Muddy Buddies Recipe

If you're not familiar with muddy buddies, it's probably because you already know this treat under one of its many different aliases. As a homemade snack that's long been popular in brown bag lunches, bake sales, and holiday craft fares, it often goes by the name of puppy chow, doggie bag, monkey munch, muddy munch, trash, or (in holiday situations) even reindeer chow. The name muddy buddies may actually have been coined by the Chex cereal people as a more marketable alternative to those other names. Chex even started publishing the recipe on their website before releasing a commercial version of the snack in 2010 (via Convenience Store News).

The enduring popularity of muddy buddies very likely has to do with how easy this dish is to make, not to mention has tasty this treat can be for those of us with a sweet tooth. This version from recipe developer Kristen Carli calls for just 6 simple ingredients (yes, Chex cereal plays a prominent role). It's also something that is simple enough that it's something the whole family, even the littlest members, could enjoy making together. Carli says of muddy buddies, "This was a classic for me growing up," and she calls it "the most addicting snack!" Give this easy recipe a try and see if you don't agree.

Get the ingredients to make your muddy buddies

In order to make muddy buddies, you'll first need a box of Chex cereal. In particular, Carli used Corn Chex, although Rice Chex or Wheat Chex could work well, too, depending on your inclination. So, does this mean that could you make muddy buddies with other kinds of dry cereal? You could, but you may want to be thoughtful about replacements. As Carli tells us, "If you aren't using Chex, I would try to find a cereal that is shaped similarly." This does mean, of course, that store-brand Chex knockoffs are totally on the table for this recipe.

In addition to the cereal, you will also need smooth peanut butter, vanilla extract, unsalted butter, and powdered sugar. If you use either Corn or Rice Chex (or similar cereal), Carli points out that "This snack is gluten free!" She adds that if you swap out the butter for margarine or another non-dairy spread and make sure to use vegan chocolate chips, you could also easily make a vegan version for plant-based snackers.

Make the "mud"

The first step in creating the muddy buddies is to make the delicious edible "mud." If you'll be doing this in the microwave, as Carli did, you'll need to put the chocolate chips, peanut butter, unsalted butter, and vanilla into a small bowl, then microwave the mixture for 30 seconds. Take the bowl out of the microwave, stir, and microwave again for another 30 seconds. Remove the bowl and stir until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. If any of the ingredients aren't quite melted, you may need to zap the mix one more time for another 30 seconds. Don't be tempted to microwave in more than 30-second bursts, however, as you need to stop to mix the ingredients (and definitely don't want to burn any lingering on the bottom of the bowl).

If you'd rather not use a microwave, you may, of course, melt these same ingredients on the stovetop over low heat. If you choose to do so, stir the mix constantly to make sure that nothing sticks or scorches to the pan. If you want to be extra-safe, you could always use the double-boiler technique where you place a bowl or small saucepan over a larger saucepan full of boiling water.

Mix in the cereal and finish things off with some sugar

Pour the cereal into a large bowl (if your cereal has a hidden prize or a coupon, just be sure to take that out before proceeding!). Pour the microwaved and melted chocolate mixture over the cereal, then use a large spoon or spatula or very clean hands to mix everything together. Keep gently mixing until all of the cereal is sufficiently "muddy" — that is, fully coated in the chocolate peanut butter mix. Once the cereal is coated, divide it between two large freezer bags. Pour ¾ cup of powdered sugar into each bag, then shake, shake, shake like you've got a pair of maracas in your hands. If you have any junior helpers, they'll love this part.

What to do with your muddy buddies

Once your muddy buddies are thoroughly coated with powdered sugar, you can, of course keep them in those same bags you've just been shaking. You could also do as Carli did and pour both bags into a serving bowl, making it perfect for a party or a special snack treat. Another popular way of serving muddy buddies is to divide them into small snack-sized portions for grab-and-go snacking. Carli says these muddy buddies can be kept at room temperature in an airtight plastic bag for about 10 days.

If you'll be bringing baggies of muddy buddies to the next PTA bake sale (are those still a thing?), be sure to tie them up with cute little ribbons for a little extra visual flair. You may also wish to re-name the snack as needed to reflect any upcoming holidays. Bunny chow? Scarecrow snacks? Whatever your choice, know that a muddy buddy by any other name would still taste as sweet.

Muddy Buddies Recipe
5 from 30 ratings
This muddy buddies recipe calls for just six ingredients and is simple enough that the whole family, even the littlest members, can enjoy making it together.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Muddy buddies in bowl
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 1 ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 box Chex cereal
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  1. Combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, vanilla, and butter in a small bowl.
  2. Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir well. Microwave again for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir well. If still not melted, microwave again for 30 seconds.
  3. Pour cereal into a large bowl.
  4. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal and stir to coat cereal.
  5. Pour an equal amount of chocolate-covered cereal mixture into 2 large freezer bags.
  6. Add ¾ cup of powdered sugar to each bag.
  7. Zip the bags tightly and shake well to distribute the powdered sugar evenly over the cereal.
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