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
- 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
- 3½ 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.
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is the white chocolate white almond bark.
Darn you, Michelle, for sharing this with me!
I made a “test” batch because I don’t like to take something to a gathering without first trying it to make sure it’s worthy of sharing. So my daughter and I mixed it up on a girls night just for fun and I haven’t been able to stop grabbing a “little bite” every time I walk by it! We all LOVE it! This is so easy to pull together and different than the mixes we usually encounter. It’s just SO GOOD, darn it!
Is this recipe free of peanut/nut allergies??
I have been making this every year for 15 years. Everyone raves about it. I give it as gifts, bring it to parties, the staff at the gym looks forward to it and the grandkids are crazy about it! It is definitely addictive, thus, the alternative name, (Christmas Crack) Also Love, Apple Pie Chex Mix, I, recommend you try both.. You’ll be happy you did and so will everyone you share it with!
This stuff is so amazingly delicious and addictive we call it Christmas crack. I add some crushed peppermint candy canes to mine. I love peppermint and white cho.
If sealed tightly how long will it last?
Awesome recipe ! I ha e made this 2 or 3 years in a row ! Sooo good
My whole crowd (adults and kids) love Reindeer Chow and I used your wonderful recipe (which I have made before *as is*) as a great jumping off point – I added 3 cups of chinese fried (chow mien) noodles, and for peanuts use dry roasted, the extra salt just adds a little something. Because of the additional dry ingredients I had to up the amount of white chocolate and used white almond bark in addition to the white chocolate chips to make a total of about 24 or 25 ounces.
amazing! I made a batch and a half and got a lot of chow! definitely making it again
Can you freeze reindeer chow after you make it? Is there a need to freeze it? I made it today but dont plan on distributing it for another week. Thanks.
No need to freeze! I keep it in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a month or so. Enjoy!
I don’t recommend using salted roasted peanuts from the bulk bins at the grocery. It doesn’t give it the right flavor! I am going to have to make it again with regular peanuts from the nut section! Hopefully it will turn out better!
I made this today, and it is AMAZING! So good, and so easy to make. But be warned…it is addictive!! :)
Reindeer chow is similar to one I make– I add whole pecans instead of peanuts, add some fruit loops for color ,add ghirardelli wafers instead of shorting and use seasonal m&m s if available. This never lasts very long!
I love the awesome photos of your family and the stories that you share!
I was wondering, if I were to use coconut oil in place of the solid shortening
would it taste more like coconut? Is it possible to use butter in place of the shortening
or coconut oil?
Wishing you and your adorable family (puppies too) a wonderful holiday!
The shortening is only there to make the chocolate thinner so it will coat the ingredients better. I always use it in candy making
Made this for a club Christmas dinner as door prizes! Was very good!
This recipe was so easy and yummy!
Can reindeer chow be frozen? If so, how long?
Hi Sharon, I think you COULD but it’s probably not necessary. I’ve made it kept it in the refrigerator for up to a month and it stays perfectly fine!
Seems I am the only one that has a shortening question, do you mean like Crisco solid? Please. why would you need that? Would like to make for Christmas, Thank you
Hi Carolyn, Yes, solid Crisco shortening; it is necessary to keep the white chocolate smooth and from clumping up when it coats the ingredients. You can replace the white chocolate + shortening with the same amount of Candi Quik if you’d like.
What can be substituted for peanuts?
Hi Caren, You can use another nut you like (cashews would be good). If you’re dealing with a nut allergy, I would just omit the peanuts.
Just made this for the holidays! I think I’ll rename it as Reindeer Crack! Soooo good!
Made this with my 8 and 6 year old daughter’s and they loved it! They are not huge peanut fans so we did 1 cup peanuts, 1 cup cashews and 1 cup almonds and it was fantastic!
How long does this last in Tupperware container?
Hi Nicole, If you store it in the refrigerator, it will stay for up to a month.
Please clarify the type of peanuts?. Dry roasted, salted etc…
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!
I just made this, and it is so YUMMY! And festive…and easy to make! Great recipe. Thanks!
If the kids want to put some outside for Santa’s Reindeer, add edible glitter, they’ll get a kick out of that!
I’ve been making this for years. Raisins are a great addition as well!!
Hello :) Any suggestions for replacing the peanuts with something that is peanut/tree nut free? Thank you!
Hi Julie, Maybe some soy nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, any other crunchy snack that you like!
Do you have more receipts like this one, for variety? Any popcorn items you have…please..Sharon
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! :)
Since I lent our reindeer to Santa I guess the humans in the house will have to suffer through this!!
Made it, loved it, posted it! Merry Christmas, y’all…
This is pretty much the most addicting thing I’ve ever made. Ever. It’s amazing. Ok, I’m going to make more.
I made this toniggt sans peanuts with ghiradelli white choc and coconut oil instead of shortening. Very good.
I made something similar this week except used popcorn instead of cereal! So addicting!
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?
Hi Glory, You can use coconut oil in place of the shortening.
So cute! This would make the perfect gift in a cute container.
This stuff is like crack- highly addictive!
This looks like a perfect and super addicting snack!
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 : )
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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?
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.
I think reindeer would prefer non- gmo products. I do , too!
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.
I’ve heard this called “Christmas crack” before…probably for a reason! :) Yumm!!!
I like that!
What a fun idea! I know my 7 year old would love to share this with Santa and his reindeer on Christmas Eve!
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 :)
This looks soooo good and completely addictive! I love all snack mixes :)
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.
Now I want add toffee to this mix. *drools*
This is just DANGEROUS!
Sweet and salty…divine combination! I think I have to squeeze in some time to make this treat for my family!
omg, I love this!!! and I love that you called this “reindeer chow”. awesome. :)
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…..
Way better than sugar cubes or carrots! Love this!
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!
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!
I have been seeing this everywhere and it looks so good. Like puppy chow but better.
Mmm love this idea!
I love this stuff, I think it’s my sister’s only holiday recipe. So much better than Puppy Chow.
Try using solid coconut oil instead of shortening.
It’s healthier for you.
The coconut oil sounds like a great sub, will add another flavor to the mix.
Yummy! I bet the reindeer just love this chow! :) Looks delish!!
I always have THE WORST time melting white chocolate– on the stove, in the microwave– no matter. I am no good at it. Tips?
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.
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!
Try using the Wilton Candy Melts, per the alternate suggestion. I just made this and it came out perfect! Delicious :)
So. Good. It’s almost a bad idea for me to make this. Almost. :)
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!
Ya! Love that show too! Just made some reindeer chow and I’m about to copy you!
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 :)
How good does that look! I think I’d like to have in place of cookies, just for the night that is. :)