Nuts And Bolts


A cute name, a better snack.

Nuts And Bolts

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins

Is it really the holidays without a big container of Nuts And Bolts on the kitchen counter? One of the perks of the holidays is all the make-ahead treats... that you then snack on constantly until your plans to get ahead for party prep disappear within the crumbs of cookies you sneak after meals.

Snack mixes like classic Nuts And Bolts are perfect for precisely that reason: You can make before company arrives, and you (and, sure, the guests) can snack on it all week while you focus on other holiday tasks.

But this Nuts And Bolts recipe isn't your back-of-the-box boring amalgamation. We've supercharged it with lots of herbs and spices, like garlic powder and dried thyme, and the smoky-sweet mix of maple syrup and Worcestershire sauce. Plus, we have not one, not two, but four types of cereal and other snacking classics like Cheez-Its, pretzel sticks, and mixed nuts. In short, there's a whole lot to love about this snack mix.

Nuts And Bolts

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

The real secret, however, of Nuts and Bolts lies in the butter baking stage. What's that, you ask? Just as our Butter-Baked Saltines turn very basic ingredients—saltine crackers and butter—into a timeless and oh-so-good appetizer, the butter in this recipe makes the rice cereals and snack ingredients extra toasty and rich after it's all slow baked at a low temp. The low heat prevents the snack mix from burning but ensures the pieces are toasty and crispy, not crunchy and fried.

Why Is It Called Nuts And Bolts?

Honestly, we're not entirely sure, but one guess is that some ingredients, i.e. pretzel rods and Cheerios, fit together the way actual nuts and bolts do.

Another theory, at least in the Southern Living offices, is that a tray of the snack mix resembles that odds-and-ends drawer many parents have in the garage. It has a little bit of this and a little bit of that, precisely like this recipe.

What You'll Need to Make Nuts And Bolts

The ingredient list may seem a bit longer than some others, but that's because this is a supercharged version. We've spared no spice or ingredient to make this ultimate Nuts And Bolts.

Ingredients for Nuts And Bolts:

  • 3 kinds of Chex cereal: corn, wheat, and rice
  • Honey Nut Cherrios
  • Cheez-Its
  • pretzel sticks
  • salted mixed nuts
  • butter and olive oil
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • maple syrup
  • garlic powder and onion powder
  • dried thyme
  • cane sugar
  • seasoning salt
ingredients for nuts and bolts

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Variations: Endless Ways to Customize

The good news is, you can personalize, mix up, and customize this snack mix as you see fit. Don't like mixed nuts? Don't use 'em. Or use all pecans for a special holiday splurge. Prefer to not have the sweet element? Skip the Honey Nut Cheerios and maple syrup.

The most important step is coating cereal in the butter-and-oil mixture, then slow baking it all until dry and toasty. Why so much butter? Why not? It adds richness and loads of flavor to cereals that are usually one note. It also helps all the seasonings and herbs soak into the ingredients for the most flavor in each bite.

Can you make Nuts And Bolts spicy?

Absolutely! Add to the seasoning and butter mix 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you're really wanting), or pour in about a 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce.

We also love using Pickapeppa Sauce in snack mixes.


  • 4 cups Corn Chex

  • 4 cups Wheat Chex

  • 3 cups Rice Chex

  • 2 cups Honey Nut Cheerios

  • 1 cup Cheez-Its

  • 3 cups pretzel sticks

  • 1 1/2 cups salted mixed nuts

  • 12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

  • 4 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

  • 2 tsp. garlic powder

  • 1 tsp. onion powder

  • 1 tsp. dried thyme

  • 1 Tbsp. cane sugar

  • 2 Tbsp. seasoning salt


  1. Preheat oven to 250°F.

  2. Combine Corn Chex, Wheat Chex, Rice Chex, Honey Nut Cheerios, Cheez-Its, pretzel sticks, and salted mixed nuts in a large bowl.

    nuts and bolts snack mix in bowl

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk to combine butter, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, cane sugar, and seasoning salt.

    mixing dressing for nuts and bolts

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

    Add to cereal mixture. Gently toss to combine and evenly coat.

    pouring dressing over snack mix

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

  4. Coat a large sheet pan with parchment paper. Transfer snack mixture to pan.

    snack mix on baking sheet

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

    Bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours, tossing every 20 minutes, until golden brown and toasted.

    baked snack mix

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

  5. Cool before serving. Store in an airtight container.

    snack mix in food storage container

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

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