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This peppermint crunch puppy chow is a festively sweet, completely irresistible holiday snack mix made from just Chex cereal, white chocolate, candy canes, and confectioner’s sugar. Kids love helping with the shaking step (and eating step!!). It only takes about 10 minutes to throw together and is the perfect last minute addition to any holiday cookie tray or Christmas gathering.

peppermint crunch candy cane puppy chow

Listen up. Today I’m bringing one of my classic Christmas recipes back into the spotlight. Originally published in 2012 and my first “viral” recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction, this Peppermint Crunch Puppy Chow has been a constant favorite for the past several years. Inspired by the candy cane Muddy Buddies that Chex sells, this foolproof recipe is extra sweet, crunchy, and requires only 4 ingredients.

Have you ever tried it?

Puppy Chow = Muddy Buddies

I receive a lot of confused questions about this! Depending where you live, this Chex cereal snack mix can be called Puppy Chow or Muddy Buddies. I grew up calling it puppy chow. But no, this is not dog food! It’s for humans. Originally made with peanut butter and chocolate, this holiday variation makes everyone happy. (The people, not the dogs!)

peppermint crunch candy cane puppy chow

This Peppermint Crunch Puppy Chow:

  • Is easy to double or triple for a big crowd
  • Comes together in about 10 minutes
  • Is instant holiday gratification
  • Requires only 4 ingredients
  • Is crunchy, sweet, and massively irresistible

It’s welcome of adaptions too. Many readers substitute the white chocolate for semi-sweet chocolate and add sprinkles along with the crushed candy canes.

Quick Recipe Video

candy cane chex mix ingredients and pouring white chocolate into bowl of candy cane chex mix

candy cane chex mix in a bowl and candy cane chex mix in a bag

How to Make Peppermint Crunch Puppy Chow

  1. Pour cereal into a large bowl. Use rice chex, not corn chex or wheat chex.
  2. Melt white chocolate. You can also use almond bark or melting white/vanilla candy wafers. I recommend pure white chocolate, which is sold as 4 ounce bars. It’s what I use for coating these peppermint bark cookies, too. I suggest melting it in the microwave.
  3. Pour white chocolate over cereal. Carefully mix to coat the cereal.
  4. Crush candy canes. You can purchase already crushed candy canes in some grocery stores. If you’re crushing the candy canes yourself, see my tip below. Fold the candy canes into the cereal. I added red and green sprinkles to the pictured puppy chow, too!
  5. Place into a bag or sealable container. Spoon/pour the coated cereal into a large zipped-top bag or sealable container. Seal shut.
  6. Shake! Add confectioners’ sugar, which acts as the coating to “set” the white chocolate, and shake until all of the cereal is coated. I slightly reduced the powdered sugar from the original version, so more of the candy canes can stick to the white chocolate. (Expect some to fall off, but most will stick!)

Kids love helping with that last step. And they LOVE this recipe. It’s sweet and festive, like my chocolate cookies with candy cane buttercream. ‘Tis the season for peppermint treats!

peppermint crunch puppy chow

How to Crush Candy Canes

Have I ever taught you this before? My trick for crushing candy canes is to use a large zipped-top bag. Unwrap the candy canes, place in the bag, squeeze out the air, seal shut, then lightly bang on the candy canes with a rolling pin. Go slowly and as gently as you can. The candy canes will puncture the bag a little bit, but if you go slowly, they won’t come flying out– I promise.

This is how I crush candy canes for peppermint bark, too!

peppermint crunch candy cane puppy chow

If you need a quick last minute treat for a cookie exchange, potluck, gathering, holiday party, or something to munch on while making Christmas cookies, whip up a batch of this stuff. I love giving it away in little Christmas treat bags, too. It’s CRAZY to watch how people flock to this stuff– kids and adults alike! (And knowing how simple it is, too!)

More Easy Christmas Treats

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peppermint crunch candy cane puppy chow

Peppermint Crunch Puppy Chow

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 5 cups 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Sweet snack mix made with white chocolate and candy canes. Perfect to serve or give away during the holiday season!


  • 5 cups (135g) Rice Chex cereal
  • 10 ounces (282g) white chocolate, finely chopped*
  • 1 cup crushed peppermint candy canes (about 810 large candy canes)*
  • 3/4 cup (90g) confectioners’ sugar


  1. Pour the cereal into a large bowl.
  2. Melt white chocolate. You can use a double boiler or the microwave. If using the microwave, melt in 20 second increments, stopping and stirring after each until completely smooth and melted. Pour melted chocolate over cereal, stirring and folding until the cereal is completely covered. Fold in the crushed candy canes.
  3. Pour the warm chocolate covered cereal/candy canes in a large zipped-top bag or sealable container. Add the confectioners’ sugar. Seal the bag or container and shake until all the cereal is coated with the confectioners’ sugar.
  4. Discard any excess confectioners’ sugar. Store at room temperature up to 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, if it lasts that long!


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: This snack mix can be prepped a week ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to serve. You can also prepare and freeze this snack mix for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature before serving.
  2. White Chocolate: Use 4-ounce white chocolate baking bars, such as Bakers or Ghirardelli brands, found in the baking aisle next to the chocolate chips. (You will need 2.5 of them to yield 10 ounces.) Don’t use white chocolate chips. Chocolate chips contain stabilizers and are processed so that they DO NOT melt in the oven. You can also use almond bark or white/vanilla melting chips often found in the seasonal section of the grocery store.
  3. Candy Canes: See above for how to easily crush candy canes. In addition to the 1 cup of crushed candy canes, I added 3 Tablespoons of red and green sprinkles. That’s optional.

Keywords: peppermint puppy chow

peppermint crunch candy cane puppy chow

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I made this and put it in a festive cloth bag for a work gift exchange. The puppy chow was passed around and people wanted the recipe. Plan to make lots this December!

  2. Hi Sally! How long do you let your puppy chow mix cool BEFORE covering in powedered sugar? I find that my powdered sugar always melts….but if I wait too long, it doesn’t stick. Any tips?

    1. Hi Caroline! I do not let the puppy chow cool – I immediately shake it up in a large baggie with the powdered sugar. I’ve never had a problem doing so. Perhaps try waiting about 5 minutes? That may help. Thank you!

  3. I made this just the other night as little Christmas gifts for some girls I lead a Bible study for! They loved it and a few have already asked for the recipe! I love the peppermint spin on the puppy chow; next time I might even try adding some peppermint extract to the white chocolate! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. That sounds great! Those are my favorite variety of Hershey’s Kisses. Wish they were available year round.

  4. I made these over the weekend and they tasted so good! My only question – how did you get the peppermint to show up so nicely? When I shook everything up in the powdered sugar, it coated the peppermint, so the mix just looked white. Not as pretty as your pictures. Thanks for any tips!

    1. Hi Lisa! So glad you like this puppy chow – I’m not sure how my candy canes showed up and yours didn’t. Try adding them after you coat the chow with powdered sugar next time or maybe use less sugar in your case. They may not stick as well though!

  5. I feel like this needs a more festive name…like Reindeer Chow! I hope you don’t mind if I call it that. 🙂 I plan on making some for my sister-in-law’s Christmas party this coming weekend. Can’t wait to try it. It looks soooo delicious!!

  6. Hi Sally! I just made a batch of these a couple hours ago and they were gone within an hour! My mom even told me not to make them for our family again because she’s trying to be healthy and she’ll be too tempted to eat all of them! Thanks for another great recipe that was a hit!

    1. Put them in a large ziplock bag and bang on them with something hard. I use a hammer. It’s loud and annoying, but it does the job!

  7. I made this last year around the holidays. It must have left quite an impression because my 13 year old son just requested I make this for his class Christmas party next week! Super Tasty!

  8. Hey Sally! Did you ever try this with dark chocolate instead of white chocolate? I’m thinking about making it with dark chocolate to give as gifts for co-workers, and I’m curious to know how it turned out!

  9. I will be making this for the first time ever this weekend and I’m super excited! I have never made Chex mix/puppy chow before, but I will be packaging a cup or so of this for each of my coworkers (there’s 18 of them!!!) for their Christmas gifts. I’m afraid that the chocolate will cause the cereal to come out in large clumps, but I love how in your picture they look like individual squares. Do you ever have an issue with the squares sticking to each other? By the way, I made six dozen of your Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies for Thanksgiving and every single one of them disappeared!! You are amazing!

    Thank you (:

    1. Hey Amanda! This puppy chow is a great holiday recipe to make for coworkers – I made them for my old coworkers last year. The purpose of the powdered sugar is to break up the huge chunks of the melted chocolate and the squares. It prevents it all from sticking together too much.

      The chewy chocolate chunk cookies are always a hit! So happy they were enjoyed.

  10. Just made this and it’s A-MAY-ZING! Thank you so much for this recipe 🙂 Can’t wait to take it to the coworkers tomorrow. They will absolutely love it. Planning to try your cupcake puppy chow soon!

  11. This was sooo good and so tasty!! I dressed mine up with some red and green smarties (M&Ms) and divided it in to large green mason jars to give away 🙂 I can’t wait to try your other  puppy chow recipes!

  12. We made this and wanted a little extra peppermint flavor, so we added 1/4 tsp peppermint extract. Delicious!

  13. I am going to try this but am thinking of adding mini marshmallows too! Also hope I can get the white chocolate to melt on the stove. Our microwave died awhile back and we’ve learned to live without it for the most part 🙂

  14. Okay I must be doing something wrong as the candy canes did not stick at all.  The powdered sugar coats the cereal preventing the candy canes from sticking. 

    1. Add the crushed candy canes before you put the chocolate covered chex in the bag with the powdered sugar.

  15. Can you make this ahead for Christmas gifts and freeze? If so, how early is too early to make it up?

    1. Hi Tabatha! I actually froze this peppermint puppy chow for up to 6 months one time. After thawing, it’s as good as fresh.

  16. Hi sally! I want to make this ahead of time for Christmas. I saw you said it can frozen/thawed. Whats that process look like? Timing etc. thanks!

    1. Hi James, I just place it in a ziplock freezer bag and put the entire bag in the freezer. Then remove it before you want eat – it comes to room temperature pretty quickly!

  17. Made this – really good! By the way, the person that made the comment above about there not being a disclaimer stating that this is not actually for dogs…..well, I just have to shake my head and say …….please, please use your common sense, choose kindness instead of grumpiness and complaining, you’ll have a much more satisfied life. and everything in moderation, I gave my adult dog just the smallest taste and he loved it.
    Merry Christmas

    1. Hi Cheryl! Easiest way is to place the unwrapped candy canes into a plastic zipped-top bag and lightly bang on them with a rolling pin.

  18. I love the flavors in this mix. However, I agree with the posters who said the powdered sugar caused some adhesion issues. I followed the recipe as stated; however, as soon as we shook the Ziploc bag to coat the mix with powdered sugar, the yummy bits that were previously stuck onto the Chex pieces largely fell off. I tasted the chocolate/candy cane/Chex mixture before the powdered sugar step, and it was quite tasty on its own. (Note: I did deviate from the recipe here and added a couple drops of peppermint oil to the chocolate, which was yummy!) I think next time I make this, I will cut the sugar down to a 1/2 or even 1/4 cup and sift it directly into the bowl of mix, gently folding to cover. This will hopefully allow the pretty candy cane pieces to shine through (the sugar largely obstructed the bits on this first try) and help everything remain intact. Thanks, Sally, for another great concept. It was lots of fun to make with my 4 year old, and we will definitely give it another go in the future!

  19. Just wondering what size box of cereal is 5 cups? Why not the other flavors of chex?

    1. The corn flavor can be used, but has a stronger flavor than the rice chex so I recommend the rice. 1 standard box is more than 5 cups. I believe the boxes are typically 8-10 cups or more.

  20. This sounds delicious. I plan to try it, but might substitute the new chocolate chex for the rice chex. I love chocolate and peppermint together.

  21. Here in the UK we don’t have Chex and I’d never heard of puppy chow or muddy buddies, so I call it Elf Food.

    I used Quaker Oat Crisp because it looked about right.

    Candy canes are expensive here. My friend brought me a bag of Starlight Mints from the US so I used them instead. Another time I’d use a few drops of peppermint flavour and some red and green sprinkles as bashing up the sweets is messy.

    The Elf Food was very easy to make and my husband likes it a lot. I made half a recipe and it’s packed into 4 bags for little Christmas presents.

  22. Made this, wow was it so easy, and such a hit, they gobbled it up. Add a little more crushed peppermint for a pop in your mouth flavor.

  23. Yum! I processed the candy canes in the food processor. It was some pieces and some powder. I hadn’t intended to process them so much but turned out the candy cane powder stuck pretty well and I ended up using less powdered sugar.

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