Sweet, salty, and delightfully crunchy, a big batch of this festive mix takes about 10 minutes to prepare and is perfect for holiday snacking and gift giving. Tailor the recipe to any occasion by simply varying the color of the M&Ms!
I recently read that the first recipe for Chex Party Mix appeared on boxes of Chex cereal in 1952. The wife of a Ralston Purina executive served it at a Christmas party, and apparently it was a hit. (Another fun fact: The first Chex cereals rolled off production lines in 1937.)
I remember the first time I tried Chex mix as a young girl. At the time, the thought of combining a crisp breakfast cereal with an assortment of salty, crunchy tidbits like pretzels and peanuts seemed brilliant.
And it tasted great!
My sister and I debated over whether it was more satisfying to savor one piece at a time or enjoy all of the elements in one tasty mouthful. (She pecked for individual pieces while I tended towards the handful…or at least a peanut in every bite.)
The classic Chex mix is ideal for kids’ lunches and snacks and equally well-suited to a pre-dinner nibble with cocktails. With a combination of carbs, fat, and protein－not to mention satisfying crunch－I often reach for a helping when dinner is an hour away and I’m getting hungry.
All these years later, I am still a fan of the original mix, which is easy to make with a handful of pantry ingredients. Many batches of sweet-and-salty Spiced Pecan Chex Mix have also emerged (and disappeared quickly) from my kitchen.
Several years ago, my family’s love of Chex mix took a decidedly festive turn with a few key additions. Another sweet-and-salty concoction, I’ve given the following blend as a holiday gift and have shared the recipe many times, always with positive reviews.
Last year, my nieces and I made a big batch as a part of a holiday project. (We also made fire starters with dryer lint if anyone is intrigued by that!) After posting a photo of the Chex mix on Instagram, I had countless requests for the recipe. I did email everyone who asked for it at the time. But as we roll into a new holiday season, the time seemed right to share it here.
Who wouldn’t enjoy a cookie alternative that is salty, sweet, crunchy, and just a little bit creamy? Plus, the yield is generous, so you can package some of it to share with a friend or neighbor. Based on personal experience, I will say that sharing a container of this festive mix brings joy to both the giver and the receiver!
A few more ideas…
- For welcome gifts, transfer the mix to jars and tie with a bow.
- When serving holiday cookie trays, I like to include a small bowl of this mix alongside.
- Sometimes, I sprinkle in a few more peanuts (for more saltiness) and M&Ms (for additional holiday color) to the cooled mix.
- And remember that you can customize the mix to any occasion by using the appropriate holiday M&Ms. Or use the classic colors if preferred.
More homemade Chex mixes…
Holiday snacking at its best! 💚❤️
- 6-8 cup mix of Chex cereals (I use equal amounts of corn and rice; could use wheat, too)
- 4 cups mini pretzels or sticks*
- 3 cups plain Cheerios
- 2 cups salted peanuts (could use cashews or a mix; omit for nut-free)
- 1 (10-ounce) package holiday colored plain M&M’s
- 24 ounces white chocolate
- Optional: holiday colored sprinkles
- Place a sheet of parchment or wax paper over each of 2 large baking sheets; set aside.
- In a very large bowl, combine 6 cups of the mix of Chex cereals along with the pretzels, Cheerios, peanuts and M&Ms. Gently mix to evenly distribute.
- Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler on the stovetop or in the microwave. If melting in the microwave, heat in 30-second increments, stirring after each one until just melted and smooth.
- Once the chocolate has reached a smooth consistency, drizzle it evenly over the cereal mix and toss gently but thoroughly. Make sure most of cereal mixture is covered in chocolate. This is when you may add the final 2 cups, give or take, of Chex cereal (or other ingredients like pretzels if preferred) if you have sufficient chocolate to coat more. You likely will unless you initially measured with a heavy hand; note that it’s fine to have some pieces that are less coated than others. Also, I usually don’t do this, but for an added festive look you could add a dusting of sprinkles immediately after the mix is combined and before the chocolate has set.
- Once combined, turn the mixture out onto the parchment or wax paper lined baking sheets. Let dry for 1 hour, give or take, until the chocolate has cooled and become firm. Break up any large pieces (or leave them that way if you enjoy the big clumps!) and store in an airtight container at room temperature. The mix may be stored in the fridge if you prefer it cold and may be frozen.
*For a gluten-free mix, choose corn and rice Chex and use gluten-free pretzels.
Pro tip: I sometimes sprinkle in a few more peanuts (for more saltiness) and red and green M&Ms (for additional holiday color) to the cooled mix. And remember that you can customize the mix to any occasion by using the appropriate holiday M&Ms.
A few more things… I start out with the lesser amount of Chex (in my case 3 cups each Corn and Rice Chex) and then usually end up adding the final 2 cups once I am sure I have plenty of chocolate to coat the entire mixture. It is fine, of course, to have some pieces that are less coated that others. Helpful hint: When measuring the ingredients, be sure to use level cups in order to maintain the right ratio of dry ingredients to melted chocolate. Of course, you may absolutely adjust the amount of individual ingredients to taste. Just have a little extra white chocolate on hand if you plan to increase or add without subtracting elsewhere.
Note that the yield is quite large. This is partly because, once all the ingredients are combined, clusters form in a way that prevents the mix from storing compactly. That said, one batch yields plenty for enjoying and sharing.