These soft pretzel bites are exactly like regular homemade soft pretzels, but shaped into smaller pieces. The dough requires just 6 ingredients and there’s hardly any rise time, so this is a wonderful recipe for yeast beginners. Have fun shaping the bites (they don’t need to be perfect!) and enjoy warm flavorful homemade pretzels within an hour. Serve plain, cinnamon sugar style, or with your favorite dip such as spicy cheese sauce or stone ground mustard.
I’m writing this over 7 years after this recipe was first published and say with 100% honesty that kids and adults alike FLOCK to these pretzel bites. They’re always a massive hit, a favorite party snack, and the fact that they’re surprisingly easy is music to the ears!
Tell Me About These Soft Pretzel Bites
- Flavor: If you enjoy soft pretzels, you’ll love these smaller bites. They’re completely homemade, so unlike store-bought frozen soft pretzels, each has that soft, warm, and fresh-from-the-oven taste and texture. You can keep the pretzels traditional with a sprinkling of coarse salt or try the cinnamon sugar version detailed in the recipe notes.
- Texture: The difference between bread and soft pretzels/soft pretzel bites is an alkaline bath. Do you know what that is? I promise it’s a very easy step. This is when shaped soft pretzel dough takes a dip in boiling water and baking soda, a quick step that provides the iconic chewy pretzel texture and adds a deeper, richer color to the baked pretzels. The boiling water also locks in the shape so the pretzels don’t over-puff in the oven. (Without the baking soda bath, you lose texture, that deep brown color, and flavor. So, basically, you will have bite-size bread instead of pretzels.) We do this key step when making regular soft pretzels, pretzel rolls, jalapeño cheddar soft pretzels and soft pretzel knots, too.
- Ease: Have you ever made my recipe for regular homemade soft pretzels? It was one of the first recipes I ever published, only to be republished with step-by-step photos a few years later. It’s become a “famous” & popular recipe on this website because the pretzels are relatively quick, extremely easy, and deliver great taste. Same story with these pretzel bites! Though the recipe requires yeast, I always say that this pretzel dough is a terrific starting point for yeast beginners because there’s very little rise time. And shaping the dough into bite-size pieces is easier than shaping into pretzels. Lots of perks about today’s recipe!
Dough for Soft Pretzel Bites
I never stray from my original soft pretzel dough, so that’s what you’ll use for these pretzel bites. You need just 6 basic ingredients to get started including warm water, yeast, a little sugar to feed the yeast, melted butter, salt, and all-purpose flour. (If you have it, the same amount of bread flour works too!). You can use either instant (quick rise) or active dry yeast in this dough. I usually use Platinum Yeast from Red Star, which is an instant yeast.
The dough doesn’t require extended rise time and the baking soda bath is pretty quick, so besides the baking step, the longest stretch of time this recipe requires is shaping.
Baking with Yeast Guide
Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.
Whisk the warm water, yeast, and sugar together. Cover and let the mixture sit for a few minutes until foamy on top. Waiting for it to foam isn’t totally necessary, but it helps us see that the yeast is ready and active. The right photo below shows the dough before kneading.
Knead the dough, divide into 6 sections, and then roll into six 20-inch ropes. The video tutorial located in the recipe shows these steps as well. Cut each rope into 1.5 – 2 inch pieces to make bites. I like to use a (affiliate links) pizza cutter or bench scraper for cutting this dough, but a sharp knife works perfectly fine too. Use what you have.
The photo above shows the pretzel bites after the baking soda bath. At this point, they are ready to bake.
Try Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites
Immediately after the baking soda bath while the soft pretzel bites are still wet, sprinkle with coarse salt. Or if you’d like a different topping, skip the coarse salt and try the cinnamon sugar version. Bake the pretzels completely plain without salt. Once done and still warm out of the oven, brush with melted butter then dip into a mix of cinnamon and granulated sugar. See specific instructions in the notes below.
By the way, you can have fun with even more toppings such as everything bagels seasoning instead of coarse salt. Heavily sprinkle on the pretzels while they’re still wet from the baking soda bath before baking.
For a larger version, try these soft pretzel rolls. Great for sandwiches!
More Appetizers & Snacks
- Pepperoni Pizza Dip
- Roasted Garlic & Bacon Spinach Dip
- Sweet Potato Skins
- Crab Dip
- Stuffed Jalapeños
- Honey BBQ Popcorn Chicken
These soft pretzel bites are always a crowd favorite! The easy dough requires just 6 ingredients and there’s hardly any rise time, so this is a wonderful recipe for yeast beginners. Have fun shaping the bites (they don’t need to be perfect!) and enjoy warm flavorful homemade pretzels within an hour. Review recipe notes and watch the video tutorial before starting.
- 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) warm water (lukewarm– no need to take temperature but around 100°F (38°C) is great)
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (7g) instant or active dry yeast (1 standard packet)
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar or granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon (14g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cool
- 3 and 3/4 – 4 cups (469-500g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled), plus more for hands and work surface
- topping: coarse salt/coarse sea salt
Baking Soda Bath
- 1/2 cup (120g) baking soda
- 9 cups (2,160ml) water
Optional for Serving
- spicy cheese sauce or your favorite mustard
- Make the dough: Whisk warm water, yeast, and sugar together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle or dough hook attachment. (If you do not have a stand mixer, just use a regular large mixing bowl.) Cover yeast mixture and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until foamy on top. Add salt, melted butter, and 3 cups (375g) of flour. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if needed, then add 3/4 cup (95g) of flour. Beat on low speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. If dough is extremely sticky after 1 minute of mixing, add remaining 1/4 cup of flour and continue to beat for 1 more minute. (You can see in the video that I add the remaining flour.)
- Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat on low speed for an additional 2 minutes or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes. Cover lightly with a towel and allow to rest for 10-30 minutes. (Meanwhile, I like to get the water + baking soda boiling as instructed in step 5.)
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Silicone baking mats are highly recommended over parchment paper. If using parchment paper, lightly spray with nonstick spray or grease with butter. Set aside.
- Shape: With a sharp knife, pizza cutter, or bench scraper, cut dough into 6 equal pieces (just eyeball it, doesn’t have to be perfect). Sprinkle work surface very lightly with flour. (Tip: The heavier you flour the work surface, the harder it is to roll the dough. A little stickiness actually helps. You only need *a very light* dusting of flour.) Roll each piece of dough into a 20-inch rope. If the ropes keep shrinking and stretching the dough becomes difficult, stop what you’re doing, lightly cover all of the dough, and let it rest for 10 minutes so the gluten can relax. Then, return to rolling it into ropes. Cut each rope into 1.5 – 2 inch pieces to make bites.
- Baking Soda Bath: Mix water and baking soda together in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Place 8-10 pretzel bites into the boiling water for a quick 10-15 seconds. (Any longer and your pretzels could take on a metallic taste.) Using a slotted spatula or spoon, lift the pretzel bites out of the water and allow as much of the excess water to drip off. Place bites onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle each with coarse sea salt while they are still wet or leave plain if using cinnamon sugar topping listed in the notes. Repeat baking soda bath with remaining pretzel bites. If needed, you can cover and refrigerate the boiled/unbaked bites for up to 24 hours before baking.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm.
- Cover and store leftover pretzel bites at room temperature for up to 3 days. They lose a little softness over time. To reheat, microwave for a few seconds or bake in a 350°F (177°C) for 5 minutes.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Baked and cooled pretzel bites freeze well up to 2-3 months. To reheat, bake frozen bites at 350°F (177°C) for 10 minutes or until warmed through or microwave frozen bites until warm. The prepared pretzel dough can be refrigerated for up to one day or frozen in an airtight container for 2-3 months. Thaw frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight. Refrigerated dough can be shaped into bites while still cold, but allow some extra time, about 1 hour, for the pretzels to puff up before the baking soda bath and baking.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Stand Mixer | Baking Sheets | Silicone Baking Mats or Parchment Paper | Pizza Cutter or Bench Scraper | Large Pot
- Flour: If you have it, the same amount of bread flour works instead of all-purpose flour. Do not use whole wheat flour.
- Cinnamon Sugar: Bake the pretzel bites completely plain without salt in step 6. As the pretzel bites bake, melt 4 Tablespoons (60g) unsalted butter. Set aside. Combine 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Set aside. Once the pretzels are done and still warm out of the oven, brush each with melted butter then generously dip into cinnamon sugar. Cinnamon sugar pretzels are best served that day because due to the melted butter topping, they become soggy after a few hours.
- Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
- Egg? This recipe used to call for brushing the boiled pretzel bites with a beaten egg before sprinkling with coarse salt. Now you can skip the egg and sprinkle the salt on the pretzels while they are still wet from the boiling step. If you prefer them the old way, feel free to continue brushing with the beaten egg before salting and baking. I skip it these days.
Keywords: soft pretzel bites