This spicy ranch snack mix with oyster crackers, cheese crackers, pretzels, white cheddar popcorn, and homemade ranch seasoning is about to be your new fave! It’s cheesy, a bit spicy, and beyond easy to whip up in a few minutes. I love making this snack for game nights, house parties, holidays, and long road trips. Grab a handful and let’s get into it!

A pan of spicy ranch snack mix on a pink counter next to beer, a grey bowl of mix and a brown bowl of ranch seasoning.

To the complete and utter shock of my 22-year-old self, my friends and I have really been embracing cozy hangs at home over 2am nights at the bar lately. Game nights, movie nights, Mario Kart races (which turns out, I’m actually the worst at ever).

But the thing with casual hangs is that, while they don’t necessitate French cheese boards or elegant beef Wellington bites, they do require snacks. Preferably of the bar food variety like cheesy loaded waffle fries, garlic butter chicken wings, and of course snack mix.

And, for a girl like myself who under no circumstances should be handed a Switch controller, the snack table is my safe zone. You can always catch me at a party with a beer in hand, shoving handfuls of chips and dips into my mouth. You in? Let’s make it!

Recipe details

Snack mix has been one of my go-to apps for years. It’s beyond easy to make but everyone is stoked when you set down a bowl at a party or movie night. But this one is even better than regular Chex mix because we’re tossing it with a spicy homemade seasoning!

  • This party mix takes about 5 minutes of actual prep.
  • The homemade ranch seasoning is tangy, flavorful, & spicy!
  • You can add any of your favorite chips and snacks.
  • It’s the ultimate snack for movie nights, parties, holidays, or game day.

The ingredients

White and brown bowls of cereal, pretzels, Cheez Its, peanuts, spices, oyster crackers, sandwich crackers, popcorn, and butter on a white counter.

Snack mix

  • Corn cereal – look for a light and crunchy rice cereal like Chex.
  • Peanuts – for a little nuttiness, I like roasted, salted peanuts. Feel free to leave these out or replace them with a different snack for a nut-free version!
  • Pretzel chips – I love the light, flakiness of pretzel chips. If you can’t find them in the chip aisle, look in the deli section near the artisan crackers.
  • Cheese crackers – this is definitely my favorite part! I like to use Cheez-Its in this snack mix but any cheese cracker will work.
  • Oyster crackers – who doesn’t love oyster crackers? They’re the perfect canvas for all that ranch seasoning.
  • Sandwich crackers – cheese-filled sandwich crackers, like Ritz Bits, take this mix over the top!
  • Butter – unsalted butter will add flavor and help the ranch seasoning stick to the crackers.
  • Cheddar popcorn – a few handfuls of white cheddar popcorn will add a cheesy flavor to this ranch Chex mix.

Homemade ranch seasoning

  • Buttermilk powder – this is the secret trick to homemade ranch seasoning! It gives the seasoning that classic tangy flavor. Look for it in the baking aisle near the dried milk.
  • Ranch spices – dried onion powder, garlic powder, dill, chives, and parsley are classic ranch spices.
  • Salt & pepper – I recommend Morton’s Kosher salt and white pepper (so you don’t get black specks). But black pepper works too!
  • Mustard powder – for a little extra tang, add a bit of dried mustard powder.
  • Cayenne – this will add spice to the ranch mix. If you’re not a fan of heat, feel free to leave this out.

Pro tip!

Here’s a trick I learned when I was in culinary school. The buttermilk powder is the key to homemade ranch seasoning! It adds that classic tang. Bonus – you will always have buttermilk on hand without keeping it in the fridge. For Hidden Valley Ranch vibes, you can also add a dash of MSG!

Ingredient Variations

  • Cereal – you can also use rice or wheat cereal (like Chex) or a mix of different cereals.
  • Nuts – replace the peanuts with pecans, cashews, or a cocktail nut mix.
  • Pretzels – any small pretzels will work in this recipe. I like twists but sticks are great too.
  • Cheese crackers – Goldfish or cheddar bunnies would be so delicious in this mix!
  • Other snacks – feel free to replace any of the crackers with your favorites. Bugles, potato chips, or mini breadsticks would be delicious too!
  • Seasonings – replace the ranch seasoning with Cajun spice mix, bay seasoning, or any of your favorite spice blends.
  • Spice-free – for regular ranch mix, leave out the cayenne.
  • Gluten-free – replace the crackers with your favorite gluten-free alternatives.

How to make this snack mix

Two steps to making ranch seasoning. In photo 1, spices are in piles in a white and brown bowl. In photo 2, the spices are mixed together with a spoon.

Make the ranch seasoning

  1. Start by adding the buttermilk powder, onion powder, garlic powder, dill, chives, parsley, salt, white pepper, dried mustard, and cayenne to a small bowl.
  2. Whisk the mixture together until it’s well combined. Set aside for later.
Two photos making ranch Chex mix. In photo 1, cereal, peanuts, pretzels, Cheez-Its, oyster crackers, and sandwich crackers are on a sheet pan. In photo 2, the snacks are mixed together.

Combine the snacks

  1. Place the rice cereal, peanuts, pretzels, cheese crackers, oyster crackers, and sandwich crackers on a sheet pan.
  2. Using a wood spoon (or clean hands), mix everything together.
Two steps to melting butter. In photo 1, a stick of butter is in a pot on a white counter. In photo 2, the butter is melted.

Melt the butter

  1. Place the butter in a small saucepan. Melt it on the stove over medium-low heat. Or, add it to a microwave-safe bowl and melt it in 30-second increments.
Three steps to making spicy ranch snack mix. In photo 1, snacks are topped with ranch seasoning. In photo 2, a wood spoon mixes the snack mix together. In photo 3, the snack mix is baked on a sheet pan.

Assemble the snack mix

  1. Next, evenly pour the butter and half of the ranch seasoning over the cracker mixture.
  2. Using a wood spoon or clean hands, toss everything together until the crackers are well seasoned. Taste and add more ranch seasoning if desired.
  3. Then, bake the snack mix until it’s toasty and dry to the touch.

Quick tip

I definitely recommend mixing everything up on a sheet pan instead of in a bowl. It’s so much easier to evenly spread out the butter and seasonings.

Two steps to adding popcorn to snack mix. In photo 1, white cheddar popcorn is on a pan of snack mix. In photo 2, a wood spoon tosses the mix together.

Add the popcorn

  1. Right when the snack mix comes out of the oven, add the white cheddar popcorn.
  2. Quickly toss everything together. The residual heat will help any extra seasoning stick to the popcorn!
  3. Then, let the mix cool completely. Enjoy or store it for later!

Pro tip

Add the popcorn after you bake the mix, not before! When I tested this recipe the first time, I baked the popcorn with the crackers and it burned a little in the oven.

More mix-in ideas

One of the best parts of this snack mix is that it’s super easy to customize. You can use any of your favorite crackers, nuts, and snacks! (But, I do always recommend adding the Cheez-Its and sandwich crackers to this snack mix – they’re my favorite!) Try some of these add-ins as well.

  • Goldfish or cheddar bunnies
  • Cheerios
  • Pretzel nuggets
  • Kettle potato chips
  • Rye chips
  • Bagel chips
  • Pita chips
  • Sesame sticks
  • Mini breadsticks
  • Almonds, nut mix, or pepitas
  • Bugles
  • Any mini crackers you like

Serving ideas

I love bringing this mix to any casual party or get-together. It has a lot of variety and tastes great with anything from cheap beer to fancy cocktails!

Quick tip

This mix is a lovely edible gift! Add a few scoops of the mix to cellophane bags, jars, or holiday containers and tie everything up with a ribbon. Super cute and simple!

A pink bowl of spicy ranch snack mix on a pink counter next to beer, a pan of snack mix, and a bottle opener.

Storing & make-ahead

To store leftovers, scoop everything into an airtight container or zipper bag. Store the mix in the pantry for up to 1 week. After about 1 week, it might start to get stale.

Since this mix has a longer shelf life, it’s a great make-ahead snack too! For the crispest snack mix, I would make it 1-2 days before you’re ready to enjoy it.

If you live in a particularly humid environment and the ranch Chex mix gets a little soft, you can crisp it back up! Just spread the mix evenly on a pan and and bake it at 200°F (93°C) for 5 minutes at a time, stirring every once in a while, until the mix is nice and crisp. Cool and enjoy immediately!

Helpful tools

A wood spoon scooping spicy ranch Chex mix.

Tips & tricks

  • Use any of your favorite snacks, crackers, or chips! This mix is great for customizing. Just keep the measurements roughly the same so it’s nice and seasoned.
  • Try not to add too much salt to the seasoning. We’ll add a bit to the ranch seasoning but since the snacks are also salty, you don’t want to go overboard! Taste and add more, if needed.
  • We’ll start by adding half the seasoning and then adding more to taste. If you have leftover seasoning, use it on roasted veggies, sprinkle it on tater tots, or mix it with plain yogurt for a yummy sandwich spread or veggie dip!
  • Add the popcorn last, trust me! If you bake it with the rest of the snacks, it will burn a bit in the oven.
  • If you’re sensitive to spice, start with 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne and add more to taste. You can also leave it out entirely if you’re not a fan of heat.
  • You can double this recipe for a crowd or for gifting. Just spread the mixture between 2 sheet pans so it crisps up evenly. Or, halve the recipe for a smaller group!

Recipe FAQs

Can I use pre-made ranch seasoning?

I personally haven’t tried this recipe with store-bought ranch seasoning, mostly because I didn’t want the mix to be overly salty. If you try a store-bought seasoning, look for a salt-free version and add salt to taste. Don’t forget to add the cayenne since this is not an ingredient in most store-bought ranch packets!

Is this recipe gluten-free?

This one is not, because I used snacks (like Cheez-Its, Ritz Bits, and pretzels) which are not gluten-free. But if you want to make a GF version, you can use gluten-free snack alternatives instead! Luckily, the ranch seasoning is already GF!

Does this package and travel well?

Yes! Store the leftover mix in an airtight container and it’s perfect for traveling. You can also scoop the mix into zipper bags, just make sure nothing is smushing the bag or the crackers will crumble.

Can I leave out the spice?

Yep! For regular ranch party mix, just leave out the cayenne. Or, you can always reduce it for just a tiny hint of spice.

A white bowl of spicy ranch snack mix on a pink counter next to a grey bowl of snacks, glasses of beer, and a brown bowl of ranch seasoning.

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Spicy Ranch Snack Mix

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
This spicy ranch snack mix with oyster crackers, cheese crackers, pretzels, white cheddar popcorn, and homemade ranch seasoning is about to be your new fave! It's cheesy, a bit spicy, and beyond easy to whip up in a few minutes. I love making this snack for game nights, house parties, holidays, and long road trips. Grab a handful and let's get into it!

Ingredients

Spicy Ranch Seasoning

  • 1/4 cup buttermilk powder (23 grams)
  • 2 Tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon dried dill
  • 4 teaspoons dried chives
  • 4 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper (or freshly-ground black pepper)
  • 2 teaspoons dried mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne

Snack Mix

  • 2 cups corn cereal, like Chex (65 grams)
  • 1 cup salted roasted peanuts (135 grams)
  • 2 cups pretzel chips (80 grams)
  • 2 cups cheese crackers, like Cheez-Its (125 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups oyster crackers (75 grams)
  • 2 cups mini cheese sandwich crackers, like Ritz Bits (125 grams)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (113 grams)
  • Spicy ranch seasoning (recipe above)
  • 4 cups white cheddar popcorn (50 grams)

Equipment

  • sheet pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Small saucepan
  • Wood spatula

Instructions 

Spicy Ranch Seasoning

  • In a small bowl or jar, combine the buttermilk powder, onion powder, garlic powder, dried dill, dried chives, dried parsley, Kosher salt, white pepper, dried mustard powder, and cayenne. Stir well and set aside.

Snack Mix

  • Preheat the oven to 250°F (121°C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Then, pour the corn cereal, peanuts, pretzel chips, cheese crackers, oyster crackers, and mini cheese cracker sandwiches on the prepared sheet pan. Mix together.
  • Next, add the butter to a small saucepan. Melt the butter over medium low heat. Or, add the butter to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave the butter for 30 seconds at a time, until melted.
  • Pour the melted butter evenly over the snack mix. Then, sprinkle half of the spicy ranch seasoning over the snack mix. Gently stir until the crackers are evenly coated in the seasoning. Try a cracker or two and add more spicy ranch seasoning and Kosher salt, to taste.
  • Bake the snack mix for 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through, until the crackers are dry to the touch and crisp. Right out of the oven, add the white cheddar popcorn and gently stir the snack mix to combine. The residual heat will help any loose seasoning stick to the popcorn.
  • Let the snack mix cool completely. Then, store the cooled mix in an airtight container or zipper bag. Enjoy!

Notes

Use any of your favorite snacks, crackers, or chips! This mix is great for customizing. Just keep the measurements roughly the same so it’s nice and seasoned.
The buttermilk powder is the key to homemade ranch seasoning. It adds that classic tang. Bonus – you will always have buttermilk on hand without keeping it in the fridge. For Hidden Valley Ranch vibes, you can also add a dash of MSG!
Try not to add too much salt to the seasoning. We’ll add a bit to the ranch seasoning but since the snacks are also salty, you don’t want to go overboard! Taste and add more, if needed.
We’ll start by adding half the seasoning and then adding more to taste. If you have leftover seasoning, use it on roasted veggies, sprinkle it on tater tots, or mix it with yogurt for a yummy sandwich spread or veggie dip!
I definitely recommend mixing everything up on a sheet pan instead of in a bowl. It’s so much easier to evenly spread out the butter and seasonings.
Add the popcorn last. If you bake it with the rest of the snacks, it will burn a little in the oven.
If you’re sensitive to spice, start with 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne and add more to taste. You can also leave it out entirely if you’re not a fan of heat.
You can double this recipe for a crowd or for gifting. Just spread the mixture between 2 sheet pans so it crisps up evenly. Or, halve the recipe for a smaller group!
Cuisine: American
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 322kcal, Carbohydrates: 29.3g, Protein: 7.2g, Fat: 20.2g, Saturated Fat: 7.7g, Cholesterol: 22mg, Sodium: 473mg, Potassium: 186mg, Fiber: 2.4g, Sugar: 3.8g, Calcium: 85mg, Iron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @sundaytable.co on Instagram!

xo Sara Lynn

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