Protein Puppy Chow (Muddy Buddies!)


5 from 87 votes
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The BEST recipe for homemade puppy chow with a protein twist! 5 Ingredients, 5 minutes, and with hints of chocolate and peanut butter. An easy dessert or protein-packed snack- No butter and no sugar!

protein puppy chow

With more and more time spent at home, my snacking game has been on FIRE. 

I’m the kind of person who could easily polish off a family bag of chips or an entire block of chocolate within 24 hours. 

Wanting to be mindful of my snacking habit, I wanted to snack on something healthier, but without sacrificing on taste.

One of my favorite snacks is this healthy puppy chow. Instead of making the same batch again, I opted to make a few tweaks to the original recipe. 

For me, adding protein to my meals REALLY helps balance my hunger levels, so a protein-packed puppy chow recipe was in the books!

Are puppy chow and muddy buddies the same thing? 

For those of you thinking this is a recipe for pet food, think again!

Puppy chow is a popular homemade snack, typically made of butter, peanut butter, chocolate, powdered sugar, and crispy cereal.

Its other names include muddy buddies, moose munch, and monkey munch.

It gets its name from resembling pet food, but I promise you once you get past that, you’ll be a fan!

Puppy chow that is healthy? 

As mentioned earlier, traditional puppy chow/muddy buddies contain regular butter, chocolate, and powdered sugar.

In my recipe, I omit the butter completely and also provide an option to use sugar-free powdered sugar. I also used dairy-free chocolate chips, ensuring this recipe is 100% vegan and gluten-free! 

vegan gluten free puppy chow

How to make protein puppy chow from scratch 

Making homemade puppy chow is ridiculously simple

  • Add your dry cereal into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  • Melt your chocolate chips and peanut butter together, either in a microwave-safe bowl or stovetop.
  • Pour the chocolate/peanut butter mixture over the dry cereal and mix until completely combined.
  • Transfer the cereal mixture onto a flat baking tray or lined surface, and spread out on an even layer. 
  • Refrigerate the mixture for 15 minutes, to cool slightly.
  • Transfer the refrigerated mixture into a large mixing bowl and gently break apart the pieces, if any have stuck together. 
  • Add the powdered sugar and protein powder and mix well, until completely covering all the cereal completely. 
  • Let the mixture settle. Either refrigerate it for another 30-40 minutes or let sit at room temperature.
  • Enjoy or store for later. 

Puppy Chow Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Rice Chex Cereal. I love using rice Chex cereal, as it is vegan and gluten-free. You can use any Chex style cereal of choice, depending on your dietary preference. 
  • Chocolate Chips. As mentioned earlier, I used dairy-free chocolate chips, that are naturally vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free. If you want the puppy chow to be sugar-free, use sugar-free chocolate chips
  • Peanut Butter. Smooth and drippy peanut butter is a must- If it is thick or crunchy, you’ll find it hard to mix into the chocolate. You can substitute the peanut butter for another nut butter, like smooth almond butter. If you want to use a nut-free substitute, use smooth sunflower seed butter or tahini. 
  • Protein Powder. Vanilla or chocolate protein powder. You can also use unflavored. Be sure that you enjoy the taste of the protein powder, as the flavor is very evident. 
  • Powdered Sugar. To cover the puppy chow with! In some places, powdered sugar is called confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar. to keep it sugar free, use sugar-free powdered sugar.

homemade muddy buddies

Frequently Asked Questions about Protein Puppy Chow

Can I omit the protein powder? 

Yes, if you don’t want to add protein powder, that is completely fine.

I would recommend adding an extra tablespoon or two of powdered sugar, to compensate, but generally, it isn’t needed. 

Can I double, triple, or make a bigger batch of this serving? 

Puppy chow is a super popular snack to bring to gatherings and parties. One serving of this would likely not be enough.

To make a bigger batch, I recommend doubling the amount. Any more than that, you’ll find it harder to mix the ingredients together. If you need more than a double batch, make two or more double batch servings. 

I don’t follow any diet. Can I use regular chocolate and regular powdered sugar?

Yes, if you don’t follow any specific diet, use regular baking chocolate or baking chocolate chips and regular powdered sugar.

NOTE: Using different brands of ingredients will alter the nutritional value. 

How to store puppy chow

Puppy chow must be stored in a sealable container or ziplock bag, to maintain freshness. It will keep fresh for up to 4 weeks. 

Does Puppy Chow need to be refrigerated?

No, puppy chow should remain at room temperature. Refrigerating it can sometimes cause pockets of liquid to appear, which will make the puppy chow soggy. 

Can you freeze puppy chow? 

Puppy chow is freezer friendly and can be stored to enjoy later. If you choose to freeze it, don’t freeze in a ziplock bag, but instead, a freezer-friendly container.

protein muddy buddies

More delicious protein-packed treats

protein puppy chow

Protein Puppy Chow (Muddy Buddies!)

5 from 87 votes
The BEST healthy puppy chow recipe made with just 5 simple ingredients! High protein, vegan and gluten-free, this protein packed muddy buddies can easily be made sugar free.
Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes



  • In a large mixing bowl, add your Chex cereal and set aside.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl or stovetop, add your peanut butter with chocolate chips and heat until melted. Whisk together, until combined and smooth.
  • Pour the chocolate/peanut butter mixture over the dry cereal mix. Mix well, until all the cereal is coated in the chocolate/peanut butter mixture.
  • Transfer the mixture onto a flat tray or surface and spread out in a single layer. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, until it has cooled slightly.
  • Remove from the fridge and place back in the mixing bowl. Add the powdered sugar and protein powder (if using it) and mix very well, until all the cereal is covered in the sugar/protein powder.
  • Place back on the flat tray and let sit for 30-40 minutes, or until the powdered sugar has settled, before transferring to a sealable container or ziplock bag.


* You can substitute this for any smooth/drippy nut or seed butter (almond butter, sunflower seed butter, tahini).
** Dairy free or sugar free or standard

For a keto and low carb version, click here

TO STORE: Puppy chow must be stored in a sealable container or ziplock bag, to maintain freshness. It will keep fresh for up to 4 weeks. 
TO FREEZE: Puppy chow is freezer friendly and can be stored to enjoy later. If you choose to freeze it, don't freeze in a ziplock bag, but instead, a freezer-friendly container.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 213kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 14gFat: 12gSodium: 233mgPotassium: 189mgFiber: 2gVitamin A: 274IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 89mgIron: 5mgNET CARBS: 15g
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This is one of my favorite recipe!! I use Cascadian Farm Organic Honey Vanilla Crunch instead of Chex because I need to watch how much sodium is in my food.
    It is delishes!!

  2. When has Arman ever created an ANIMAL recipe. Also you obviously know chocolate makes dogs sick so why did you give it to your dog in the first place? Cant blame other for your stupidity. Cant wait to make this btw!

    1. We contacted them and they said it was vegan 🙂 I shall have to try it with life cereal, thanks for the suggestion 🙂

  3. Settle down people. While I’ve always called it Muddy Buddies, more people call it puppy chow. Feel free to use a little common sense. Also, has Arman ever shared treats for pets with you? Use your brain and do some thinking for yourself rather than “attack” him for calling it what many call it. Anyone who has a pet should already know not to give chocolate to their pets.
    Thanks for this healthier version. Can’t wait to try it!

  4. That’s good ~ except it says “homemade puppy chow” ~ anyone who interprets this to mean literally puppy chow may find their dog terminally sick. I certainly thought puppy chow was indeed puppy chow. Anybody who cherishes their dog will be devastated it they do not understand this is not for dogs. Just saying, I think calling this “puppy chow” is distinctly a bad idea. Otherwise, your recipes are great.