Made with dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and dried coconut flakes, this caramel Chex mix is a healthier spin on an old favorite. The addition of raw pumpkin seeds give it a Christmas flare, but don’t be fooled, you’ll enjoy this snack any time of year!
This weekend, I have three different parties to attend and I can guarantee you that all of them will have munchies. What’s a Christmas party without good snacks? The holidays are notorious for all things yummy like this homemade caramel Chex mix. Flavorful, buttery caramel baked onto your favorite nuts, cereals, and seeds, then mixed with dried fruits or whatever else touches your fancy.
My Christmas version of caramel Chex mix is a bit healthier than the ones you may have seen with green and red M&M’s or even puppy chow. Instead, I add dark chocolate chips, red dried cranberries and green raw pumpkin seasons to give festive color. Then I add yogurt covered peanuts and dried coconut flakes for snow. Perhaps I’m overthinking things a bit, but this combination is so satisfying! Set that Christmas music to continuous play and let’s get to work.
Come on into my kitchen!
Here is a shot of all the ingredients that will be baked. It’s actually pretty simple! You’ll need 12 cups of cereal, pretzels, nuts, and seeds in any combination that you like. For this recipe, I’m using:
- 4 cups Chex cereal (wheat and/or rice)
- 2 cups Crispix cereal
- 3 cups nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.)
- 2 cups broken pretzel sticks
- 1 cup pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)
How To Make The Caramel for Chex Mix
Step 1: In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, and light corn syrup and stir until melted. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to boil for 1 minute.
Step 2: Remove the pan from heat and stir in the baking soda until caramel begins to form (will be foamy and thick)
Step 3: Immediately pour the caramel over the bowl of cereal, nuts, and seeds and stir it all until everything is mostly coated.
Divide the mix into two 11×7 pans to allow more airflow. Place the pans into a 200˚ F oven and bake them for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
During each 15-minute stirring, switch the pans (top or bottom) so that they both can have an even bake. All the end of one hour, remove the pans and allow the mix to completely cool.
In addition, you’ll want to add ingredients that don’t get baked. I add about 1 cup each to the caramel Chex mix. My favorites to add are:
- dried red cranberries
- dark chocolate chips
- flaked unsweetened coconut
- yogurt covered peanuts
This makes a great combination! Substitute 4 total cups with whatever you desire, making sure to wait until the caramel mix is cool.
This healthier twist on Christmas inspired caramel Chex mix is good tidings for all…it’s nutty, crunchy, salty and sweet. It’s also worth your time because this recipe makes ONE GALLON of mix! That’s enough for my three parties, my kid’s teachers, and some neighbors too! If there is any left, store it all in an airtight container to be enjoyed throughout the holiday season.
Caramel Chex Mix Tips
Gluten-Free: To make it gluten-free, substitute the pretzel sticks for more cereal or nuts.
Raw Nuts: If you are using untoasted or raw nuts, toast the nuts first at 325˚ F for 5 minutes before adding it to main mixture.
Unsalted Nuts: If you are using unsalted nuts, add ¼ teaspoon of salt per cup of nuts. When ready, mix all of it into a large bowl and set it aside.
More Snack Recipes
- The Best Caramel Corn Recipe – super simple to make, too!
- Homemade Trail Mix (With Brown Sugar Pecans!) – great for road trips.
- The Best Healthy Granola Bar Recipe – one of my favs!
Caramel Chex Mix
- 2 cups wheat Chex cereal
- 2 cups rice Chex cereal
- 2 cups Crispix cereal
- 3 cups almonds pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts
- 2 cups pretzel sticks broken
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds raw
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup yogurt covered peanuts
- 1 cup flaked coconut
- In a large bowl, combine the cereal, nuts and seeds.
- In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, and light corn syrup and stir until melted. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to boil for 1 minute. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the baking soda until a caramel begins to form (will be foamy and thick).
- Immediately pour the caramel over the cereal mixture and stir it all until everything is mostly coated. Divide the mixture among two 11x7 pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Place the pans into a preheated 200˚ F oven and bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes for a total of 4 times. During each 15-minute stirring, switch the pans (top or bottom) so that they both can have an even bake.
- At the end of baking, remove the pans and allow the mix to completely cool. Then add in remaining ingredients.
- Store caramel Chex mix in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.