Many people who grew up with their parents making puppy chow know it’s not for dogs — especially with chocolate being a main ingredient. Of course, when Laura Sampson, who blogs and shares recipes at Little House, Big Alaska, makes her "very munchable" version of this sweet snack food at her home, she admits to Mashed about their pup, "ours really wanted some and was begging hard." But admittedly, she tells home cooks this kind of puppy chow is "not for puppies." She adds, "I think it gets its name from the fact that it kinda looks like puppy chow." And indeed, Serious Eats backs up this assertion. But kids, adults, really anyone will love it — and no, puppy chow absolutely does not taste like dog food!
In fact, Sampson told us, "I only make this when I’m going to be home with kids. I can’t be left alone with it." Something so good is worth a try, if you ask us!
Gather just a few ingredients for this puppy chow
You will only need six ingredients to turn out this highly addictive, crunchy, chocolatey snack. Grab or shop for Chex cereal — Sampson notes any combination works for her puppy chow recipe — as well as butter, peanut butter, chocolate chips, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar.
Sampson also stresses, "You need a large mixing bowl and platter to make this recipe." You will want to make sure the bowl is big enough to toss the cereal in — or else you will create a puppy-worthy mess in your kitchen.
Meanwhile, we asked Sampson if there was a certain kind of peanut butter she would recommend for this recipe, and she told Mashed, "I don’t know about using natural peanut butter, unless it’s really well mixed." Why? As she noted, "It could have too much oil or too little oil." Sampson told us, "I used smooth Jif peanut butter for this batch."
Combine puppy chow ingredients in a saucepan
The first step to creating this easy and crowd-pleasing puppy chow snack — stand back everyone, it’ll be ready soon — is to put the Chex cereal of your choice in that large mixing bowl. Set the bowl aside for now, and attempt to keep little fingers (or big ones) away for the next few moments.
Next, you will place the butter, peanut butter, and chocolate chips in a saucepan. Sticky, we know. But once you start cooking the ingredients over medium-to-low heat, everything will combine beautifully and melt together. This process takes about ten minutes, according to Sampson. When the chocolatey sauce is melted completely and looks all glossy and smooth, go ahead and remove the pan from the heat. At this point, stir in the vanilla extract.
Grab that large mixing bowl of cereal. The crunchy Chex are about to meet the sweet, gooey chocolate and peanut butter mixture. Yum!
Coat the cereal with chocolate mixture for this puppy chow
Now, go ahead and pour your melted chocolate over the cereal in the bowl. As Sampson told Mashed about the timing of this step, "I don’t let the mixture cool down too much." She adds, "My house is cool, and I’m always afraid it won’t mix properly if I let it get too cooled." So take a note from her book, and add the melted chocolate to the cereal ASAP to avoid any clumps from forming in your puppy chow — not that it won’t taste amazing even if you happen to get distracted for a hot minute. We’re pretty sure the entire batch will still be consumed very quickly. But aim for combining the ingredients right away.
You will toss the chocolate sauce until it coats the cereal completely. Then get ready for the next step!
Add powdered sugar to your puppy chow
Over the top of your chocolatey Chex cereal mixture, sprinkle half of the powdered sugar. You will use a sturdy wooden spoon or spatula to toss and coat the cereal with the sugar. Once everything is well-coated, repeat this process with the second half of the powdered sugar.
We asked Sampson why she incorporates the powdered sugar in two steps, and as she explained to Mashed, "The original recipe calls for pouring the cereal in a 2-gallon plastic bag, then adding the powdered sugar to the bag and shaking it up." But as the environmentally conscious cook told us, "I prefer not to buy plastic. I’m just going to immediately throw it away after one use." Therefore, Sampson devised this bowl method to skip the plastic bag all together. There is one more step to this process — so grab a platter, and you are just seconds away from serving up your puppy chow for people.
Serve or store your puppy chow
You will turn your chocolatey, peanut buttery, sugar-coated Chex cereal, a.k.a. puppy chow, out onto a large platter at this point. Sampson sprinkles the remaining powdered sugar from the bowl over the mixture to cover any spots that still remain bare at this point. Finally, your chow is ready to chow down on. We asked her how long this snack lasts and she recommended to Mashed, "It will keep well in an airtight container for a couple of days."
But let’s get real. Because as the Alaska-based recipe creator told us about her puppy chow, "It never lasts that long around here." She warns yet again that the snack is highly munchable, so you may not want to be left alone with it. In fact, if you plan to transport the snack to a friend or neighbor’s house for a get-together, we suggest not making it too far in advance so there’s some left for the group to enjoy!
- 9 cups Chex cereal, any combination
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-½ cups powdered sugar
- Put the Chex cereal in a large mixing bowl.
- Put the butter, peanut butter, and chocolate chips in a saucepan.
- Cook and stir over medium-low heat until everything melts together.
- When it’s melted, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Pour over the cereal in the bowl.
- Toss to coat.
- Sprinkle half the powdered sugar over the coated cereal.
- Use a wooden spoon or spatula to toss and coat the cereal.
- Repeat with the second half of the powdered sugar.
- Turn out onto a large platter and let the remaining powdered sugar from the bowl sprinkle over the mix to cover any bare spots.