Ultimate build-your-own party snack mix.

Herewith, I introduce to you the ultimate, new and improved, build-your-own party snack mix recipe.

Now, I’m a big fan of the original nuts-n-bolts and party mix recipes that have appeared on boxes of Chex and Cheerios in the decades since Ralston and General Mills realized they could sell epic quantities of cereal by positioning it as a snack food. But, I ask, why are we limited to cereal and nuts and pretzels? What about all the other fun snacks, like Cheetos and Combos and cheddar goldfish? Why are they never invited to the party?

Hence, after much testing and research (I hate this job), I give you this: a blueprint for building your own perfectly customized party snack mix. Just in time for the big game. And you can make it absolutely your own: If you nibble on Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies (you virtuous thing, you), then by all means invite them to hop into the bowl. Love you some Corn Nuts? You have my permission.

My premise is this: Begin with your choice of base ingredients and toss with my updated version of the butter-and-Worcestershire seasoning blend; using a smaller proportion of base snacks really concentrates the flavor. After baking—and here’s where things really get interesting—add whatever big-taste snacks your heart desires. There are no rules.

And now, if you’ll excuse me I need to go … mmmmmnnch!

ultimate build-your-own party snack mix

seasoning
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt (I use Jane’s)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (to your taste)

snacks (see notes below)
6 cups of base snacks
1 1/2 cups of nuts
4 cups of flavored snacks

base snacks
unsalted: Wheat Chex, Rice Chex, Corn Chex, Cheerios, oyster crackers, plain popcorn
salted: Bugles, Fritos, sesame sticks, salted pretzels, plain bagel chips, potato sticks

nuts
dry-roasted peanuts, salted roasted peanuts, salted roasted mixed nuts, sunflower seeds, honey nuts, pumpkin seeds, salted roasted cashews, salted roasted almonds

flavored snacks
wasabi peas, Cheez-its, cheddar goldfish, Terra Sticks, Corn Nuts, sweet potato chips, flavored bagel chips, Bar Chips, Cheetos, Combos, cheese puffs, flavored pretzels, puffed veggie stix

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. In a large bowl, stir all the seasoning ingredients to blend; add 6 cups of base snacks and 1 1/2 cups of nuts and toss everything gently to combine thoroughly. Spread mixture on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and spread 4 cups of flavored snacks on top of the base snacks. Let everything cool, then transfer back to the large bowl and toss gently to combine.

For the version you see below, I used 5 cups of Cheerios, 1 cup of Fritos (which I broke into bite-size pieces), 1 1/2 cups of dry-roasted peanuts and, for the flavored snacks, 2 cups of Snyder’s Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper Pretzel Pieces (OMG, these are dangerously good) and 2 cups of Pepperidge Farm Cheddar Goldfish.

I love serving this kind of snack in wide-mouth Ball jars.