Homemade Toasted Trail Mix

April 4, 2013(updated on October 3, 2018)


I’ve had some particularly bad flight luck in the last couple years and on multiple occasions, have found myself stuck on a grounded plane for hours at a time. Since learning that flight times are really nothing more than suggestions, I now always make sure to pack a snack or two to ward off the worst hunger pangs.

I’m headed out of town tomorrow for a quick trip to the California (disclosure! It’s a press trip to learn more about Driscoll’s berries. I’ll have lots of details to share when I get back) and as I was packing today, realized that I needed to procure a snack for the trip.


My regular travel snack is a bag of trail mix from Trader Joe’s. I had been planning on dashing over to my local TJ’s earlier today to pick something up, when I realized that given the ingredients in my kitchen, I could easily toss something together myself.

Isn’t it funny that I make so many things from scratch but somehow had never made up a batch of trail mix? It’s essentially just fruit and nuts. It’s ridiculously simple and I feel a little foolish for not making it on my own sooner.

dried fruit

I had four kind of nuts and seeds in my kitchen and so added 1/2 a cup each of almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, and cashews. I toasted them briefly at 350 degrees F and then let them cool. While they were coming back to room temperature, I pulled out the sweet options and ended up adding dried apricots, raisins, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, shaved coconut, and some chopped bittersweet chocolate.

finished trail mix

Once the nuts were cool (though I discovered that I didn’t let them cool quite enough and so ended up with melted chocolate streaked across the cashews), I tossed everything together and messily poured it into a zip top bag. Now, if I were making this for home use, I’d certainly stash it in a jar. But for air travel, the plastic bag rules.

What’s your go-to travel snack?

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27 thoughts on "Homemade Toasted Trail Mix"

  • I have to say my go-to snack is usually trail mix. And after seeing this post, making my own is going to be my next project. It looks so easy and yet so delicious.

    I live in the Bay Area and know where Driscoll’s is — have a great time out here! I hope it is a great trip.

  • I’m going to make a very dense bread from Home Baked, Hanne Risgaard, called Rene’s Olive Bread. It is make with whole wheat pastry flour, eggs, olive oil, white wine,ham or bacon,green olives, black olives,gruyere. Baking powder and salt.If we can get a glass of wine or a beer to go with it that will be great. We’ll be taking the most round about longest flight to Galveston to board a ship, starting in San Francisco, next Atlanta, Houston, then Galveston. Sailing for the Azores, Lisbon, Brussels, Paris and London. But we only need snacks for domestic flights.
    And if anyone has any suggestions for places to see, given we have only one day each, I’l love to know.

  • If it is a long trip I like trail mix. If short, like a movie before dinner, I bring an ounce of nuts and a cheese stick, or maybe a granola bar and a cheese stick. I like to always link my carbs with some protein.

  • This trail mix sounds like a great idea! So much better than the premade bags hanging around in the airport stores. It’s it amazing how a tiny bit of snack planning can make air travel 100% nicer? 🙂

  • Certainly trail mix is best. No muss, no fuss, and it can be customized to your particular likes. I think that stuff in stores is usually at least a year old before you buy it. Home made quality is so much better!

  • I haven’t eaten trail mix in probably decades because my mom used to bake it into muffins, so I never got into the habit of eating it out of hand. What a great idea!

  • I like to bake my own chewy granola bars for travel (a bit less messy than trail mix), but I might make some cheddar crackers for our trip to the UK this summer. Seems like a good way to get a little protein in there that isn’t messy and won’t get confiscated by the TSA.

  • Perfect timing! I’m heading to New Orleans on Sunday and this would make a perfect snack companion for the flight. Thanks!

  • I make this all the time. Can vary the dried fruit, but I like the dried cherries with this. And parchment paper a Godsend!

    2 cups baby pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
    1 cup slivered almonds
    3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
    6 tablespoons pure Grade B maple syrup
    Coarse salt
    1 cup dried cherries or cranberries
    Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

    In a large bowl, toss the pumpkin seeds, almonds, and sunflower seeds and the syrup until evenly coated. Spread the nuts and seeds out, in an even single layer, on the lined baking sheets and season with salt to taste. Bake the nuts, stirring several times with spatula or wooden spoon, until just golden, about 20 minutes.

    Cool the nuts completely on the pan, then add the cherries and toss to combine. Store cooled trail mix in an airtight container at room temperature.

    Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/claire-robinson/pumpkin-seed-dried-cherry-trail-mix-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

  • I’m hypoglycemic so I always keep a little bag of almonds and raisins that I mix myself. The raisins will pump up my glood sugar when I’m feeling shaky and the almonds will keep my blood sugar level until I can get a meal or a proper snack! I’ve been doing this since college as pre-made trail mixes were too expensive for me then and the habit has just stuck with me…

  • Ok, that looks seriously yummy! I tend to want salty when trapped in route. Admittedly, something like chips tends to be my go to. But I always pack a couple of protein bars for those emergencies when you clearly have to eat or risk hurting somebody shortly. My nontravel go-to snacks are cheese and crackers or nuts.

  • I frequently pack a bag of toasted almonds & dried cranberries for long meetings and whatnot. I also have a giant bag of a trail mix of sorts for snacks at work (so I don’t do stupid food things on my way home). I mix a ton of Cheerios with toasted almonds, toasted peanuts, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, and sometimes a handful of other nuts (maybe Brazil nuts or pecans). No chocolate because otherwise I just end up seeking out more chocolate.

  • Brilliant post – I don’t eat a lot of trail mix, but I do have all sorts of small quantities of nuts and dried fruits hanging around that I don’t quite know how to use. This is perfect!

  • When I was a single working mom going to school at night, I struggled to find something to tide me over through night classes. It had to be cheap, easy and durable enough to carry with me all day, and trail mix was the answer! Though not as elaborate as yours, my mix of almonds, dark chocolate chips and dried cranberries was often envied by my classmates, and is a travel staple today.

  • My spouse, who is the frequent flier at this house always takes trail mix. I, too will look at my bits of leftover fruit and nut in a new light.

  • We make our own “after school mix” because I’m allergic to nuts. We throw whatever looks good/leftover together. Our mix of the moment has pretzel nuggets, the remnants of a bag of chex, craisins, dried pineapple, some yogurt covered pretzels, more craisins, a few m&ms from easter, a handful of chocolate covered craisins and more plain craisins. Notice a theme here?

  • Looks good, but I’d leave off the nuts for an airplane ride. With so many people, esp. kids with nut allergies, it’s just not a good option for flight anymore.

    1. The problem is that during travel, I really need some portable protein and so the nuts are vital for me. I am always careful and conscientious of the fact that I’m eating nuts in a public space, but I don’t think leaving them off entirely is a possibility for me.

  • ha! too funny. just unwittingly rattled on about trail mix, myself. for my part, salted almonds, candied ginger and sour dried cherries (chocolate optional) have totally rocked my trail mix world. (http://www.remedialeating.com/2013/04/a-lotta-miles.html).

    btw, have you tried the california blenheim apricots at trader joe’s? pricier than the standard turkish ones, but mind-blowing good.

    happy travels, marisa!


  • That looks awesome, and is a great sustitute for the kids candy night every Saturday night in front of the TV.

    I used dried pinapple as well as some walnuts, I did not toast the walnuts though, but that is just my personal taste.

  • This is a much better non-processed version of trailmix.

    If you have a food dehydrator you can use this as topping for fruit leathers. Absolutely delicious!