Tasty, fun, and completely addictive, this ultra-chocolate brownie batter puppy chow is my favorite variation on the popular, indulgent little snack!

Brownie Batter Puppy Chow {Muddy Buddies}

While puppy chow (or muddy buddies) may be a strange name for a delightful, chocolatey treat, even the best of marketers would probably be unable to change the classic name of this popular, indulgent snack.

If you are unfamiliar with it (as were my in-laws when I recently told them to “go open up that tupperware of puppy chow and dish yourself up a bowl” – the look on their faces was hysterical), the concept is simple.

Crunchy Rice Chex cereal is enrobed in velvety, decadent ribbons of chocolate + peanut butter, and the whole mixture gets a sweet dusting of brownie batter. At least for this version.

If you do any amount of googling, you’ll see there are endless variations of puppy chow/muddy buddies. But this brownie batter puppy chow is my very favorite in the land of all puppy chow favorites.

Brownie Batter Puppy Chow {Muddy Buddies}

I first made it months and months ago when I packaged it up for 125 brown bag lunches (don’t ask; it was messy). We’ve since made it a habit to whip up this simple little treat very often.

Can we talk for just a sec about brownie mix? It’s called for in the recipe to give the peanut butter and chocolate covered cereal a little dust bath in more chocolate (of course). I don’t usually keep brownie mix on hand, but this recipe has made me rethink that in a serious way (sidenote: there is a really easy cocoa powder + powdered sugar sub for the brownie mix in the notes of the recipe below; I’ve used it a couple times and it’s tasty but the brownie mix will give it a more defined brownie flavor, obvs).

I almost always use Thrive Life’s handy dandy brownie mix; it’s my brownie mix of choice for this recipe (and makes rather delicious brownies – I found that out after my sister made them for a family reunion this summer). I have also used the Ghirardelli brand of brownie mix from Costco when I made this brownie batter puppy chow recipe for a bazillion people as I mentioned above.

The point is, make sure you choose a dry brownie mix with more chocolate flavor than cardboard flavor, ok?

Brownie Batter Puppy Chow {Muddy Buddies}

This brownie batter puppy chow is tasty, fun, and completely addictive (just warning you so you don’t get mad at me when your kids never see the batch you whipped up while they were at school).

The salty addition of mini pretzels is the perfect compliment to the sweet nuggets of peanut butter and chocolate. Even better, once made, this keeps awesomely for at least a week (well-covered). Of course, if it lasts even close to that long, I’m going to have serious doubts about your character.

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Brownie Batter Puppy Chow {or Muddy Buddies}

Yield: Makes 15-18 cups of puppy chow

Brownie Batter Puppy Chow {or Muddy Buddies}

Let's talk brownie mix for a second. I use this delicious brownie mix from Thrive Life. I'm not a brownie mix expert since I'm usually whipping up easy homemade brownies for brownie eating, but I like to keep the dry mix on hand for this recipe because it's sooooo delicious.

Having said that, I've been out of brownie mix a time or two (yes, we make this a lot) and I've used a combination of powdered sugar and cocoa powder that's been whisked together (about 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar + 1/3 cup cocoa powder). You won't get quite that same "brownie batter" taste but it's still delicious.


  • 9 cups Rice Chex cereal (about 9 ounces which is half of a family-size box)
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (4.5 ounces) creamy peanut butter
  • Pinch of coarse, kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (7.5 ounces) dry brownie mix powder (see note above for substitutions)
  • 4 cups small pretzels (about 4 ounces)


  1. Pour the cereal into a large bowl.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and peanut butter. Microwave at 1-minute intervals, stirring inbetween, until the mixture is smooth and creamy (don't overheat). Stir in the salt.
  3. Drizzle the chocolate mixture over the cereal and using a flat rubber spatula (this works better than using a thick spoon, which tends to crush the cereal), fold the mixture until the cereal is evenly coated with the warm mixture.
  4. Place the dry brownie mix in a large bag and add the chocolate-covered cereal (you may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your bag). Close the bag and shake like your life depends on it until the cereal is coated with the dry mixture.
  5. Alternate method: I've also spread half of the dry brownie mix in a large rectangular tupperware, added the cereal mixture, and then sprinkled the rest of the dry mix on top. I add a lid to the tupperware and shake back and forth gently until the cereal is coated. If there are still uncoated pieces when you open the tupperware, toss everything together a couple times with your hands. Discard any dry mix that sits at the bottom of the bag or tupperware.
  6. Let the mixture cool completely and add pretzels.
  7. This keeps for several days well-covered at room temperature.

Recipe Source: adapted from this recipe at Your Cup of Cake

17 Responses to Brownie Batter Puppy Chow {or Muddy Buddies}

  1. Jessica says:

    We have made chocolate mint Muddy Buddies, especially when we have peanut allergy guests and we have fallen in love with that!

  2. Amanda says:

    My kids love puppy chow and now this is a new favorite!! I have experimented with all the different varieties of Chex and will tell you that honey nut is a standout. If you haven’t tried it – you must!! Thanks for expanding our puppy chow horizons!!

  3. Beth W says:

    This look amazing! Funny my son has been asking for Muddy Buddies for the past week, then I saw your version! We make these using creamy soy nut butter due to a peanut allergy, but we don’t even notice the difference! Thanks for all of your wonderful recipes!

  4. Amy W. says:

    This looks so fun and so yummy! Can’t wait to make with with my kids! Thanks, Mel!! One side note- if anyone is looking for a great gluten-free brownie mix, Trader Joe’s has one that’s divine!

  5. Paige says:

    muddy buddies will forever be one of my all time favorite snacks!


  6. Sheila H. says:

    I don’t know anything about Mud Buddies but I do know I am super excited to see that you and Sara are doing a Facebook Live post together.

  7. Beth W says:

    These look amazing! Funny — my son was just asking me to make Muddy Buddies this week! Since he is alergic to peanuts we substitute soy nut butter and we don’t even know the difference. Thank you for your wonderful recipes:)

  8. Melissa Keune says:

    Why add the pretzels? Just curious. Also, have you ever added the pretzels when you mix in the chocolate/pb so they are coated with the brownie mix as well ?

    • Mel says:

      The pretzels give it a nice salty contrast but you can leave them out. I haven’t added the pretzels earlier but you could definitely experiment!

  9. Michelle Meyer says:

    My son hates peanut butter. Do you think I could substitute cookie butter?

  10. Laura says:

    Muddy buddies are my kryptonite!!! I can’t keep them in my house because I have serious self control issues with them (meaning I have no self control with them around).

    Side note; I have been using your recipes for years and love them! I am ashamed to say my weirdo husband prefers boxed brownies over homemade brownies, no matter how many dozens of variations of brownies I make (and you make a pretty killer brownie, I might add) !! Growing up his family made boxed brownies, so to him it’s comfort food. Maybe I need to knock his head around to get rid of those loose screws in his noggin…

    • Angela says:

      Oh my goodness… I have to agree with him! I don’t know what my problem is but boxed brownies always taste better to me!

    • Sandra says:

      Must be an attachment to what we grew up with.:) I love to bake so to keep my reputation intact, my preference for boxed brownies remains a secret!….ssshhh! (and yes, I’ve also tried dozens and dozens of homemade recipes….don’t know what’s the matter with me!)

  11. Muddy buddies are one of my all time favorite weekend treats and the brownie batter just makes it that much better. Sweet!
    Have a great week Mel!

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