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Homemade Chex Mix (Nuts n’ Bolts)

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Savory and buttery Chex mix (aka nuts n’ bolts) is a great snack to have on hand when you’ve got a full house.

Back in the ’70s, my family lived on a cul-de-sac in Reston, Virginia with young families in every house. The moms were all close friends—still are—and the dads carpooled every day into DC together. Every Sunday during football season, the whole neighborhood gathered to watch the Redskins games. Each mom had a special game day dish: Pat made Swedish meatballs, my mom made pumpkin bread, and Barb made giant vats of homemade Chex mix (aka nuts n’ bolts). I wanted to recreate Barb’s Chex mix, so I emailed her to ask if the recipe was the same as the party mix on the back of the cereal box. She promptly replied: “No way. That crap’s for amateurs.”

Barb’s recipe calls for a “whole mess” of this and that and extra salt “if your heart works.” I did my best to translate it here; it’s similar to the back-of-the-box recipe, but with lots of extra butter and seasoning. The recipe is easy to make, and it makes a ton. Feel free to swap out the nuts (or any of the ingredients) for more of something else.

The old neighborhood, circa 1978 (that’s Barb in the blue turtleneck; I’m in the middle with the blue overalls, and my dad is on the far left in the blue shirt. )

What You’ll Need To Make Homemade Chex Mix (Nuts n’ Bolts)

chex mix ingredients

Step-by-Step Ingredients

Combine all of the snack mix ingredients in a large disposable aluminum pan or roasting pan.

chex ingredients in aluminum pan

Next, make the butter seasoning: in a medium bowl, combine the melted butter with the Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, and thyme.

butter and seasoning for chex mix in bowl

Whisk to combine.

whisked seasoning

Slowly pour the butter mixture over the snack mix, being careful to spread it evenly around.

pouring the cereal over the chex mix

Stir until all of the ingredients are evenly coated.

stirring the chex mix to coat evenly

Bake in a 250°F oven, stirring occasionally, for about 1½ hours. Let cool, then store in an airtight container.

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Nuts n' Bolts

Savory and buttery Chex mix (aka nuts n’ bolts) is a great snack to have on hand when you’ve got a full house.

Servings: About 18 cups
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Snack Mix

  • 4 cups Corn Chex
  • 4 cups Wheat Chex
  • 3 cups Rice Chex
  • 2 cups Cheerios
  • 3 cups skinny bite-sized pretzels
  • 1½ cups salted nuts

For the Butter Seasoning

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (or vegetable oil)
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 heaping teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 1¼ teaspoons garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ teaspoon dried thyme

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  2. Combine the Corn Chex, Wheat Chex, Rice Chex, Cheerios, pretzels, and nuts in a large disposable aluminum pan or roasting pan.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme. Pour slowly over the snack mix, stirring as you go, to coat evenly. Continue stirring until snack mix is well coated with the seasoning. Bake for 1½ hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Let cool, then serve or store in an airtight container.
  4. Note: You can omit any of the snack mix ingredients as long as you substitute something else. The idea is to keep the ratio of snack mix to butter seasoning the same. Also, be sure your oven is fully preheated before you put the snack mix in. The initial surge of heat to preheat the oven will burn the snack mix in a heartbeat.
  5. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The snack mix can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Cool completely before freezing.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (18 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 395
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Saturated fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 60 g
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 9 g
  • Sodium: 721 mg
  • Cholesterol: 18 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • I was thrilled to see this recipe in your recent email blast. I am crazy about nuts and bolts. I am fortunate to have a sister committed to gifting nuts and bolts yearly at Christmas. (I just polished off my second container)
    We are from Silver Spring, so close to your home in Potomac. I wonder if it’s a regional gift? Thank you.

    • — Bobbi on January 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made the Chex Mix using canola oil instead of the butter.
    Turned out great. Don’t think I’ll ever use butter in the recipe again.

    • — Marcia on December 31, 2022
    • Reply
  • Great picture! We lived in North Arlington. And Art Monk was our neighbor in the early 80’s. So I was definitely a Redskins fan!

    • — Alene on December 26, 2022
    • Reply
    • 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 27, 2022
      • Reply
  • The real secret is to add lemon juice to the spice mixture. This is the first year I have not made Chex mix since I can remember. You can’t go wrong w/making it early in the season, putting it in little decorated baggies, keep in the refrigerator, and pull them out as you need them. They are great for “emergency” gifts if needed.

    There are a million versions for this recipe. I prefer mine w/X-tra Cheddar Goldfish crackers instead of Cheerios. It is critical to dash Worcestershire in between stirrings and make sure it lands on the Wheat Chex, along w/an extra drizzle of butter.

    • — Ruby on December 24, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I don’t have seasoned salt on hand – will omitting affect the flavor?

    • — Emmy Hartrich on December 21, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Emmy, the seasoned salt is pretty important here. You could make your own if you’d like — here’s a recipe (you could cut the recipe in half and still have some left over). Hope that helps and that you enjoy if you make it!

      • — Jenn on December 23, 2022
      • Reply
  • Jenn, I so look forward to making this sometime this weekend for Christmas gifts! I hope this does not sound like a crazy question but could you substitute dry roasted peanuts with sea salt for the salted nuts?

    • — Staci on December 12, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Staci, roasted peanuts with sea salt would work perfectly fine. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 13, 2022
      • Reply
  • Jenn, When I make the Nuts and Bolts can I not use the Cherrios and use the equal amount of the other cereals? Thank you, Carol Lucey

    • — Carol Lucey on November 20, 2022
    • Reply
    • Definitely!

      • — Jenn on November 20, 2022
      • Reply
      • This is the perfect snack mix recipe, so much better than the recipe on the boxes of cereal! Love the addition of the thyme also. This is a winner and I’ll be making it every Christmas. Thanks Jenn for sharing the recipe and the great story.

        • — Paul Lenhard on December 23, 2022
        • Reply
  • Thank you so much for this recipe! Every year I’ve been making the recipe on the Chex box and it was always so disappointing. I knew it wasn’t the same as the recipe I grew up on (in the 50s and 60s) but I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. The answer? Lots more butter! And lots more spices! Last Christmas I was making this two times a week. That can get pretty caloric, but it’s sooo good!

    • — Ruth Nichols on October 2, 2022
    • Reply

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