This Christmas reindeer food recipe is the perfect treat to leave out for Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer this holiday season! Humans and reindeer love reindeer chow! The chocolate, peanut butter flavor goes perfectly with crunchy Chex! We’re also sharing a Christmas reindeer food printable too!
This easy recipe is a twist on one of our favorite treats muddy buddies, also known as puppy chow or reindeer chow. This treat was always served around the holiday growing up and makes wonderful reindeer food because it’s delicious for everyone to eat. It’s not just for reindeer, but for human consumption too!
It’s a fun activity for the entire family and a festive snack that everyone will love. Not only do we leave a few bowls out for the reindeer on Christmas Eve, but we also love to make this for holiday parties and give it as gifts to friends and family. It makes for a fun gift and special treat for families and kids at Christmas time!
As anyone who has ever been up on Christmas Eve knows, reindeer food is an essential part of the holiday. Not only does it help Santa’s reindeer fly, but it also helps to keep them happy. And what could be more fun than making your own reindeer food? It’s a fun project for kids of all ages, and it’s also a great way to get into the Christmas spirit. Plus, it’s easy to make!
Puppy Chow, Reindeer Chow vs Muddy Buddies
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There are a few names for this dish. Muddy Buddies and Puppy Chow are the original recipes and Reindeer Chow is the holiday version. No matter what you call it, it’s a delicious snack that’s perfect for kids and adults alike.
It’s also a great party food because it’s easy to make and can be served in individual cups or bowls. It consists of rice cereal, that is coated in a mixture of chocolate and peanut butter. The coated cereal is then tossed in powdered sugar.
Christmas Reindeer Food Ingredients
Here is a list of the simple ingredients you need to make this special food!
Rice Chex Cereal – A type of rice cereal that is perfect for this recipe because it is crunchy and has a great flavor. It also holds up well in the chocolate and peanut butter mixture. If you cannot find Rice Chex, you can use Corn Chex.
Mini Pretzels – We like to use pretzels in our Christmas reindeer food because they add a nice salty crunch.
Semisweet Chocolate Chips – A key ingredient in this recipe because they give the reindeer food its festive, Christmassy flavor. You can find these chocolate chips at most grocery stores in the baking aisle. You can also use milk chocolate chips too or you can use lower sugar chocolate like Lily’s.
Peanut Butter – Use creamy, smooth peanut butter to bind the ingredients together. It gives the reindeer food a deliciously nutty flavor. It also gives the dessert a smooth and creamy texture.
Unsalted Butter – Butter always adds more flavor to any recipe and that’s exactly what it does in this recipe too! Use organic unsalted butter if you can.
Vanilla Extract – Pure vanilla extract is the best and will add and enhance the flavors in this magical reindeer food.
Powdered Sugar – Also known as confectioners sugar, this is the white coating you see on the reindeer food. It helps bind and seal the peanut butter and melted chocolate.
Christmas Sprinkles – Use any type of holiday sprinkle you like! We prefer colors as they stand out more. Fancy Sprinkles is one of our favorite companies to get fun holiday sprinkles from.
Holiday M&M’s – Get a festive holiday flavor. You can find so many different flavors out around the holidays!
Edible Glitter – This is optional but does create make it more of a magic reindeer food recipe. You can buy edible glitter online.
How to Make Christmas Reindeer Food
Prep – Roughly break the pretzels in half. In a large bowl combine cereal and pretzels.
Melt – In a microwave-safe bowl, add chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter. Microwave for about 2 minutes, then stir. If it needs more time add another 30 seconds. In our experience, once you start to stir the mixture it will continue to melt. Don’t overheat the chocolate or it will burn. Add in the vanilla.
Mix – Pour chocolate mixture over cereal and gently stir with a spatula until evenly coated.
Refrigerate – For 30 minutes. We do this so the chocolate and peanut butter harden a little. If you add powdered sugar to the mixture while it’s hot, it will be absorbed and you won’t see the white coating.
Coat – Once the mixture is cooled, add powdered sugar and gently fold again using a spatula.
Add Candy – Add the holiday candy you want to use like M&M’s and sprinkles.
Enjoy – You can let it chill again for 30 minutes or eat it right away!
Reindeer Food Printable
Now that you’ve made enough reindeer chow to last you the entire season, it’s time to give it as gifts! Download and print our free reindeer food tag to use when gifting!
Simply print out on cardstock, cut out, and hole punch. Then, add some reindeer food to a small bag or mason jar and tie it with a string. So easy and festive!
How to Store and Freeze
Reindeer food can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. After 4 days it doesn’t taste as fresh. It’s really best eaten within a few days of making it.
If you want it to last longer, you can store it in the fridge for up to one week.
You can also freeze it by placing it in a freezer-safe container and storing it for up to two months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight before serving.
The best part about this easy reindeer food recipe is that you can customize it to your liking or what you have in your pantry. Here are some ways you can switch this up:
- Use white chocolate chips for a pretty color and different flavor.
- Add in any extra holiday candy you know will taste good.
- Add more or less of anything! Fewer pretzels, less cereal, sugar, etc.
- Double the recipe for a larger group.
- Use gluten-free pretzels, cereal, and candy to make it gluten-free.
Quick tip – The best part about this recipe is that you don’t need exact measurements. You can add or remove different candy you like or use different chocolate!
What to Serve Reindeer Food In
This treat makes great gifts! If you’re giving this festive holiday dessert as gifts, here are some cute ways to package it up:
- Glass Mason Jars
- Cellophane Bags
- Christmas Cookie Tins
If you’re serving this for a Christmas party, serve it in a large mixing bowl or clear trifle dish.
When to Serve Reindeer Food
This festive holiday dessert can be served any time during the Christmas season! We like to make it a few days before Christmas Eve, snack on it, and then save some to set it out for Santa’s reindeer on Christmas Eve! Serve it with a tall glass of milk!
You can also serve it on any of these special occasions:
Holiday Movie Night
New Year’s Eve
Any Holiday Party
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you feed Santa reindeer?
Santa isn’t the only one getting treats on Christmas Eve! Don’t forget to leave the reindeer a bowl of homemade reindeer food! A crunchy, sweet, and salty mix that is perfect to keep reindeer fueled on their long journey.
What is in reindeer food?
There are many different recipes for reindeer food, but most contain some combination of oats, rice cereal, and holiday sprinkles. Some also add in pretzels for a salty crunch or edible glitter for extra sparkle.
Can I use edible glitter in reindeer food?
Yes, edible glitter is a great way to make reindeer food extra sparkly and magical! You can find it at most craft stores or online.
What’s the difference between Puppy Chow and Muddy Buddies?
Muddy buddies are made with the same ingredients as puppy chow, but they also include M&M’s candies in the mix.
Can you freeze Christmas puppy chow?
Yes, you can freeze Christmas puppy chow! Simply place it in a freezer-safe container and store it for up to two months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight before serving.
How many people does this serve?
This recipe makes enough for about 12 people. If you’re serving it at a party, we recommend doubling the recipe. Remember you can always use any leftovers to feed Santa reindeer! So make a large batch of reindeer food and store whatever you have left.
More Festive Holiday Ideas and Recipes
Reindeer chow is a fun Christmas tradition that your friends and family will love. it’s a festive, sweet, crunchy snack that you can make and set out for reindeer to eat on Christmas eve.
Don’t forget to download our free reindeer food printables and let us know if you make this recipe by leaving a comment and review below! Hope you have a happy holiday!
Christmas Reindeer Food (Reindeer Chow)
- 6 cups Chex cereal , rice or corn
- 2 cups mini pretzels
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy
- 1/8 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar, more if needed to coat the mix
- 1/4 cup Christmas sprinkles
- 7 ounces M&M, holiday flavors
- Roughly break the pretzels in half.
- In a large bowl combine cereal and pretzels.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, add chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter. Microwave for about 2 minutes, then stir. If it needs more time add another 30 seconds. In our experience, once you start to stir the mixture it will continue to melt. Don’t overheat the chocolate or it will burn.
- Add in the vanilla.
- Pour chocolate mixture over cereal and gently stir with a spatula until evenly coated.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes. We do this so the chocolate and peanut butter harden a little. If you add powdered sugar to the mixture while it’s hot, it will be absorbed and you won’t see the white coating.
- Once the mixture is cooled, add powdered sugar and gently fold again using a spatula.
- Add the M&M’s and sprinkles.
- You can let it chill again for 30 minutes or eat it right away!