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What are the little toasts in Chex Mix?

Chex Mix is a beloved snack mix consisting of Chex cereal combined with pretzels, breadsticks, nuts, and other savory morsels. One of the most iconic ingredients in Chex Mix are the small, toasted bread cubes commonly referred to as “party toast.” But what exactly are these little toasts and how did they become a key component of everyone’s favorite snack mix?

The History of Party Toast

Party toast was created by the lighter manufacturer, Bic. Back in the 1940s, lighter manufacturers were looking for ways to increase sales of lighter fluid. One idea was to create a new food that could be cooked on the grill using lighter fluid – thus promoting more fluid sales. Bic partnered with a bread company and developed a special process to cut white bread into small cubes and lightly toast them over a lighter fluid-fueled grill.

The new toast cubes were marketed as “party toast” since they were easy to make in large batches for backyard parties and barbecues. Bic sold them alongside their lighters and fluid. The party toast was also sold to food manufacturers as an ingredient for snack mixes, and that’s how they first made their way into Chex Mix.

The Introduction of Bagged Chex Mix

In 1952, Ralston Purina began making and marketing the first bagged Chex cereal mix. The bagged mix combined Chex cereal with nuts, pretzels, sesame sticks, and party toast. By including party toast, Chex Mix distinguished itself from homemade cereal mixes and created a unique flavor and crunch profile that became immensely popular.

Over the next few decades, Chex Mix rose to iconic status thanks in part to clever advertising campaigns and distribution in every supermarket in America. During this rise to fame, the recipe remained largely unchanged – meaning each bag contained those signature party toast cubes. They became an essential part of the Chex Mix experience for generations of snackers.

Party Toast Production Today

So how is party toast still being made today? In the 1990s, production shifted from lighter fluid grills to large industrial ovens. Bic licensed the party toast name and recipe to snack food manufacturers.

The Modern Toasting Process

The party toast in Chex Mix starts off as plain white sandwich bread purchased in bulk from large commercial bakeries. The bread loaves are cut into 3⁄4-inch cubes using high-speed slicing machines. The cubes are then scattered on large baking sheets and placed into large convection ovens.

The bread cubes toast for 15-20 minutes at 300-400°F. The extended toasting results in crunchy squares of toast that are dried throughout. Once toasted, the party toast is cooled then packaged and shipped to snack food manufacturing facilities.

At the Chex Mix facilities, the party toast gets combined with the other ingredients to make that perfect snack blend. While the cereal and other parts of Chex Mix may vary slightly over the years, the party toast remains as the tasty, starchy heart of the snack mix.

Nutritional Profile

Here is the basic nutritional information for 1 oz (28g) of party toast (around 16 cubes):

Calories 110
Fat 1g
Carbs 24g
Protein 3g
Sodium 125mg

As you can see, party toast is fairly high in carbohydrates, most coming from starch. It’s also low in fat and protein. The sodium content reflects the light seasoning applied during toasting.

What Makes Party Toast Different from Croutons?

Since party toast and croutons are both small, toasted bread cubes, some people use the names interchangeably. However, there are a few differences that set party toast apart:


Party toast cubes are generally a bit larger than croutons, averaging around 3⁄4 to 1 inch versus 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inches for croutons. The larger size helps party toast hold up well during mixing and packaging of Chex Mix.


Party toast starts from plain white sandwich bread. Croutons can be made from various types of bread like sourdough, whole wheat, rye, etc.


Party toast has just a light sprinkle of salt added during toasting. Croutons often contain herbs, garlic powder, Parmesan, or other seasonings baked right in.


The extended toasting makes party toast crunchier and more dried out compared to softer croutons. Croutons are often only lightly toasted to keep some softness.

So while they look similar, differences in size, texture, bread type and seasoning set party toast cubes apart from croutons!

Party Toast Throughout the Years

While the basic concept has remained the same, there have been a few small changes to Chex Mix’s party toast over the decades:


– White bread only

– 3⁄4 inch cubes

– Oven-baked

– Salt sprinkled on top


– Consistency improved with commercial production

– Switched from oven to lighter fluid-heated grills


– Reduced salt content slightly


– Switched from grills back to large convection ovens

– Bread source expanded from solely white to include wheat and sourdough


– Cube sizes shrunk slightly, averaging 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inches

– Sesame and poppy seeds added for some varieties

– Occasional use of seasoned bread cubes vs plain


– Cube size back to 3⁄4 to 1 inch

– Mostly plain white bread

– Crunch and toasted flavor maximized

So over the generations, there have been small tweaks to size, color, and taste. But party toast has remained an iconic part of Chex Mix’s crunchy, salty, starchy flavor.

Party Toast in Other Snack Mixes

The party toast cubes originally created by Bic for Chex Mix have also made their way into a variety of other snack mixes over the years. Here are a few of the most popular:

Bugles Snak-Ems

This mix combines Bugles corn chips, Cheez-It crackers, pretzels, and party toast. The perfect salty, crunchy snack.

Fritos Cheddar Ranch Twists

Frito’s twist on snack mix features Chili Cheese Fritos, Cheddar Ranch Twists, toasted corn, and party toast cubes.

Gardetto’s Roasted Garlic & Parmesan

Gardetto’s popular snack mix includes rye chips, mini breadsticks, roasted garlic and Parmesan seasoned party toast cubes.

Quaker Tastefuls Hickory Smoked Cheddar

Smoky BBQ-seasoned party toast joins Quaker’s corn and rice chex, smoked cheddar crackers, and pecans.

SunChips Multigrain Snacks Harvest Cheddar

This mix features SunChips, roasted vegetables, harvest cheddar crackers, and party toast.

Party toast has proven itself as the perfect starchy addition to pump up flavor and texture in snack mixes. Thanks to its versatility, we’ll likely continue seeing it included in our favorite snack blends for years to come.


From their origins as a promotional item for lighter fluid to an iconic snack mix ingredient, those little toasted bread cubes have come a long way. While the party toast in Chex Mix may seem unremarkable at first glance, they provide irreplaceable texture, starchiness, and flavor. Party toast cubes will likely remain a key component of Chex Mix for generations to come. So next time you grab a handful of your favorite snack mix, take a moment to appreciate the crunchy, salty, toasted perfection of those little bread squares.