A buttered-up combination of cereals, crackers, pretzels, and a few other pantry staples, snack mix is a ubiquitous party staple because you seemingly can't mess it up. But, while party mix is forgiving, there are a few major mistakes to avoid. And these mistakes can be the difference between snack mix that wows and snack mix that's just "meh."
1. Skimping on the butter.
I've tried those recipes that call for a few tablespoons of butter for cups and cups of cereal and crackers, and I'm here to tell you that butter is the glue that makes the seasoning stick to all the other bits and pieces. And no, butter won't make the snack mix soggy! In fact, it actually crisps up the whole mix.
Follow this tip: So how much butter do you need? For every 10 cups of cereal and crackers, you need 1 stick or 1/2 cup of butter. Melt the butter before mixing it with the other liquids to coat evenly.
Try this riff on the classic: Honey-Mustard Snack Mix
2. Crowding your snack mix.
Snack mix needs a good deal of surface area to cook and dry out properly or it will get soggy — and nobody wants soggy snack mix.
Follow this tip: Whether you're cooking the snack mix in the oven or in a slow cooker, you'll want to spread the mix out onto as many baking sheets as possible, be it for baking or cooling.
Learn the technique: How To Make Chex Mix in the Slow Cooker
3. Using too much liquid.
Don't go over the recipe's suggested liquid amounts; that is a sure way to get soggy mix (which, again, nobody wants).
Follow this tip: If you need to make a change in liquid ingredients, just keep the amount the same.
This sweet snack mix isn't just for Halloween: Halloween Party Mix
4. Overcooking your snack mix.
Most snack mixes are cooked with relatively low heat, making it seemingly impossible to overcook. In fact, the fragile flavorings will burn before the cereal will ever appear overcooked, making for a less-than-delicious-tasting finished mix.
Follow this tip: Expect the mix to look dry, not greasy or wet, when it is ready. And keep an eye on the pretzels and the Wheat Chex — these are the first to show signs of burning if you are close to overcooking the mix.
5. Adding fragile ingredients too early.
Cheese puffs, popcorn, chocolate bits — these mix-ins are arguably some of the best ingredients! And you might think that the low oven won't hurt these tender bits, but overmixing or overcooking can destroy them.
Follow this tip: Instead, add them after cooling and just before serving. This keeps tender things like popcorn from being squished and chocolate additions from melting.
Do you have a favorite snack mix combo? Share with us in the comments!