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4 Steps to the Best Snack Mix Ever

Crunch on this!

spicy sweet maple snack mix
Photography by: John Dolan

Here's the perfect snack mix for game night (or just about any night!). It’s crunchy, sweet, and salty, and it doesn’t make a mess—no crumbs all over the game pieces! Use our easy four-step formula and customize it to create your family's new master recipe. Let the kids help pick out a blend of crunchy snacks and coat them in your take on the buttery sauce. We even added in a tip on how to sneak in a little extra nutrition.

 

1. Start with a Buttery Base Sauce

At its most basic, snack mix is simply coated with melted butter and salt—but your master mix is anything but basic, so amp up the flavor with a few additions. Try one of these:

 

Whisk in a tablespoon of light brown sugar to create that irresistible salty-sweet combo. Add finely grated garlic, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, or chopped woody herbs, like thyme and rosemary, for a more savory flavor. Liven the mix up with fresh citrus zest. Or hit up the spice cabinet: chili powder and dry mustard are classic additions. Give the mix heat with a few dashes of hot sauce or a pinch of cayenne pepper.

 

2. Customize the Crunch

Crunchy snackable items are the heart of a snack mix, with each addition adding a different shape and level of crunch. A good rule of thumb is four to six picks to keep the mix interesting but not overwhelming. 

 

ADD ONE PRETZEL VARIETY: Pretzels are a mainstay of snack mix and are crowd-pleasers. Use sticks, mini twists, or checkerboard pretzels, which really soak up the sauce. Mini pretzels are our go-to for their look in a snack mix but you can use larger pretzels—just break rods or larger twists into bite-size pieces.

 

SELECT UP TO THREE TYPES OF CEREAL: Cereal is a key ingredient in snack mix. Use different Chex varieties, corn flakes, Cheerios, or try one of your family's favorite cereals. Be cautious about using overly sweet cereals; they could overpower the savory sauce.

 

CUSTOMIZE A NUT BLEND: Combine a few nut varieties, like almonds and peanuts, or add a pre-made nut mix and have it all.

 

ADD ONE UNEXPECTED INGREDIENT: Be adventurous—add dried vegetables such as wasabi peas or roasted edamame, broken up potato chips, sesame sticks, oyster crackers, corn nuts, or toasted coconut chips. 

 

(OPTIONAL) DRIED FRUIT: If the salty-sweet combo is your family's thing, add one type of dried fruit. Yes it's a non-traditional approach but it brings interesting textural contrast to all the crunch. If you do add dried fruit, add it at the end when the mix comes out of the oven; this is the one ingredient you don’t want to bake with the rest.

 

3. Coat and Sprinkle

Time to bring it all together: coat the crunchy-mix picks in the custom buttery sauce. Sneak in a little nutrition by sprinkling the mix with a tablespoon or so of ground flaxseed or hemp seed, for fiber and omega fatty acids. As long as you don’t go too heavy with the seeds, your family won’t know they are there. Sesame seeds are a flavorful optional addition that could be added now too. 

 

4. Toast

Toasting the mix seals in the sauce, crisps up the crunch, and adds nutty flavor, so don’t skip this step … no one wants a soggy mix. When you remove the mix from the oven, sprinkle it with flaky sea salt. Let cool and serve in one large bowl or individual small bowls. 

 

Get Our Spicy-Sweet Maple Snack Mix Recipe

 

For More Ideas and Recipes, Check Out Our Crowd-Pleasing Snack Mixes