Making your own chex mix is so easy and much quicker when you use your air fryer! I remember my mom spending hours in the kitchen stirring her Chex mix every 20 minutes, and I'm happy to say you can get the same results in a fraction of the time!
This air fryer recipe is perfect for movie nights when you want something different from popcorn; or whip up a batch for game day!
The great thing about making your own cereal mix is you get to pick what goes in it! This savory snack is completely customizable as long as you keep the basic ratios the same. This homemade Chex mix recipe is straight from mom's kitchen and, while it is similar to the original Chex mix recipe, mom has her own special touches to add! I absolutely love the savory flavors and crispy texture of a traditional Chex mix, but when I want something a little sweeter, my go-to is Almond Joy Snack Mix.
Chex party mix, sweet or savory, is perfect for snacking on during the holiday season and it makes great food gifts!
If you are interested in various types of food gifts, check out some of my favorites: Food Gifts for the Holidays
Suggested Kitchen Tools for Air Fryer Chex Mix
- Air Fryer
- Large bag or container for mixing
- Large spoon or scoop for stirring
- Large Tray for cooling
- Measuring Cups & Spoons
- Large airtight container for storing
Ingredients & Substitutions
There aren't any rules when it comes to making your own cereal snack mix, the ingredients below are what I use, but you can switch things up based on your preference.
The only important thing to keep in mind is the liquid and seasoning amounts are based on 14 cups of dry ingredients, so if you are making less decrease the liquid amounts and the seasonings or your Chex mix will be too soggy and over-seasoned.
I use a combination of Chex cereals, but you can use different brands. If you aren't going to use the Chex cereal, you want to choose cereals that is square in shape and has little holes in it so the seasonings can cling to it.
My ratio of Chex cereal is 2 cups wheat Chex, 3 cups rice Chex, and 3 cups corn Chex. You can certainly change this to be any combination of 8 cups of cereal either using different ratios of the Chex cereal or various cereals.
My mom often used Cheerios and Crispex which are both along with the Chex cereal.
I like the combination of almonds, cashews, and peanuts, but you could use all peanuts or any combination of your favorite nuts.
I recommend using Virginia peanuts when making Chex mix because they aren't as salty. If you use dry roasted peanuts with salt, then you may want to decrease the season salt in the recipe by ¼-½ teaspoon.
I used roasted and lightly salted almonds and cashews.
You can also skip the nuts if you want. Just remember to increase some of your other favorite ingredients to make up for the nuts so your cereal mix is balanced with the seasonings.
Other Dry Ingredients
I like to use mini pretzels and some kind of small cheese cracker, like Cheez-It® or goldfish crackers.
Bagel chips are wonderful in Chex mix and I usually add them, but couldn't find any when I was testing the recipe.
You can also add in things like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds (without the shell), rye chips, oyster crackers, wheat thins, or anything else you have on hand that you love.
Small ingredients like pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds can be added in without any changes in the amounts of the other ingredients and won't affect the end result as long as you don't add more than a cup.
If you want to add in bagel chips or larger ingredients, decrease one of the other ingredients (like the Chex cereal or cheese crackers) so that you end up with as close to 14 total cups of dry ingredients as you can.
Mom always used a combination of melted butter and oil when making her Chex mix and I can only guess this is because butter burns easier than oil and by mixing the two, you get the butter flavor without the worry of it scorching. With air frying, I definitely recommend using a combination of the two.
You certainly can change the ratio to half butter and half oil if you want more butter flavor, but I find the ratio in this recipe is simply perfect.
I use canola oil as my neutral oil, but avocado oil works great as well. Any neutral-flavored oil will work best. Oils like olive oil and coconut oil will impart a flavor to your Chex mix that you may not like.
Worcestershire sauce is a key ingredient and I don't recommend skipping it unless you have to for dietary reasons. Soy sauce or coconut aminos are other options, but I would reduce the season salt in the recipe if you use soy sauce.
Using hot sauce is completely optional. I love the flavor of Cholula and, if you use 1-2 shakes of it (about ½ teaspoon), it does not make the Chex mix spicy but gives a nice addition of flavor.
If you want your Chex mix on the spicy side, go up to 4 shakes or 1 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce.
This recipe uses a simple combination of onion powder, garlic powder, and season salt.
You can change this up any way you want, but be careful you don't use too much salt. I don't recommend using garlic salt instead of garlic powder or your Chex snack mix just might be too salty.
Some other additions to consider if you want to change up the flavor are; chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and/ or chipotle powder.
Differences in Types of Air Fryers
There are so many different types of air fryers and in this recipe, the size and shape of your air fryer will affect the timing and how many batches of Chex mix you will have to air fry.
I used the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker & Air Crisper in my test batches because it is large enough to fit the entire batch of cereal mix in it at one time. The trade-off is I have to air fry for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. You can also use the Instant Pot Duo Crisp or Pro Crisp and follow the same directions.
If you have a basket-style air fryer, you will most likely have to air fry the Chex mix in batches. You only want to fill the basket ¾ of the way full so you have enough room to stir. Keep the temperature the same, but in smaller air fryers, each batch will only take about 10-12 minutes of cooking time because there is less cereal mix to toast up. I recommend stirring every 3 minutes or so and air fry as long as it takes to toast up the cereal mix.
If you have an oven-style air fryer, you can put the cereal mix on a shallow tray or in a roaster pan. The shallow tray will be done much quicker than a roasting tray because the depth of the Chex mix determines how fast it gets done.
The total time it takes for the Chex mix to finish air frying will depend on your air fryer. You will know your cereal mix is done when it loses its shine, and if you cool a few pieces of it they are nicely toasted and crunchy.
How to Make Air Fryer Chex Mix
You can mix your ingredients in a large roaster pan, but I find using a clean small trash bag works even better. You can toss the cereal around much easier this way.
Combine the Snack Mix Ingredients
Using whatever container can hold at least 28 cups (you need the extra room for mixing), combine the Chex cereal, cheese crackers, nuts, and pretzels.
Toss or stir to combine so the ingredients are mixed well.
Mixing and Adding the Seasonings
Add the melted (but cooled) butter to the oil along with the Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce if using. Whisk to combine.
You'll see below I forgot the hot sauce until after I put in most of the oil/butter mixture, but it turned out fine.
Pour ⅓ of the liquid into the bag or container with the Chex mix and toss or stir well. Repeat this process 3 times or until all the liquid mixture has been combined with the cereal mix.
Mix up the dry spices and add them to the container with the cereal mix about ⅓ at a time, mixing between each addition. This is to ensure the seasoning mix gets dispersed throughout the cereal mix.
Air Fry the Chex Snack Mix
There is no need to preheat your air fryer for this recipe. Turn the air fryer on and set the temperature to 300℉/150℃.
If you are using the Ninja Foodi PC & AC or the Instant Pot Duo/Pro Crisp, you can put the entire batch into the inner pot.
Set the time for 30 minutes and press start. Stir every 5 minutes and begin checking the Chex cereal mix around the 20-minute mark. What you want to look for is that the mix has lost its shine and the Chex cereal and cheese crackers look toasted.
The batches I've made usually take between 25-30 minutes of total air frying time in the Ninja Foodi.
Quick Tip: Check for Doneness
Remove a few different pieces from the Chex mix and let cool for a minute. Taste them and see if they are toasted and crunchy. If so, your Chex mix is done. If not, air fry longer.
For smaller basket-style air fryers, fill the basket ¾ of the way. Remember, your cooking time will be less, but you will have to air fry in batches.
Air fry at 300℉/150℃ for about 10-12 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes. Do the doneness test and air fry longer if needed.
Once the cereal mix is cooked the way you like it, dump it out onto a shallow tray so it can cool. If you leave it in the Ninja Foodi pot or air fryer basket, it can steam and soften the Chex mix.
Allow to cool. Serve & Enjoy!
Variations of Chex Mix Flavors
You can really have fun with the flavors of your Chex mix by changing up the seasonings.
Here are a few ideas.
- Pumpkin Spice: Instead of the seasoning mix in this recipe use sugar and a pumpkin spice blend.
- Hot and spicy: add cayenne or chipotle to the seasoning mix in this recipe.
- Air fryer ranch Chex mix: Instead of the seasoning in this recipe, use a packet of Ranch mix or make your own as I do in this recipe for Bacon Ranch Sliders. Omit the buttermilk powder for the cereal mix and only use 2 Tablespoons of the mix.
Storage & Reheating Instructions
How to Store Chex Mix
No matter how you choose to store your Chex Mix, make sure it is completely cool before putting it in a bag or other airtight container.
You also don't want to keep it out a room temperature without it being in some sort of a closed container because the cereal will absorb any moisture in the air and become soggy.
I like to use small trash bags that I double and I store the Chex Mix at room temperature and it can last up to a month and sometimes longer.
You don't want to refrigerate your cereal mix, but you can freeze it!
Before freezing make sure the Chex mix is completely cool and then place it in an air-tight container or a double bag that can be closed.
It will stay good in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! Set your oven temp to 250℉/120℃ and place the seasoned Chex mix in a roaster pan. Bake for about 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes.
You can make as much or as little as you want, just make sure to adjust the liquid ingredients and the seasoning mix according to the amount of snack mix you are making.
If after the Chex mix cools you want to add more dry seasonings, you can. Simply add them to the mix and stir well. The seasonings won't stick as well as before it's air-fried. The other option is to spritz the mix with oil, add more seasoning, and air fry for another 5 minutes.
More Air Fryer Snack Recipes
I love using the air fryer to make delicious snacks and if you are a snack lover, you may enjoy these air fryer recipes!
Air Fryer Chex Mix Recipe
- Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer OR any Air Fryer
- 2½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 2½ teaspoons onion powder
- 2½ teaspoons season salt
Snack Mix Ingredients
- 3 cups Chex corn cereal
- 3 cups Chex rice cereal
- 2 cups Chex wheat cereal
- 2 cups cheese crackers like cheese its or goldfish crackers
- 1 cup small pretzels sticks or prezel shapes are fine
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 cup peanuts dry roasted or Virginia peanuts
- 1 cup whole almonds
- Melt the butter and let it cool a bit. Whisk together the butter, oil, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce if using.⅓ cup neutral oil, 3 Tablespoons butter, 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2-4 shakes Cholula
- Mix together the dry seasonings in a small bowl and set aside.2½ teaspoons garlic powder, 2½ teaspoons onion powder, 2½ teaspoons season salt
- In a large bag or container, mix the snack mix ingredients together.3 cups Chex corn cereal, 3 cups Chex rice cereal, 2 cups Chex wheat cereal, 2 cups cheese crackers, 1 cup small pretzels, 1 cup cashews, 1 cup peanuts, 1 cup whole almonds
- Pour ⅓ of the liquid mixture over the snack mix and toss or stir to coat the cereal and other ingredients. Repeat with another ⅓ of the liquid and then again with the final ⅓.
- Add ⅓ of the seasoning blend and toss or stir to combine. Add another ⅓ of the seasoning blend and toss or stir. Add the remaining seasoning blend and toss or stir.
- Place the Chex mix into your air fryer. I used the Ninja Foodi 6.5qt and the entire batch can be done at once, but if you have a smaller air fryer, fill the basket, pot, or tray ¾ of the way full. Set the air fryer to 300℉/150℃ and air fry in 3-5 minutes intervals, stirring after each.
- In the Ninja Foodi, I set the time for 30 minutes and stir every 5 minutes until the cereal mix is nicely toasted and crispy. This usually takes anywhere from 25-30 minutes.
- In smaller air fryers, you will want to stir every 3 minutes and plan on 10-15 minutes for each batch.
- You will know your cereal mix is done when it loses its shine and you take a few pieces out (expecially the almonds) and let them cool. If they are crunchy, your Chex Mix is done.
- Remove the Chex mix from the air fryer and place it on a shallow tray to cool. Serve & Enjoy!
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
She published her first cookbook in the Fall of 2018 and is very interested in writing several more.
Louise is also the creator of an online Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooking Course with over 100 instructional step-by-step videos. People absolutely rave about the course and all the value they have received from it.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can. Get more Information about Louise & contact information
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