This is the BEST Gluten-Free Vegan "Puppy Chow" Muddy Buddies recipe you will ever make! This easy and healthy makeover dessert is made with only 5 clean ingredients, is vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, has no refined sugar and is ready in under 30 minutes!
This Gluten-Free Vegan "Puppy Chow" aka "Muddy Buddies" recipe is a classic, easy, fun dessert that everyone in the family will love.
THE BEST Gluten-Free Vegan "Puppy Chow" Muddy Buddies
It takes about 10 minutes to prepare with only 5 ingredients and is a dream come true for all you peanut butter + chocolate dessert lovers out there.
And if you want a change of pace, make sure you check out my Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Spice "Puppy Chow" Muddy Buddies, coated with pumpkin spice and perfect for the holidays!
Some traditional versions use butter (even margarine!) and S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) "Rice Chex" cereal in the ingredients.
In this healthier version, I recommend using non-GMO and gluten-free rice cereal.
For instance, I've used both "Barbara's Puffins" brand and "Van's" brand which I like because the squares are much smaller and puffier than regular, thinner rice cereal squares (like Chex) and they're slightly sweetened.
What Kind of Cereal Can I Use to Make Vegan + Gluten-Free "Puppy Chow"?
There are a couple of clean, gluten-free options that are better than buying the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) "Chex" brand, both vegan and non-vegan:
Vegan + Gluten-Free Puppy Chow Cereal (Recommended for Vegans):
- Van’s “Cinnamon Heaven” Gluten-Free Cereal - Ingredients: Gluten-Free Whole-Grain Blend (Oat, Brown Rice, Millet, Quinoa, and Amaranth Flours), Cane Sugar, Oat Fiber, Inulin, Invert Cane Sugar, Non-GMO Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Cinnamon, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Mixed Tocopherols For Freshness.
Non-Vegan + Gluten-Free Puppy Chow Cereal (Recommended for Non-Vegans due to Honey):
- Barbara's Puffins Honey Rice Cereal - Ingredients: Whole Grain Brown Rice Flour, Cane Sugar, Fructan (Nutraflora Prebiotic Dietary Fiber), Non-GMO Honey, Calcium Carbonate, Sea Salt, Natural Flavor, Tocopherols. GLUTEN-FREE, Non-GMO Project Verified, Corn-Free, No Artificial Flavors, No Artificial Colors, No High Fructose Corn Syrup.
- Van's Honey Crunch Gluten-Free Cereal - Ingredients: Gluten-Free Whole Grain Blend (Oat, Brown Rice, Millet, Quinoa, Amaranth Flours), Cane Sugar, Oat Fiber, Inulin, Invert Cane Sugar, Salt, Honey, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Flavors, Mixed Tocopherols. GLUTEN-FREE, Non-GMO Project Verified, Corn-Free, No Artificial Flavors, No Artificial Colors, No High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Vegan + Gluten-Free Puppy Chow Cereal (Not Recommended):
- Chex Gluten-Free Rice Cereal - Ingredients: Whole Grain Rice, Rice, Sugar, Salt, Molasses, Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols) and BHT Added to Preserve Freshness, Vitamins and Minerals: Calcium Carbonate, Iron and Zinc (Mineral Nutrients), Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbate), a B Vitamin (Niacinamide), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride HCl), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Mononitrate), Vitamin A (Palmitate), a B Vitamin (Folic Acid), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3.
In addition, if you are worried about the sugar content, you can always leave off the powdered sugar coating...they are just as addictive without it!
How To Make The BEST Gluten-Free Vegan "Puppy Chow" Muddy Buddies Recipe:
Firstly, you will need to choose the ingredients you'd like to use in this recipe.
For example, the type of cereal and nut butter.
Step 1: Choose the Cereal
In the description at the beginning of the post, I shared with you the different kinds of cereal you can use to make Puppy Chow.
There are several options depending on your needs.
For example, vegan, gluten-free, etc. and I listed a couple of better options than using "Chex" Rice Cereal.
The secret for making the perfect Puppy Chow is to not use too much cereal - whichever brand you decide to go with.
You'll want to start with less and add more, only if needed.
Step 2: Choose the Nut Butter
Secondly, there are a couple of options to use for nut butter.
- Peanut Butter
- Almond Butter
- Cashew Butter
- Sunflower Butter
Try to buy organic, if possible, or make homemade nut butter!
Step 3: Keep it Cool
Thirdly, the next secret to the perfect Puppy Chow is to cool the melted chocolate.
Allow the melted chocolate to slightly cool after it's been mixed with the cereal, and before adding the powdered sugar.
You don't want the chocolate to be completely hardened, but just enough "wetness" so the powdered sugar will stick.
This will allow the powdered sugar coating, added in the next step, to lightly coat the cereal instead of having overkill with the powdered sugar.
Step 4: Repeat Again
Fourthly, after you've added the first coating of powdered sugar, you can repeat this step 1 or even 2 more times until the Puppy Chow is coated sufficiently enough so it doesn't leave your hands covered in chocolate.
Just toss them in a little more powdered sugar, put them back in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes and repeat again, if necessary.
Step 4: Storage
Lastly, store your puppy chow in an air-tight BPA-free container at room temperature.
Expert Tips + Ingredient Substitutions for Gluten-Free Vegan "Puppy Chow"
Peanut Butter. I've made these with both peanut butter and cashew butter. Feel free to substitute the peanut butter with your favorite nut butter.
Chocolate Chips. I use Enjoy Life semi-sweet mini chocolate chips to keep the recipe vegan and gluten-free. However, if you prefer less sugar, feel free to use darker chocolate chips.
Cereal. See my recommendations at the beginning of the post for healthy non-GMO and organic vegan + gluten-free options. Feel free to use whichever brand you prefer.
Coconut Oil. I add this to the melted chocolate to make it smooth, but it can be omitted if you prefer. I like to use organic "refined" coconut oil because it doesn't have a coconut taste or smell.
Powdered Sugar. To keep this recipe 100% vegan, you will need to use an organic "vegan" powdered sugar. Most powdered sugars are whitened with animal bone char.
Want More Healthy Vegan Dessert Recipes?
Check out these:
- Healthy Peanut Butter Cups
- Healthy Vegan Chocolate Mousse
- Gluten-Free Vegan Pecan Pie Bars
- My CLEAN DESSERTS Cookbook with 72 plant-based vegan + gluten-free no-bake desserts made with clean, real food ingredients just like this one that you will love!
The BEST Gluten-Free Vegan "Puppy Chow" Muddy Buddies
- 5 cups Van's "Cinnamon Heaven" Gluten-Free Cereal
For the chocolate mixture:
- 1/2 cup organic peanut butter
- 1/2 cup Enjoy Life semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon organic refined coconut oil
For the coating:
- 1/2 cup organic vegan powdered sugar
- Prepare a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Set aside.
Prepare the cereal:
- Add the cereal to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Prepare the chocolate mixture:
- Add all the ingredients for the chocolate mixture to a small saucepan and melt it on the lowest heat setting. Stir until everything is melted and smooth, taking care to not let it burn.
- Remove the chocolate mixture from the stove and pour it over the cereal pieces that are in the large mixing bowl.
- Gently stir everything together until all the cereal pieces are covered with the chocolate mixture and the chocolate is evenly distributed. Depending on the size of the cereal pieces you use, you may need to add a little more cereal. You don't want the cereal pieces to be overly coated with the chocolate mixture, so add an extra 1/4 cup of cereal at a time until they are lightly coated, but only as needed.
- Transfer the chocolate-coated cereal pieces to the prepared cookie sheet and spread them out evenly so they aren't touching each other.
- Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes to allow the chocolate mixture to cool.
- Remove the cookie sheet from the refrigerator and after the chocolate mixture has cooled completely, sprinkle half the powdered sugar over the cereal pieces. This will help to keep them from sticking together in the next step.
- Return the cookie sheet to the refrigerator for another 5-10 minutes.
- Remove the cookie sheet from the refrigerator and transfer the cereal pieces to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the remaining half of the powdered sugar on them, then gently toss the cereal pieces until the powdered sugar is evenly distributed.
- Store in an air-tight BPA-free container.
Hi, I'm Karielyn! I'm the published cookbook author of CLEAN DESSERTS and content creator of The Healthy Family and Home website since 2012. I specialize in creating easy, healthy plant-based recipes that are gluten-free + vegan and made with clean, real food ingredients that you can feel good about eating.