This DIY gluten-free Chex® mix recipe is slow baked to develop its sweet and savory coating. The Asian inspired coating uses gluten-free tamari and toasted sesame oil for a strong pop of flavor. Make a big batch and serve at a party or bag it up for a perfect grab and go gluten-free snack.
Is Chex Mix Gluten-Free?
The store-bought Chex® mix, sadly, is not gluten-free. Although several of the Chex® cereal flavors are gluten-free, the prepared mix contains wheat Chex® and other ingredients I am not so happy with. Making a homemade gluten-free mix is super simple and so worth it!
Slow Baked Snack
It’s important to bake this Chex mix at a low temperature. The crunchy ingredients are tossed in the liquid coating before baking. Then the mix is spread out in a thin layer on a baking sheet to allow the coating to dry and concentrate its flavor. If the temperature is too high the mix will burn before the coating has had time to air dry.
Different textures of crunchy ingredients are what make Chex® mix such a satisfying snack. Add a sweet and savory flavor coating and you’ll be hooked.
Chex® Cereal– I am so thankful that corn and rice Chex® are both gluten-free and easily found at any grocery store. Either one will work in this recipe or use a combination of both. The chocolate, cinnamon, blueberry, vanilla, apple cinnamon and peanut butter flavors are also gluten-free. These will make it slightly more sweet, but will all work with the flavor of the coating.
Pretzels – Mini pretzel twists are my favorite shape for this snack. They hold up a little better than the sticks. Glutino and Snyder’s gluten-free pretzels are both excellent choices.
Bagel chips or Gluten-free Crackers – The only brand of bagel chips I can easily find are Glutino. If you can’t find them, any sturdy gluten-free cracker will work. Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers or pita crackers are a good option because they will hold up in the process.
Mixed nuts, toasted almonds or cashews are a yummy addition. Using toasted unsalted nuts works better. The liquid coating will absorb better and the nuts will end up more crunchy once baked. To toast raw nuts, place them in a dry skillet over medium high flame and heat, tossing, for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pan immediately.
Asian Inspired Coating
This coating has a nice salty/sweet flavor. The pretzels and crackers are already salty and Chex are just mildly sweet, so it’s important to add a little sweet to create balance.
A sure way to create an Asian flavor is to use toasted sesame oil. The toasting is what gives the oil amazing flavor and aroma (non-toasted sesame oil has no flavor). It can usually be found in the Asian foods section of grocery stores. Trader Joe’s carries it.
Coconut Aminos is a more mild and less salty version of soy sauce/tamari. I find soy sauce to be much too overpowering and way to salty – even the lower sodium ones. Coconut aminos are sweeter and give a more gently fermented flavor to this recipe. Find it in the Asian section of grocery stores. If you can’t find it, use gluten-free soy sauce, tamari or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and omit the salt called for in the recipe.
Unsalted Butter – Butter makes everything taste better. If you’re dairy-free or vegan, use a vegan butter substitute like Miyoko’s Vegan Cultured Butter or Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks. These vegan subs can be salty so omit the extra salt called for in the recipe.
Coconut palm sugar is a yummy substitute for white sugar and has a caramel-like flavor. It is much less processed and it is my sugar of choice for this recipe. Coconut sugar is from the nectar of the coconut palm tree flower, so it does not have coconut flavor. Brown sugar (light or dark) can be used too.
Gluten-Free Chex® Mix Recipe
- 1½ c rice or corn chex
- 1½ c mini gluten-free pretzel twists
- ½ c toasted whole almonds, cashews or mixed nuts unsalted preferred
- ½ c gluten-free bagel chips or gluten-free crackers
Asian Inspired Flavor Coating
- 2 Tbsp coconut aminos or tamari
- 1 Tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp salt (omit if using tamari, soy sauce or Bragg's Aminos)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 250°F and line a large sheet pan (or 2 smaller ones) with parchment. The parchment will make clean up much easier.
- If your nuts are raw, place them in a skillet over a medium-high flame and heat, tossing, for 3-4 minutes. Remove them from the pan immediately.
- Place the crackers on the sheet pan and break them up into bite-sized pieces.
- Add the Chex®, pretzels and nuts to the pan. Toss to combine and spread evenly.
Make the Flavor Coating
- Add all of the flavor coating ingredients except the butter to a small microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup. (Place in a small pot if you don't have a microwave). Beat with a fork or whisk to combine.
- Drop in the butter and heat in the mixture in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium heat until the butter is melted.
- Stir thoroughly.
- Drizzle half of the liquid mixture over the pan and toss with your clean hands to coat. Spread the mixture evenly on the pan.
- Drizzle the remaining coating and toss well to evenly coat. Spread the mixture evenly on the pan.
- Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour, stirring it with a spatula every 15 minutes. The pieces around the edges of the pan will cook more quickly, so it's important to stir a few times during baking.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let it sit for 15-20 minutes to cool and complete the drying process.
- The mix will stay fresh for at least 10 days in an air-tight container.