4 Ways to Upgrade Your Trail Mix

Easy routes to a better snack fix, from the Southern U.S. to Northern Europe

Trail mix is the perfect snack—it's customizable and satisfying, and every handful is different. So it's no surprise that such nut + seed + dried fruit + whatever-else-is-in-the-pantry recipes are a hit all over the world. From Swedish nuts and seeds, spiced and tossed with balsamic, to Indian Hot Mix, these global trail mixes satisfy all our mid-day cravings.

Road Trip Barbecue Trail Mix

Barbecue Trail Mix

This trail mix uses three kinds of nuts (cashews, pecans, Marcona almonds), two kinds of dried fruit (apricots, figs), cacao nibs, and a flurry of spices (cinnamon, cumin, and more). Barbecue sauce and bacon glazed with maple syrup add an irresistible savory-sweet tang to the snack.Romulo Yanes

This mix explodes with flavor from a barbecue glaze and nibs of maple-candied bacon.

Hot Mix (Indian Spiced Snack Mix)

Hot Mix (Indian Spiced Snack Mix)

There are countless varieties of this ubiquitous Indian snack mix, made with varying combinations of nuts, fruit, spices, and other ingredients. Cookbook author Smita Chandra's version of the addictive nibble is the best we've had, with four kinds of nuts (cashew, peanut, almond, pistachio), plus sweet raisins, nutty coconut, and poha, dried flattened rice flakes.Ingalls Photography

This isn't called Hot Mix for nothing: nibbles of fried sev noodles, nuts, and pounded rice get serious spice from dried chiles, plus a welcome curry leaf funk.

Balsamic-Spiced Nuts and Seeds (Heta Nötter)

Balsamic-Spiced Nuts and Seeds (Heta Nötter)
This Swedish snack of warm toasted cashews, almonds, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds tossed in a chile-spiked balsamic emulsion is addictive and easy to make. Great eaten out of hand or served on a cheese board alongside sharp Swedish Västerbotten cheese as part of a Midsummer feast.Felix Odell

This classic calls for an ingredient not often appreciated in American trail mixes: balsamic vinegar. Just the thing to bulk up a cheese spread.

Ajil (Persian Style Trail Mix)

This traditional Iranian mixture of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits is a nice mix of sweet and salty and will keep for up to two weeks; it first appeared in our December 2012 issue along with Ramin Ganeshram's story Midnight Snack. See the recipe for Ajil (Persian Trail Mix) »Todd Coleman

Sweet dried currants and two types of chewy figs mingle in this Persian snack.