Trail Mix Base Recipe

As dietitians, we get a lot of questions about healthy snacks; this trail mix base recipe is our go-to recommendation for a satisfying snack. Trail mix is lightweight, temperature-stable, energy-providing, and well-balanced. It’s easy to pack for a day on the trails, at the office, on the run, or even at home! This recipe will teach you how to build a healthy trail mix that is versatile and customizable to your taste!

Three Must-Know Cooking Skills

How to Tare a Kitchen Scale
Weight vs. Volume
How to Toast Nuts in the Oven

Culinary Tips for Making this Easy Trail Mix Recipe

Trail mix doesn’t need a lot of ingredients and requires just one simple step, so it’s a great recipe to practice customizing to your taste!

Feel free to leave your measuring tools in the cabinet for this recipe! There is no need for precise measurements. Our ingredient quantities are just suggestions based on purchased bag weights.

Trail mix is a great recipe for kids to help make. They love stirring, mixing, and shaking the ingredients together!

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Nuts: use any nut or combination of nuts. For best flavor, buy lightly-salted roasted nuts or toast nuts yourself. Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts are all good options. 
  • Dried Fruit: use any dried fruit. Look for unsulfured and sugar-free varieties. Some sour or bitter fruits such as cherries and cranberries have added sugar, and that’s okay. Avoid artificially-sweetened varieties. Apples, apricots, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, dates, figs, mangoes, prunes, and raisins are all good options.
  • Seeds: use pumpkin (pepitas) or sunflower seeds. We don’t recommend using tiny seeds, such as chia, flax, hemp or poppy seeds.

Base Recipe Variations

Remember that this is a base recipe, so the goal is for you to customize it to your taste!

Want to make trail mix without nuts? Replace the nuts with the same volume of other add-ins, such as granola, seeds, pretzels, or popcorn.

Do you want to make a sweet, salty, or sweet and salty trail mix recipe? Adding extra ingredients can satisfy all of your snack cravings! Here are some of our favorite trail mix recipe additions:

  • Spices: sweet (allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg) or savory (chili powder, chipotle powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, turmeric) toasted with the nuts
  • Chocolate Chips or Chunks: semisweet or dark 
  • Popcorn: air-popped or a low-sugar kettle variety
  • Coconut Flakes: unsweetened, flaked (not shredded)
  • Granola: homemade or a low-sugar variety
  • Pretzels: break into bite-sized pieces if large

Use these recipe variations for inspiration, then have fun exploring other flavors, ingredients, and textures!

Tropical Trail Mix

Breakfast Trail Mix

Sweet & Salty Trail Mix

Chocolate Strawberry Trail Mix

Is Trail Mix Healthy?

A lot of store-bought trail mixes aren’t super healthy, but building your own trail mix at home allows you to choose the ingredients you use, which certainly means that it can be a healthy snack! The featured ingredients in this healthy homemade trail mix recipe are nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.

Nuts & Seeds

Nuts and seeds of all varieties contain plant-based protein, fiber, and healthy fats. These nutrients help you feel satisfied until your next meal. Making this trail mix recipe with walnuts adds a boost of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids that promote brain and heart health. (1)

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit contains carbohydrates, vitamins, and antioxidants. For optimal nutrition, choose sugar-free varieties such as raisins, dates, or figs.

What can you do with trail mix?

Eat trail mix on its own, use it to top yogurt for a balanced breakfast, or sprinkle over homemade pancakes. Depending on the ingredients you use, trail mix could even be a tasty addition to a green salad or grain-based salad.

What is a serving of trail mix?

One serving of trail mix is about ¼ cup or 2 ounces. If you need help with portion control, divide the trail mix into small, reusable containers in 2-ounce portions.

Trail Mix Storage Suggestions

Store trail mix in an airtight container or reusable zip top bag in the pantry.

How long does homemade trail mix last? We recommend storing trail mix for about one month. Nuts might start to go rancid after that point.

Want more healthy snack ideas?

Check out our other favorite snack recipes:

Apple Cinnamon Granola Clusters

Energy Bites Base Recipe

Kefir Smoothie Base Recipe

5 from 1 vote
a bowl of homemade trail mix: almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, raisins
Trail Mix Base Recipe
Prep Time
8 mins
Total Time
8 mins

Keep this easy Trail Mix Base Recipe on hand for all your snacking needs. Use a variety of nuts and dried fruit to customize your own!

Course: Snack
Yield: 8 cups (might make slightly more or less)
  • 1 ½ pounds (~5 cups) roasted, lightly-salted nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews)
  • 1 pound (~3 cups) dried fruit (cherries, raisins, cranberries)
  • ½ pound (~1 ½ cups) seeds (pumpkin, sunflower)
  1. Place all ingredients in a large bag or container and shake to mix. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Choose your favorite combination of nuts, fruit, and seeds. The options are endless!


Can’t live without chocolate in your trail mix? Add a 12-ounce bag of semisweet or dark chocolate chips!

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. If you click on those links and make a purchase, we will earn a small percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you. 

Did you make this recipe?

Let us know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #totasterecipes! And don’t forget to share it with all of your friends and family!

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. WineGuy22

    I like to make this with peanuts, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, dried cherries, golden berries, and pistachios. Yummy!

  2. Wineguy22

    I make mine with cherries, pistachios, peanuts, almonds, cashews, and sunflower seeds. Then I use a wooden salad bowl and tongs for good mixing!

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