nuts & bolts

Marian Parsonsa slice of life, Food & Fitness32 Comments

I was putting together my list for Christmas brunch (flank steak, cheese for the cheese grits, fruit and gelatin for Rosa’s Fruit Salad, etc.) and I realized that I hadn’t even thought about making nuts and bolts this year!  It’s one of my favorite Christmas-time snacks and the season almost passed without me making a batch!

Nuts and bolts started in our family with my Oma (also named Marian).  I have memories of her sitting in front of the stove, stirring the snack mix in a large roasting pan.  The smell of butter, season-all, and Worcestershire sauce would waft out of the oven and creep through the house before the door was closed again.  I could hardly wait for it to be finished and cool enough to eat.  I often wouldn’t wait and would snag a few pieces from the roasting pan while the mix was being stirred.

She would pour the contents of the roaster pan into a Charles Chips tin and that would be the snack for all of the kids and grandkids for days.  It was a race to the bottom of the tin and then we would coax her to make some more.

My Oma hated sweets, so this was her way of “baking” for her grandkids.

I still use her recipe, which I believe is the classic recipe that was on the back of the Chex cereal box, but I have made some adjustments based on our tastes and the fact that we have two people allergic to peanuts in our house.  So, of course, I don’t put peanuts in.  Also, I never liked the wheat Chex and always picked them out, so I don’t add those and nobody in our family misses them.

The printable recipe card is below, but I’ll walk you through making it as well.  If you haven’t ever made your own Chex Mix/Nuts & Bolts, it is so simple!  If you’ve already made it a bunch, this might just be another option to consider.

Since I don’t have a large roasting pan, I use a couple of shallow baking dishes every year.  You could also purchase some of those large disposable aluminum roasters from the grocery store.

I mix in pretzel sticks, Rice Chex, Corn Chex, and Original Gold Fish “Soup Crackers”.  I added about a cup of cashews to one of the dishes, since I like cashews, but the boys do not.

Melt an entire box of butter on low heat.  I mean, anything that starts with four full sticks of butter has got to be good.  One important note, since the snacks are already salted and more seasoning is being added, I always use unsalted butter, so it doesn’t end up being overly salty.  Trust me, it’s plenty salty.

Mix the seasonings into the melted butter (Worcestershire sauce, season all, and a little bit of garlic powder.)

Pour the seasoned butter over the snack mix and stir it up with a spoon.  This is where having a larger baking dish really helps.  Snacks are always jumping out of my baking dishes, but I just let the clean-up crew take care of it.  The clean-up crew is Sebastian, in case you didn’t guess that.

Bake it for an hour on 250, stirring every 15 minutes.  That’s it!  You do have to babysit it a bit with all of the stirring, but other than that, it’s super easy.

If you watched my instagram stories, you know that my oven stopped working as I was cooking my Nuts & Bolts.  I actually took the dishes with me to Marshall’s violin lesson and finished cooking them in the teacher’s oven!  I called Kitchen Aid and they scheduled an appliance repair professional to come out on Friday to take a look at it.  When I got home, I tried turning on the oven again to see what happened.  It just seemed wrong that it wasn’t working.  Everything else was working fine and the stove is just over a year old!

Well, when I turned the oven on again, it worked!  And I figured out the larger baking dish I was using was preventing the door from fully closing.  It was only open a smidge, but it was enough for the oven to shut off (a safety feature that I wasn’t aware of.)  So, it was operator error and all is well with my beautiful range.

And, it was a happy ending all around, because the Nuts & Bolts turned out great, too.

Oma's Nuts & Bolts

A slight variation on the classic nuts & bolts recipe
4.84 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine American


  • 1 12 oz box Corn Chex cereal
  • 1 12 oz box Rice Chex cereal
  • 1 16 oz bag Pretzel Sticks
  • 2 6.6 oz bags original Gold Fish soup crackers
  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Season-All seasoning
  • 6 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


  • Mix first four ingredients in a large roasting pan or several shallow baking dishes
  • In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat.  Once melted, stir in seasoning and Worcestershire sauce
  • Pour seasoned butter over dry snack mix and stir to coat
  • bake at 250 for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes
  • allow to fully cool before putting into bags or containers
Keyword chex mix, christmas snacks, nuts and bolts
nuts & bolts

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32 Comments on “nuts & bolts”

  1. My Mom had the Original 1952 recipe for Chex Party Mix, which I found in her recipes after she died 17 years ago. The one we all make today (with it’s various iterations is waaay different from the original Original: Melt 1/2 C butter in shallow baking pan. Stir in 1 T Worchestershire sauce. Add 2 C Wheat Chex, 2 C Rice Chex and 1/2 C nuts. Sprinkle with 1/4 t salt and 1/8 t garlic salt. Heat 30 minutes in 300_degree oven stirring every 10 minutes. Cool.

    I guess Corn Chex weren’t around yet? perhaps neither was Season-All or bagel chips/fishie crackers/or other crunchy bits that accompany the Chex. Any way you make it, it’s delicious! In fact, I’m waiting to stir now…

  2. I make a spiced up Chex mix. I substitute Life cereal for the rice Chex as I like the touch of sweet in my mix. It’s not a holiday with out it!

  3. 5 stars
    My mother made Nuts and Bolts every year. I would often stir it. She also, put in regular Cheerios. It is expensive to buy all of those boxes of cereal, nuts and pretzels but, I, like you, love the smell and the taste is so good! I am an Oma to my grands. My mother’s family was from Germany.

  4. We call it Nuts (nuts), Screws (pretzels) and Bolts (cherios) And It’s always been a holiday staple in our house. Over the years I have dropped the wheat chex and cherios and go crazy with the mixed nuts and up the Worchestershire sauce. I have the ingredients sitting on the counter right now. 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    A favorite in our family too! I use the recipe I cut off the box probably 30 years ago and add a little extra of all of the seasonings. I have done the microwave version a few times and it turns out just fine, just use my largest pyrex bowl and pull it out often to stir. If I ever showed up without it or the cookie plates I might just be asked to leave 😀

  6. mmm looks good.
    When I saw you on Instagram, I thought, ” Oh! no…something has happened.” You looked like you were holding back tears over the oven. Glad it all worked out!!! Poker face you have not!!!!

  7. Thanks for sharing! I have to say I was thinking about this the other day. It’s been a long time since I’ve had this.
    But I told the hubs I remembered helping his sweet Mama by stirring the ingredients. She used the large disposable pans from the Grocery Store. And she always added Pecans. There’s something comforting about this Snack Mix whatever you call it and the wonderful aroma that fills the house! Your Butter looks so nice in your fancy French Copper Pan!

  8. Thanks Marian, i will try this one i do have one that is similar, it doesn’t use Gold fish soup crackers.

  9. 5 stars
    Pretty funny, I’m reading while waiting for the 15 min stir.. I make the biggest my oven will allow.. one batch is already gone.. we call it Party Mix and use the basic Chex recipe.. quadrupled XXX. Merry Christmas to all.

  10. In the Midwest, it’s just called Chex Mix, no matter how you make it. And we all love it too., even with our own personal varaitions.

  11. I first remember this from my childhood when someone gave us some. It must have been a new thing then, because that was a VERY long time ago! Over the years I have seen many versions as people tweaked the original recipe to their own tastes. I am with you on the wheat chex, so I always left those out, too. We like it zippy, so I always added cayenne pepper. I have not made this for many years now, but maybe I might do it again before New Year’s Eve. Thanks for the memories.

  12. I have never heard it called “nuts & bolts” just always chex mix but nevertheless its still good! My boss use to make a big batch and bring it in for all the office staff during this time of year.

  13. 5 stars
    Thank you for the memory of my mom making the original chex mix many years ago. I loved it! And still do, but the stuff in pre-packaged bags tastes so different. Maybe I need to make a batch!

  14. YUP, my dad always called it “nuts&bolts”…thanks for the reminder! My husband and I make it in a spicier version (I add jalapeno Cheezit crackers and those nasty hot Cheetos)! As you can tell, I don’t think food should HURT so I make a different version for my friends and family…in fact, I make a gluten free version by omitting the wheat Chex and I found gf pretzel sticks to add!
    I love that we have so many connections across this continent…reason I say that is even though I live in Oregon now, my dad and family are all from Ontario, Canada.

  15. One year I made a HUGE bowl of it. We had two girls and a boy. We all went to bed the night before Christmas and my teenage son stayed up watching TV. When we got up the next morning, there was none left! He had eaten the entire huge bowl of it! My kids are now in their 30’s and he has yet to live that one down. In his defense, it is very addicting. 🙂

  16. This is not a safe food for the dog. It has onion and garlic in it. Please do not allow him to clean it up for you. Even tiny amounts are toxic. The damage is cumulative so each time you allow him to eat these you are harming him. Since you didn’t know this please do a review of the foods your dog should avoid (there are many) or talk to your vet.

    For anyone with cats, they are in more danger than dogs if they eat anything from the allium family. Often by the time you discover what is wrong, it is too late.

    Vicky – daughter and granddaughter of vets

    1. Vicky speaks the truth here! I had a very sick cat (kidney disease) and to get her to eat when she was feeling poorly, went to the grocery store and got a number of small glass jars of baby food. The vet *specifically* told me to get the kind that did NOT have ANY onion or garlic ingredients, and to only get the stuff that was made with real meat and blended down with water and/or gravy. She lapped it up and was quickly on the mend.

      Everyone should Google foods that are safe to feed your specific type of pet, AND plants and other substances to avoid having around them. A college friend stayed with me when she returned from England after graduation, and before leaving decided to gift me with a vase full of lilies. She was a cat owner, so I could never understand WHY she would leave plants that are poisonous and toxic to cats out on the kitchen table for me to find when I got home from work that day! I wanted to punch her in the face for doing that, the only thing that saved her was that for some reason, the cats did not get up on the table that day and they did leave the flowers alone.

      People, please be careful with your animals – it’s not fair to your wallet to have an emergency vet visit, and most of all it’s not fair to your pets to die a painful death due to the negligence of the people who are supposed to take care of them!

      /steps off soap box

  17. We call it party mix and it is a must for any family gathering. I use the recipe that was on the box, minus the pretzels and I always make it in the microwave. Delicious and quick!

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  18. One of my favorite treats. I started using Crispix instead of the 3 different Chex years ago. I prefer it. But also like the Chex. Just get the biggest box of Crispix I can find. Thanks for sharing. I too had forgotten. Been busy, like everyone else, and somehow fun Christmas baking has been put on the back burner. I am off to the store. Got to make this.

  19. My brother makes the best recipe in our family. He and I call it “Christmas Crack.” He showed up at our house last Friday night with a container of Christmas Crack that WAS STILL WARM from his oven! OMG! Despite the fact that dinner was soon to be served, we all dove in. (And we delete the peanuts … they just never get eaten in our family!)

  20. I love reading all the different names from around the continent. I think we just called it Chex Mix.

  21. Ok, there is just something about your posts!! I have NEVER made this recipe, EVER!! After reading this post, I can’t wait to make it!! I’m a very visual person and I have to tell you that I for one really appreciate your beautiful photos!!! Merry Christmas to you and yours, all the way from the tiny town of Brown City, MI

  22. My mother made this every year. She would hand out little bags of it to everyone. We saved ours for the 3 hour ride home. This will be our first Christmas without Mom. Perhaps we need a bowl of it for everyone to snack. Merry Christmas!

  23. Just adding a new name to the bunch- our family calls it “Scramble” for obvious reasons and my grandfather used to make it. I’ve got the ingredients and will be making tomorrow.

  24. 5 stars
    Haven’t made or eaten this in years. Love the cute name “Nuts n Bolts,” as we too here in Ohio just always called it Chex Mix. We always took out the wheat Chex, too.

    I seldom snack – I think I need to make some of this soon – maybe have the nieces over for movies and games before school resumes – they can help me make it. Thanks for the fond memories this conjured up in my mind and heart.

  25. Marion, I always make mine in the Crock-Pot! I know you had an issue with your oven but it all worked out Ok in the end :). Thank you for sharing!

  26. 4 stars
    Just made it today with all 3 Chex cereals and Cheerios. Season salt, celery salt, garlic salt and Worcestershire. Also made a gluten free version omitting the wheat chex and substituting in more of the other cereals. This old version recipe came from my neighbor’s mother. My Costco sells the 3 Chex cereals in a 3 box bundle and the Cheerios in a 2 box pack.

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