This orange spiced mix is perfect for snack time and will provide lots of energy to carry you through the busy holiday season! Perfect for gift-giving too!
I enjoy making this Holiday Spiced Snack Mix every December! It’s a great alternative to baking high-calorie sugary cookies. I’m actually not one to spend a lot of extra time in the kitchen baking during the holidays. So, when I do take the time to make some holiday goodies, I want them to be quick, easy and mostly healthy. There’s already enough food around to indulge in during the holidays, so I like to keep things healthy and light when I prepare food at home. That’s why I love this snack mx! You can feel good about eating it and sharing it. Plus, it will make your house smell amazing as it bakes in the oven!
Ingredients and Prep
Originally, I believe I found this recipe in a magazine advertisement for Chex cereal. That was about 10 years ago, when my kids were starting pre-school! I have tweaked the recipe a bit since then by adding dried cranberries and less sugar.
This recipe is super easy, but does require at least an hour or so of your time because you need to tend to the mix as it’s baking. Prep is as simple as gathering a few ingredients and mixing them all together! Definitely something the little ones can help out with… measuring and stirring! You’ll need a really big bowl because this makes a lot… it’s always overflowing. Every year I tell myself, “Buy a bigger bowl!” and I always forget!
The main ingredients are:
- 1 (12 oz) box of Rice Chex cereal
- 4 cups of Sourdough Pretzel Nibblers
- 1 heaping cup of raw, unsalted, whole Almonds
- 1 bag of dark chocolate Holiday M & M’s (add at the end)
- 1 (8 oz) package of Dried Cranberries (add at the end)
For the spiced coating you need to melt one stick of butter on the stove top. (I usually will skip a recipe that calls for this much butter. However, since this butter mixture will coat about 10 cups of ingredients, it really gets dispersed!) The holiday flavor and scent comes from the next 4 ingredients that you add to the melted butter:
- 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
- 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1 tsp grated Orange Peel
I grated my orange peel from the rind of a fresh orange. I believe that this really makes a big difference in the flavor and I prefer fresh rather than dried orange peel. However, using dried orange peel is absolutely fine too.
Bake and Stir
Once you have mixed the Chex cereal, pretzels, almonds and butter mixture, the next step is to spread it all out on a parchment lined rimmed baking pan… the largest one you own. If necessary you can spread it out over 2 baking pans. You will want to be sure you have an hour or so to hang out near the kitchen and keep an eye on the mix. Every 15 minutes, you need to carefully stir the mixture… for a total of 45-60 minutes.
As the house starts smelling like the holidays, and as holiday music plays in the background, I’m definitely starting to get into the holiday mood! I can’t wait to dig in to this yummy snack mix! But, I have to wait at least 45 minutes to allow it to cool (yeah, right… that didn’t happen)! Once the Chex mix is cooled down, transfer half to a large bowl (my bowl is not quite large enough for all of it), add 1/2 the M&M’s, 1/2 the dried cranberries and mix. Repeat with the second half. (Maybe next year I’ll have a big enough bowl to do it all at once!)
Three ways to enjoy this holiday snack mix…
1) Disperse into small baggies/containers for a grab and go healthy snack during the week. This snack mix is very addictive and hard to stop munching on, so it’s a good idea to portion it out ahead of time!
2) Add to a pretty tin for gift giving. When my kids were younger, I always gave this homemade mix (along with a gift card) to their teachers.
3) Last but not least, it is a perfect snack to share with family and friends while decorating the tree, exchanging gifts, or during a festive party.
HOLIDAY SPICED SNACK MIX
- 1 12 oz box Rice Chex Cereal
- 4 cups Sourdough Pretzel Nuggets
- 1 cup Raw, Unsalted, Whole Almonds
- 1 11.40 oz bag Dark Chocolate M and M's, (red and green colors)
- 1 8 oz pkg Dried Cranberries
- 1/2 cup Butter, (1 stick = 8 tbs = 1/2 cup)
- 1/3 cup Packed Brown Sugar
- 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 tsp grated Orange Peel, (fresh or dried)
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- Pre-heat oven to 300 F.
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; remove from heat. Stir in brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, orange peel, and vanilla until well blended.
- In a very large bowl, mix Chex cereal, pretzels and almonds. Pour the butter mixture over cereal; toss until evenly coated.
- Pour mixture into a large rimmed baking pan which has been covered with parchment paper. Bake 45 to 60 minutes, carefully stirring every 15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely, about 45 minutes.
- Once cooled, stir in M&M's and dried cranberries. Store in a tightly covered container.