Homemade Nuts and Bolts

Homemade is always, always best, but….

…honestly, this is the only reason I buy “store bought” cereals, and it actually upsets me… but, if you are looking for that old fashioned (everything is relative) Nuts & Bolts recipe, this is it!!    The life long tradition of munching homemade nuts and bolts warm out of mom’s oven is one from “the modern convenience food age” that I have chosen to carry on in my family because I LOVE them! They are not even close to anything you can buy in a box. Well, except that all of the ingredients come in a box. The “sauce” is almost completely butter, but don’t let that deter you or influence you. This recipe is “the one” you have been looking for and these nuts and bolts are worth every calorie!

I remember taking the pretzel and piling the cheerios onto it as a child. Now, the cheerio hole is no longer big enough to do that. What’s with that?

We also used to be able to buy wheat, corn, and rice Chex in Canada, but no more… so, use Shreddies and Life Cereal, or anything similar to these shapes. I will be honest. Nothing compares to the Chex. Shreddies are really good in this, but the Corn and Rice Chex cannot be substituted with anything I have found to be as tasty. Fortunately, I have a daughter in Palo Alto who keeps me in stock. Sometimes I can find Rice Chex here, now, but never the Corn or Wheat Chex.

I just made three batches. I have a lot of family to share with… but, don’t, for a minute, think these are good for you. I mean, boxed and processed cereal isn’t good for you in the first place! Now, look at the butter in the recipe!!! Don’t say I didn’t warn you, but these are really, really addictive.

And whose tracks are these? This reminds me of the tracks I found last year! But, they do look different, and… upon investigation: AHHHHH!

What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her. She is just soooo controlling sometimes!

I’ll let him live in his little fantasy world – for now… as if I don’t know…. EVERYTHING.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Nuts and Bolts
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is the recipe you have been looking for. The good old fashioned recipe straight off the box in the early 1960's or late 1950's. Homemade. Absolutely excellent, and not all that good for you - but better than some snacks!
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Canadian
Serves: 24 cups
  • 1 lb. butter
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1½tsp. onion salt (didn't have any so I used 1½tsp Vegeta)
  • 1½tsp. celery salt
  • 1½t Spike (this is not in the traditional version, but I add it because I like it)
  • 4 cups Corn Chex (available in the US, not in Canada)
  • 4 cups Wheat Chex (available in the US, not in Canada)
  • 4 cups of Rice Chex (available in the US, not in Canada)
  • 4 cups Cheerios
  • 4 cups of pretzel sticks
  • 1 box cheese nips or cheese bites
  1. Heat oven to 250° F
  2. Place butter in heavy pot; melt it while the oven is preheating
  3. Add next five ingredients and stir well to combine
  4. Combine all remaining ingredients in a large roaster, then transfer, if needed, to casserole dishes for baking (your pan can be full enough to toss, or to stir, but should not be heaping)
  5. Pour sauce over in ½ cup increments, stirring gently and firmly to combine each time, until all has been mixed in
  6. Bake for 1½ hours; stir every ½ hour
  7. Store in air tight container; be sure to hide some for yourself!
The average boxes of chex each hold 10 cups of cereal. Interestingly, even the wheat chex, though the box is smaller.

The massive double box of Cheerios holds 16 cups in one bag

My 2014 batch had all of this, 2 boxes of Cheese Bits, 8 cups of Prestzel sticks and 8 cups of Shreddies; then I had 60 cups of ingredients. The one pound of butter recipe has 20 cups of ingredients, so I multiplied the sauce x 3 and mixed it up a bit. It was stellar!
I did adjust the seasonings:

3 pounds butter
6 ablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
3 tablespoons. garlic powder
2 tablespoons of Vegeta
2 tablespoons. celery salt
2 tablespoons Spike

Nuts and Bolts Mis en Place


  1. says

    I remember Chex!!! Wondered why they didn’t sell them anymore. Anyways, after reading my Dad’s lobster in cream sauce, you should know butter doesn’t scare me none ;-). The only problem I have with these kinds of mixed treats is that my holy terrors will pick at the ones they like and then when those run out, well…let’s just say holy terrors don’t even begin to describe them. Lol. Although with this delicious recipe, I’d have no problem polishing off the ones they don’t like. Maybe they’ll even eat all of them. Gosh Valerie, you are a live walking cookbook, and every foodie’s dream 😀

      • Valerie Lugonja says

        I have found Rice Chex here, too, Doreen, lately – it is the Corn and Wheat I cannot find, but one gal wrote to me recently and suggested I look at the Gluten Free Aisle for the Corn Chex.

          • Valerie Lugonja says

            Hi, Shelagh
            I thought that initally, too – years ago – but no, this is the right recipe. I agree, very wet when you make it – but sublime when baked and 1 cup of butter just doesn’t cut it.

  2. says

    That beaver is one smart cookie. He knows good stuff when he sees it. I love this Nuts and Bolts mixture. I know it’s been around for a while, but it never fails to please everyone and you can store it so nicely for the holidays. Nice hostess gift too, Valerie.

  3. says

    Can I tell you how much I LOVE that you did this! Sometimes we just gotta go with those childhood memories & traditions to complete the holiday experience. Funny about the hole in the Cheerios getting smaller. I like the idea of the pretzel going through it. Perhaps the pretzels got thicker too?? Regardless, enjoy this crunchy snack – – my kids would love it! xo

  4. says

    Hey Valerie, I’ve never had nuts and bolts. Yours look delicious though, and I wouldn’t feel too bad about having an old favorite from the conventional foods world. Who doesn’t?! Oh, and I bet these would be really nice with a beer!

  5. says

    oh goodness a family treat indeed, my mom always made a HUGE batch of this for the holidays…i have not had it in ages, thanks for sharing…I think my girls would really love this…


  6. says

    You got a chex distributer, huh. That’s hilarous.

    Ohhh, now I REALLY want some salty nuts and bolts. Salty and crunchy are one of my most very fave combos.

  7. says

    Valerie…this really brought back some memories for me. My brother and I couldn’t wait for our parents to pull out the spread of these crunchy treats when receiving friends over for a good time.
    We’re the ones that had the good times and also the upset tummies afterwards ;o)
    Those times were such simpler days and we didn’t seem to have a care in the world.

    Now, this is the 2nd post tonight where you managed to let me reminisce…thanks 😉

    Ciao for now,

  8. says

    I LOVE this stuff! I am well known in my family for hogging the bowl and eating all the shreddies and cheerios and leaving the rest behind. I have never made it, as I refuse to believe there’s that much butter in it, but I sure can put it away!

  9. Paula says

    Ok this is great stuff, now replace 1/2 cup of butter with 1/2cup bacon grease.
    (I keep bacon greas in the fridge so I use it when it’s hard).I put little pads of grease all over the nuts and bolts every time i stir it up every 1/2 hour.Now tell me what you think .

    • Valerie says

      You are evil! That would be soooooo delicious! I am definitely going to give it a try next year… as if they are not addictive enough. And, I also keep my bacon grease as I am married to an Easter European guy who would not live without bacon.

  10. Kat says

    Well it is a good recipe… thank you ! GOOD NEWS.. I found Chex in Canada.. but only in some stores..and only the rice and wheat so far ~

    I know this will disappoint Paula… I reduced the “fat” to 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup olive oil. I also added 1 226g box of Wheat thins sticks, 110g of cashews and upped the garlic… this recipe sure forgiving. Guess that cut’s some of the salt.. but it has good flavour and my Man says it’s the only holiday tradition he really remembers from his childhood.. his grandfather made them.. but he insist they really should be made MONTHS in advance? 😉

    Tonight I am going to try and create a modification that is spicy.

    • Valerie says

      Hi, Kat!
      Well, I agree with your husband! They should be made MONTHS in advance so they can be eaten all year round! Otherwise, no need. They are best fresh and definitely do not improve with age, but will keep about 6 weeks or so without going stale in a sealed container.

    • Valerie says

      How purely naughty of you to eat and not tell! Share your secret! Where did you buy them and where do you live? I already have my coat on!

    • Valerie says

      Where from? Let me Google and see if I can find a Canadian CHEX source. :) V
      Found out that Chex are available in Canada SOMEWHERE since the summer of 2011, but cannot locate any information of specific sourcing. If anyone knows, please chime in.

    • Valerie says

      Thank you so much, Corinne!
      So that would mean Superstore in the Edmonton area, folks! Cannot wait to check this out as I am black and blue from kicking myself for not bringing back the massive triple box they prepare and sell in the US for this while we were just in San Fran!

  11. Amy says

    I just bought some Rice Chex at SuperWalmart (in Edmonton) last Friday. Used them to make Puppy Chow and it is delish! Using my Shreddies and the rest of the Chex for the Nuts and Bolts. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Valerie says

      Thank you! Maybe I need your recipe for puppy chow! Is it nutritious? I have a little baby sister named Penny who lives with my mom and dad. She is tiny and fluffy and white and definitely a princess through and through. They feed her chicken breast, carrots and tomatoes every night for supper… raw tomatoes, steamed and cold carrots, poached chicken – all minced. Other than that she likes a couple of kinds of dog food that are good for her teeth. (And they get those cleaned twice a year, too!)

  12. Corinne says

    I was just at a Zehrs here in Ontario and they had Rice Chex and Honey-Nut Chex, but I didn’t see the Corn Chex. Now I just have to find a substitute for Bugles. :-p

    • Valerie says

      Hopefully you are finding a substitute for Bugles because they are pure fat gluing all of their preservatives together! 😛 I love my N&B simple: no peanuts, no interference. Just me and my (big) bowl!

  13. Corinne says

    Valerie, thanx for the info on Bugles, I won’t worry too much about sourcing them. Wishing you and your legion of followers a Very Merry Christmas!

  14. Debbie says

    Valerie, how long do they stay fresh, I would like to make it today but have it taste good for Christmas.(Thats ten days away) Can you really freeze it and it doesnt come out soggy?

    • Valerie says

      This is one of the only recipes on my site that is made primarily with prepackaged food that already contains preservatives. After dressing the cereals and baking them, this will stay “fresh” in a tightly sealed container – not in the fridge or freezer, for up to two months. I know! This recipe is truly one of my sins, but I love it and it reminds me of my childhood Christmas and at least dressing it myself I have some control over what we are eating… and it is sooooo yummy. But, it keeps very very well, so fear not! You will have it fresh for Christmas and New Years – should it last so long!

  15. Carolyn says

    I picked up Corn & Rice Chex at Superstore in Northwest Edmonton this week, and they are indeed gluten free! I just add Shreddies to round it out :) I always have a heck of a time finding cheese nibs, etc so I started using cheese gold fish crackers – perfect substitute!

    • Valerie says

      I found Rice Chex, too – they are almost everywhere right now – and new in! But, all I could find, and I made a valiant effort – were they honey nut Corn Chex. Were yours plain? I prefer plain by far. Then, Superstore has an organic wheat cereal that looks like a Shreddie but is much lighter like the Chex. They have Cheese Nibs at Safeway and Save On Foods almost all of the time, but I never shop at either place regularly, either.
      So, I am set, too – except I could not find straight pretzels anywhere! Now, that is funny.
      We are looking again tomorrow.

      • Carolyn says

        Actually I like to use my leftover broken waffle pretzel pieces! I use the perfect ones to make the rolo/nut treats and then the broken ones go into this – it’s a peftect match! I found that having bits of waffle makes it much easier to pick up and you don’t get jabbed by the long pretzels too! Since the cheerios don’t fit on them anymore anyway, why not? :)

        I have plain corn chex but I noticed today they now have honey nut. Maybe it was a mistake! 😉

        • Carolyn says

          Oh, I like the way the shreddies soak up all the yummy flavour – they are my favourite pieces so I wouldn’t trade them in! 😉

  16. Dave says

    I found Honey Nut Chex at Sobeys here in Fredericton, NB, so I would imagine there’s a good chance you’ll find it any Sobeys, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Price Chopper or Thrifty Foods stores across the country. Maybe not the plain variety of Chex, though.

    • Valerie says

      Thanks, Dave!
      In Edmonton, the Rice Chex are everywhere – and the honey nut Corn Chex most places… I wish they were not sweet – but, used them this year and they were OK! :) Wheat Chex are not to be found in the west yet.

  17. Lulu says

    This is a great starter recipe, but there is no need to really worry about finding this or that cereal. Go to any Bulk Food store and pick an assortment of cereal/snacks in the quantities you need. I have added corn chips, small cheesies, ring-o chips to the standard ingredients, the possibilities are endless and they all work. You will save a bit by not buying boxes of cereal you might not use later.

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      HI, Lulu!
      Glad you can go with the flow! At this house, we are traditionalists and like the CHEX cereals. Others I have found are either too dense in texture, or too sweet. But, yes, a lot of people add to it to make it their own. We love it JUST as it is. And frankly, I am a little miffed that the cherrios have shrunk. I used to LOVE stringing them onto a pretzel! Can’t do that with these modern Cherrios!

  18. Canadian girl says

    I wish you had a version of your recipe that lists ingredients available in Canada. You are titled a “Canadian Foodie”. How disappointing.

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      Well, Tiffany
      I am a Canadian Foodie – but this is an old family traditional recipe, and as I am also older, the country no longer imports these products as they did when I was a child. So, you see… childhood memories of taste and food are important. So important, that no other recipe tastes as good to me – even though, I am not a supporter of processed or industrialized foods, I have included this recipe as it was so much a part of our family life, and still is. The power of a recipe on the side of a box. Chex were huge when I was a child. Huge across the country. Ours, and the US. There used to be a Canadian plant that made them, was my understanding, that has long since closed. Things change.
      I am certain that if you use this recipe in portions, that you can find similar cereals sold in Canada. It will just not be the same. And, as it sounds as if you haven’t grown up with this recipe, that won’t probably make any difference at all, to you.
      Happy Holidays,

      • Canadian girl says

        Hi Valerie,
        It is true, I did not grow up with a home made version of this recipe but would very much like to start making it for my own family now. I just don’t know what “chex’ are, so I’m not sure what to subside it with. Perhaps you could suggest an updated Canadian version of this recipe. Or if the traditional version is that good maybe it calls for a run for the border.
        Happy Holidays

        • Valerie Lugonja says

          HI, Canadian Girl,
          For me, my daughter brings the boxes back each year when she comes home for Christmas. Yup. She has moved to the dark side. But, you can buy rice chex in Canada, now. The corn chex and wheat chex have a similar light texture, that I prefer to the Shreddies and Life cereal density, and these are the two that are often used in replacement of the other two.
          I hope that helps! Happy homemade holidays! Good for you!

  19. MrsC says

    “1 1/2t Spike (this is not in the traditional version, but I add it because I like it)”

    Just one question …what the dickens is “Spike”?

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      Mrs. C
      It is a seasoning. I use the original. Here is a photo of it. Free advertising for Spike!
      Have fun with the recipe. It is addictive.

      • MrsC says

        Just wanted to let you know that the Nuts and Bolts were an amazing hit at our Boxing Day gathering! I’ve been asked for the recipe several times! :) Thank you!!

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      Hey Lisa
      I was going to give you a link – but they are soooo long, so google “Spike Seasoning” we love it – you can get it with salt or without. It is a great little seasoning salt for sandwiches and salads -and love it in this! Hope that helps!
      :) Valerie

  20. Sue says

    Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you…
    I made these today. I could not find the plain rice chex so I did you the honey nut. I know it sounds yucky, but I countered the sweetness with heat. So I added cayenne pepper. I like hot and spicey combinations so I added another teaspoon of garlic powder, onion powder (I am not a huge salt fan) and hot paprika…YUMMY!!! I made a single batch.
    This is a great foundational recipe and it is going in my Christmas Cookbook for future reference.

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      Hi Raine
      It is a seasoning spice we love. Google it to see what it looks like. I am sure it is in your local grocery story.

  21. Brenda Garner says

    Valarie, thank you so much for posting this recipe. This is the same one my mother used and I copied it. When I moved from Ontario to Alberta in Canada, I couldn’t find the old recipe. I couldn’t believe it when I went online looking for one like it and came across the actual receipt.

    Thanks again for posting this bits and bites recipe, Brenda.

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      My pleasure. I am totally a non-processed foods guru, but when it comes to Christmas, this snack is a must. I break all of my own rules as we cherish these and the memories of Christmas at home we all hold dear.

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