Mexican Puppy Chow: Sweet, Sour and Salty Snack Mix

Mexican puppy chow recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 20 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
286 Calories
10g Fat
50g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20
Amount per serving
Calories 286
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 12%
Saturated Fat 6g 28%
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 50mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 50g 18%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 42g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 61mg 5%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 127mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Despite its name, puppy chow (or its cousin, muddy buddies) is a snack very much intended for human, not canine, consumption. It is, for many, a beloved treat for children and party snack for all ages.

Although countless varieties exist, most people puppy chows contain the common ingredients of cereal, white chocolate and powdered (confectioner's) sugar; additional sweet and salty ingredients (small candies, peanut butter and other snack foods such as pretzels, etc.) turn a plain puppy chow into one appropriate for a certain season, holiday or special occasion.

This puppy chow recipe combines several classic sweet and salty Mexican elements to produce a snack mix that's sure to be a hit north or south of any border. Don't miss the list of possible alternate ingredients underneath the recipe, because once you've tried the basic version, you'll want to continue to experiment with the vast world very mixable of sweet and salty flavors.

*Asterisked Mexican ingredients are often available in a large supermarket; if that is not the case in your area, they are common in Mexican or Hispanic grocery stores, or can be obtained online.


  • 1/2 cup tamarind paste and chile candy, such as Pulparindo brand, chopped

  • 2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar

  • 2 tablespoons ground chili and lime powder, Tajin brand or similar

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground anise, optional

  • 14 ounces (400 grams) white chocolate candy coating

  • 9 cups chocolate-flavored oat cereal, such as Cheerios, divided

  • 3/4 cup cinnamon-flavored gummy candies, such as Hot Tamales

  • 1 cup peanuts, salted, honey roasted, or Japanese style

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seed kernels, toasted and salted

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, or red- and green-colored white chocolate chips, or a combination

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Mexican puppy chow
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Unwrap the tamarind candy. Use kitchen scissors or a sharp knife to cut the tamarind candy into 1/2-inch cubes or squares.

    Unwrap tamarind candy
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Measure the confectioner's sugar, chili and lime powder, cinnamon, and anise (if using) into a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal the bag and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

    Measure confectioner's sugar and put in bag
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Melt the candy coating, either in the microwave or stovetop in a double boiler.

    Melt candy coating
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Add 6 cups of the cereal to the melted white chocolate and stir until all the cereal pieces are well coated. (Set the other 3 cups of oat cereal aside.)

    Add cereal
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  6. Immediately scoop the candy-coated cereal into the bag with the sugar and spice mixture. Reseal the bag and shake the contents all around until all of the sugar has adhered to the candy coated cereal.

    Immediately scoop cereal into bag
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  7. Pour the coated cereal into a large bowl. Add the reserved (uncoated) cereal, the gummy candies, tamarind candy pieces, peanuts, pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips; mix again.

    Pour coated cereal into bowl
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  8. Pour your delicious Mexican puppy chow mix into a serving bowl (or ladle it into individual containers or bags) and enjoy!

    Pour puppy chow into bowl
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Recipe Variations

  • Chopped dulce con leche milk candy wafers (obleas con cajeta, such as Coronado brand)
  • Gumdrops, miniature marshmallows, and/or cinnamon chips
  • Chopped Mexican chocolate candy bars (such as Carlos Quinto or Bocadin)
  • Small, hard cinnamon candies (such as Red Hots)
  • Chamoy sauce (in place of or in addition to the lime-chile powder)
  • Chopped dried fruit (raisins, prunes, apricots, pineapple, mango, etc.)
  • Chopped chili-covered chamoy strips (such as Skwinkles) in place of or in addition to the chopped tamarind candy
  • Cubed sugar-covered fruit paste (such as guava paste or quince paste, called ate in Mexico)
  • Ground chile pepper, such as powdered chipotle or piquin