sweet & spicy healthy trail mix

It’s critical for me to have easy access to healthy snacks because, if not, I may go on an ice cream run or something crazy like that! This sweet & spicy healthy trail mix is one of my go-tos to keep around!

Sometimes you just need to crunch and I can’t think of anything better than nutritious whole foods like nuts, seeds, fruit or coconut.

What sets this trail mix apart is the flavorful spice blend that deliciously coats the oven roasted nuts and seeds. It has:

  • richness from butter (or ghee)
  • heat from cayenne and cumin
  • acidity from orange zest
  • warmth from cinnamon
  • sweetness from dates (subs below) and dried fruit

This trail mix is very easy to adapt depending on your diet preferences. I’ve included recommendations in the notes section.

This recipe was adapted by Alton Brown’s spiced pecans (YUMMMM)!

trail mix with blueberries

is trail mix healthy?

Depends what you put in the mix! Nuts and seeds are good sources of protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

If you add coconut to the mix, you get more protein, several important minerals, and small amounts of B vitamins. Finally, dates and raisins have several vitamins and minerals, in addition to fiber and antioxidants.

Seems healthy to me!

close up of trail mix with strawberries

how to make trail mix?

First, roast the nuts and seeds in the oven. While they are cooking, you’ll make the spice blend which will coat the nuts and seeds once they are cooked.

The spice blend starts with melted butter or ghee, salt, different spices, a little bit of orange zest and sweetener.

For sweetener, I’ve been using date paste (instructions below) but if you prefer, you can sub with maple syrup or brown sugar. I’ve also used Swerve brown (and it was delicious) if you want to keep carbs/sugar down.

overhead shot of trail mix with strawberries

Once you’ve poured the spice/butter/sweetener mix over the roasted nuts and seeds, spread them out on parchment paper to cool/dry. To speed up this process, you can stick them in the fridge.

Once cooled, I add the “extras” like dried fruit, coconut, dark chocolate chunks or additional nuts. The date/seed mix may still be slightly wet but will continue to dry out over time.

Store in tightly sealed container.

trail mix with blueberries

how to make date paste

Date paste is a great way to naturally sweeten foods. It’s whole30 approved, vegan and paleo friendly. You’ll need 12 ounces (12-16 medjool dates), pitted and 1-2 cups of water (enough to cover dates).

  • Place dates in large bowl and cover completely with water. Soak dates for 2 hours or up to 2 days in fridge. For a quicker version you can use 1 cup boiling hot water.
  • Once softened, place dates and soaking water into high powered blender or food processor.
    NOTE – If you’d like the paste thicker, discard a few tbsp of the water.
  • Process until very smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. The thinner the paste, the less sweet it is.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks or freeze for up to a year.

This healthy trail mix is a fantastic snack by itself or you can pile it on to a bowl of fresh fruit or a salad!

Happy munching!

related recipes

overhead shot of trail mix

sweet & spicy trail mix

  • Author: Karen
  • Yield: about 3 1/2 cups 1x


This grain & gluten free, healthy trail mix is a fantastic snack by itself or topping a bowl of fresh fruit or salad!



  • 2 1/4 cup of nuts (I used 1 1/4 cups raw pecans, 1/2 cup raw almonds, 1/2 cup walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup of seeds (I used 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds and 1/4 cup sunflower seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use more or less depending how much heat you like)*
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee, melted
  • 4 tablespoons of date paste (instructions for making date paste in post) or maple syrup
  • 1/41/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/41/2 cup raisins or any dried fruit


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Mix nuts and seeds and spread them on a baking sheet.
  3. Cook in oven for 10 minutes until roasted. Check after 8 minutes to make sure they don’t burn.
  4. While nuts are cooking, combine the salt, spices, orange zest, melted butter or ghee and date paste (or sweetener sub, see notes) in a large bowl.
  5. When nuts are finished, add them to the bowl and mix well to coat nuts and seeds.
  6. Lay out on parchment paper to dry (you can put them in the fridge to expedite the process).
  7. Once the nuts & seeds have cooled and the “sauce” on them is relatively dry, add additional ingredients like coconut flakes or dried fruit. 
  8. Store in a tightly sealed Tupperware container.


  • *Cayenne gives this mix a slight kick but if you like heat, add more.
  • Nutrition facts based on 1/2 cup servings.
  • Substitute date paste for maple syrup, brown sugar or Swerve Brown (low-carb option).
  • To make this Whole30 and paleo compliant use ghee vs. butter.
  • To make this Keto, use Swerve brown for sweetener and omit dried fruit.

Keywords: healthy trail mix, trail mix, snack mix, healthy snack mix

pinterest trail mix image
3 photos of trail mix

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