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The ultimate crowd-pleasing party food, this “Crack Snack” earned its name for a good reason! With just 4 simple ingredients — pecans, cereal, butter, and brown sugar — you can whip up this crunchy, sweet, and salty snack mix in a matter of minutes. Bet you can’t stop at just one bite!

Overhead image of bowl of 4-ingredient Snack Mix called Crack Snack!

Grab a Large Bowl for the Ultimate Party Snack Mix!

My friend Kaci recently shared this cereal snack mix recipe with me, and I instantly knew that it would be a hit. It’s fast, easy, requires just a few ingredients, and it tastes amazing. So amazing, in fact, that it’s hard to stop eating. Hence the name!

This sweet and crunchy snack mix would go perfectly paired alongside other potluck munchies like my 3-Ingredient Queso Dip, Make-Ahead Ham and Cheese Sliders, and 3-Ingredient Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Bites. Packaged in a cute container, it’s also a great holiday snack mix for gift-giving, so grab these ingredients and whip up a batch STAT!

Ingredients for 4 ingredient party snack mix

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a simple homemade snack mix. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Salted butter: forms the base of the caramel sauce that coats the cereal and nuts.
  • Brown sugar: combines with the butter to make a rich, sweet, and slightly salty caramel sauce.
  • Crispix cereal: if you prefer Chex mix, then you can substitute with a variety of different types of Chex cereal. For instance, use a combination of Rice Chex, Wheat Chex, and Corn Chex to total about 12 cups.
  • Pecans: add rich, toasty, buttery, crunch to the mix. Feel free to substitute with other nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, peanuts, or pistachios, or keep it nut-free and use pretzels, bagel chips, Goldfish crackers, Cheez Its, sesame sticks, or any of your other favorite mix-ins. This recipe is very flexible!
Crispix cereal and pecans on baking sheet

How to Make Snack Mix

This easy snack mix recipe comes together quickly and easily!

  1. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Spread the cereal and the pecans in an even layer on the baking sheet; set aside.
  3. Combine the butter and the brown sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil the mixture for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until a thick, creamy caramel sauce forms.
  4. Pour that sweet, buttery sauce over the cereal and nuts.
  5. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to toss until the sauce coats the Crispix and pecans.
  6. Bake the snack mix in a 325°F oven for 16 minutes (stirring halfway through). The end result is this sweet and salty party mix that has a perfect balance flavors and textures!
Pouring caramel sauce over Crispix and pecans
Stirring cereal snack mix with caramel sauce on baking sheet

Bowl of easy holiday snack mix with cereal and pecans

How to Serve Party Snack Mix

Pair the party snack mix recipe with a cold beverage and any of these other great tailgate or munchies snacks:

Storage

Cool completely, then package the party mix in airtight containers or large Ziploc bags. The mixture will keep at room temperature for 2-3 weeks.

Chex Mix Recipe Variations

  • Use Chex cereal instead of Crispix cereal. If you’re using Chex, I recommend a combination of different Chex cereals (such as a few cups rice chex, a few cups wheat chex, and a few cups corn chex). That way you get the same flavor variety that you taste in Crispix, since Crispix includes both rice and corn.
  • I you prefer a more savory snack mix that includes a couple tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon onion powder, and garlic powder, try this homemade Chex mix recipe.
  • If you’re using unsalted butter, you’ll need to add some salt (about ½ teaspoon, or more to taste) to the caramel sauce to balance the sweetness of the brown sugar. You want that combination of sweet-and-salty in this crunchy snack mix.
  • Mix it up and use peanuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, or mixed nuts instead of the pecans.
  • Add other ingredients to your snack mix. For instance, swap out some of the cereal or nuts and replace them with Cheez Its, Goldfish cheese crackers, pretzels, bagel chips, Bugles, or sesame sticks.
  • Spicy Chex mix: add a touch of cayenne to the butter mixture for some heat.

Tips for the Best Snack Mix Recipe

  • Line the baking sheets with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup. Otherwise it can be difficult to get the hardened caramel sauce off of the pans.
  • Use salted butter for this party mix recipe, which gives the dish a great sweet and salty flavor combination! If you only have unsalted butter on hand, see my note above to adjust the salt seasoning in the caramel sauce.
  • Stir the mix halfway through the cooking time. This will help the ingredients toast evenly and will prevent individual pieces from burning.
  • As the mix starts to cool, use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up some of the larger clumps.
  • For a smaller batch, cut all of the ingredients in half. The cooking instructions remain the same.
Close overhead image of sweet and salty snack mix recipe in a white bowl

More Homemade Snack Mix Recipes to Try

“Crack Snack” 4-Ingredient Snack Mix

4.89 from 9 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 16 minutes
Cooling Time 20 minutes
Total: 21 minutes
Servings 14 cups
Calories 357.5 kcal
​​​​​​​The ultimate crowd-pleasing party food, this “Crack Snack” is a 4-ingredient sweet and salty snack mix recipe that earned its name for a reason!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) box Crispix cereal (about 12 cups)
  • 1 ½ cups chopped pecans (6 ounces)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an extra large baking sheet (or two smaller baking sheets) with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  • Spread cereal and pecans on prepared baking sheets. Set aside.
  • Mix butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Boil for two minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Pour caramel mixture over cereal and nuts; toss to coat.
  • Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven, stir, and bake for an additional 8 minutes.
  • Allow to cool, breaking apart any large clumps with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Notes

  • Line the baking sheets with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup. Otherwise it can be difficult to get the hardened caramel sauce off of the pans.
  • Use salted butter for this party mix recipe, which gives the dish a great sweet and salty flavor combination! If you only have unsalted butter on hand, see my note above to adjust the salt seasoning in the caramel sauce.
  • Stir the mix halfway through the cooking time. This will help the ingredients toast evenly and will prevent individual pieces from burning.
  • As the mix starts to cool, use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up some of the larger clumps.
  • For a smaller batch, cut all of the ingredients in half. The cooking instructions remain the same.
  • Use Chex cereal instead of Crispix cereal. If you’re using Chex, I recommend a combination of different Chex cereals (such as a few cups rice chex, a few cups wheat chex, and a few cups corn chex). That way you get the same flavor variety that you taste in Crispix, since Crispix includes both rice and corn.
  • I you prefer a more savory snack mix that includes a couple tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon onion powder, and garlic powder, try this homemade Chex mix recipe.
  • If you’re using unsalted butter, you’ll need to add some salt (about ½ teaspoon, or more to taste) to the caramel sauce to balance the sweetness of the brown sugar. You want that combination of sweet-and-salty in this crunchy snack mix.
  • Mix it up and use peanuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, or mixed nuts instead of the pecans.
  • Add other ingredients to your snack mix. For instance, swap out some of the cereal or nuts and replace them with Cheez Its, Goldfish cheese crackers, pretzels, bagel chips, Bugles, or sesame sticks.
  • Spicy Chex mix: add a touch of cayenne to the butter mixture for some heat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 357.5kcalCarbohydrates: 44.1gProtein: 3gFat: 22.5gSaturated Fat: 9.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 8.7gCholesterol: 35.4mgSodium: 279.7mgPotassium: 142.9mgFiber: 1.3gSugar: 18.9g
Keyword: Holiday Snack Mix Recipe, Snack Mix, Sweet and Salty Snack Mix
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in January, 2014. It was updated in October, 2018.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Oh my this looks so good, I would eat the whole bowl 🙂 I pinned this and am checking it out from I should be mopping the floor link party!

    1. Hi!!! I want to take this with me on a vacation flying as a gift in a gift bag. Does this stay fresh very long? Also can it be frozen?

      1. Hi, Christy! I’ve never tried freezing it, but I think it would work fine! And yes — it keeps well in an airtight container for at least a couple of weeks (maybe longer…it’s just always consumed faster than that)!

        1. 5 stars
          Easy, delicious and makes quite a lot. Family is coming for Thanksgiving so this will be great for snacking until the rest of the food is done. Yes from 2020, but thankful to have this recipe.

    2. I used peanut butter chez and half a box of chocolate chez. I used cashews instead of pecans. I added pretzels and I 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar, as well as, 1 1/4 cup of butter to compensate for the extra cereal.

  2. Thank you for this mix, some friends used to make this for me and college, and since losing touch with them, have yet to find the right recipe, but I think this is going to be perfect! Adding M&Ms, Reese’s pieces, peanuts, and pretzels to this. Thank you for this 🙂

  3. Thank you so very much!!
    What is your opinion of adding crispy bacon? My family loves candy bacon, and thought this recipe would be a bonus addition!!

    1. That’s such a creative idea, Caroline! I’m sure the bacon would be a delicious salty addition to the sweet-and-salty mix!

  4. does boiling the brown sugar and butter and corn syrup too long make the mix too stiff and overcooked? mine got too clumpy

    1. Hi, Louis! Yes, I would think that it probably does. It will also get stiff as it cools, so the other possibility is that it cooled too much before you had a chance to spread it?

  5. 4 stars
    This was was yummy! The idea of using brown sugar instead of white sugar made me think of Cracker Jack so I switched out the cereal for freshly popped plain popcorn, used peanuts and added one cup of itty-bitty pretzel twists. I also added one-half teaspoon vanilla to the sugar mixture after boiling.

    1. Hi, Kenna! I think that margarine would work fine. I’m not familiar with vegan butter, so I have no idea if that would work or not. 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    Just made this for a ski weekend with the family. It is simple and very tasty. I recommend adding a good pinch of salt to the caramel to balance the sweetness. Thanks for posting this recipe, crack snack indeed!

  7. Most recipes for this type of mix call for baking soda which makes the sugar mixture foam to a light and fluffy consistency. Is that not necessary for this one? Thanks

    1. Hi, Trina! I have never used baking soda, so I don’t think it’s necessary for this recipe. You can certainly give it a try and let me know if you think it works well. 🙂

    1. Hi, Lorilee! No, I think the fruity flavor would be odd with the caramel/toffee flavor of the brown sugar-butter mixture. Plain cheerios might work fine, but I would avoid the blueberry. Hope that helps!

  8. 5 stars
    This is amazing. I omitted the nuts due to family allergies and added half a box of Golden Graham’s. Absolutely wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Wonderful! So glad that you were able to make it work with your family’s dietary needs. Thanks for your note, Nancy!

  9. 5 stars
    Just made this! OMG sooooo good and easy. The only thing I added was sliced almonds as I had them on hand. I know I will be making this again and again.

  10. Hi! I have a batch in the oven and after ready through the comments, noticed one person mentioning the corn syrup in the recipe yet the recipe I see does not call for corn syrup. Am I missing something? Hope my batch turns out! Thanks!

  11. First, thank you for this recipe. Simple is best!
    Second, thank you for adding Chex-mix to your list of tips because I can’t find Crispix to save my life right now! Even on Amazon it says it doesn’t know when it will be back in stock (if ever).

    Have a great holiday season!

    1. Oh, that’s crazy! I didn’t realize that Crispix is so hard to find at the moment. Glad there’s another option! 🙂

  12. 5 stars
    I was kind of amused making this, because it felt like I was basically creating children’s cereal, but with nuts, for adults. Added two good doses of salt and pepper to the whole thing (because that’s how we roll)…and …my family literally could not stop eating it. I had to make more before the weekend was over.

  13. I’m not sure what I did wrong but when I took it out of the oven, there were some burnt pieces due to the sugar and butter. Is this normal?

    1. Hi, Deysha! I think a few burned or extra crispy pieces is normal (that always happens to me with Chex Mix too — even without the sugar), but it shouldn’t be a big deal and I doubt you did anything “wrong” if the rest of the mix came out well. Hope you enjoyed it!

  14. Here’s a silly question—if you add something like M&Ms, do you stir them in to the finished product? Or do you actually bake them with the cereal and nuts?!

    1. Hi, Clare! If you’re adding M&M’s, wait to stir them in at the end once the mixture has cooled. Otherwise I worry that they’ll melt or make a mess.

    1. Oh, I have no idea if that would work or not. Sorry, Lorna. To be safe, though, I would stick with real butter when making this caramel sauce.