[Review] Cheez-It Sweet and Salty Snack Mix

Have I been living under The Rock?

Wait. Nope, that’s not it. Start again.

Have I been living under a rock? (Nailed it.) When I first saw photos of the new Cheez-It Sweet and Salty Snack Mix, I was equal parts disgusted and intrigued. Why mix two beloved products that have such different flavors? There was no way that could work, and definitely no way anyone would buy it.

Well, the joke was on me because 1) I bought it, and 2) as it turns out, people have been mixing Cheez-Its and M&Ms for ages. Take it away, Ray and Beth!

I honestly had no idea combining Cheez-Its and M&Ms was something people did. I also had no idea Sam’s Club paid a guy with an absurd goatee to breathe heavily over a woman’s shoulder as she pours butter-soaked candy into an oblong bowl, but here we are.

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Fortunately for my arteries, Cheez-It Sweet and Salty Snack Mix strays from good ol’ Dr. BBQ’s recipe quite a bit. The mix contains Cheez-Its, caramel popcorn, pretzels, corn squares (basically, Chex cereal), and M&Ms. As I opened the box, I noticed a sweet, honey-like aroma. The cheddar smell of the Cheez-Its was faint, but still detectable. The top of the box warns to “mix it up” as the contents may have settled. Sure enough, all of the M&Ms and Cheez-Its had congregated at the bottom of the bag. After shaking the contents around a bit, I was ready to dig in.

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With one handful of this snack mix, I was convinced. Cheez-Its and M&Ms are a surprisingly tasty combination. All of the separate ingredients in this mix blend well, and are tied together with a fantastic sweet and salty coating–from the list of ingredients, that coating appears to consist of sugar, salt, and brown sugar. The overall texture is excellent as well. There’s a good crunch, as any snack mix should have, but the softer caramel popcorn provides some nice balance. The crunch is a bit one-dimensional, though–I think this mix could have benefited from the addition of nuts or some other ingredient to provide more variety.

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The pretzels provide the strongest crunch out of all of the ingredients, and a good amount of the saltiness as well. They have that classic doughy pretzel taste to them, which stood out among the sweetness of some of the other ingredients. The caramel popcorn is rich, buttery, and has a great caramel flavor–I found myself wishing that there were more pieces of it, as the popcorn seemed to be the least common of the ingredients.

The corn squares are easily the sweetest pieces, since their texture allows them to soak up more of the sugary coating. The M&Ms are exactly what you’d expect–the rich milk chocolate provides a nice depth of flavor. I actually think this is where that different crunch I mentioned earlier could have been incorporated: using Peanut M&Ms rather than Milk Chocolate would have provided another texture to the mix and helped balance out some of the sweetness.

Oddly, with all of the other flavors at play here, the usually distinct cheese flavor of the Cheez-Its kind of took a back seat. I’m not sure if it was the doughiness of the pretzels or all of the sugar in the other ingredients, but the Cheez-Its just didn’t have the same sharpness that they usually have on their own. This was a bit disappointing. Once I bought in to the idea of Cheez-Its mixed with M&Ms, I wanted to experience the full flavor of each.

Overall, Cheez-It Sweet and Salty Snack Mix works well. Some slight improvements could be made, especially in bringing out the taste of the namesake ingredient, but I really enjoyed this combination. I’m sorry I doubted you, Cheez-It. I stand corrected. And I’m not one bit salty about it.

Item: Cheez-It Sweet and Salty Snack Mix
Price and Place of Purchase: $2.89 at Target
Size: 8 oz. package
Nutrition Facts (serving size-1/2 cup): 140 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 2.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 160 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 5 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein.
In a Nutshell: All of the various flavors in this mix combine to achieve a wonderful balance of sweet and salty. There’s a decent texture as well, but the mix could use a heartier crunch and a bolder cheddar flavor. My brain would explode if The Rock was my upstairs neighbor. Chef Ray probably gets paid way too much to drool on camera.
Overall Score: 8 out of 10

Our friends at Junk Banter also reviewed the Cheez-It Sweet and Salty Snack Mix. Check it out!

(Video: MMA Creative)

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