Ditch the seasoning packet with this easy homemade Chex Mix seasoning that takes less than 10 minutes to make. All you need are a few basic seasonings like garlic and onion powder and a bottle of Worcestershire sauce.
My version of homemade Chex Mix seasoning is a bold take on the official recipe thanks to a few added spices like smoked paprika and a pinch of cayenne pepper. It's a copycat Chex Mix seasoning recipe with a bit of a twist just to really enhance those savory, snacky flavors.
Homemade Chex Mix seasoning stores well for a long time so I usually make a double or triple batch of it and store it in my pantry for snack recipe emergencies.
I use this DIY Chex Mix seasoning to make my own homemade oven-baked Chex Mix with pita chips, on movie nights to pop up a bowl of Chex Mix popcorn, it's great for seasoning homemade bagel chips, and I even use it as a savory seasoning when making my crispy Chex Mix chicken fingers recipe.
Why Make DIY Chex Mix Seasoning
Look, making Chex Mix seasoning from scratch isn't practical for everyone. But if you're making a big batch of homemade Chex Mix, you'll save money in the long run by using spices you can buy in bulk, rather than stocking up on individual seasoning packets.
If you make Chex Mix from scratch often (I know I do, especially around the holidays) you can make this blend and store it in your pantry so it's always ready to use.
What Goes In Chex Mix Seasoning
Have you ever wondered what Chex Mix seasoning is made of? It's pretty simple, you might even have all the ingredients in your pantry already. See recipe card for quantities.
- Seasoned Salt - Seasoned Salt is what it sounds like, a salt seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices. I use either Morton's or Lawry's brand seasoned salt, both of which include things like paprika, black pepper, onion and garlic powders, celery salt, and a small amount of chili pepper. And yes, we're going to add more of some of these to our DIY Chex Mex blend to really amp up the flavors. But a store bought seasoned salt is a good starting point!
- Garlic Powder - Make sure you get garlic powder, not chopped garlic or minced garlic.
- Onion Powder - Make sure you get onion powder, not dried chopped onion or dried minced onion.
- Smoked Paprika - I personally prefer a smoked paprika over a regular paprika 99.9% of the time, but if you're just not into smoked paprika, regular paprika is just fine here too. I swear by Curio Spice Co's Spanish smoked paprika; it's super potent and has a gorgeous color.
- Cayenne - While technically optional, this adds a bit of warmth to the blend. It's such a small amount it doesn't make the blend spicy, but you can definitely leave it out if you're particularly sensitive to spice or increase the quantity for a spicier seasoning blend.
- MSG - Yes, that MSG. Monosodium glutamate is a naturally occurring plant-derived fermented flavor enhancer and has two thirds less sodium than most salts. It's a great way to amp up the flavor without making things too salty. MSG is sold as "Accent!" seasoning here in America, though I'm partial to the Japanese Ajinomoto brand which comes in a cute panda bottle. (Check out the work KnowMSG is doing to undo decades of xenophobic fear mongering around this misunderstood and unfairly maligned ingredient!)
Note: These are the ingredients you'll need to make the dried Chex Mix blend. When you go to use it, you'll need to add liquid Worcestershire Sauce (and sometimes butter) to really bring out that Chex Mix flavor.
The Role of MSG in Chex Mix Seasoning
Monosodium glutemide (MSG) is the secret ingredient in so many of your favorite snack foods. It's low in sodium which means you can add it to something that's already salty to amp up the flavors without making it too salty.
When you look at the ratio of the spices in Chex Mix blend, the largest quantity is seasoned salt. Salt is great, we love salt. Salt is a wonderful flavor enhancer. But salt isn't the only flavor enhancer out there.
When I first started making my own Chex Mix, I followed the recipe on the Chex Mix site. But something was missing. It was good Chex Mix, but it tasted homemade. It was missing that x-factor, that savory umami flavor that keeps you going back for another handful of your favorite snacks.
I dug into the ingredients list for both "Original" and "Bold" Chex Mix, because they're my two favorite flavors. I wanted my DIY Chex Mix blend to land somewhere between the two, flavor-wise.
The main difference between them? Bold Chex Mix has MSG in it.
MSG enhances — bolds, if you will — the already great flavors of Originial Chex Mix. I added a dash to my homemade Chex Mix seasoning, along with a few other savory spices to round it out, and voila! When mixed together with the melted butter and Worcestershire sauce, it was perfect.
How to Make DIY Chex Mix Seasoning
Making Chex Mix seasoning is so easy, it hardly needs a recipe. You'll basically combine all of the ingredients in a bowl or jar and give them a really good stir or shake to make sure they're evenly combined.
For the photos, I mixed this batch in a bowl, but if I'm being honest, I usually just dump them all in a jar and give it a good shake. You do you!
How to Use Chex Mix Seasoning
Making the Chex Mix seasoning blend is easy. Using it is where things get a little trickier. Not tricky, just trickier. Remember, step one is to just mix everything together. It's a low bar to clear, effort-wise.
You see, Chex Mix seasoning on its own isn't enough to make something taste like Chex Mix. To make your DIY Chex Mix seasoning taste like Chex Mix, you need to add Worcestershire Sauce. It's a liquid, which means you can't mix it with the seasoning blend until you're ready to use it.
As a rule of thumb, you'll want to use a 1:3 ratio of Worcestershire Sauce to unsalted butter and a 1:3 ratio of Worcestershire Sauce to Chex Mix seasoning. That means for every 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, you'd use 3 tablespoons melted butter, and 3 tablespoons Chex Mix seasoning blend.
There are so many different ways you can use your DIY Chex Mix seasoning from snack mixes to meat marinades. How you plan to use it will determine how much Worcestershire Sauce (and sometimes butter) you need to go with the seasoning.
If you want to make any sort of Chex Mix flavored snack or snack mix, like Chex Mix popcorn, crackers, pretzels, oops-all-Chex, roasted nuts, etc., you basically just need to make sure you have enough liquid to fully coat the mixture.
You have a LOT of control over the final measurements here and can absolutely tweak the quantity and balance of flavors to your liking.
- The only time you don't really need to add butter is if you're using it as a meat marinade, brine, or breading mixture, like in my Fried Chex Mix Chicken Tenders recipe, which uses a buttermilk brine.
- For roasting or sauteing vegetables, you may prefer using oil instead of butter. Finish with a drizzle of worcestershire sauce, or toss the veggies with a 3:1 mix of Worcestershire sauce and oil to cook.
- For something like grilled corn, brush each cob with a 3:1 mix of melted butter and Worcestershire sauce and sprinkle with the Chex Mix seasoning. It's so yummy!
At this point I'm really handing the reins — and the Chex Mix power — to you. You'll have to scale it up or down or adjust the ratios based on what you're making with it, and there are so many possibilities I can't possibly guide you through all of them in one blog post.
If there's a specific way you want to use your DIY Chex Mix seasoning and aren't sure how to go about it, leave a comment on this post and I'll do my best to help you figure it out.
What is Worcestershire Sauce?
Worcestershire sauce is a fermented condiment that adds a rich, umami flavor. The specific ingredients vary by brand, but it is commonly made from things like vinegar, anchovies, garlic, onions, tamarind, molasses, ginger, etc.
Think of it like a European version of soy sauce. It provides a similar function and has a similarly intense, salty, fermented flavor.
Without the strong savory umami flavors Worcestershire Sauce adds to Chex Mix, your DIY Chex Mix seasoning just won't taste like real Chex Mix.
While most Worcestershire sauces are not vegan, there are vegan varieties out there, including Whole Foods 365 Organic Worcestershire Sauce, Annie's Homegrown Vegan Worcestershire Sauce, and Haddar's Vegan-Friendly Worcestershire Sauce which is also gluten free and kosher for Passover.
My Chex Mix Seasoning Ratio
The best part of making DIY Chex Mix seasoning is that you can control the ratio of ingredients. The official Chex Mix recipe calls for 1½ tablespoons seasoned salt, ¾ teaspoons garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon onion powder.
I'm a garlic girl, and I knew I wanted to add some other flavors to my blend, so I doubled the garlic powder and onion powder so those core Chex Mix flavors would still make up a larger portion of the final blend.
My final Chex Mix ratio is approximately 4 parts official Chex Mix spices (seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder) to 1 part of my own added flavors (smoked paprika, MSG, cayenne).
You can absolutely play around with the ratio of seasonings! Just make sure you always have a larger proportion of those core three Chex Mix seasonings — seasoned salt, onion, and garlic.
- If you really like the smoky flavor, increase the amount of smoked paprika.
- If you want a spicy Chex Mix, increase the amount of cayenne.
- If you don't like the MSG flavor you can cut it in half or omit it entirely.
- If you're not a garlic fiend, you can reduce the amount of garlic.
When I know I'm going to use my DIY Chex Mix seasoning to season meat or vegetables, I often add ½ teaspoon black pepper so I don't need to season them with pepper separately.
Store homemade Chex Mix seasoning in an airtight jar or container. It will stay good for at least 6 months when stored properly.
While your DIY Chex Mix seasoning can last longer than 6 months, after 6 months you may notice the quality and taste of the ingredients beginning to degrade. Always give it a sniff test before use if you're not sure!
Where to Buy Quality or Bulk Spices
When it comes to buying spices and seasonings it's up to you how much money you want to spend for quality vs. quantity. Spices can expire and while they won't necessarily hurt you you if you eat them, they do lose their potency over time.
To save money, buy larger quantities of spices at places discount stores like Ocean State Job Lot or Ollie's ($1-2 per ~4 oz bottle). But those spices have probably already been sitting around for a while by the time you get them.
I used some discount spices while I was recipe testing my DIY Chex Mix seasoning and it turned out fine! But if you're planning to store your seasoning blend for a while, you might notice it loses its flavor faster.
For higher quality or more ethically sourced spices, there are plenty of reputable brands like McCormick and Simply Organic, and reputable online spice retailers like World Spice Merchants, Burlap & Barrel, Spiceology, Spicewalla, and Nuts.com where you can find everything you need.
At the grocery store, spices and seasonings can often be found in larger quantities for a lower price in the International aisle.
No. I tried this, because it would be great to have an entirely shelf stable Chex Mix seasoning that doesn't need to be mixed with anything to use. But Worcestershire powder just doesn't have the same intensity of flavor that liquid Worcestershire sauce does. It didn't taste like Chex Mix!
10-Minute DIY Chex Mix Seasoning
- 1 part Worcestershire sauce
- 3 parts unsalted butter (melted, optional)
- Combine all of the dry ingredients — seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cayenne (if using), and MSG — together in a bowl or jar. Stir or shake well to combine.
- Use with Worcestershire sauce (and sometimes melted butter) to bring out the Chex Mix flavors.
- As a rule of thumb, you'll want to use a 1:3 ratio of Worcestershire Sauce to unsalted butter and a 1:3 ratio of Worcestershire Sauce to Chex Mix seasoning. So that means for every 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, you'd use 3 tablespoons melted butter, and 3 tablespoons Chex Mix seasoning blend.
- The only time you don't need to add butter is if you're using the Chex Mix seasoning as a meat marinade, brine, or breading mixture.
- For roasting or sauteing vegetables, you may prefer using oil instead of butter. Finish with a drizzle of Worcestershire sauce, or toss the veggies with a 3:1 mix of Worcestershire sauce and oil to cook.
- While most Worcestershire sauces are not vegan, there are vegan varieties out there, including Whole Foods 365 Organic Worcestershire Sauce, Annie's Homegrown Vegan Worcestershire Sauce, and Haddar's Vegan-Friendly Worcestershire Sauce which is also gluten free and kosher for Passover.