THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH stopping at a local gas station for a quick snack, but if you’re anything like us, you believe that planning your car snacks ahead of time is key to the ultimate road trip. Whether you're driving cross country or a taking a day trip across state lines, your snack selection should get just as much love as your road trip itinerary. Here are our favorite snacks to bring with us on the road.
Granola bars should be on your must-have list; they’re tasty and easy to eat on the go. They also make a great snacking alternative to cookies or chips. That said, buying granola bars at the supermarket can be disappointing and life’s too short for dry, dusty, flavorless granola. That’s why we’re encouraging you to make your own—with little effort, you won’t be let down.
Our Crunchy Granola Bar recipe has everything you ever wanted: floral notes from the honey, hints of caramel from the brown sugar, and a lasting crunch. Store these bars in an airtight plastic container for up to one week while you’re on the road. Looking for more granola recipes? Try our Cherry–Chocolate Chip Granola, Salted Caramel–Peanut Granola or Honey-Pecan Granola recipes.
If microwave popcorn is what you’ve become accustomed to, you owe it to yourself to revisit stovetop popcorn. It’s not much more work; all of our popcorn recipes require only two steps. Keep it simple with our Buttered Popcorn recipe or spice it up with our other varieties.
Our Buttermilk Ranch Popcorn recipe is the perfect companionship for a trip out west. Personally, we wouldn’t mind some Cinnamon-Malt Popcorn along the ride for a romantic getaway. Parmesan-Pepper Popcorn is a kid-pleasing snack, and our Sriracha-Lime Popcorn is packed with just the right amount of heat to keep you alert on the road!
3. BOILED PEANUTS
There’s not one test cook on our team who didn’t mention our Boiled Peanuts recipe as their go-to snack when they’re on the road. Maybe it’s because a good portion of them are from down south, but it’s more likely because boiled peanuts are just downright good.
They’re salty, earthy, and fun to snack on. While we’d make the exception and stop by a roadside stand for this snack, they’re not found up north, in the west, or easily out east. So we’re opting to making our own for the road and trust us, you should too.
4. CHEESE STRAWS
Cheese straws are good, especially when they’re homemade. Our Everything, Greek, Italian, and Sweet-and-Spicy Straws recipes are just as bougie as the ones you’ll find at gourmet stores, but for a fraction of the cost. We keep things simple by using frozen puff pastry—Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry is our favorite—which bakes up buttery and flaky. Completely cooled straws can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days—but there’s a strong chance they won’t last that long.
We’re all about finger-licking snacks but it’s nice to switch it up from time to time. The whole point of a smoothie is ease (and maybe a little healthfulness). Our Kale-Pineapple, Cherry-Almond, Mixed Berry, Strawberry-Peach, and Tropical Fruit Smoothie recipes will give you the energy you need without weighing you down.
Worried about keeping your smoothie mix chilled on the road? Don’t. We switched to frozen fruit which solved two problems for us: It replaced the ice that’s normally called for in most smoothie recipes to avoid that diluted taste, and it also helped keep the smoothie ice-cold without using any actual ice. If you’re still worried about the temperature, bring a cooler along to store your beverages or freeze them the night before.
6. SPICED NUTS
7. PARTY MIX
The road trip hasn’t technically begun until the party mix arrives. Our Asian Firecracker Party Mix recipe is everything you’d want in a road snack: crunchy, salty, balanced, and spicy.
Sweets have an uncanny way to make the drive go faster, which is why we think every road trip should come with some. We have a wide selection of cookie recipes to choose from, but here are some of our favorites:
Cook's Country Eats Local
For the last decade, our Cook's Country team has went cross country to find local gems in restaurants, BBQ joints, diners, seafood shacks, and more. Why? To bring home to you 150 foolproof recipes that have flown under the national radar for far too long. No matter where you live or where you're going, in this cookbook, we have a recipe for you.
What’s your go-to snack for road trips? Let us know in the comments. If you’re looking for more car-friendly food ideas, we’ve got you covered with our dozens of snack recipes.