We’re obsessed with how versatile a trail mix bar can be. Whatever the occasion—a family movie night, backyard barbecue, or outdoor summer party—a trail mix bar makes the perfect food set-up. Plus, it’s so easy! Just grab a few bowls, your favorite goodies, and a few simple decorations to get started.
Plan Your Party
Creating the perfect trail mix doesn't have to involve a lot of spices or baking. Instead of using seasoning to flavor your trail mix, flavored nuts. These flavored almonds add bold flavors to any mix—which means less prep time for you! Let guests make their own mixes, or use our yummy trail mix recipes to create the perfect mix of goodies.
Step 1: Grab the Goodies
The first step to a fun trail mix bar is the goodies. Since this is a DIY bar, there are no rules or limits to what you can add—which can be overwhelming. We recommend starting with five main groups: nuts, seeds, grains, dried fruit, and fun stuff. Seeds like pepitas and sunflower seeds are great mix-ins, and foods like granola, pretzels, and cereals are perfect grain-based snacks. We topped off our shopping list with a variety of dried fruits and, of course, the fun stuff. The fun stuff category is a great way to customize the bar for whatever kind of party you’re having. We used a variety of chocolate chips, rainbow candies, and mini marshmallows for a bright and fun bar.
Step 2: Set Up the Bar
Once you have the food elements all planned out, you’ll need a place to display them. Consider setting up your trail mix bar on a buffet-style table, counter, or another easily-accessible area. You’ll need space for several small bowls, trays, and other display items. We used a collection of small bowls and dishes scattered on serving trays and on top of a cake stand (to provide some height to our display). Since we wanted to incorporate bright candies into our trail mix bar, we carried those colors through the display with a few brightly colored and patterned dishes. Add a collection of empty jars, cups, or bowls for guests to create their mixes in, and remember the serving spoons!
Step 3: Decorate
When you have these main things covered, it’s time to decorate your display. Use our set of free printables to add a large framed sign and matching food group signs to your bar area. Instead of labeling each individual food, we like the idea of creating stations for each food group and labeling each with “nuts” or “grains.” Consider using food garnishes as accents, too. Herbs like rosemary serve as a pretty decoration on a few of our food trays.
Try This Mix: Fruit + Nut Trail Mix
Print out our free recipe cards for guests to use as inspiration. This bright and tasty mix is perfect for fruit-lovers. We started with dried apricots, dried cherries, and dried blueberries and added popcorn, pepitas, and dark chocolate for a mix that’s fruity and slightly salty. We finished this mix with rosemary and sea salt almonds for delicious pop of savory to the mix.
Try This Mix: Garlic + Herb Trail Mix
Craft a delicious savory trail mix with the help of garlic-flavored almonds. The pop of garlic is yummy with salty popcorn, pretzels, and pepitas over a base of plain cereal. This unexpected flavor combination will have guests coming back for seconds!
Try This Mix: Sweet + Salty Trail Mix
Our sweet and salty recipe is a delicious classic trail mix. We used salted almonds, dried cherries, coconut flakes, and chocolate chips to a base of cereal. The sweetness of the fruit and chocolate pairs perfectly with the salted almonds to create a delicious sweet and salty snack.