This is the BEST Gluten-Free Vegan Puppy Chow (aka “Muddy Buddies”) recipe you will ever make! This healthy and easy dessert is made with only 5 clean ingredients, is vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, has no refined sugar and is ready in under 20 minutes!
This Gluten-Free Vegan “Puppy Chow” aka “Muddy Buddies” recipe is a classic, easy, fun dessert that everyone in the family will love.
It takes about 5 minutes to make and needs 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 (aka “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 a non-GMO and gluten-free rice cereal. 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 Puppy Chow (aka “Muddy Buddies”)?
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.
I also make this recipe with both cashew butter and peanut butter so feel free to use either. And, if you are worried about the sugar content, you can always leave off the powdered sugar coating…they are just as addictive without it!
Want more healthy dessert recipes? Check out Healthy Peanut Butter Cups, Healthy Vegan Chocolate Mousse, Gluten-Free Vegan Pecan Pie Bars or my Clean Eating Cookbook with an entire chapter of 20 healthy, clean eating recipes just like this one that you will love!
Ingredients Needed To Make Puppy Chow (aka “Muddy Buddies”):
5 Fast Facts About Cashews (Cashew Butter):*
- packed with dietary fiber
- rich in “heart friendly” mono-saturated fatty acids
- rich source of minerals
- high in magnesium and copper
- excellent source of antioxidants
5 Fast Facts About Coconut Sugar:*
- low glycemic (GI of 35)
- raw, vegan and gluten-free
- unrefined and unbleached
- contains 17 amino acids
- is an abundant source of minerals and broad-spectrum B vitamins
5 Fast Facts About Coconut Oil:*
- super high in lauric acid
- rich in antioxidants
- contains natural microbial and anti-bacterial agents
- helps to improve metabolism
- improves cholesterol levels
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
How To Make Puppy Chow (aka “Muddy Buddies”) Recipe:
The first thing you need to do is choose the ingredients you’d like to use.
- 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, depending on your needs (example: vegan, gluten-free, etc) and gave you some better options than using “Chex” Rice Cereal. The secret for making the perfect Puppy Chow is to not use too much – whichever brand of cereal you decide to go with. You’ll want to start with less and add more, only if needed.
- Keep it Cool – The next secret to the perfect Puppy Chow is to 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 having overkill with the powdered sugar.
- Repeat Again – 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.
- Storage – You’ll want to keep this (if you have any left!) in an air-tight container at room temperature.
Substitutions for Puppy Chow Ingredients:
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. I use Enjoy Life semi-sweet mini chocolate chips to keep the recipe vegan and gluten-free, but feel free to use a darker chocolate if you prefer less sugar.
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 “refined” coconut oil because it doesn’t have a coconut taste or smell.
Powdered Sugar. To keep this recipe truly vegan, you would need to make sure you use a “vegan” powdered sugar or make your own using “vegan” sugar, as animal bone char is used to whiten powdered sugar.