all have our own nostalgic puppy chow memories. Puppy chow is a classic snack for a reason; it’s easy to prepare and tempting to everyone. It’s the perfect recipe to make with kids and can be customized with any of your favorite candies or dessert additions. Take the afternoon off and indulge in our easy puppy chow recipe.
Add this tasty treat to your list of easy recipes for kids to make.
What Is Puppy Chow?
Puppy chow is a classic Midwestern snack and one of our all-time favorite no-bake desserts. It’s made from Chex cereal, melted chocolate, peanut butter, butter and any other toppings you’d like to add. This peanut butter and chocolate dessert dream is then dusted with powdered sugar for an easy and irresistible snack!
How Did Puppy Chow Get Its Name?
Chex cereal was originally produced by the Ralston Purina Company—the dog food people. In addition to its lines of dog chow and cat chow, the pet company offered “human chow” with their cereal. It was only a matter of time until human chow was transformed into the eighth wonder of the world with a heavenly mixture of chocolate, peanut butter and butter. We don’t know who originally developed the recipe for puppy chow but it’s safe to say we’re all eternally indebted to this innovator.
Tips on Selecting Ingredients
- Start by choosing the right cereal. Puppy chow is usually made from corn or rice Chex; the texture is the same either way to choose which flavor you prefer. Rice Chex doesn’t have much flavor on its own, so it is a great base for soaking up the sweetness. Crispix cereal can work in a pinch.
- Once you know how to make peanut butter, you’re usually hooked on the natural variety—but hold off for puppy chow. This sticky snack needs creamy peanut butter (not the kind that needs to be stirred) to hold its shape and stick to the powdered sugar and cereal. If you’re out of peanut butter, try an alternative nut butter made from almonds or cashews.
- Choose your chocolate chips based on how strong your sweet tooth is. We chose to go for semi-sweet chocolate chips but milk chocolate chips work as well. If you’re not much of a chocolate fan, try white chocolate chips or candy melts.
Essential Tools You’ll Need
The easiest way to melt your ingredients together is in the microwave; so grab a sturdy, microwave-safe glass bowl ($13). Depending on how many batches of puppy chow you’re preparing, choose a bowl size that still has plenty of room once you’ve added your ingredients. You’ll need to keep mixing as the chocolate melts, so you want some extra room to avoid splattering.
To stir your melted ingredients together, opt for a heat-resistant silicone spatula ($10). This set of 4 comes in bright, cheery colors and is dishwasher-safe.
If puppy chow is on regular rotation in your house, consider investing in reusable gallon storage bags ($13) instead of the single-use ones. Shaking the cereal mixture in a large bag is the easiest and most effective way to make sure each piece is evenly covered in a white blanket of powdered sugar.
Easy Puppy Chow Recipe
- 1 box (12 ounces) Rice Chex cereal
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/3 cup butter, cubed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Step 1: Melt the ingredients
In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, butter and vanilla. Microwave on high 30 seconds. Stir gently. Continue microwaving on high, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and blended.
Step 2: Pour over cereal
Empty your box of cereal into a very large bowl. Pour the melted chocolate mixture over cereal; gently stir to coat.
Step 3: Add the magic
In batches, place confectioners’ sugar in a gallon-sized bag, add cereal mixture and shake until well coated. Spread cereal out on a baking sheet. Let stand until set. Store in airtight containers.
Tips for Storage
Storing puppy chow is usually not an issue simply because this heavenly snack won’t last long once everyone in your house gets a whiff of it.
If you do manage to hoard away some leftovers from your family, store puppy chow in an airtight container in a cool, dark place like the pantry (or a secret location only you know about). Puppy chow lasts about a week in an airtight container or longer in the refrigerator.
Puppy Chow Variations
There are so many ways to upgrade this already-perfect snack; here are a few of our favorites:
- Frosted Animal Cookie Puppy Chow: Melt white candy melts and pour them over a box of Chex cereal. Place the cereal mixture in a large plastic bag with sprinkles, crushed animal crackers and powdered sugar. Shake and pour onto a flat surface to set.
- Reese’s Puppy Chow: Prepare our basic puppy chow recipe using Reese’s spread instead of peanut butter. When shaking the cereal mixture with powdered sugar in a large plastic bag, add halved mini peanut butter cups and Reese’s Pieces candy. Shake and pour onto a flat surface to set.
- Cookies and Cream Puppy Chow: Prepare our basic puppy chow recipe using half chocolate chips and half white chocolate chips. When shaking the cereal mixture with powdered sugar in a large plastic bag, add crushed Oreo cookie pieces. Shake and pour onto a flat surface to set.
Get creative with our other favorite perfectly sweet snacks.