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Nuts n’ Bolts

5 stars based on 12 votes

When I was little, my family lived on a cul-de-sac in Reston, Virginia called Turkey Wing Court. There were young families in every house so kids were always outside riding bikes and big wheels (what ever happened to big wheels?!) or knocking on our door. The moms were all close friends — still are — and the dads carpooled every day into work together. Every Sunday during football season, the whole neighborhood would gather in someone’s basement to watch the Redskins games. Each mom had a special game day dish: Pat was known for her swedish meatballs, my mom made a killer Stromboli, Carol did ribs and Barb always made giant vats of Nuts n’ Bolts.

The old neighborhood, circa 1978 (that’s Barb in the blue turtleneck; I’m in the middle with the blue overalls)

I loved — and ate massive quantities of — Barb’s Nuts n’ Bolts, so I emailed her recently to ask about the recipe. I wondered if it was the same as the Chex Party Mix on the back of the cereal box. She promptly replied: “No way. That crap’s for amateurs.” Then she sent me her recipe, complete with notes to add a “whole mess” of this and that and extra salt “if your heart works.” I made it. Of course, the kids loved it and it brought me right back to those good ol’ days on Turkey Wing.

Big wheels! Roller skates!

It’s easy to make and the recipe makes a ton. You start by combining chex cereals, pretzels, cheerios and nuts in a large disposable aluminum pan. Feel free to omit any of the ingredients you like, just be sure to substitute more of something else.

Next, make the butter seasoning by combining the melted butter with the Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt and thyme.


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

Then stir it with a spatula until all of the ingredients are evenly coated.

Bake in a low oven, stirring occasionally, for about 1-1/2 hours. Let it cool, then store in an air tight container.

It’s a great game day snack to feed a crowd…and such a yummy blast from the past. Thanks, Barb!

Nuts n' Bolts

Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes


For the Snack Mix

  • 4 cups corn chex
  • 4 cups wheat chex
  • 3 cups rice chex
  • 3 cups skinny bite-sized pretzels
  • 2 cups cheerios
  • 1-1/2 cups salted nuts

For the Butter Seasoning

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (or vegetable oil)
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 heaping teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Combine all of the snack mix ingredients in a large disposable aluminum pan.
  3. Combine all of the butter seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Pour slowly over snack mix, stirring as you go, to coat evenly. Continue stirring until snack mix is well coated with seasoning. Bake for 1-1/2 hours, stirring every 15 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.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: A ton

Reviews & Comments

  • Can you freeze this mixture? I haven’t made it yet. I want some for Christmas, but that is 2 months away, and I don’t want the butter to go rancid. Thanks

    - Geri on October 13, 2017 Reply
    • Yes, Geri, I think it should freeze nicely.

      - Jenn on October 13, 2017 Reply
  • Suggestion: Add some fresh lemon juice to the butter mix w/the Worchestshire sauce. It adds some zip. Sriracha drops are good too.

    - Mary on April 27, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I agree with Jenn’s friend Barb… the chex box recipe is for amateurs… A pro calls this recipe nuts and bolts and a amateur calls it chex mix….,

    My family also has a 50 year tradition of making nuts and bolts for the holidays. All the kids expect their large bag full at Christmas.. and it’s a cherished treat anytime we get together for any kind of family reunion.

    We do almost exactly this recipe, except one other really good addition. We use an equal amount of Bacon fat to butter. We also use celery salt as well as the other spices mentioned.

    This would be fabulous as is I am sure, and it was cool to see others enjoy nuts and bolts as well as my family.

    - Paul Bacon on February 2, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have made a different version of this in the past. I used to make a few batches at a time it freezes well in an airtight container

    - Judy on January 19, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is my first review on any food item….and I use the internet a lot while planning meals. That’s how much I love this snack. It has become our staple for the game table at both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Perfect amount of spices/herbs. I always add Cheez-Its instead of Cherrios (personal preference) but all else stays the same. Great recipe!

    - monica on December 24, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is almost the exact recipe to a T my grandmother made while we were growing up. I was panicking searching for my written copy in her handwriting and looked around on the Internet for a dupe until I found it. Every other recipe is basically the Chex party mix. Big difference. Yours as close as I have found to it. I found my recipe she gave me finally soon after finding yours and compared the two. Zero difference except she adds nuts which are definitely optional. This is the old fashioned good stuff. People have no clue what they are missing until they’ve tried this recipe! Thanks for posting! I’m bookmarking yours in case I ever lose my handwritten one!

    - Sheana on December 2, 2015 Reply
    • 5 stars

      Ha I’m so blind and silly. Yours has nuts! So yep no difference! 🙂

      - Sheana on December 2, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I was searching for ideas for foods to serve at a Christmas Open House… what a joy to come upon your post and read about your neighborhood get-togethers. It makes me want to search through my old photos as I’m sure ours are similar. 🙂
    My mom and older sisters used to make Nuts & Bolts. I had forgotten about it. I can’t wait to taste it again. Thanks!

    - Jan on November 29, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Thank you! My mom made this exact same recipe at Christmas for our family in the 70’s, and continued each year for the grandkids! My mom has since passed away, (miss her so much!) and I wanted to make this when we go visit our 25 year old daughter for Thanksgiving, and couldn’t find my mom’s recipe. Thanks to you & and the internet, both me & our daughter will have a little bit of our childhood memories brought back this year! Thank you!!!

    - Barb on November 20, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I made this today for our Football Saturday party. My hubby could hardly wait until it was out of the oven to begin nibbling because it smelled so good! It’s always good to have several munch mix recipes, and this one is a good addition. Thanks, Jenn….and Barb!

    - Christine on October 31, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I think I may have found my new addiction! YUM. For my fellow Australian cooks, Chex cereal is hard to find – I used Kellogg’s Crispix and Nutri-Grain, and they turned out great! Woolworths Select brand also do the pretzel sticks. I didn’t know what seasoned salt was, so I used chicken salt. My Dad is going to LOVE this, thank you!

    - DeLM on May 30, 2015 Reply
  • Traditional “Nuts n Bolts” has the nuts (cheerios) and the bolts (pretzel sticks). It does not have chex mix

    - Pat Richey on May 24, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was a great version of Chex Mix – I really liked the addition of thyme. It made for a nice fragrant home as it was baking as well (I love the story as well)!

    - Colleen on December 16, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    OMG! My Mom made this too! she also called it “Nuts and bolts”. So I made it. It’s exactly like Mom’s. I poured it all in an air-tight container and served it at my condo’s happy hour. they loved it!

    - Heather Lampman on December 5, 2014 Reply
  • I love this except I have to ration my portions! I add cayenne because I like a bit of heat. A friend of mine uses Marcona Almonds and that is very special.

    - HBolan on December 3, 2014 Reply
  • Hi,
    My great grandmother made this every Christmas. She put it in tins she collected though the year and gave it out as gifts. Yummy.
    Yes, Homemade is much better than store stuff.

    - Angus on March 18, 2014 Reply
  • How long (and how) would I be able to store this mix???

    - Liz Lynch on January 31, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Liz, It keeps well in an airtight container for about a week.

      - Jenn on January 31, 2014 Reply
    • Thanks Jenn – I botched the first attempt to make this by using two heaping Tablespoons of Seasoned Salt. Terrible. Second try worked and hopefully will be appreciated at the Superbowl bash tomorrow.

      - Liz Lynch on February 1, 2014 Reply
    • 5 stars

      I package mine in ziplock freezer bags and it keeps fresh much longer than the yummy snack will last before its all eaten up 😉 (I tried your recipe – with the butter rather than oil like I usualy use – delicious!)

      - Sherryl Loman on December 15, 2015 Reply
  • OMG! My mother made this! It-is-the-best!!!! YOWZZZZA!

    - Heather Lampman on January 30, 2014 Reply
  • I grew up calling them Nuts and Bolts too! It’s wonderful to hear them called that.

    - Sarah on January 4, 2014 Reply
  • Delicious and a ton better than the norm just with the addition of thyme! Genious. Thank you for sharing. My kids love this recipe and I feel better giving them this instead of the prepackaged snack version.

    - Amy on March 15, 2013 Reply
  • My family loves Nuts & Bolts I have made this for years! It’s a hit every time .

    - Ruth Ann on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • I love the butter blend! I throw in some Kix cereal because it adds a (healthy!) sweet kick to some bites.

    - KD` on June 28, 2012 Reply
  • Can’t wait to try this! Am always looking for new snacks to try. Thanks so much!

    - Alex on March 4, 2012 Reply
  • Probably the best I’ve ever had. I love the addition of the cheerios. Really makes the difference!

    - Meghan Finley on March 4, 2012 Reply
  • Made this with my daughter for Super Bowl. We had a great time making it, a better time eating it. I think it helped the Giants win the Super Bowl. Just sayin’.

    - Jay on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • This is great! Thank you. My family makes this recipe as well…mostly during the holidays…however, we call it “Trash”.

    - Christy on February 10, 2012 Reply
  • Great seasonings mixture one of our tradional favorites no matter the time of year. When California comes to Virginia it is an expected to be on hand Munch. Will definitely try Once Upon a Chef’s version!!

    - Kathy on January 31, 2012 Reply
  • My mother made this every Christmas. After she was no longer able, I took up the tradition. I didn’t make it this year because my daughter has become Gluten intolerant. I need to figure out how to make substitutions. Any suggestions?

    - Dale on January 31, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Dale, Rice and corn chex are thankfully gluten free. Nuts are ok, so that leaves pretzels, which I think you can find gluten free. Good luck!

      - Jenn on January 31, 2012 Reply
  • My Mom use to make vats of nuts and bolts too. Only difference was adding shreddies and lot of peanuts. She also added a bit of curry powder. I must make some this weekend. She doesn’t make em any more. Thanks so much for sharing.

    - Pat on January 31, 2012 Reply
  • I will definitely be trying this one out…the pics are great! If that were today you guys would be covered head to toe in padding and helmets. 😉

    - tawni on January 31, 2012 Reply
    • totally!

      - Jenn on January 31, 2012 Reply
  • What a great post about wonderful childhood memories! And great photos — so sweet! We were just talking to our kids about playing outside on Big Wheels the other day. Can’t wait to make this stuff. Thank you for another yummy & family friendly recipe!

    - frances on January 31, 2012 Reply
  • What sweet memories, and loved your great photos.

    I remember making a version of this to sell for the high school music boosters and calling it “deluxe” snack mix – ’cause I used twice the amount of nuts called for in the recipe. ;-))

    No matter the exact ingredients, it is delicious for munching. Thanks for bringing it to the front of the recipe file once more.

    - Liz on January 31, 2012 Reply
  • I love this – my aunts always make chex mix like this for Christmas and it’s the best. I think they add celery salt as well. YUM!

    - Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes on January 31, 2012 Reply

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