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Homemade Ranch Nuts and Bolts Recipe (No Bake)

A nuts and bolts recipe with homemade ranch seasoning! Everyone at your party will be asking for the recipe.  Full of flavor and totally addicting!

Debbie has been making this amazing ranch nuts and bolts recipe for a long ass time.  I think I was probably 16 or so when I first tasted them!  Loved them then, love them now and so does everyone else that tries them.  Both Debbie and I make these often for a party and its a given for Christmas.

We always have people ask us for the recipe.  Always!

Debbie calls it her crack nuts and bolts recipe because you just cant stop eating them.  Ever.  Till they are gone. And then you still want more.  It’s a million times better than any nuts and bolts mix that you can buy in the store and once you see how easy it is to make, you will never buy it again.

Crack Nuts and Bolts recipe with Ranch that will have Everyone Addicted!

What are Nuts and Bolts?

The name comes from the “nuts and bolts” commonly found in a handyman’s workshop. It became widely popular as Chex Mix when the company added the recipe to the side of the chex box. This holiday snack mix usually features pretzel sticks – the bolts, and nuts – the Cheerios and mixed nuts.

Many families have a traditional recipe that they make over and over again and pass on through the generations. This is ours!

Why We Love this Recipe

  • its No Bake! This is one of the things that sets our recipe apart from others. Most others call for baking. This one just needs to sit for a bit.
  • its got great flavor. The ranch seasoning kicks the regular chex mix ass. Sorry, but it does…
  • everyone LOVES this mix. Everyone!
  • its so easy to make
  • it stores very well
  • this mix transports well. It’s so easy to take to a party to share with friends.
  • its a little on the healthier side than other mix recipes as its made with olive oil instead of

What goes in the Party Mix?

This is no side of the cereal box Chex Mix. This is something very different, but it starts off the same. With a ton of box cereal and pretzels. You can choose whatever you like best. Here are some options:

  • cereals: chex, life, shreddies, cheerios… 
  • honey nut chex, shreddies, or cheerios – I recently tried adding a sweet cereal and it was soooo good! Don’t do too sweet though.
  • pretzels or pretzel sticks
  • cheeze itz or cheesy goldfish
  • bugles or corn chips
  • nuts: walnuts, cashews, pecans, peanuts…  go for unsalted if you can or they might turn out too salty with the seasoning mix added.
  • raisins or dried cranberries – we haven’t tried these but they might be good
  • make it spicy with some added chili powder
  • olive oil or other vegetable oil- our mix is not made with butter like many other recipes

You know how some people just pick at their favorite parts of the nuts and bolts mix?  Well I’m one of those people and my favorite parts of this one are the chex, life cereal, cheeze itz and the pretzels, so pretty much every time I make this nuts and bolts recipe, I only make it with chex, life, cheeze itz and pretzels lol.  Smart right?

Can you make it gluten free?

Yes, you actually can. There are lots of gluten free cereal options out there now! You can use gluten free cereal like rice chex and gluten free honey nut cheerios. Glutino makes gluten free pretzels and pretzel sticks. So do Snyders now I believe. There’s a lot of options. You can also use an assortments of nuts to go with.

a bowl of homemade nuts and bolts

Homemade Ranch Seasoning

We used to make this recipe with pre-packaged ranch seasoning.  However, as you may know, most pre-packaged seasoning has MSG and a bunch of other things I cant pronounce so we started making our own. 

We tried a couple recipes and all the recipes said that they would taste exactly like ranch.  But they didn’t.  There was always something missing.

All the homemade recipes were missing the ‘tang’.  At first we thought it was salt, but it was more like a citrus tang.  The missing ingredient is citric acid!  It’s a naturally occurring acid found in citrus fruits and also a natural preservative.   You can find it at health food stores in powdered form or here on amazon.

It’s the key to a tangy ranch dressing!

pictures showing how to make nuts and bolts

How to Make this Snack Mix

  • First make your ranch seasoning.  Mix all the herbs, spices, and seasonings together in a mason jar or similar.  Give a a good shake to combine.
  • Add the oil, measured ranch seasoning, extra dill and garlic powder to a bowl and give it a good whisk to combine.  Set aside.
  • Add the cereal and pretzels (or whatever combination that you choose) to a large bowl or container.  Pour some of the oil mixture over the dry mix and stir really well.  Continue to pour and stir in batches until the oil mixture is gone.
  • Let the nuts and bots recipe just sit for a while to absorb the oil.

Tips to Make it Perfect:

  • You just have to make sure that you make it at least a couple hours before you are wanting to serve it.  Even the day before.  
  • It needs to be mixed well a number of times to coat all the goodies in the seasoning really well and the oil needs time to sink in and dry.  You don’t want an oily mix. 

But don’t kid yourself, you will be stealing from the bowl before its good and ready.  Mark my words!

nuts and bolts spilling out of a jar with a big bowl behind it.

When to Make Nuts and Bolts

In our family this party mix recipe comes out in full force at Christmas. However, Debbie and I also make it for other events:

  • Super Bowl or other Big Game – this is a great game day snack and it goes excellent with beer
  • Birthday Parties – kids love this stuff and so do the big kids
  • Camping – this party mix stores well so its easy to transport, but make sure you take it in a hard container so it doesn’t get smushed.
  • Any Old Party – I made this for a NASCAR party we had in my husbands shop the other week. It was devoured!
  • To Give as Gifts – fill a large mason jar or tin box and give as gifts during the holiday season.
  • Bring it to a Potluck – every potluck needs snacks

Tools You Need:

  1. BIG Mixing Bowl – as this is a lot of cereal and you need to be able to mix well, you will need a big ass bowl!   We love this one because it has a lid AND its pink!
  2. Cute weck jars – we love these for storing extra ranch seasoning or anything else you like

Other Appetizer Recipes You Might like:

If you’ve tried this crack nuts and bolts recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let us know how it turned out in the comments below.  We love hearing from you!

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Crack Nuts and Bolts with Homemade Ranch Dressing

Nuts and bolts with ranch seasoning that’s homemade and really tastes like ranch! Everyone at your party will be addicted and asking for the recipe.
4.35 from 26 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 10
Author: Julie & Debbie



  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp minced dried onion
  • 2 tsp dill weed
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp citrus acid powder (don’t leave out)


  • 4 tbsp ranch dressing powder
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or any vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp dill weed
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 8 cups of cereal and nuts if you want (pretzels, cheerios, chex, life, shreddies, gold fish, cashews….)



  • First make your ranch seasoning. Mix all the herbs, spices, and seasonings together in a mason jar or similar. Give a a good shake to combine. Taste it.


  • Add the oil, measured ranch seasoning, extra dill and garlic powder to a bowl and give it a good whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • Add the cereal and pretzels (or whatever combination that you choose) to a large bowl or container. Pour some of the oil mixture over the dry mix and stir really well. Continue to pour and stir in batches until the oil mixture is gone.
  • Let the nuts and bots recipe just sit for a while to absorb the oil.  Let it sit for an hour or so and mix again.  Continue this pattern till the mixture starts to get dry and all the pieces are well coated.


1. You can also use pre-packaged ranch seasoning if you want to. You would use two packages for this recipe.
2. Taste the seasoning before you mix it for the nuts and bolts cuz you might want to add a touch more salt or a little more citic acid if you want it a bit more tangy. 
3. You can also use this Ranch Seasoning to make a salad dressing and best of all NO MSG or other crap! Just mix with some mayo and a little coconut milk. We havent done this yet so we cant give you exact measurements yet.
2 tbsp. of this mixture = 1 pkg. hidden valley ranch

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    1. Hi Angela,

      Debbie got citric acid poweder from a health food store. I dont believe its in regular grocery stores, but I think it is fairly easy to find in health food stores. Its worth hunting for. It makes all the difference in this ranch seasoning mix!

  1. Citric acid powder is sold in plastic bottles by Ball for canning, to keep your fruit from going brown. A good source of vitamin C. Available at any place you can buy canning supplies. Menards, Walmart or many supermarkets.

    1. We have updated the recipe slightly because I could never find buttermilk powder! You can add 2 tsp to the recipe if you would like to use it, but its not necessary.

    1. It will store for a few weeks in an airtight container. ziplock bags work great if you can protect them from squishing.

  2. I have a problem getting everything covered, the spices usually are concentrated in one area. How do you get everything mixed evenly? My son and I love this recipe so much I can see why it’s called “crack”.

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