25 DIY Salty Snacks That Are Easier Than You Think

Sweet or salty? This is a big question when it comes to snacks. For many people, the answer may be both. When we want something sweet to nibble on, there's no shortage of recipes to whip up, but with salty snacks, we often reach for a bag of something instead. It is undoubtedly easier to choose pre-made chips, popcorn, pretzels, and the like directly from the store, but a certain satisfaction comes from making your own. Plus, going the DIY route allows people to customize the flavorings, ingredients, and perhaps most importantly, sodium levels to suit their preferences — or doctor's recommendation.

We've collected 25 recipes ranging from super-simple options to some slightly more complex offerings. There are chips of all kinds — tortilla, potato, various vegetables, bagels, and even pasta — as well as flavored popcorn, home-baked pretzels, and even a cute cheese-and-pretzel snack that's perfect for Halloween parties.

1. Homemade Tortilla Chips

One of the easiest snacks to make at home is tortilla chips. Coat corn tortillas with oil and salt then cut them into wedges. Bake the chips until they're crispy, then they'll be ready to dunk in salsa, guacamole, or 7-layer dip. You could also use flour tortillas and swap the salt for cinnamon sugar to make sweet tortilla chips. Top these with ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, or fruit — or a combination of everything — and you'll have delicious dessert nachos with little effort.

Recipe: Homemade Tortilla Chips

2. Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites

Homemade pretzels live on the other end of the DIY snack spectrum, as these tend to be somewhat labor-intensive — but we feel they're well worth the effort. These bite-sized pretzel chunks are so perfect for dunking that you might want to bake up a few batches, then set up a sauce buffet with mustard, salsa, beer-cheese sauce, and marinara. You could also thread pretzel bites on skewers kabob-style and alternate them with sausage slices and cheese cubes.

Recipe: Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites

3. Homemade Potato Chips

The trickiest part of making homemade potato chips is slicing the potatoes super-thin. You could use a mandoline if you own one or employ a knife, a cheese slicer, or even a vegetable peeler to do the trick instead. While some people opt to deep-fry their chips, our recipe suggests brushing them with oil and baking them in the oven to make for a less-messy, lower-fat snack.

Recipe: Homemade Potato Chips

4. Air Fryer Popcorn

Today, popcorn comes conveniently packaged in microwaveable bags, but in the late 19th century, people popped corn in special appliances built solely for this purpose. If your microwave's on the fritz or you want to break away from the bag, don't check the thrift stores for an old-school corn popper. Pour popcorn kernels into your air fryer and let this 21st century appliance take over. Air-frying popcorn isn't entirely hands-free since you'll need to stop and stir halfway through, but you won't risk burning yourself with a paper bag full of steam.

Recipe: Air Fryer Popcorn

5. Traditional Chex Party Mix

Pre-made Chex party mix is widely available in supermarkets, convenience stores, and vending machines — but there's something to be said for returning to the original recipe from the 1950s, which requires no new-fangled gadgets to make. Instead, mix Chex cereal and nuts with butter, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings, then bake in the oven. The bagel chips and pretzels used in this recipe aren't original to the vintage version, but you can leave them out if you wish or make any other tweaks you like to the seasonings and other ingredients.

Recipe: Traditional Chex Party Mix

6. Spiced Roasted Almonds

Almonds are one of the healthiest nuts, packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. Plain roasted almonds aren't to everyone's taste, though. Here, we're spicing them with a zingy blend of cayenne and salt. A little oil helps the seasonings stick, and the nuts are baked to bring out the flavors. You can eat these almonds as they are, use them to garnish a fruit and cheese plate, or chop them up to make a keto-friendly crumb crust for meat or fish.

Recipe: Spiced Roasted Almonds

7. Cajun Firecracker Crackers

While baking your own crackers might be daunting, we're not doing that. We're starting with good old grocery store saltines and coating them with oil and a blend of spices, including cayenne, crushed red pepper, Old Bay, smoked paprika, and ranch dressing mix. There's no need to turn on the oven since the crackers sit and soak up the seasoned oil for a few hours instead. While these kicked-up crackers taste great solo, you might also like to serve them with a bowl of blue cheese dip.

Recipe: Cajun Firecracker Crackers

8. Crispy Shallow-Fried Tostones

If you aren't familiar with tostones by this name, you may know these popular Latin American snacks as plantain chips instead. If you'd like to try making them yourself rather than eating the kind that comes in a bag, all you'll need is a plantain or two, plus some oil for frying and salt for seasoning. Peel your plantain, cut it into not-too-thin slices (it's much easier than making homemade potato chips), then fry twice for extra crunch.

Recipe: Crispy Shallow-Fried Tostones

9. Air Fried Zucchini Chips

Zucchini can be seen as both a blessing and a curse for the same reason: This vegetable is so easy to grow that anyone planting it may end up with an overabundance of summertime produce. Should you find yourself in such a position, or perhaps you've been the recipient of an unasked-for "gift," you may be desperate for new zucchini recipes. This one's pretty easy since all you need to do is to slice up your vegetables, oil and season them, then air fry them into crunchy, healthy chips.

Recipe: Air Fried Zucchini Chips

10. Quick Sourdough Pretzels

Many people started baking sourdough bread during the pandemic, despite it being a rather labor-intensive process. Sourdough pretzels are easier to make as they involve using store-bought instant sourdough starter rather than one that needs to be raised like a yeasty pet. Once the dough is ready, it's twisted into the traditional pretzel shape, then baked into a hearty, rustic-looking snack. One thing to note about these pretzels is that they only last for a few days, after which they become tough to eat. If your pretzels reach this point, you can repurpose them into a pretzel crust or make croutons.

Recipe: Quick Sourdough Pretzels

11. Simple Peanut Butter Popcorn

Usually, when you find pre-popped popcorn in the supermarket snack aisle, it's in a few varieties. There's plain, salted popcorn, cheese-flavored (with or without the neon-orange color we love), and various types of caramel corn like Fiddle Faddle and Cracker Jack. What you don't see often is popcorn flavored with peanut butter. If this combo appeals to you, then you should know it's not difficult to make at home. Cook microwave popcorn, stir in peanut butter, honey, and vanilla, add some peanuts for extra crunch, and enjoy this sweet-salty snack.

Recipe: Simple Peanut Butter Popcorn

12. Cheesy Kale Chips

Kale seems an unlikely snack hero, as this rather tough leafy green is known for its nutritional benefits rather than its flavor. Still, its sturdiness means it actually stands up quite well to being baked into a chip. Oddly enough, nutritional yeast imparts a rather cheese-like flavor, so if you stick with this flavoring alone, you'll have plant-based "cheese" chips. However, if you don't mind dairy and want extra cheesiness, sprinkle some parmesan over the top after the chips are cooked.

Recipe: Cheesy Kale Chips

13. Crispy Papadums

Papadums are actually a type of bread, but this Indian snack is so light and crispy that it can also work as a cracker. To make homemade papadums, start with chickpea flour, then stir in seasonings and enough water to turn it into a dough. Roll out the dough into very flat, thin discs, then bake them to crunchy perfection. Let the papadums cool off before serving them with a spicy chutney, cooling, yogurt-based raita, or both.

Recipe: Crispy Papadums

14. TikTok Pasta Chips

Many TikTok recipes can be dubious, but others work out surprisingly well. Of course, these pasta chips belong to the latter group because we added them to our recipe roster. To make them, you'll first need to cook up a sturdy variety of pasta, such as rigatoni, then season it to taste. For this recipe, we're going Italian style with garlic and parmesan. As a final step, cook the pasta in the air fryer until it gets nice and crunchy.

Recipe: TikTok Pasta Chips

15. Easy Kettle Corn

Authentic kettle corn may be cooked in a huge kettle or cauldron, but who has one of those at home? Our simpler version gets popped in a regular lidded pan on a standard stovetop. The difference between making kettle corn and plain popcorn is the addition of sugar to the dried kernels and oil, so it melts and cooks right into the corn. Once the corn is popped, it gets sprinkled with salt, resulting in a flavor combo just like your favorite salty-sweet fairground snack.

Recipe: Easy Kettle Corn

16. Cheesy Ranch Chex Mix

While Chex mix may date back to your grandparents' time, nothing in 1950s cocktail party culture dictates such a recipe is sacred and shouldn't be altered. Therefore, it has undergone numerous tweaks over the years. In this particular version of the recipe, the snack mix is flavored with ranch dressing mix. It also gets a double dose of cheesiness from a sprinkling of parmesan and the inclusion of bite-sized cheese crackers.

Recipe: Cheesy Ranch Chex Mix

17. Air Fryer Tortilla Chips

There are several ways to make DIY tortilla chips. Two methods involve cutting and deep-frying them or baking them in the oven for a less messy, lower-fat version. We're opting to forego the range for cooking the chips in an air fryer. An air fryer is essentially a small convection oven; the technique is the same as making oven-baked ones. Tortillas are cut into wedges, oiled, salted, and cooked until crunchy. While flour tortillas are used in this recipe, you can swap them out for corn ones if you prefer.

Recipe: Air Fryer Tortilla Chips

18. Copycat Auntie Anne's Pretzels

The best part — or some would say the only good part — of a trip to the mall is a stop at Auntie Anne's. The chain's pretzels are soft and chewy and have the perfect amount of salt to make them downright irresistible. If you can't face the food court, though, a little bit of baking savvy and a certain amount of effort will allow you to bake up a batch of pretzels that taste pretty similar to Auntie Anne's originals.

Recipe: Copycat Auntie Anne's Pretzels

19. Blistered Shishito Peppers

Shishito peppers may seem like a rather daring snack to serve since they look similar to hotter varieties of chile peppers, such as serranos. As it turns out, these peppers tend to be pretty mild, so you need not fear them even if you're heat-averse. However, if you like a spicy snack, you can always sprinkle your roasted shishitos with cayenne pepper in addition to the salt and lemon juice used in this recipe.

Recipe: Blistered Shishito Peppers

20. Air Fryer Sweet Potato Chips

While there are few things more satisfying than ripping into a new bag of potato chips, the feeling could be followed by one of regret if you overindulge in grease, salt, and carbs. These homemade sweet potato chips, however, are a better choice in a few ways. For one, sweet potatoes have certain nutrients not found in their paler counterparts. Air frying also cuts down on the fat content of these chips. Plus, you can reduce the amount of salt. Also, if you don't want to put in the work to make an extra-large batch, you can enjoy a smaller amount of a hotter, fresher snack. 

Recipe: Air Fryer Sweet Potato Chips

21. Rosemary Flatbread

Making flatbread is a simple process: There's no yeast, no kneading, and no rising time. This particular flatbread recipe doesn't even need to look perfectly symmetrical. Shape it into a free-form style and call it rustic. Once you're done baking the flatbread, you can even break it into chunks — and it won't matter what it looked like straight out of the oven. If you want to be fancy, serve it with infused olive oil for dipping, but it also pairs nicely with something more approachable, like a sour cream-based dip. 

Recipe: Crisp Rosemary Flatbread

22. Spicy Roasted Garbanzo Beans

If you've ever tried wasabi peas, you're already familiar with the concept behind snack legumes. Although these seasoned chickpeas fall along the same lines, they are larger, milder in flavor, and unlikely to greet you with a punch in the sinuses. This gently-seasoned snack is easy to make: Drain a can of garbanzo beans, then bake them in the oven. To finish, sprinkle them with a spice blend of cumin, garlic, onion, paprika, and pepper.

Recipe: Spicy Roasted Garbanzo Beans

23. Instant Pot Kettle Corn

If you have an Instant Pot, you probably already know it can substitute for various appliances, including a hot plate and a pressure cooker. But did you know you can also add popcorn popper to its resume? Yes, kids, these were a thing in the pre-microwave popcorn days. While you could pop plain old corn kernels in a pot on the stove, we think it's better to add some sugar for a salty-sweet kettle corn effect and let your Instant Pot do the work for you. 

Recipe: Instant Pot Kettle Corn

24. Cheese And Pretzel Broomsticks

If you're planning a potluck Halloween party, you can practically count on sugary treats being the center of attention. Halloween is a holiday that seems to dedicate about 90% of its focus to candy, while the other 10% is reserved for dressing up in costumes and enjoying spooky stuff. Still, it's nice to have a few savory options. Beyond that, these easy, cheesy broomsticks couldn't be any simpler to put together. Thin pretzel sticks create the handles, while the straw broom is made from shredded string cheese.

Recipe: Cheese And Pretzel Broomsticks

25. Easy Homemade Bagel Chips

Bagel chips are a fun alternative to tortilla and potato chips, especially if you've made a dip in need of an extra-sturdy platform. Because store-bought bagel chips can be expensive, it might be worth making your own. If you have a few bagels slightly past their prime, this recipe provides a great way to repurpose them. You can make bagel chips out of any flavor, be it sweet or savory, but tailor the dip to suit whatever you choose.

Recipe: Easy Homemade Bagel Chips