Is the Original Chex Mix recipe truly the original?

No, it’s not!  The current “original” recipe includes bagel chips and seasoned salt.  Bagel chips did not exist in the 1950s, when Chex Mix was invented.  I’m fairly certain the seasoned salt blend had not yet been invented, either, but I cannot find any data to support my theory.  Chex Mix was a staple and a tradition in my family’s holiday treat collection.  I remember being very impatient about how long it took to make, since you could smell it in the oven after about 25 minutes.  I admit, when I made it tonight, I dipped into it before the instructed 60 minutes of baking was completed! Chex cereal was introduced in 1937 by Ralston Purina.  By 1952, recipes for “Chex party mix” appeared on boxes of Chex cereal.  It is reported that, in 1955, the wife of a Ralston executive in St. Louis served the snack at a holiday function, which launched its popularity.  Apparently, the invention of television spurred creativity in developing recipes for  snacks that could be enjoyed without interrupting television watching.  The commercially packaged versions of Chex Mix came about in 1985.  While the commercially packaged product can serve as an emergency fix, it does not compare to the oven roasted version.   A few years ago, I consulted my mother to find the true, original recipe; or, at least the one she used when we all were kids.  She did use pretzel sticks, which I always found very annoying.  The inside of my mouth was continually stabbed with the pretzel ends.  Seriously, how could a mom do that to her children?  I chose to replace the sticks with tiny twists – oh, so much safer! Here is Chex’s current link to the Original Recipe

Here is the recipe from my mother.  When you compare them, you immediately notice the difference in the amount of butter or margarine.

Original Chex Mix – circa 1965-1975

1 cup butter
4 Tb Worchestershire sauce
3 tsp celery salt (another missing ingredient in the current original recipe)
3 tsp onion salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp garlic salt
1 lb Virginia peanuts
4 1/2 cups Rice Chex
4 1/2 cups tiny twist pretzels
4 1/2 cups Corn Chex
4 1/2 cups Wheat Chex

In case it is not obvious, Chex Party Mix is not Weight Watchers friendly.  However, it is one of my favorite indulgences and a weakness.  I delayed making it until I knew I could get it out of my sight quickly.  I will be packing and shipping much of it and storing the rest well out of my reach.  I had 3 large handfuls this evening!

If you choose to use the oven instead of the microwave, follow the instructions on the Chex cereal boxes.  Be sure to melt the butter and stir the seasonings in before adding cereal, etc.  Bake at 250 degrees for one hour and stir every 15 minutes.


10 responses to “Is the Original Chex Mix recipe truly the original?

  1. This as close to the recipe to the one my mom uses.

  2. Marc Rhodes

    The statement about the wife of a Ralston Purina executive is totally true. I worked for Ralston Purina from 1975 to 2005, we sold Chex Cereals thru the grocery trade. Thhe executive is Don Vieo, he was regional manager in Florida in tthe early 70’s.

  3. Marc –
    Thanks so much for your comment! When I found that tidbit of information about the party, I thought it was great history. I will be embarking on my homemade Chex mix adventure this weekend. My family now relies on me to provide them with their annual fix.

  4. Am I to assume the baking temp of 250 for one hour?

  5. Laurie – Yes, bake at 250 for 1 hour and stir every 15 minutes. Thanks!

  6. Carole Freeman

    I have a recipe card for Cereal Tidbits from Jane Christopher, copyright 1955, that uses 1 stick of butter and 1/2 cup of bacon drippings along with garlic salt, “savor salt”, Worcestershire and Tabasco that my family really enjoys. Ms. Christopher was on KPRC TV in Houston, TX. Have contacted Ralston regarding the ounces of Chex cereal in boxes in 1955 since recipe calls for two boxes (and am certain today’s boxes are much larger).

    • Carole –

      This is fantastic! I never saw or heard of a recipe that used bacon drippings or tabasco! Is that 1955 recipe a secret or would you consider sharing? I agree that today’s boxes are larger.


  7. stephen voss The 1952 recipe had seasoned salt and did not have celery salt. Lawrys seasoned salt came out in 1938 so it was on the market for a while.

    • Really interesting – I had no idea! When I went to the link you included, the recipe only included salt and garlic salt. Was there another recipe you found that used seasoned salt?

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