This reindeer chow is a must-make Christmas treat! The mixture of Rice Chex, Cheerios, pretzels, peanuts, and M&Ms is coated in white chocolate and chilled to set. Set out bowls as holiday snacks or package up individual bags for a special homemade gift. It takes only 15 minutes to prepare!

A white tray set on a red background with reindeer chow snack mix on it.

Years ago, my mom’s cousin brought a tin of this deliciousness over to my grandma’s when she made her Christmas visit, and everyone went nuts over it, which isn’t surprising, given that it’s sweet, salty, and covered in white chocolate. 

My mom made sure to scribble down the recipe, and we’ve been enjoying it ever since (it was one of my grandpap’s favorite sweet holiday treats). 

This is perfect to keep in your fridge for unexpected guests during the holidays, and would also be so cute packaged up in pretty bags to give away as gifts. Just make sure to save some for yourself, and I’m sure Santa would enjoy trying some, as well!

Recipe Ingredients

This reindeer chow recipe uses some similar ingredients to what you’d find in homemade chex mix, and there are tons of different ways to switch it up! Here’s what we use, as well as many different variations and ingredient swaps you could do:

Closeup photo of ingredients for reindeer chow in a bowl - Rice Chex, Cheerios, peanuts, pretzels, and M&Ms.
  • Rice Chex Cereal – Substitute another favorite, such as Corn Chex or Crispix.
  • Cheerios – Any “o” type of cereal will work here, or throw in more rice or corn chex.
  • Peanuts – You can substitute other types of nuts or omit them entirely. Feel free to add more of anything else!
  • Pretzel Sticks – You can also use mini twist pretzels, or break up any of your favorite pretzels.
  • Red and Green M&Ms – I love how festive these are! You can also use the miniM&M version, peanut or peanut butter M&Ms, or substitute your favorite chocolate candies – mini peanut butter cups, chocolate chips, mini Oreo cookies, Reese’s Pieces, etc.
  • White Chocolate – This creates a delicious coating that holds all of the ingredients together into big chunks. You can also use white chocolate meltscandy melts. or almond bark.
  • Vegetable Shortening – This helps to keep the melted white chocolate chips from getting clumpy; it thins out the melted chocolate so it can coat the ingredients evenly and easily. You can also use coconut oil. If you decide to use one of the melting products mentioned above, you do not need to use the vegetable shortening.

How to Make Reindeer Chow

This sweet snack mix only takes minutes to make and is a great holiday kitchen project to get the kids involved in! Here’s how we make it:

  1. Place the cereals, peanuts, pretzels, and M&Ms in a large bowl.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate chips and vegetable shortening on 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds, until completely melted and smooth.
  3. Pour the melted white chocolate over the cereal mixture and use a rubber spatula to stir everything together until all of the ingredients are evenly coated.
  4. Spread the mixture out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, or until it’s set. Break it up into chunks and dig in!
Side by side photos of dry ingredients for reindeer chow and a bowl of white chocolate chips.
Side by side photos of melted white chocolate being poured over cereal, pretzels, peanuts and M&Ms, and the entire mixture set on a baking sheet.

The Muddy Buddy (or “Puppy Chow”) Variation

If you love muddy buddies, you can adapt this recipe to be coated in that traditional melted chocolate and powdered sugar covering. Some folks refer to this as the “Christmas puppy chow recipe”. Here’s how to do it:

  • Place the cereals and nuts in a large bowl. Follow the directions for making my muddy buddies and melt together the chocolate and peanut butter. 
  • Pour the melted mixture over the cereals and nuts, and gently mix together.
  • Layer powdered sugar and the cereal mixture in a large zip top bag, seal it, and shake it until all of the ingredients are evenly coated. Turn out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and allow to set at room temperature. Once set, combine with the pretzels and M&Ms, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Storage Notes

This Christmas reindeer chow should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. You can pop it into the freezer for a super crunchy reindeer chow that tastes absolutely wonderful!

A black and white speckled bowl filled with reindeer chow, set on a red linen background.

More Sweet Holiday Treats

Watch the Recipe Video:

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Reindeer Chow

A delicious sweet and salty treat for the holidays. You can substitute white candy melts for the white chocolate and shortening.

  • 3 cups (81 g) Rice Chex cereal
  • 3 cups (63 g) Cheerios cereal
  • 3 cups (438 g) peanuts
  • 3 cups (240 g) pretzel pieces
  • 3 cups (709.76 g) red & green M&Ms
  • 20 ounces (566.99 g) white chocolate
  • tablespoons (3.5 tablespoons) solid vegetable shortening
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper; set aside.

  • In a very large bowl, mix together the Rice Chex, Cheerios, peanuts, pretzels and M&Ms.

  • In a medium bowl, melt the white chocolate and shortening in the microwave on 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds, until completely melted.

  • Pour the melted chocolate over the dry ingredients and quickly toss together until everything is pretty evenly coated in the white chocolate. Spread the mixture out on the prepared pan and refrigerate until it’s set, about 20 minutes. Break up any chunks and store in tins or airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

Nutritional values are based on one serving

Calories: 522kcal, Carbohydrates: 55g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 30g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 221mg, Potassium: 283mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 36g, Vitamin A: 180IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 131mg, Iron: 3.1mg

This recipe was originally published in December 2012.

Photography by Whitney Wright.

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