I’ve got your yummy Christmas Crack recipe right here! This Sticky Sweet and Salty Chex Mix gets its name for good reason! Once you start you just can’t stop. A simple syrup (with LOTS of butter) gets drizzled over corn Chex and studded with nuts and M&Ms. It is salty-sweet perfection! Originally posted December 9, 2016

Christmas Chex Mix in a white bowl with M&M's gleaming

Christmas Chex Mix

Today I had my first parent-teacher conference with Charlotte’s kindergarten teacher. It was so fun to hear about how she’s doing in class. Miss Harris said that one day she asked the kids to decide what item they should use to practice counting, and they chose dessert. Charlotte said, “My mom makes lots of dessert. But we can only eat it after she shoots it.”

M&M's for Christmas Chex Mix

So it’s time for a Blogging Moment of Truth. You see these photos? I shot them on a sunny morning in August. You see those red and green M&Ms? I only had twelve. Total. They don’t sell Christmas M&M’s in August, so I pulled all the green and red ones from a regular pack. There were 10 reds…and only TWO greens (and look, one of them was gimpy on one side.)

So add “move around green M&M 100 times” to the strange list of tasks that makes up my life. (Put it right after “denies daughter dessert samples until after the photo shoot.”)

Can this sweet and salty chex mix be made for holidays other than Christmas?

So, why was I making Christmas Chex Mix way back in August? Well, for me, I was photographing recipes early in the game, because I just had a baby and I was trying to get ahead on the blog. But I have to say, why should this recipe only be a Christmas thing? Bust out the regular M&M’s.

If you’re making it during Christmas, though, you may have heard this recipe called by different name. Christmas Crack? Anyone? That’s the name my friend Debbie calls it. She gave it to me for Christmas a couple years ago. Then I haunted her until she got me the recipe. (Debbie was also my source for this incredible Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip, which I have been known to serve to my family for dinner, in spite of the fact that it’s mostly chicken and mayonnaise. Cheesy, delicious mayonnaise. I owe you one Debbie.)

Two, actually, because this sweet Chex mix recipe is incredible!

sweet and salty chex mix recipe showing a mix of chex, M&M's and nuts glazed with sugar

Christmas Trail Mix Ingredients

Such a simple shopping list, such a great snack! (Quantities given in the recipe below.)

  • Salted butter. If your butter is unsalted, add a dash of salt into the liquid ingredients as you go.
  • Light corn syrup
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Salted cashews and/or peanuts. You can’t go wrong here. What nuts do you like? What do you have on hand? Those ones are the right answer.
  • Corn Chex cereal. That’s right–CORN Chex cereal. I tried wheat Chex (all the photos feature wheat Chex) but the texture is better with corn Chex.
  • Christmas M&M’s. Or any color M&M! Change it up for whatever holiday! Technically M&M’s are optional, but they’re so colorful and festive, so why wouldn’t you??

How to Make this Christmas Chex Mix Recipe

Putting this snack together is so fun and, as you can see, pretty basic. Kids can get involved in the holiday pouring and stirring, too! (Ingredients and instructions included in the recipe below.)

How to make sweet and salty chex mix recipe showing melted butter boiling
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  2. Add the corn syrup and sugar. Heat until bubbles break out all the way across the surface.
  3. Set a timer for 3 minutes and boil at medium heat. Stir occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat once it’s a caramel consistency.
  5. Stir in vanilla, cashews and peanuts to get them completely coated.
  6. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Spray a large baking sheet with plenty of nonstick spray.
  7. Add the Chex to the greased bowl, then pour the syrup over the cereal and stir to combine.
  8. Keep stirring and wait for the mixture to cool down. You don’t want your M&M’s to split open and get chocolate everywhere.
  9. Add M&M’s once it has cooled off a bit.
  10. When the cereal is coated, use a wooden spoon to spread it on a large greased baking sheet.
Syrup for sweet and salty chex mix recipe
Peanuts floating in glaze showing how to make christmas chex mix recipe

You guys, that is literally it. This recipe makes the most ooey-gooey, where-did-it-go sweet and salty snack. This would be a super easy gift to hand out to the neighbors. Toss some in a mason jar with a ribbon and DONE. Christmas Chex Mix for the win!

holiday chex mix covered in glaze syrup

How should you store this Sweet and Salty Chex Mix Recipe?

Store this in large ziplock bags, or in a large food storage container. Or, if you plan to deliver this as a gift, scoop some into a wide-mouth mason jar and tie a ribbon around the top. Kids can help with that step, too!

How long does Holiday Chex Mix last?

In my house? About two hours.

In someone else’s house, I’m told Chex mix keeps for up to 6 weeks! The trick is to seal it properly each time you dig into it. Oh, but remember that if you dig into enough, that whole 6-week thing is history. Seriously, if anyone makes it this far, please comment, I’m sure we could all learn something from that level of self discipline!! ;)

sweet and salty chex mix featuring red and green M&M's

Here are some other Christmas-treats-as-gifts ideas!

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Sticky Sweet-and-Salty Chex Mix (Christmas Crack) from The Food Charlatan
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4.75 from 20 votes
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Sticky Sweet and Salty Chex Mix Recipe (Christmas Crack)

I’ve got your yummy Christmas Crack recipe right here! This Sticky Sweet and Salty Chex Mix gets its name for good reason! Once you start you just can’t stop. A simple syrup (with LOTS of butter) gets drizzled over corn Chex and studded with nuts and M&Ms. It is salty-sweet perfection!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salted butter, 2 sticks
  • 1 & 1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 & 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 & 1/2 cups salted cashews , and/or peanuts, or to taste
  • 8 cups corn Chex cereal, *
  • Christmas M&Ms, optional

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add the corn syrup and sugar. Bring to a boil. Once there are bubbles all the way across the surface, set a timer for 3 minutes and stir occasionally. When it is a caramel consistency, remove from heat.
  • Stir in the vanilla.
  • Stir in the cashews and peanuts to get them completely coated.
  • Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Spray a large baking sheet with plenty of nonstick spray.
  • Add the Chex to the greased bowl, then pour the syrup over the cereal and stir to combine. Keep stirring and wait for the mixture to cool down a bit before adding your M&Ms, otherwise they tend to split open and get chocolate everywhere. 
  • Once all the cereal is coated, use a wooden spoon to spread it on a large greased baking sheet.
  • Let cool completely. It will set up some but will remain pretty sticky. Sticky's not in the title on accident :) 
  • Store this in large ziplock bags. Or if you plan to deliver this as a gift, scoop some into a wide-mouth mason jar and tie a ribbon around the top.

Notes

*Debbie’s recipe called for “1 17-ounce box” but I’m pretty sure they don’t make that size box anymore; you know how they keep reducing the sizes on food products. I bought two 12-ounce boxes and measured out 8 cups.
The photos for this recipe show Wheat Chex. Next time I will use regular corn Chex, I wasn’t a fan of the texture.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5 cup, Calories: 795 kcal, Carbohydrates: 121 g, Protein: 6 g, Fat: 36 g, Saturated Fat: 17 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 13 g, Trans Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 61 mg, Sodium: 643 mg, Potassium: 215 mg, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 91 g, Vitamin A: 1709 IU, Vitamin C: 9 mg, Calcium: 127 mg, Iron: 11 mg