Lemon muddy buddies (AKA puppy chow) is a sweet candy treat made from chex cereal, white chocolate, and fresh lemon zest. Ready in just fifteen minutes and no baking required!
This lemon muddy buddies (AKA puppy chow) is ready in just a few minutes, and requires only four ingredients. It's crunchy, great for snacking, and filled with sweet lemon flavor.
Muddy buddies are easy to make for a crowd. This recipe is easy to double or triple, depending on your hunger level or quantity of guests.
My favorite ingredient? Fresh lemon zest. This gives your puppy chow that fresh and vibrant lemon flavor. Looking for another fun summer flavor? Try my strawberry muddy buddies.
What is puppy chow?
Despite the name, puppy chow snack mix is made for humans - not dogs! Puppy chow got its name due to its similar look to the dog food of the same name.
Puppy chow is a snack mix made with chex cereal, often coated in peanut butter, chocolate, and confectioner's sugar. However, there are many variations and it is a popular snack in the United States. It is sometimes referred to as reindeer chow or muddy buddies.
For more information on the history of the puppy chow snack, check out this website: Wikipedia: Puppy Chow (Snack)
Ingredients and substitutions
- Chex cereal can be any variety - I prefer rice chex. Corn chex is a good alternative.
- White chocolate melting wafers - can be substituted with white chocolate chips and coconut oil (used to help thin the chocolate chips to the right consistency).
- Lemon zest - Cannot be substituted with lemon juice. Adding liquid will cause your chocolate to seize.
- Confectioner's sugar - Also called powdered sugar or icing sugar. This will coat your snack mix, and cannot be substituted with granulated sugar.
Melting wafers vs. chocolate chips
After several readers had issues using chocolate chips, I adjusted the recipe and switched to melting wafers.
Melting wafers are made to melt smoothly and harden back to a candy bar consistency, so they should be more reliable in this recipe.
If you don't have melting wafers on hand, chocolate chips will work, but may need some coaxing to melt and stay smooth. Adding coconut oil helps. Coconut oil thins the chocolate to a pourable consistency and helps stabilize it when the lemon zest is added. (You can find instructions on using chocolate chips in the recipe card notes)
How to prevent chocolate from seizing
Several readers have reached out to let me know that their chocolate seized when adding the lemon zest (only when using chocolate chips). While I have not been able to replicate this issue myself, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Using melting wafers seems to be more reliable than using chocolate chips.
- If using chocolate chips, add coconut oil to help stabilize the chocolate and make it thinner and easier to coat the cereal.
- Check the expiration date on your chocolate chips. If they are expired, it is likely that they'll have a chalky texture and will not melt smoothly.
- Do not substitute lemon zest with lemon juice. Adding liquid to your chocolate will 100% cause it to seize.
- Melt your chocolate in 30 second increments in the microwave, stirring after each 30 seconds. Overheating your chocolate will cause it to burn.
- The most reliable way to melt chocolate is over a double boiler on the stove top. Bring a pot of water to a simmer. In a bowl larger than your pot, add your chocolate and balance the bowl on top of your pot. Stir continuously until just melted and smooth.
Lemon Muddy Buddies (Puppy Chow)
- 4 cups chex cereal
- 1 cup white chocolate melting wafers, * see notes for substitutions
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
- ½ cup confectioner's sugar
- In a large bowl, add cereal. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, microwave melting wafers in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until melted. Add lemon zest to melted chocolate and stir to combine. Pour chocolate over cereal and gently toss until evenly coated.
- Add powdered sugar and gently toss cereal until evenly coated.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and pour cereal mixture into a single layer. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes (or until chocolate has hardened). Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
- *melting wafers can be substituted with 1 cup of white chocolate chips, plus 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Coconut oil helps stabilize the chocolate chips when the lemon zest is added, and makes the chocolate thinner to easily coat the cereal.
- Lemon zest cannot be substituted with lemon juice - adding liquid will cause your chocolate to seize.
- Optionally, toss your ingredients in a gallon sized plastic bag - making it easy for children to help.
- Puppy chow will keep for up to one week in a sealed container at room temperature and will become less crunchy over time.
Added salt. Much better that way
How much salt did you add?