A praline coating adds addictive crunch to this sweet and salty snack mix. It makes a great snack for a crowd or keeps well at room temperature for giving as gifts.
After three days at the beach in North Carolina we’re settling in and unwinding. Still working, still (virtual) schooling, but there’s something about the wide open spaces and salty sea air really do help a person to slow down. Especially *this* person (raises hand) who needs some serious slowing down, and especially in 2020 when everything feels harder than normal. I’m not nearly ready to pack up and head home just yet, but I’m excited that we’ll be getting home at the start of the winter holiday season.
The holidays may look different this year, but my homebody self is excited about all the things that will remain the same as always – cozy nights in front of the fire, scented candles, homemade hot chocolate, and lots of snacks to share with family and friends. (Though this year we’ll probably be dropping snacks off instead of sharing them over football games or gatherings.)
This sweet and salty snack mix was first published here on the site in 2016, but I’m bringing it back with new photos and a few of my updated tips from making it over the years. It feels like a great recipe for 2020 since it can be made in large batches and travels well. It will keep at room temperature for a week or more. The praline coating gives the cereal a sweet and salty crunch that makes it addictive and great for gifting.
- Cereal – Use any mix. I tend to use a mix of Corn, Wheat, and Rice Chex (then make savory Ranch Party Mix with the same cereals). If just using one type, go with rice Chex for the most crunch!
- Pretzels – Classic snack mix addition.
- Chopped Pecans – These add to the nutty, praline flavor of the mix. It’s okay to skip them if you’d like.
- Light Brown Sugar, Light Corn Syrup, Unsalted Butter, Pure Vanilla Extract, Baking Soda – These pantry ingredients combine to make a very simple caramel coating that hardens on the cereal and stays crunch for days and days.
- Kosher Salt – I used coarse Kosher salt to test this recipe and found that ½ tsp gives it the right balance of saltiness to the sweet topping. If using table salt (which has a more concentrated salt flavor), reduce to ¼ tsp.
How to Make Sweet and Salty Snack Mix
- Heat oven to 250°F / 121°C. (The low temperature gives the praline topping time to set and harden as it bakes)
- Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter and microwave until it begins to boil. Stir in vanilla, baking soda, and salt.
- Pour caramel mixture over cereal, pretzels, and pecans. Stir everything together.
- Spread out on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Let cook and serve!
- Add Candy – For a sweeter, colorful snack mix, sprinkle M&Ms over top immediately after baking.
- Cinnamon – Add ¼ tsp Ground Cinnamon to the caramel mixture for a hint of cinnamon flavor.
- Change Nuts – This is great with chopped walnuts or sliced almonds instead of the pecans.
More Recipes for Gifting
- Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Snack Mix
- Homemade Soy Candles (this is easier than you might think!)
- Homemade Pancake Mix
- Sweet and Spicy Candied Pecans
- Slow Cooker Granola
Sweet and Salty Snack Mix
- Mixing Bowls
- Half Sheet Pan
- 6 cups Cereal (I like a mix of Corn, Wheat, and Rice Chex but if you just want to use one, use Rice Chex for the most crunch)
- 2 cups Pretzels
- 1 1/2 cups Chopped Pecans
- 1/2 cup packed Light Brown Sugar
- 1/2 cup Light Corn Syrup
- 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- Heat oven to 250 degrees F. Spray a large sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine cereal, pretzels and pecans.
- In a separate microwave-safe bowl, combine brown sugar, corn syrup and butter. Microwave until butter melts, about 1 minute. Continue microwaving in 30 second increments, stirring each time, until mixture is smooth and begins to boil. Stir in vanilla, baking soda and salt.
- Pour syrup over cereal mixture. Stir to coat. (I find it easier to mix this by hand, so I let it cool slightly and then mix.)
- Spread cereal over sheet pan and bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Cool completely. Once cooled, gently break cereal apart. Store, covered, at room temperature for up to a week.
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