BBQ Chex Mix: Similar to the traditional snack mix, this modern Chex Mix recipe is made with a sweet and smoky BBQ spice mix. This isn’t your mama’s snack mix!
I have a shameful little secret.
I am a snack addict.
OK, maybe not addict in the clinical sense of the word. But I’m seriously in love with all things snacky.
When I was in grad school and money was suuuuper tight, I sometimes opted to have chips and dip for dinner. And it wasn’t any of the fancy dips that you can find in the grocery store today.
It was onion soup mix and sour cream. Overall, a guilty pleasure “meal” for sure.
That bacon scallion caramelized onion dip I made a few years ago alleviated some of that guilt since I, at the very least, made it with unprocessed ingredients.
Enter this Chex Mix recipe. Man alive, I loooove Chex Mix!
For me, Chex Mix is such a nostalgic snack. My mom made soooo many batches of this snack mix when I was a kid and every I time sniffed it baking in the oven, I can’t tell you how excited I got!
My mom recently told me that when she made it, she had to hide it from my dad because he couldn’t stop snacking on it. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
Can you believe that I’ve never actually made it as an adult?! I basically couldn’t keep my hands off this snack as a kid but after all these years of cooking and baking, I just never thought to make it myself.
And this also means that I haven’t eaten Chex Mix in like, I don’t know, 20 years? Not since the last time I remember my mom making it when I lived at home.
So this Christmas, I got the bug to make a big batch of BBQ Chex Mix. As I mentioned when I was writing about my holiday baking list, we’re hosting 3 separate groups of people this week.
And actually, we added an extra visit from one of my favorite aunts so now it’s 4 groups of family this week. Yikes!
I figured this might be a great little snack to have around, ready to put out for people to munch on while I’m running around the kitchen feeling like a headless chicken.
And not surprisingly, it turns out that I’M the one munching on it! I had to hide the bag I’m keeping this BBQ Chex Mix in because every time I run through the kitchen this week, I pop open the bag and grab a small handful.
This is a dangerous snack to have around!
If you’re wondering how my BBQ Chex Mix differs from the original Chex mix recipe, let me tell you!
I made a sweet and smoky spice mix back in the summer for grilled chicken and pork chops that we totally flipped out over. I mean, we seriously flipped out! It’s A LOT like the spice mix used in Trader Joe’s Synergistically Seasoned Popcorn so if you’re familiar with that delicious snack, you’ll know how good my spice mix is!
And I used that spice mix as the base flavor for this Chex Mix since I feel like the original Chex mix can be a little on the salty side.
This resulted in more of a bold Chex mix recipe and I’m not one to brag – really, I’m not – but this was kind of a genius idea.
Because we seriously flipped out over this snack mix too! So much so that as soon as we started snacking on the still-warm mix when it came out of the oven, I immediately knew I would need to make a second batch for our weekend guests because the first batch wouldn’t last more than a few days.
The Secret to this Addictive Snack Mix
And the secret to the addictiveness of this BBQ chex mix recipe? The brown sugar in the spice mix!
The sugar helped to balance out the heat and smokiness from the hot smoked paprika and chipotle powder in the spice mix. It also helped the meat to caramelize a little when we were grilling over the summer and I just knew that would add that little extra “oomph” to this snack mix too.
The spice mix reminds me a lot of the one I use for our favorite smoky oven ribs and our favorite brisket so when I was debating about how to make this recipe, I knew it would be the perfect coating for a crunchy snack mix.
And boy was I right! Every time I’ve put little bowls of this mix around the house for guests to snack on this week, the mix has quickly vanished within a few minutes. It’s crazy!
I will definitely be making another batch of this BBQ chex mix today for our weekend guests and it’s going to take every ounce of my energy to keep my hands off this stuff.
Which is ok because then I can focus my attention on making a big pitcher of The Mistletoe Kiss cocktail for everyone to enjoy with this snack mix. Win-win-win!
- 4 cups corn Chex cereal
- 4 cups rice Chex cereal
- 2 cups pretzels
- 2 cups bagel chips, roughly broken
- 2 cups cheese crackers
- 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
- 8 tbsp (4 oz/1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- 2 tbsp worchestershire sauce
- 1 ½ tsp ancho chile powder
- 1 ½ tsp hot smoked paprika
- ¾ tsp garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp ground chipotle powder
- 3 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 ½ tsp Kosher salt
- ¾ tsp black ground pepper
- Heat oven to 275° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Mix the cereal, pretzels, bagel chips, crackers, and peanuts together in a very large bowl.
- In a small saucepan, melted the butter over medium heat then stir in the corn syrup, worchestershire sauce, all of the spices, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Immediately pour the hot mixture over the snack mix and stir it all together until all of the snack mixture pieces are well-coated. You want to make sure all of it has been touched by the liquid spice mixture or you'll end up with flavorless pieces. Divide the mix evenly between the 2 baking sheets and spread into an even layer.
- Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes and rotating the trays top to bottom and front to back each time you stir. Transfer the trays to wire racks and allow the mixture to cool completely before transferring it to a gallon-size zip top bag or resealable container.
Storage: The snack mix will keep well for up to 1 week when stored in a tightly sealed bag or container.
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