Soft Pretzel Bites.
Your self control doesn’t stand a chance.
If it’s not the buttery soft pretzel bites killing every ounce of self control you have, it is most certainly my spicy cheese sauce. That stuff is like liquid gold. I apologize for doing this to you in the beginning of the week, but I really can’t help myself.
You might not know how easy it is to make soft pretzels at home. Have your own Auntie Anne’s right inside your kitchen with my easy 30 minute soft pretzel recipe. Easy to make? Yes. Carb overload? Worth it.
This simple soft pretzel recipe comes from Kevin’s family. A Quinn family specialty. Kevin said he and his family made these easy soft pretzels almost every weekend when he was growing up. The soft pretzel recipe is so legendary in the family that I coated them in cinnamon sugar and put the recipe in my cookbook.
But instead of sweet, we’re focusing on savory today. Salty, doughy, buttery bites of heaven. Serve them with honey mustard or my spicy cheese sauce that I can’t stop talking about.
I apologize, pretzel dough is ugly:
It’s a simple 4 step process. Make the soft pretzel dough, roll and cut, dump in a baking soda bath, and bake. Don’t skip the baking soda bath. And here’s why: a quick dip into boiling water and baking soda will give your pretzels that wonderfully authentic golden brown pretzel color. Not only that, the baking soda bath is what gives them their chewy exteriors. Paired with soft fluffy centers? These pretzel bites are out of control delicious.
The baking soda bath is an essential step to soft pretzel bite making. 🙂
Basically, all you do is boil a bunch of water and baking soda together. Working with about 8-10 pretzel bites at a time, drop them in the boiling water, let them soak for about 20 seconds, and remove. Look at their beautiful golden brown color:
I’ll take a dozen right now, please!
So… let’s discuss this cheese sauce. A kicked up, lipsmackin’ version. Nothing processed, nothing scarily-orange… just pure creamy, melty cheese waiting to be devoured. It’s so good with veggies like cooked broccoli and raw sliced peppers. Because if you’re going to unhealth-ify vegetables, do it with cheese.
Butter, flour, whole milk, cheddar cheese. Add some spice, salt, and pepper and call it a (delicious) day. For an even more kicked-up version, try subbing half of the cheddar cheese for pepper jack. By the way, pretzel bites and veggies are just serving suggestions. Feel free to eat it with a spoon. “Taste testing” is what I call it.
Cheese and pretzels are always the answer, trust me.
Soft Pretzel Bites
Yield: 5 dozen
Total Time: 2 hours
Chewy & soft pretzel bites served with a kickin' cheese dip is the ultimate comfort food and party snack. You won't be able to stop reaching for bite after bite!
- 1 and 1/2 cups (300ml) warm water, plus 9 more cups for step 5
- 1 packet Red Star Platinum instant yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon (8g) packed light brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon (15g) unsalted butter, previously melted and not scorching hot
- 3.75 - 4.25 cups (470- 530g) all-purpose flour + more for the counter surface
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg, beaten
- coarse sea salt for sprinkling
- Kicked-Up Cheddar Cheese Sauce for serving
- Whisk the yeast into 1 and 1/2 cups warm water. Allow to sit for 1 minute. Some clusters of yeast may remain. Add salt, brown sugar, and melted butter. Whisk until fairly combined. Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon (or dough hook attached to stand mixer) until dough is thick. Add 3/4 cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, add up to 1/4 cup more. Poke the dough with your finger - if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes, then shape into a ball. Place in a large greased mixing bowl. I usually use nonstick spray to grease it, but olive oil works too. Cover and let the dough rest in a warm area for about 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- With a sharp knife, cut ball of dough into 6 sections. Roll the dough into six 20-inch long ropes. Cut the rope into 1.5 inch pieces to make bites.
- Combine 9 cups of water and the baking soda in a large pot and bring to a rapid boil. Drop 8-10 pretzel bites into water and let sit for 20 seconds. Remove with a spatula and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Make sure the bites aren't touching.
- Brush beaten egg over each pretzel bite. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake batches for 15 minutes each, or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and serve with cheese sauce or honey mustard. Pretzel bites remain fresh for up to 3 days in an airtight container, though they will lose some softness.
Make ahead/Freezing: The prepared pretzel dough can be refrigerated for up to one day or frozen in an airtight container for three months. Thaw frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight. Refrigerated dough can be shaped into pretzel bites while still cold, but allow some extra time for the bites to puff up before the baking soda bath and baking. Baked pretzel bites freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw and reheat in the oven at 300°F (149°C) until warm.
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A couple more recipes you have to try…
Pumpkin Praline Soft Pretzels (totally a year round treat)
More savory recipes.
More snack recipes.