If merely hearing the words "Chex Mix" doesn’t trigger a Pavlovian salivary response in your mouth, then you’ve missed out on one of the greatest savory taste experiences of the recent modern era. But no bother there, whether you’re a lifelong Chex Mix lover or are poised to take your first crunch. You’re here now, ready to try the best Chex Mix recipe you’ve ever tasted and made in your own kitchen, no less.
This recipe will make something a far cry tastier than the stuff you pour out of a vacuum-sealed bag, though it’s worth noting you can rather easily vacuum seal this recipe at home. The real beauty of homemade Chex Mix is its versatility, says chef, food writer, and creator of Pantry to Plate, Stephanie Rapone. "Any of the dry ingredients, from Chex, to nuts, to pretzels, to bagel, or rye chips, can be omitted or swapped," Rapone says. "The key is you still want about seven and a half cups of dry goods for the ratio to be right with the butter and seasonings. So, if you are allergic to peanuts, for example, just use an extra cup of something else. If gluten-free, just use an extra cup of Rice or Corn Chex in place of the cup of Wheat Chex."
You can also swap in vegan butter and, for the adventurous cooks amongst us, try your own spice blends. The other beautiful thing here? This easy-to-make snack will keep for up to two months. So, prep a bulk batch and never have hangry kids (or adults) again. Well, at least you won’t for the next two months.
Gather your ingredients for Chex Mix
With a nod toward the fact that you really can swap most of these ingredients for your own substitutions, this is the ingredient list for the classic Chex Mix recipe Stephanie Rapone swears by. You’ll need two cups of Corn Chex, two cups of Rice Chex, one cup of Wheat Chex, one cup of roasted and lightly salted peanuts, a four-ounce bag of rye chips or bagel chips (or a blend), a cup of pretzels, and eight tablespoons of unsalted butter, being careful not to use salted butter. You’ll also use a tablespoon each of granulated garlic (which is different from garlic powder), onion powder, and Worcestershire sauce, as well as a half teaspoon of kosher salt.
For an optional and excellent spicy version, Rapone says you can "add any or all" of these: a tablespoon of hot sauce, including a wide variety of grocery store hot sauces, as well as a tablespoon of chipotle powder, and a half teaspoon of cayenne.
Combine dry ingredients and ready the oven to cook your Chex Mix
If there’s any secret to making this recipe work, it’s getting things well blended so the flavors adhere properly to the dry ingredients. Also, try not to break those dry ingredients into pieces, to preserve the texture of the final treat. Be gentle like a surgeon, sure, but thankfully there’s no brain surgeon level of complexity to this step. Just add all the dry ingredients together into a large bowl and gently mix them together with your hands.
Now, pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and set a couple of baking sheets out at the ready. This will help you move quickly later, as you’ll want to get the mixture right into the oven as soon as it’s coated in spiced and buttery goodness.
Prepare your Chex Mix glaze
Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Make sure the bowl is large enough to add the sauces and spices later. Microwave the butter for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until the butter is fully melted. Use a lower power on your microwave to avoid the butter popping and making a greasy mess in the microwave that you’ll have to clean up later. Once the butter is fully melted, stir in the granulated garlic, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and onion powder. If you’re going the spicy route, this is where you’ll add your pepper powders and hot sauce, too.
Gently stir until everything is well combined in the bowl.
Coat, toss, spread, and bake the Chex Mix
Drizzle all of the buttery spicy herby liquid you have prepared over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl while slowly stirring the dry stuff with a silicone spatula, ensuring even coverage. "Take the time to stir the dry mix from the bottom to the top of the bowl for at least one minute," during this process, says Rapone, as "you want everything to be even." You’ll also want to be gentle because the baking toughens up the Chex a bit, so there’s no need to overmix and break the dry ingredients at this point.
Now spread the coated ingredients out onto your baking sheets so that they are in an even layer that’s not too deep. Bake for 20 minutes. Then, remove the sheets and gently stir and turn the ingredients over, smooth them into an even layer, and bake for another 20 minutes. Repeat the mixing and stirring once more, bake for a final 20 minutes, and then let the sheets cool for 10 minutes. Transfer everything to paper towels for a full hour of cooling. After that, you can pack your snacks in airtight baggies or jars. Expect the mix to stay great for up to two months.