Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Classic Oven Baked Chex Party Mix

The authentic, original, original Chex Party Mix was very simple - containing only Wheat and Rice Chex cereals, butter, Worcestershire sauce, salt and garlic salt. As pictured, I've made a few changes, including substituting Corn Chex for the wheat and adding thin pretzel sticks.
The authentic, original, original Chex Party Mix was very simple - containing only Wheat and Rice Chex cereals, butter, Worcestershire sauce, salt and garlic salt. As pictured, I've made a few changes, including substituting Corn Chex for the wheat and adding thin pretzel sticks.

Classic Oven Baked Chex Party Mix

We were talking on Facebook the other day about the many varieties of Chex Mix there are these days - seems a lot of us make multiple batches of it over the holidays because it's a nice snack to have around to keep the hungrys down and everybody out from under your feet in the kitchen.

I confess to being pretty old school with my version, and it isn't that I don't love the add-ins that everybody has put in over the years, I do! Every once in awhile I mix it up a bit, but I rarely stray very far from this version and pretty close to what I call the "Authentic Original Original 1952 Chex Party Mix" to be the version that is still my own personal favorite.

I know it sounds funny to say authentic original original but there is a reason for that.
This seems a good place to insert a quick reminder... that this is a blog, not just a "recipe site," and yes, there is a difference! I want to first thank all of you who have supported my work over the years, but if you aren't interested in the chit chat, info, photos, tips and such in a post, as always, you'll find the complete recipe text with measurements and instructions, as well as a printable document, a little bit further down the page. Just swipe or scroll down to the bottom of the post!
You see, there are actually many different versions of Chex Party Mix out there that lay claim to being the original, but best I can tell, this one that appeared in an ad in Life magazine in June 1952, just two years after the launch of Rice Chex cereal, appears to be the true, authentic, original, original Chex Party Mix recipe.

It's funny that for many of us, we only relate Chex cereals to the party mix, but I actually love the cereal itself and Rice Chex is my favorite of the three, followed by corn and last, wheat.

Chex cereals have actually been around a much longer time than I realized with the first version being Wheat Chex, launched in 1937 by the Ralston Purina Company, followed by Rice Chex in 1950. The Ralston cereal division was acquired by General Mills in 1997.

Just a little Chexistory for you there.

While even on the Chex website, General Mills now lays claim to a totally different "original" recipe, that recipe is not the one I remember, so I set out to try to find it, and in my research found the ad. Best I can tell, the first then unofficially named party mix using the two cereals, appeared in that ad in Life magazine on June 16, 1952.

As you can see, while the popularity of the cereal party mix has grown to such heights that it now even has its own website at, it actually started with very humble beginnings.

The version that I remember making from the 70s, might have been referred to as "Traditional Chex Party Mix," rather than "authentic," but I find that there are even multiple variations of the "traditional" version too!

My favorite is pretty old school, and fairly close to the original, with a slight adjustment in some of the ingredients - namely more cereal, more butter, more peanuts, and the addition of thin pretzel sticks, plus lowering the baking temp a bit. Oh, and Cajun or Creole seasoning, of course! 

I find 300 degrees too high, and some folks actually take it down to 200 degrees for a longer period of time. You can check out the Chex website for all the different variations and dozens of recipes from sweet to savory, but I wanted a place to plant the one that is most fond in my memory, right here, and it's a nice reminder that it'll make a great munchie for any holiday party.

Open your mouth,
Shut your eyes...

Take a wonderful
BITE SIZE surprise!

Ad Insert Recipe Text:

The Authentic Original Original 1952 Chex Party Mix

Wonderful nibbling
at snack-time!

Try this new PARTY MIX

Add 1/2 c. butter in shallow baking pan. Stir in 1 T. Worcestershire sauce. Add 2 c. Wheat Chex, 2 c. Rice Chex, and 1/2 c. nuts. Sprinkle with 1/4 t. salt and 1/8 t. garlic salt; mix well. Heat 30 mins in 300 degree oven, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool.
It would take me pages and pages to go through all of the variations that this original recipe has transitioned through, but I can say what some of the most common changes seem to be.
  • Some like to use bacon drippings in place of the butter - I've tried both and prefer the butter over the bacon fat. I know. Hard to believe, huh?

  • The microwave seems to have become a favorite tool over the oven, but I still prefer slow oven toasting (imagine that!) myself.

  • Seasoned salt (like Lawry's) seems to have taken over for the old salt and garlic salt combination, but I prefer using my favorite Cajun seasoning there myself. It adds just a bit of punch but not too much.

  • Others add cayenne pepper and hot sauce to the butter and Worcestershire sauce blend.

  • Cheez-It or goldfish crackers, bagel chips, often garlic flavored, and substituting mixed nuts for the peanuts are also common changes these days.

  • Back in the 70s, a lot of folks used Cheerios in the mix along with the pretzel sticks and it earned the name "Nuts and Bolts."
Of course, that's only to name a very few of the wide range of variations to Chex Mix there are now and there is a wider range of the Chex cereals on the market now too.

I still lean toward a more classic version myself. How about you?

How do you like to mix up your party mix? Here's how I make mine.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Add butter to a shallow baking pan.

Stick the pan in the oven while it's preheating just long enough to melt the butter.

Add the Worcestershire sauce and seasonings to the butter.

Blend that together.

Add the cereals and peanuts.

Top with pretzel sticks. Sometimes I use tiny twists and a reader mentioned using the pretzel nuggets, yum!

Give it a few tosses to mix well.

Bake at 275 degrees F for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. 
Let cool and store in an airtight container.

For more of my favorite snacks and munchies, check out this collection on my Pinterest page!

Unable to view the printable below on your device? Tap/click here.

Posted by on December 27, 2011
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