GORP (sweet and salty trail mix)

While I was living at home, my mom was a full-time teacher. She gave so much energy and time to her job that she had little creativity left when it came to food. Frequent snacks in our house included a Chex mix made by literally dumping some dry Chex and mixed nuts into a bowl, and store-bought 6-packs of peanut butter or cheddar-filled crackers.

When my oldest brother had children, one snack I remember them always having on hand was trail mix: a store-bought bag of peanuts, raisins, and M&Ms. I loved the stuff, but the peanuts always had a strange taste (which I now associate with store brand peanuts).

When I met my husband’s extended family, trail mix–affectionately known as GORP (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts)–was a frequent snack. But – revelation – it was homemade, mixed to suit the tastes of those within the family. Don’t like pecans? Use almonds. Despise raisins? (Okay, I’ll admit this is me – but I’m better about it now!) Use craisins. Nut allergies in the family? Use seeds!

all mixed up

I could go on for awhile, but instead I’ll just show you how to go about creating your very own, personalized to suit your family, trail mix. The ingredients list may be long, but it’s a pick-and-choose kind of recipe, and the instructions for making it couldn’t be simpler, so don’t get overwhelmed! Do be sure to balance your sweet with your salty, as too much sweet can really overwhelm the mix.

This is the perfect trail mix for taking along on a hike, or a long car drive, or just to satisfy that oh-so-common snacky desire for something sweet and salty. Yum.


What you need:


  •  Dried Fruit Options:
    • Raisins, plain, or chocolate- or yogurt-covered
    • Craisins (dried cranberries)
    • Dried Apricots, quartered
    • Dried Apple Rings, cut bite-size
    • Dried Banana Chips
    • Dried Cherries
    • Dried Dates, sugared
    • Dried Strawberries
    • Dried Pineapple Chunks
    • Dried Mango, cut bite-size
    • Prunes (dried plums), cut bite-size
    • Dried Blueberries
    • Dried Figs
  • Nut Options:
    • Peanuts, dry-roasted, honey-roasted, chocolate-covered, or other flavor
    • Walnut halves or pieces
    • Pecan halves or pieces
    • Almonds, whole or sliced, raw, roasted, salted, cocoa-dusted, or other flavor
    • Pistachios
    • Cashews
    • Macadamia Nuts
    • Hazelnuts
    • Mixed Nuts
  • Seed Options:
    • Sunflower Seeds, raw, roasted, salted, candy- or chocolate-coated, or other flavor
    • Pumpkin Seeds (pepitas)
  • Grain Options:
    • Pretzels, sticks, twists, or braids, or chocolate- or yogurt-covered
    • Popcorn, plain, salted, caramel, or other flavor
    • Corn Nuts
    • Cereals (Chex, shredded wheat, oat squares, and Cheerios all work well)
    • Granola, any flavor
    • Animal Crackers
  • Extras (use sparingly):
    • Shredded coconut
    • Mini marshmallows
    • Candy-covered chocolate pieces (M&Ms), any flavor: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, almond, peanut, peanut butter all work well
    • Reese’s Pieces
    • Seasonal Candies, such as chocolate eggs, candy corn
    • Baking Chips & Bits:
      • White, milk, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate
      • Peanut butter, butterscotch
      • Caramel, toffee bits


  • Enormous bowl and spoon
  • measuring cups
  • Storage container(s)

Time: Ten minutes.

Freezeable: I never have found it necessary to freeze GORP, because it has such a long shelf life.

Serves: Depends on how many ingredients you add! Usually a crowd.

Multiplying the recipe: This is super easy to do, with a big enough bowl and appropriate storage container(s).


Dump everything in a large bowl. Stir to evenly distribute all the ingredients, breaking up any large clumps of dried fruits as you go. Put in an air-tight container. Keeps well for quite some time, if it doesn’t get eaten first!

Katie’s typical GORP recipe (quantities below for a small batch):

Katie’s GORP ingredients

  • 2 c. dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1 c. raw almonds, sometimes cocoa-dusted
  • 1 c. raisins
  • 1 c. craisins
  • 2/3 c. M&Ms

Theresa’s typical GORP recipe:

Theresa’s GORP ingredients

  • M&Ms (dark chocolate + almond OR peanut OR peanut butter)
  • sunflower seeds (sometimes candy-coated)
  • craisins
  • chocolate-covered raisins
  • pretzel twists (sometimes chocolate- or yogurt-covered)
  • peanuts (always), sometimes almonds and/or cashews


About Cooking for the Fam

Katie and Theresa are sisters-in-law who are passionate about food, passionate about family, and passionate about making and sharing food with their families. The Fam needs to eat. Make it good!
This entry was posted in appetizer, Dessert, DIY, party food, Snack and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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