Entertaining · Food

Sweet & Spicy Chex Mix

What’s on your favorite fall foods list? The foods that you make every year because it just doesn’t feel like fall without them. The foods that bring up memories of past years during the autumn season. For me and my family, one of those foods is homemade Chex mix.

In high school, my friend’s mom used to make homemade Chex mix and she always made two versions, regular and spicy. I’m not exactly sure what her spicy version had in it but I know she added chili powder for the main kick. I don’t like my food super spicy, so this recipe has just enough spice to pack some flavor, then has some sweet elements to balance it out.

As far as the ingredients go, they’re all pretty standard. I use 4 different kinds of Chex (you can sub honey nut Cherrios for the Honey nut Chex if thats what you have on hand), cheesy crackers, peanuts, and pretzels, but feel free to use your favorite snacks from the chip/cracker/cereal isle. Adding that one element of sweet cereal into the mix really elevates this homemade Chex mix, so don’t leave it out! Its the secret ingredient that has people devouring it by the bowlful, yet they can’t quite put their finger on why its so great.

Now, as far as how I make my Chex mix, some would say its unconventional. If you know anything about me, you know how I loathe having a half (or even worse, less than a half) of a box/can/bag of an item left over from a recipe. Like when you only need a few ounces of tomato paste but cans only come in 6 or 8 ounces. Or when a recipe calls for 1/2 to 1 cup of pumpkin when a can is basically 2 cups. Or in the case of Chex mix, when the recipe calls for 3 cups of THREE different kinds of cereal. Why?! I just can’t comprehend it.

I don’t know about your grocery store, but mine only seems to carry the ‘family size’ box of Chex cereal. I’m convinced its the only one General Mills makes anymore based on the selection at my store. To think I would open this large box of Chex and only use 3 cups, then let the rest of the box go stale (because no one in my house would actually eat it as a breakfast cereal) just seems ludicrous. So, I make a GIANT batch of Chex mix, using the entire box of all 4 Chex cereals, an entire box of Cheezits, an entire box of cheddar bunnies, and a whole bag of pretzels. Heck, I even use a whole pound of butter – Paula Deen would be so proud. And when I do, its gone in a week. This way, there are no orphan boxes of cereal lurking in the back of my cabinet and there’s plenty of Chex mix to go around.

Okay, but thats a lot of Chex mix, how do I bake it all at one time? My turkey roasting pan. I have a roasting pan (similar to this) and have never actually cooked a turkey in it, so you could say its my Chex mix makin’ pan. I love that this pan has a domed lid because instead of mixing the wet and dry ingredients with a spoon (which takes a while and tends to crush some of the Chex in the process), I just hold the lid on tight and shake until all the dry ingredients are evenly coated. Then, every 15 minutes during baking, I put the lid back on and give it a shake, no stirring required. Ya’ll – this is game changing! If you don’t have a roasting pan, I like to use these large baking sheets. However, if you use baking sheets, make sure to adjust the baking time to 60 minutes instead of 90 minutes.

This recipe is very simple and does not take much hands-on time at all. I dump all the dry ingredients into the roasting pan and shake to mix. Then, I use this pyrex bowl to melt the butter and mix the sauce. If your microwave doesn’t have a melt setting, microwave in 30 second intervals on 60 – 70% power, stirring between intervals, until all the butter is melted. Add in the remaining spices, Worcestershire, and honey and stir until the sauce is combined. Pour the sauce over the dry ingredients, place the lid on the roasting pan, and shake until everything is evenly coated. Then bake, uncovered, for 90 minutes. Just shake and bake, baby! I do have to adjust the baking time when using the roasting pan because the Chex mix is not in a thin layer like it would be on a baking sheet. Typically, when using a baking sheet, you bake Chex mix for 60 minutes, but with the roasting pan, it usually takes about 90 minutes.

Sweet & Spicy Chex Mix
Ingredients
  • 12 heaping cups rice Chex
  • 12 heaping cups corn Chex
  • 6 cups wheat Chex (1 – 14oz box)
  • 8 cups Honey Nut Chex (1 – 12.5oz box)
  • 1 – 7.5oz box Annies White Cheddar Bunnies
  • 1 – 12.4oz box Cheezits
  • 3 cups roasted and salted peanuts
  • 5 heaping cups pretzel sticks
  • 1 lb butter
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1.5 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp BBQ rub & seasoning (I used Mark’s Good Stuff)
  • 2 tbsp honey
Instructions

Preheat oven to 275 F.

Mix the dry ingredients (the first 8 ingredients on the list) in a large bowl or turkey roaster.

Cut butter into cubes and place in a large glass bowl, melt in the microwave. Add Worcestershire sauce, spices and honey and stir to combine.

Pour butter mixture over dry ingredients. If cooking in a lidded turkey roaster, top with the lid and shake until all ingredients are coated evenly with the butter mixture. Otherwise, stir with a spatula until everything is coated evenly.

Bake in turkey roaster, uncovered, for 90 minutes or on large jellyroll pans for 60 minutes, shaking/stirring every 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Chex mix is just a fall staple, right? Homemade Chex mix also makes a great road trip snack. I made a giant batch before my family road tripped from Dallas to Atlanta for Thanksgiving two years ago and it definitely was the hit of the car ride. To see me mixing up some Chex mix in action, check out my @elleandjaydesign instagram stories. What are some of your fall food favorites? I’d love to hear about them. Comment below or connect with me on instagram!

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