Healthy Puppy Chow

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This healthy puppy chow (or Muddy Buddies, if you prefer) is a delicious twist on the original Chex® recipe, only this version is made without the cereal and white powdered sugar. It’s so delicious!

healthy puppy chow in a gray bowl with spoon

What’s in puppy chow? If you’re not familiar with the original recipe, it’s traditionally made with Chex cereal, peanut butter, melted chocolate chips, and powdered sugar.

It’s very simple, and it’s also very difficult to stop eating it.

Why do they call it puppy chow? As I understand it, this sweet snack mix got its confusing name because it’s appearance can resemble dog food. (But please, don’t let your dogs eat it– there’s chocolate inside.)

When I lived in Georgia as a kid, we called it “Muddy Buddies” which is the name of the recipe on the Chex® cereal box. When I moved to the Midwest, everyone was calling the exact same recipe “Puppy Chow” instead.

So, I suppose what you call it depends on where you live!

Ingredients You’ll Need

healthy puppy chow ingredients in glass bowls

What’s in healthy puppy chow?

  • Sliced almonds
  • Peanut butter
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Coconut sugar
  • Arrowroot starch

These 5 ingredients will give you a similar snack, but with a potentially lower glycemic impact on your blood sugar. Sliced almonds replace the cereal in this recipe, so they will help keep you feeling full and satisfied, with protein and healthy fats.

How to Make Puppy Chow

1. Melt the chocolate. Start by melting the chocolate chips. You can use a microwave to do this in 30-second intervals, but I prefer to make a double boiler by filling a small saucepan with 1-inch of water.

Bring the water to a boil, then place a heat-safe bowl over the top of the pot, covering the opening. (The bowl should be large enough that it will sit on top of the pan.) Add the chocolate chips to the bowl, and let them gently melt, stirring occasionally.

chocolate melted in double boiler with peanut butter added in

2. Coat the almonds. When the chocolate is melted, stir in the peanut butter.

Place the almonds in a large bowl, and pour the melted chocolate mixture over the top. Stir well.

melted chocolate added to almonds in glass bowl

3. Toss in powdered sugar. Instead of using white sugar, you can make your own “powdered” coconut sugar in the blender!

Simply add the coconut sugar to a dry blender, and process it for about 60 seconds, until it’s finely ground.

powdered coconut sugar in blender

Place the coconut sugar in a large container with a lid, so that you’ll have room to shake the almonds around. Pour the chocolate-coated almonds into the container with the coconut sugar and secure the lid.

Shake well, to coat the almonds in the powdered coconut sugar.

almonds coated in powdered coconut sugar

When the almonds are evenly coated, add in 2 tablespoons of the arrowroot starch. Cover the container and shake again, until the almonds are coated.

This gives them the look of powdered sugar, and keeps them from sticking together, just like the original recipe.

almonds coated in arrowroot starch

I usually end up shaking in 1 to 2 more tablespoons of arrowroot starch, until the snack mix looks like it has a white coating.

Once the almonds are coated, they are ready to serve!

Storage Tips

This mix will keep well for up to 5 days at room temperature, so it’s the perfect snack to have out for a holiday party, or anytime you want a little something sweet. I store it in an airtight container, and I imagine it could keep well for up to 1 month in the fridge, if you’d like it to last longer.

(It never lasts that long in our house before we eat it all!) If you’d like to make a big batch to store for later, you could also freeze this in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

healthy puppy chow recipe overnead in dark bowl

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use another nut? One comment below mentions using sunflower seeds instead of the sliced almonds. The resulting snack mix is MUCH smaller, but that could work! You could also try this with whole pecans or walnuts, if you’d like bigger pieces.

Do I have to use peanut butter? Peanut butter is used in the original recipe, but you could use almond butter, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter, if you prefer.

Do I have to blend the coconut sugar? Blending the coconut sugar gets rid of its “gritty” texture, so the snack mix will have a better mouthfeel. If you don’t mind biting into sugar granules, feel free to experiment with skipping that step.

Is there a substitute for arrowroot starch? You can try tapioca starch or corn starch instead. I’d start with just 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, because you don’t want to use any more than is necessary to keep the snack mix from sticking together.

healthy puppy chow in a gray bowl with spoon
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4.83 from 17 votes

Healthy Puppy Chow

This healthy puppy chow is a sweet snack mix made with sliced almonds instead of cereal. It's less-sweet than the traditional version, but still just as satisfying! This recipe makes roughly 3 cups of snack mix.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword healthy puppy chow
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 214kcal



  • Make a double boiler by filling a saucepan with 1-inch of water. Bring that to a boil, then set a heat-safe bowl (that is large enough to cover the opening of the saucepan) on top. Place the chocolate chips in the bowl and gently melt them, stirring often. Turn off the heat and stir in the peanut butter.
  • Place the almonds in a large bowl, and pour the melted chocolate over the top. Stir well, to coat the almonds evenly. Break up any large clumps you see.
  • Pour the coconut sugar into a blender and secure the lid. Blend for 60 seconds, or until the sugar looks finely ground and powdery. Let the dust settle before you remove the lid, so you won't make a mess in your kitchen.
  • Pour the coconut sugar into a large container with a lid, then add in the chocolate coated almonds. Secure the lid and shake well, to coat the almonds in the powdered coconut sugar.
  • Add in 2 tablespoons of arrowroot starch and secure the lid again. Shake well, until the almonds are coated. Add more starch, just 1 tablespoon at at time, until the almonds look like they have a white coating and are easily separated into bite-sized pieces.
  • This snack mix is ready to serve right away. You can store it at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.


Nutrition information is for roughly 1/4 cup, assuming you get 3 cups of snack mix from this recipe. This information is just an estimate, and not a guarantee. Be sure to check the labels on the ingredients you use for a more accurate estimate.
You can swap the peanut butter for almond butter, cashew butter, or sunflower butter, if you prefer one of those flavors more.
Use dark chocolate chips for a less-sweet snack, and be sure that you use dairy-free chocolate chips if you need a vegan recipe.


Calories: 214kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 43mg | Potassium: 174mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 17IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 1mg

If you try this healthy puppy chow recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below to let me know how you like it!

Reader Feedback: Did you enjoy Puppy Chow (or Muddy Buddies) as a kid? Any other recipe requests you’d like to see here next?

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Tom @ Raise Your Garden

You might want to make a double batch? How about a triple batch! I’m going to have my wife make this now and in the fall once the football season starts. My buddies are going to love this as we watch the Bills lose, always keeping hope that we’ll get to that Super Bowl again. I don’t think we’ll have to worry about storing any leftovers.


    Have your wife make it?


      Tom’s wife here, I just checked this post and laughed. He can totally make his own for him and his buddies! Agreed, haha. Like they always say, if you want breakfast in bed, you can always sleep in the kitchen. Another great recipe though. I think I would be with the almond butter.


      Exactly the comment I was about to make, Josey!

maria f

Puppy chow is my weakness!! I am beyond excited about this recipe!


I love puppy chow! (I’m 14, so yes, I liked puppy chow as a kid ;))
I just made something like this, but for the coating I used sunflower seeds ground into a powder (I’m sure other nuts/seeds would work; I needed the recipe to be nut free.). I never thought of using arrowroot. Great idea!


I’ve made a healthy version of these too, and it was a hit, but I am SO trying this. I’m not going to tell anyone though, I want them all for myself.


This is great! We absolutely LOVE Muddy Buddies but quit making them when realizing that the BHA/BHT that is added to cereal for preservative isn’t good for you – they ban it in Europe!! And yet it’s in our kids’ cereal!!!
Can’t wait to make these – my husband will love you! 🙂 I’ve made using an alternative cereal (healthier version) b/c we aren’t completely grain free but the almonds sound good. Thanks Megan!


OMG, this is one of my favorite treats ever and I never knew what to do to make it healthier. Detoxinista to the rescue!!! Thank you!!


Ohhh fun! Our children have never had Puppy Chow/Muddy Buddies but I’m sure they’ll love this version! Thank you for recreating all of the treats we grew up with but healthier so that our little ones can enjoy them too.


I made a Puppy Chow knock off using Cheez-its (instead of ceral) and caramels (instead of peanut butter as there was a person with nut allergies). It’s along the lines of the savoury/sweet combos (parmesan cheese and chocolate, salted caramel, etc.). I think you have enough recipes to reconstruct this– grain free cheezy crackers (with nutritional yeast), and vegan caramel!


This is awesome! Thank you! I actually had never had this until my sister-in-law introduced me to it, just a few years ago!! It was so tasty, but I avoided recreating it because of all the sugars (including the cereal, itself – I think she used corn chex – which turns to sugar too quickly for this hypoglycemic.) I didn’t think of either of your fantastic substitutions – almonds & arrowroot starch – brilliant! So, your recipe makes me very happy! I’ll just skip the coconut sugar. Thank you!


You are brilliant! Thank you.


I have never heard of Puppy Chow. Is that a regional snack? I love the recipe. I use your chocolate recipe (cocoa powder/coconut oil/maple syrup) all the time. Would it work here?


    I grew up moving all over the country as a military brat, and I first tried it when we lived in Georgia– we called it Muddy Buddies there, which is what the recipe is called on the box of Chex cereal. When I moved to the Midwest, everyone called it Puppy Chow! So, the name definitely changes by region.

    In regards to the homemade chocolate, I think it could work, but the only way to know for sure is to try it out. If you do, be sure to serve it directly from the fridge or freezer, as the coconut oil will melt quickly at room temperature. And please let us know how it turns out!


I’m telling myself not to make these as I made your walnut-date cookies 3 times in the past week (and ate most of the cookies myself), but probably won’t be able to help myself. Your food is amazing.


To be honest, I thought you were about to share your natural version of dog food (which I thought I could adopt for my cats) as the only Puppy Chow we get in Sydney is literally dog food – LOL! But having discovered what it is, I can’t wait to try this out on my husband who I’m slowly converting from sugary treats. If only you could have seen his face when I told him I was going to make him Puppy Chow 🙂


I know I have visited your blog before, and I enjoy reading it, but I haven’t ever bought a sidebar ad, or anything and I show that I have traffic from your site, so I just wanted to stop by and say THANK YOU! For whatever it was on your blog that found mine.

Also, I can’t wait to try this recipe. I don’t need to, but well…your pictures…make it look completely delicious. Anyway, Thank you!

Love and Blessings,

Emily @ Glitz Glam Gluten-Free

Omg this looks absolutely amazing! I haven’t had Muddy Buddies in years but these look fabulous- I never thought about swapping out the Chex for something else! Love that they don’t use powdered sugar too! I can’t wait to give these a try but they look seriously addictive!

Jesse @JesseLWellness

I love how easy these are to make but I’m scared to make them because I’ll likely eat them all in one sitting!!!



This was totally genius, for real. I used to love puppy chow and have made a veganized version before but never thought of adapting it to the way I eat now. I just got an inspired idea, which I plan on using this weekend when I make this. I’m planning on coating them with lucuma instead of arrowroot or coconut sugar. Super low glycemic and delicious. Thanks for the inspiration!



This was delicious! Mine did not turn out quite as pretty, more like clusters, but they were a hit. My 10 year old son really liked them. Might try soaking my almond slivers next time. Thanks for all your hard work and the delicious recipes.


never heard of puppy chow but will definately try. Can i use tapioca starch instead of arrowroot?

Thanks for the recipe.



    I’m not familiar with tapioca starch, but it’s worth a shot!


Hi Megan, I cannot wait to make this recipe! I wanted to ask you if I can substitute stevia baking blend instead of coconut sugar and if I can use the baking blend in powdered form to top the almonds instead of arrowroot. What is your recommendation? Thank you again!!


Thank you megan for the lovely recipe. My 10 year old daughter who normally doesn’t eat almonds, loves this and requested to make it second time.


what are the nutrition facts for this recipe???


Amazing recipe! Made this several times and is always a hit. Also, one time I ran out of arrowroot powder and tapioca starch worked just fine for the dusting, not affecting the taste. Thanks so much Megan!


Hi Megan. Do you think I could use “homemade chocolate”, like with coconut oil, honey, and cocoa powder instead of the chocolate chips?

    Megan Gilmore

    You could, but it wouldn’t be able to be served at room temperature that way. It would melt too fast!


Tried this with sunflower seeds and sunbutter – I think it would be more delicious (and taste more like the original) with almonds (the sunflower seeds are SO TINY), but…still good!


Hi! Just tried this recipe to help curb my holiday craving and oh, holy night — it is amazing. I used raw almonds and cashews and pulsed them in the food processor to chop them up a bit. Also did half nutella (bad, i know) and half peanut butter. I was skeptical that the arrowroot would leave a weird taste on the outside but you honestly can’t taste it at all, it’s such a fine starch and it works perfectly to coat. Thank you! Heather


Great and easy recipe, it’s very yummy. Thank you!


I’ve also heard it called Alabama White Trash, but puppy chow is what I hear the most. Thanks so much for your recipes! I will be trying this one with the 100% baking chocolate because we have two in our family with a cane sugar allergy.


Thank you so much for this recipe, well it is so addciting!! I had to freeze it and hide it from myself, lol.

I am looking now for more recipes like this for next year and making my list now.

Thank you again.


Megan, this recipe is both brilliant and dangerous! You’re right about puppy chow being extremely addictive!


Wow, this recipe is delicious! It really does taste just like the real thing. I used peanut butter, but may try almond butter next time. So, so good! My husband is a muddy buddy fanatic and loved this. Thank you for another great, healthier treat option.


I wonder how the arrowroot tastes? I’ve used as a thickener, where it’s mixed in, but this seems like it’s more a real element of the recipe that you’d notice. I wondered about using coconut flour instead, would that do the same job? Might it taste better – assuming a person likes coconut, of course 😉


The brilliance of this recipe is starting with the almonds. I’ve attempted a “healthier” version of the original recipe by adding almonds to the chex to cut the amount of cereal needed, but never thought to just use nuts I still like splitting the arrowroot in the recipe as half arrowroot, half powdered sugar for taste and texture, bit it’s great either way.


OMG these are so good! I followed the recipe and they were a hit, I will make them again, I wondered about the arrowroot but it works!! Thank you,

Susan Jordan

I love all of your recipes and this is no exception!


Yummmm. I added a teensy bit of Redmond’s real salt – so good.

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