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Sunday, December 23, 2018

Mary-Ann's Sweet and Salty Caramel Snack Mix

This caramel snack mix has it all. It is sweet and salty, crunchy and delicious. Plus it can easily be customized to what you have on hand or your tastes!

     Sweet and salty goodness by the handful is always a good idea! Especially when it is quick and easy to make and so delicious! This furn snack mix will keep your hand coming back for more every time. It is a fun mix of cereals, pretzels and peanuts all wrapped in a caramel coating. You are going to want to make it for every party and holiday from now on!

      When entertaining, or putting people to work, I like to have plenty of easily accessible snacks around. The kind that you can nibble on a bit at a time.

       So when we were getting ready for our cookie decorating extravaganza, I knew I needed to have more than cookies and frosting on hand. (This year we did peanut butter cut outs and my go to sugar cookies with plenty of royal icing!)

       The past couple of years I have made brownie batter puppy chow to keep us all going while decorating cookie after cookie.  It was tempting to make more of that or maybe some reindeer chow instead.

      But in the end I decided to do something a bit different this year.  Some friends from work and I have made an annual tradition to make a bunch of Christmas sweets together early each November.

       Four of us get together and make enough sweets to fill up every vertical space in my living and dining room.  It is a production and we make a ton of goodies to share with everyone we know.

       I only have one oven, so two of us spend most of the day keeping that fed with all sorts of cookie dough.  The other two work on no-bake treats.

     So they are busy dipping pretzels, making Oreo balls, dipped peanut butter sandwich cookies and more.  Plus they usually make a fun snack mix or popcorn treat.

      Last year they whipped up a batch of this fun sweet and salty caramel snack mix.  Mary-Ann brought the recipe and other than a few minutes in front of the stove, it was super easy to make.

      I love so many things about this recipe.  First it has a fun mix of ingredients.  Plus you could easily sub in things that you have on hand or love.

      Mary-Ann usually puts bugles in hers and that adds a delicious texture and extra bit of salty goodness.  I didn't have any bugles on hand and didn't have time to make a store run in addition to getting ready for cookie making guests, so I went with what I had.

     She also loves putting in festive candies.  She really loves doing Reese's Pieces in addition to M&M's. But none of us could find them in holiday colors and she didn't want to use the standard colors at Christmas time.

     I will have to make another batch that isn't for a holiday event so I can do it with Reese's Pieces.  Of course I love all things peanut butter, so they are one of my favorite candies!

     I think it would be fabulous with mixed nuts instead of peanuts, but doing that would make the boys at my house not even want to try it. They love peanuts but won't eat anything with nuts. So I went the popular route instead of the one I'd like!

     The other thing I love about this recipe is you finish it off in the microwave. It's a lot like the way my husband's grandma makes her caramel corn.

     You put everything in a big brown paper grocery sack and cook it for short bursts.  Then between each burst you give it a shake shake shake.  It is quick and easy and gets everything coated really well.

     It was a hit with our crew.  My aunt was loving it and my brothers each took a doggie bag home.  Thank goodness, because I have a hard time staying out of stuff like this. So my best self control is gifting it rather than taking it home!

Tips and Tricks:

  • Make sure to use an oversized saucepan. The mixture bubbles up pretty big when it is boiling and again when you add the baking soda.
  • Be sure there are no staples or anything in your grocery bag before you use it. No metal in the microwave! 
  • Make sure the mixture is completely cooled before you put it in an airtight container. This maximizes the crunchiness. You don't want it soggy from still being hot!
  • This makes a fun little gift. Just put it in a festive container or little cellophane bags for a cute little treat. 

    Do you have a favorite snack mix?  I would love to hear all about your favorite combinations!

caramel snack mix, microwave snack mix recipe, sweet and salty snack mix
snacks, sweets, Christmas
Yield: 32 servings

Mary-Ann's Sweet and Salty Caramel Snack Mix

This caramel snack mix has it all. It is sweet and salty, crunchy and delicious. Plus it can easily be customized to what you have on hand or your tastes!
prep time: 10 minscook time: 15 minstotal time: 25 mins


  • 4 cups small pretzels
  • 4 cups cheerios
  • 4 cups rice chex (or your favorite variety)
  • 2 cups cornflakes
  • 2 cups peanuts (or mixed nuts)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups M&M's or Reese's Pieces (or a combination)


  1. Place pretzels, cereals and nuts in a large brown paper grocery sack and set aside. 
  2. In a large saucepan, melt together butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt over medium heat. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. 
  3. Stir in the vanilla and baking soda, taking care because the mixture will foam and bubble. 
  4. Pour hot caramel mixture over cereals in the brown paper bag. Roll the top down to seal and shake to coat. 
  5. Place bag in the microwave and cook on high for 30 seconds. Carefully remove bag and shake, turning the bag over to make sure everything is coated. Repeat this process for a total of 5 times in the microwave, with a shake after each.
  6. After the last trip to the microwave, dump the contents of the bag onto sheets of wax paper. Carefully spread the mixture out a bit. You want clumps, but not one huge clump! Allow to cool completely. 
  7. Once cool, break into smaller clumps and sprinkle with candies. Store in an airtight container. 
Created using The Recipes Generator


  1. Your caramel snack looks delicious. Wishing you a Merry Christmas.

  2. This sounds like a perfect snack for my husband when he gets back to work!

    1. It is a fun one to munch on, that is for sure. You'll have to let me know what he thinks!

  3. What a great snack to ring in the new year! Thanks so much for sharing your special talent with us at Full Plate Thursday and may you have a safe & prosperous new year!

  4. We will love the sweet and salty for this mix! Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday.
    Miz Helen

    1. It is so fun and people's hands just keep going back for more!


Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I love reading your ideas!