slow cooker party mix (homemade Chex Mix)
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These delicious and inventive trail mix recipes are good enough to serve at parties, but also great for taking along as a treat on a summer hike. Or, you know, eating alone in front of Netflix

Not to dump on the culinary traditions of previous generations but come on guys…GORP? Really? Is that the best you can do?

It’s not that “good old raisins and peanuts” don’t taste good together, or that they won’t keep you from getting the hanger pains on a long hike to the campgrounds, it’s just that we’re living in a food lover’s golden age and we do better when it comes to our trail mix game.

Sure, adding in crunchy cereal and sweet chocolate M&Ms is a step in the right direction, but what about taking it another step further? Just think, for example, of how some of the flavors of your favorite dishes can inspire a whole new age of next-level snack mix. Just think of the possibilities. Pizza? Yup. Tacos? Sure. Barbecue? Definitely. Ice cream? Why not. Check a few of our favorite food-inspired trail mix recipes below.

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Related Reading: The Best New Entertaining Cookbooks

Old Bay Trail Mix

slow cooker party mix (homemade Chex Mix)

Chowhound

Several years ago I became good friends with a Baltimore native and, as a result, became privy to a great culinary truth my Texas upbringing simply hadn’t covered: Pretty much everything tastes better with Old Bay on it. Boiled crabs (obviously); popcorn; grilled meat/fish/veggies; cheese pizza…it even works well sprinkled lightly over vanilla ice cream. And, as this recipe proves, it’s also a great way to add some zesty-salty-savory flare to your routine trail mix game. Try this Old Bay Tail Mix recipe.

Spicy Barbecue Snack Mix


Want to get more barbecue out of your barbecue? Snack on this vinegary barbecue sauce-tossed snack mix while you fire up the grill and wait for the finger-lickin’ goodness to begin. Try this Spicy Barbecue Snack Mix recipe.

Buffalo Cheddar Ranch Chex Mix


Football season is fast-approaching, which usually means buffalo sauce is about to start its months-long starring residency in your fridge and culinary repertoire. And as much as we love and respect a well-made batch of fiery-tangy buffalo wings, it turns out the bold flavors also do wonders to liven up a bowl of homemade Chex snack mix. Try this Buffalo Cheddar Ranch Chex Mix recipe.

Brown Butter Furikake Chex Mix


Here’s a combination you probably never thought would see daylight: Sushi and trail mix. No, don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you chop up some raw fish and toss it in with your favorite blend of nuts and crunchy cereal (although, think of the added protein…). This fun take on the all-American snack classic adds soy and furikake–the traditional savory Japanese rice, fish, and vegetable seasoning—to the hard-to-resist combination of pretzels, chex, and mixed nuts. Try this Brown Butter Furikake Chex Mix recipe.

Crunchy Taco Trail Mix


Don’t feel like bringing all the necessary fixings for top-notch tacos on your camping trip? (Perishable essentials like sour cream and guacamole might be especially tricky, for example). Instead, consider this crunchy taco-inspired trail mix featuring a mix of Bugles, Fritos, cashews, and pepitas tossed with butter, chili powder, and cumin. We also wouldn’t be opposed to seeing what happens when you mix in your favorite hot sauce (just sayin’). Try this Crunchy Taco Trail Mix recipe.

Pepperoni Pizza Trail Mix


As high-tech as food delivery apps have gotten, we still haven’t quite reached a place where you can order in a large pizza while on your big hiking trip. One clever solution to keep the craving at bay? This savory snack mix that calls for mini pepperoni, Italian and dry spaghetti sauce seasonings, and Parmesan cheese to help conjure the real thing. Try this Pepperoni Pizza Trail Mix recipe.

Chunky Monkey Trail Mix


Since bringing ice cream on the hike isn’t an option, satisfy your sweet tooth with this dessert-inspired (but still relatively good-for-you) trail mix featuring banana chips, almonds, peanut butter chips, chocolate chunks, and coconut flakes. Try this Chunky Monkey Trail Mix recipe.

S’mores Snack Mix


Just in case s’mores around the campfire aren’t enough, try packing a baggie of this sweet snack mix that recreates the iconic dessert by combining mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, Golden Graham cereal, and mini pretzels. It may lack the thrill of trying not to set your marshmallow on fire, but it tastes just as good as the real thing. Try this S’mores Snack Mix recipe.

Maryse Chevriere is a certified sommelier, James Beard Award winner for @freshcutgardenhose, and author of "Grasping the Grape," a no-nonsense but really fun guide to wine.
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