There are good party snacks, and then there are great party snacks. I'm going to tell you right off the bat that this here Furikake Chex Mix is one of the greats. It's a recipe you'll be immediately bookmarking, sharing, and making double batches of; I can guarantee it.
I hope you don't take my confidence the wrong way. I realize this may come off as presumptuous—but I'm just stating what I know. And that is this: In the six years I've been making this, there has not been a single occasion that the bowl doesn't get emptied in record time; any gift bag given out always necessitates a request for the a recipe.
Let me rewind to 2012, in the early days of Instagram, where reverse-chronological order and sepia-toned images reigned supreme (I see you, Kelvin and Valencia). I scrolled through my feed and happened upon a photo from my friend Clara, which depicted a massive Chex mix operation about to go down—but wait! Was that seaweed I saw?
Yes, in fact, it was a glorious Chex mix coated in a sweet glaze and tossed with furikake, my favorite dry seasoning blend that's usually meant to be sprinkled over rice. There are tons of varieties, most of which contain at least nori seaweed and sesame seeds; many include additional flavors like dried fish, dried plum, or dried shiso.
A furikake Chex mix! Oh me, oh my, I needed to know more. Turns out, this was a very popular party mix in Hawaii, where it originated.
"Crara-shi [my term of endearment for her], this is so up my alley! May I please bug you for the recipe? <3" I asked nicely (317 weeks ago, as of this writing). Clara, being the sweet friend that she still is, obliged and sent me the original Foodgeeks recipe from which her brother, Jason, catapulted off with his rendition.
"After trying a popular brand exclusive to Hawaii, I set out to make my own version," Jason tells me. "I optimized the ratio of what pieces I liked best, which is why I increased Honeycomb cereal, and used Crispix instead of Rice Chex and Corn Chex, since it has both rice and corn. I also put on a heavier coating of glaze, and added even more furikake seasoning, along with a liberal addition of kizami nori for maximum umami. Over five iterations of refinement, I came to a final recipe that I standardized to produce a reliable batch each and every time." (If you were to guess that Jason is an engineer, you'd be close.)
All of this is to say, this recipe is one fine starting point—it's delicious as-is, and also amazing amped up with whatever tweaks tickle your fancy. The combo I ended up with is pretty darn close to the original; depending on my mood, I'll throw in saltier or differently flavored components.
Here's what my ultimate version boils down to: a mix of sweet rice and corn Chex cereals; Pepperidge Farm Goldfish (I use the classic cheddar, but any flavor will do); Bugles (original flavor, but ranch is also spectacular!); mini pretzels (I like Snyder's Butter Snaps, the ones that look like window panes); and Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts, lightly salted. This dry mix gets tossed together with a sweet and slightly salty syrup comprising butter, sugar, light corn syrup, vegetable oil, and soy sauce. (Fans of spice can add some hot sauce or cayenne powder here.) A whole bottle of umami-rich furikake gets sprinkled over the lot before the mixture goes in the oven.
"I've been making this Chex mix on a regular basis and sharing it with friends, family, and coworkers," Clara tells me. "I've never met anyone who doesn't love it! It has that perfect combination of sweet, salty, and umami, from the seaweed and soy sauce, with a crunch."
"I approve," my co-worker Rebekah, our resident Hawaiian, tells me, after going in for another handful once a batch emerged from the test kitchen.
To make this recipe, you'll fill two large standard, half-sheet-sized pans with the mixture. You can also get one of those large disposable aluminum trays that you roast turkeys in and cook everything in there. You'll want to allow suitable baking time: It needs to go low and slow (don't rush it!) until everything is crispy and totally dry. Bag up the Chex mix for great gifts, or just fill a huge bowl with it—and watch people go wild. —Hana Asbrink
Test Kitchen Notes
We love to serve this recipe with the Basil Hayden® Cherry Bourbon Smash—this tasty pairing's featured in our video series One Host, Two Ways, brought to you by our friends at Basil Hayden®. —The Editors
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes
- Serves a crowd
(1 stick) unsalted butter
light corn syrup
Dry Snack Mix:
(16-ounce) jar Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts, Lightly Salted
(14.5-ounce) bag Bugles
(12-ounce) box Rice Chex cereal
(12-ounce) box Corn Chex cereal
(6.6-ounce) bag Pepperidge Farm Goldfish of your choice (I like cheddar)
3 to 4 cups
cups mini pretzels (I like Snyder's Butter Snaps, the ones that look like a window pane; 1 bag of pretzel Goldfish is also nice here)
(1.7-ounce) bottle Nori Komi Furikake (you can find this online or in Asian markets)
- Heat the oven to 250°F.
- Make the syrup: In a medium pot over medium heat, heat the butter, syrup, sugar, oil, soy sauce, and salt, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat to cool while you prepare the dry ingredients.
- Make the snack mix: In a very large bowl (you might need two), combine the peanuts, Bugles, cereals, Goldfish, and pretzels, mixing bottom to top with your hands.
- Carefully add the butter mixture to the bowl. Using gloved hands (optional), give everything a good mix, bottom to top. Once the mixture is sufficiently coated with the sauce, sprinkle half of the furikake over and toss until evenly coated. Sprinkle the remaining furikake over and toss again. Divide the cereal mixture between two half-sheet pans.
- Bake, removing the pans every 15 to 20 minutes to toss, for about 1 hour, until the mixture is dry. The cooking time will depend on the humidity as well as how crispy you like your mix. (It has taken me up to 1½ hours on humid days.)
- Transfer the pans to wire racks and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container or zip-top bags, or enjoy immediately and watch them disappear!