Reindeer Chow

When I was a kid, deciding which cookies my sister and I were going to leave for Santa was a very big deal. He had to have the best of our selection, and we had to make sure he had enough; he did have a long night ahead of him, after all. We also made sure that we left enough for him to take back to Mrs. Claus at the North Pole, as we instructed in the carefully crafted note that we left next to the cookies.

Once we knew that Santa and Mrs. Claus were taken care of, our attention turned to the reindeer. They needed their energy if they were going to be flying all night, right? We varied our selections for the reindeer – some years it was carrots and others we decided to let them splurge and left sugar cubes. Our eyes would light up on Christmas morning when we found a plate of crumbs and a note that Santa left, telling us how good the cookies were and how much the reindeer enjoyed their special treat.

Now, I’m no reindeer expert, but I would guess that given the choice, a reindeer would much rather eat a plate of this reindeer chow than a measly old sugar cube or carrot. Who wouldn’t prefer a mix of Rice Chex, Cheerios, peanuts, pretzels and M&MS… all coated in melted white chocolate and then broken into chunks? That’s what I thought 😉

It’s been at least five years since my mom’s cousin brought a tin of this deliciousness over to my grandma’s when she made her Christmas visit. My poor grandma, I’m not sure how much she even got to enjoy, with everyone else’s grubby little hands taking helping after helping. The stuff is ridiculously addictive, which isn’t exactly surprising, given that it’s sweet, salty, and covered in chocolate. My mom made sure to scribble down the recipe before her cousin left, and finally I’ve made it again. No sooner was it portioned into tins, it began mysteriously disappearing, handful by handful.

This is an awesome treat to keep in your fridge for unexpected company during the holidays, and would also be fabulous packaged up in little goody bags to give away as gifts. Just make sure to save some for yourself. I guarantee no one else will want to share!

One year ago: Gingerbread Men Cookies
Two years ago: Peanut Butter Fudge
Five years ago: Buckeyes

Reindeer Chow

Yield: 15 to 20 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

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


3 cups Rice Chex cereal
3 cups Cheerios cereal
3 cups peanuts
3 cups pretzel pieces
3 cups red & green M&Ms
20 ounces white chocolate
3½ tablespoons solid vegetable shortening


1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper; set aside.

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

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

4. 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.

Share This Post...


53 Responses to “Reindeer Chow”

  1. the 3volution of j3nn on December 18, 2012 at 12:33 am

    How good does that look! I think I’d like to have in place of cookies, just for the night that is. :)


  2. Averie @ Averie Cooks on December 18, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Pinning this right now because I am all about the party mixes, chows, munchy food, and just this whole thing! Microwave/nobake recipes always are a hit here :)


  3. Flora on December 18, 2012 at 12:55 am

    What a great holiday snack! So easy AND tasty (just insisted making some, now I am all cozy in my bed, watching this show I’m TOTALLY obsessed with, DROP DEAD DIVA) BEST show ever! Great show, great food!


    • Rosy on December 18th, 2012 at 7:08 pm

      Ya! Love that show too! Just made some reindeer chow and I’m about to copy you!


  4. Joni Thompson on December 18, 2012 at 4:58 am

    So. Good. It’s almost a bad idea for me to make this. Almost. :)


  5. Heather @ SugarDish(Me) on December 18, 2012 at 6:38 am

    I always have THE WORST time melting white chocolate– on the stove, in the microwave– no matter. I am no good at it. Tips?


    • Michelle on December 18th, 2012 at 6:16 pm

      Hi Heather, Use a bowl that will distribute heat evenly, use only 50% power and stir every 30 seconds. Most importantly, make sure you use good quality white chocolate (I use Ghiradelli or Lindt). I never have good luck with white chocolate chips, and stay clear of those for melting.


      • Cathy on January 2nd, 2013 at 6:09 pm

        I melted white chocolate chips and they turned into a big ball! So I re-melted them using a double boiler, poured it into an 8″x8″ pan, and then pressed chopped pecans and pretzels over top and then chilled. A new kind of sweet and salty bark and the chocolate did not go to waste!


    • Meredith on December 18th, 2012 at 8:23 pm

      Try using the Wilton Candy Melts, per the alternate suggestion. I just made this and it came out perfect! Delicious :)


  6. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on December 18, 2012 at 6:46 am

    Yummy! I bet the reindeer just love this chow! :) Looks delish!!


  7. linda on December 18, 2012 at 6:51 am

    Try using solid coconut oil instead of shortening.
    It’s healthier for you.


    • Michele on December 18th, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      The coconut oil sounds like a great sub, will add another flavor to the mix.


  8. Rodzilla on December 18, 2012 at 8:34 am

    I love this stuff, I think it’s my sister’s only holiday recipe. So much better than Puppy Chow.


  9. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar on December 18, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Mmm love this idea!


  10. Laura Dembowski on December 18, 2012 at 8:45 am

    I have been seeing this everywhere and it looks so good. Like puppy chow but better.


  11. Margie on December 18, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Thank you for posting this! My aunt makes this every year and wouldn’t share the recipe with me…now I can make my own and share the jar she gives me instead of hiding and hoarding it!


  12. Emma on December 18, 2012 at 9:21 am

    I have a 2.5 year old daughter and this is the first year she’s actually realizing all of the Christmas magic. We’ve been trying to figure out what reindeer eat and she got so excited when I showed her this recipe. Now we can’t wait to make it for Santas reindeer! Thanks for sharing!


  13. Jessica@AKitchenAddiction on December 18, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Way better than sugar cubes or carrots! Love this!


  14. Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen on December 18, 2012 at 9:48 am

    You just can’t ever go wrong with covering cereal and candy in chocolate. Nothing bad will happen when you do that. And this is one of those great things to have around the house to snack on while you bake. while you cook, while you watch movies, will you drink coffee…..


  15. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom on December 18, 2012 at 10:12 am

    omg, I love this!!! and I love that you called this “reindeer chow”. awesome. :)


  16. Linda on December 18, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Sweet and salty…divine combination! I think I have to squeeze in some time to make this treat for my family!


  17. marie//littlekitchie on December 18, 2012 at 10:54 am

    This is just DANGEROUS!


  18. Lesley Moore on December 18, 2012 at 10:59 am

    My favorite holiday food is toffee. But I may try this reindeer mix. I will have to find a substitute for the chex cereal- another cereal perhaps.


  19. Julie @ Julie's Eats & Treats on December 18, 2012 at 11:40 am

    This looks soooo good and completely addictive! I love all snack mixes :)


  20. Katie @ Blonde Ambition on December 18, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I looove the sweet and salty going on in this snack! If I have any leftover white chocolate after all my cookie baking, this is first on my list :)


  21. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts on December 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    What a fun idea! I know my 7 year old would love to share this with Santa and his reindeer on Christmas Eve!


  22. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on December 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I’ve heard this called “Christmas crack” before…probably for a reason! :) Yumm!!!


    • Barbara on December 20th, 2012 at 5:25 pm

      I like that!


  23. Pat Mapley on December 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    I just made Raindeer Chow. It is so easy and taste bud tingling, WOW!
    I used Lindt White Chocolate with the veg. shortening and microwaved it at 50% power at 30 second intervals stirring each time until fully melted..
    It most certainly will be LOVED by all who receive it.


  24. laura h on December 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I think reindeer would prefer non- gmo products. I do , too!


  25. Jody on December 18, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    I have been all over town and white baking chocolate is impossble to find, can I used white chocolate chips instead and if so do I need to alter anything else in the recipe?


    • Michelle on December 18th, 2012 at 6:23 pm

      Hi Jody, Be sure to check in the baking aisle and look for the Ghiradelli 4-ounce bars, or in the candy aisle, where I usually find the Lindt bars. I have never had luck melting white chocolate chips, so I usually don’t recommend those (they always seize up on me). If you decide to try, you don’t need to change anything in the recipe, just make sure you melt with very low heat.


  26. Ashley on December 18, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    I subscribe by email!


  27. Cheryl on December 18, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Favorite holiday food has to be all the butter and scratch cookies that I make with love for all of my people. Love them melting in my mouth : )


  28. Mercedes (Satisfy My Sweet Tooth) on December 18, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    This looks like a perfect and super addicting snack!


  29. Lorrie Mutschall on December 19, 2012 at 9:40 am

    This stuff is like crack- highly addictive!


  30. Stephanie Nordstrom on December 19, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    So cute! This would make the perfect gift in a cute container.


  31. Glory on December 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I’m going to make this for my daughter’s preschool class for their last day before xmas break tomorrow – only problem is, I forgot to pick up veg shortening!! Is there a quick substitute that I can use in place of it?


    • Michelle on December 20th, 2012 at 6:59 pm

      Hi Glory, You can use coconut oil in place of the shortening.


  32. natalie@thesweetslife on December 20, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I made something similar this week except used popcorn instead of cereal! So addicting!


  33. kasey crowell on December 20, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    I made this toniggt sans peanuts with ghiradelli white choc and coconut oil instead of shortening. Very good.


  34. Michael on December 21, 2012 at 10:00 am

    This is pretty much the most addicting thing I’ve ever made. Ever. It’s amazing. Ok, I’m going to make more.


  35. on December 21, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Made it, loved it, posted it! Merry Christmas, y’all…


  36. Carole Resnick on December 22, 2012 at 3:29 am

    Since I lent our reindeer to Santa I guess the humans in the house will have to suffer through this!!


  37. Claudia on December 26, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Ah….this is called Christmas Crack in our home…and at my workplace…and at my roomate’s workplace…and pretty much anywhere where we deal it out at Christmas. Only diff is that we don’t use the shortening and we do add in 3 cups of corn chex. You know, we made 4 batches and I ever even tried it this year, it went so fast! :)


  38. Sharon on February 9, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Do you have more receipts like this one, for variety? Any popcorn items you have…please..Sharon


  39. Julie on October 9, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Hello :) Any suggestions for replacing the peanuts with something that is peanut/tree nut free? Thank you!


    • Michelle on October 11th, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      Hi Julie, Maybe some soy nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, any other crunchy snack that you like!


  40. Megan reitzes on December 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    I’ve been making this for years. Raisins are a great addition as well!!


  41. Jenny F on December 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    I just made this, and it is so YUMMY! And festive…and easy to make! Great recipe. Thanks!


  42. Jenny F on February 11, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    I just made this again for Valentine’s Day using the Valetine’s m&m mix (red, pink and white) and called it “Cupid Chow”. I can also see making this again on July 4th with the red, white and blue m&m’s and calling it “Patriot’s Chow”. Great recipe! Everyone loves it!


  43. Jennifer J on January 26, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Please clarify the type of peanuts?. Dry roasted, salted etc…


Leave a Comment

(Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for your patience! If it is your first time commenting you may want to review the Comment Guidelines.)