What’s the best way for you to avoid a faux pas at your next party? You know, like when you introduce someone’s trophy husband as their son? Keep a bowl of party mix on hand to keep your mouth busy. But here’s the deal: Most party mixes are made with boxed cereals. And here’s more of the deal: Those cereals are designed to get soggy quickly, even when toasted. Let’s make a crunchier, tastier version of the standard that’s got a bigger variety of textures (for mouth busyness) and lots more spicy flavors (for yum). Author © Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough Photograph © Eric Medsker
Servings Prep Time
10small servings 8minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
6minutes 5minutes (cooling time)
Servings Prep Time
10small servings 8minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
6minutes 5minutes (cooling time)
  • 3tbsp unsalted buttermelted
  • 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp onion powder
  • 1tsp mild smoked paprika
  • 1tsp table salt
  • 1/2tsp cayenneoptional
  • 1 rounded cup broken plain unseasoned bagel chips
  • 1 rounded cup unseasoned thin halved pretzel sticksdo not use thick pretzel rods
  • 1cup plainunsalted, unseasoned mixed nuts
  • 16 small round rice crackersbroken up, each about 2 inches diameter
  1. Stir the melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt, and cayenne (if using) in a large bowl until uniform.
  2. Add the bagel chips, pretzel sticks, nuts, and rice crackers. Toss and stir until everything is yummy-coated, with no more than a drop or two of melted butter at the bottom of the bowl.
  3. Set the machine to “Air Fry.” Set the temperature to 350°F and the timer to 8 minutes (which will be a little more than you need). Press START.
  4. When the machine beeps, indicating “add food,” or is heated to the proper temperature, scrape and pour the ingredients from the bowl into the basket or onto the tray in a fairly compact layer, although with some overlap. The party mix should not be more than 1/2 inch deep. Use separate trays or work in batches as necessary.
  5. Air-fry, tossing the ingredients once every minute but otherwise ignoring any “turn food” indicator, until the mix is lightly browned and quite fragrant, maybe 5 or 6 minutes. If you’ve used multiple trays, swap them top to bottom at about the halfway point in the cooking process. You may also want to air-fry the mix for 1 or 2 minutes longer than we suggest if you like a bit of a burnt crunch.
  6. Turn off the machine and dump the party mix into a large bowl. Wait for at least 5 minutes to dig in. The party mix can be kept at room temperature for about an hour.
Upgrade This Recipe!
  1. Add 1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas) with the bagel chips.
  2. For a dairy-free mix, substitute 3 tbsp peanut oil or coconut oil for the butter.
  3. Substitute rendered bacon fat for the butter. (You don’t have any around? Turn to page 151 and make some Irresistible Bacon.)
Recipe Notes

LEFTOVERS! Once cooled to room temperature, the mix can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Refresh either those that sit at room temperature too long or any stored leftovers in a single layer in a 350°F air fryer for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing once.