Soft Pretzel Bites

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.

soft pretzel bites with cheese sauce

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, 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!

soft pretzel bites with salt

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!)

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.

Step-By-Step Pictures

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.

dough in glass bowl

6 pieces of dough shown on a marble cutting board

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.

dough rolled into a long rope

bite size dough pieces on a marble cutting board

pretzel dough after baking soda bath

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.

cinnamon sugar soft pretzel bites

For a larger version, try these soft pretzel rolls. Great for sandwiches!


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soft pretzel bites with cheese sauce

Soft Pretzel Bites

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 5 dozen
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Ingredients

  • 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 (7ginstant or active dry yeast (1 standard packet)
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cool
  • 3 and 3/4 – 4 cups (469-500gall-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and work surface
  • topping: coarse salt/coarse sea salt

Baking Soda Bath

  • 1/2 cup (120gbaking soda
  • 9 cups (2,160ml) water

Optional for Serving


Instructions

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm.
  7. 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.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. Flour: If you have it, the same amount of bread flour works instead of all-purpose flour. Do not use whole wheat flour.
  3. 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.
  4. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
  5. 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

soft pretzel bites on a white plate with cheese sauce in a white bowl

127 Comments

  1. I made these yesterday afternoon and my kids were grabbing them off the cookie sheets as I was pulling them out of the oven! They were almost gone within 5 minutes when I reminded them to save some for their Daddy for when he got home from work. They were quickly gone when he arrived home. 🙂 I was told I HAD to make them again. I’m usually really bad when it comes to things that require yeast, but these turned out great! Easy Peasy! I took half of them and dipped the tops in water then cinnamon sugar when they came out of the oven and left the other half salted. Both were incredible! Thanks Sally for making me a better baker! Your ‘how to correctly measure flour’ post completely changed how I bake! Thank you for taking the time to detail in each recipe not just the ‘how’ but the ‘why’. Thank you too for the pictures. I don’t ever make a recipe unless I have a picture to see what it’s supposed to look like – very visual learner here. Thank you again!

  2. I made these last night and my husband went crazy on them! Thank you for such a great recipe and easy to follow directions. I’ve attempted soft pretzels once before but the directions and time it took was not worth the end result. But these were perfect! It took less then an hour start to finish. I look forward to your new posts, I try to make at least one of your recipes every week. 🙂

  3. I made these pretzel bites and coated them first in butter, then in a layer of cinnamon sugar. They were soft and fluffy and absolutely divine! They disappeared on the first day. Thanks for another great recipe!

  4. I made this recipe at the weekend and it was amazing! I love pretzels but this is the first time I have made them. It was great to not have to worry about making the dough into the usual pretzel shape. They tasted so great and I was very happy. Thank you for another great recipe!

  5. I took these to a tailgate last night and they were a hit! I didn’t have time for the cheese sauce but they were delicious with just a really nice mustard. My boys were so disappointed there weren’t any to bring home. They have requested I make more of these and your red velvet cookies for their lunches. They never agree on anything so you are now the hero of our kitchen! I love that you give weights for your dry ingredients. It makes baking so much easier. Thank you!

  6. These were a HUGE hit in my house!! I made them for Sunday football. My husband was so impressed and said it was one of the best things I have made. I was slightly intimidated at the thought of making homemade pretzels but so happy I gave them a try because they were AMAZING!! Thank you for the recipe. Already shared it with a few friends. Love everything I find on here.

  7. I love that you left make-ahead instructions for the dough! So often missing and so important to know if it is ok or not to make ahead. Can’t wait to see how these turn out!

  8. Just made these tonight with my son. They were AHmazing! We lightly basted them with butter when they came out of the oven. Easy to make (the 10 year old did most of the work), and truly delicious. Thanks!

  9. How would I make these with a cinnamon sugar topping instead of salt?

  10. The pretzel bites with the cheese sauce are outstanding! The cheese sauce came out a little thicker than I wanted, and not sure how to correct that. More milk?

    1. More milk will help, yep!

  11. I just made these, and they were *wonderful.* I didn’t have any of the problems previous commenters mentioned; they turned out exactly right (even though I was out of parchment paper and used greased foil instead). My husband and I just ate 3/4 of the batch, and most of the cheese sauce!

    I’ll definitely be making these again; my husband and I agreed that this is a new favorite!

  12. OMG these were super easy and AMAZINGLY good! I couldn’t believe I made soft pretzels and they totally blow the the frozen food and snack bar ones out of the water!!! I didn’t do the cheese dip, but the plan is to make these into little bites, and use then with a beer cheddar fondue for a super bowl party. I did use salted butter (it was all I had on hand) and reduced the salt in the recipe to 1/2 a teaspoon and I brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with course sea salt before baking! I’m addicted, these were probably the best pretzel I’ve even had.

  13. Made these tonight with my toddler and they were AMAZING ! I cannot gt over how deliciously they were and how they rated just like “real” mall pretzels !!! I have made pretzels in the last and had so much trouble trying to boil a wiggly pretzel shape and sometimes they blabbed up or broke in the bath. But the “bites” solved that problem! Next time I will make two batches – they were THAT good ! Thanks for having such straightforward and successful recipes. You’re so talented !!

  14. I want to make these but I only have salted butter… can I substitute that? If so, do I remove the salt?

    1. Yes. Since it is only 1 Tablespoon of salted butter, you do not have to alter the amount of salt in the dough.

  15. I made these for my cousin to take to work as a snack. She loved them so much that she raved about them to her coworkers and brought them the rest! These are just as delicious the next day as they are hot off the pan! Thanks for sharing it.

  16. just made these today with your cheese sauce and OMG! Amazing! Delicious! One of my stepdaughters was totally smitten With them! Ate them right up! I look forward to making these again…..a lot!! Having a girls night soon and I can’t wait to bring these! Thank you! Everything I’ve tried of yours so far is wonderful! This is the first place I check for recipes!

  17. Hi there!  I just wanted to verify that these pretzel bites are wonderful!  I am a caterer, and was recently asked by a Bride to make “Mini pretzel bites.”  I tried this recipe first, and will not need to try any others. I will be making your spicy cheese sauce as well, although not until closer to the end of the week.  I made a honey mustard sauce as well to go with them. 
    Thanks for all you do!
    Blessings 🙂

  18. I made these today and they were sooo good! Mine only needed 13 minutes but they were perfect! Thanks so much for all the great recipes!

  19. I’ve been following your blog (more like stalking) for the past two weeks and I’ve literally made about 10 of your recipes. All fabulous. As I was waiting for your recipe of The chocolate chip cookie to bake last night, I came across this little gem. I literally just finished making them and have a batch in the oven. Huge, huge win!!! My husband can’t put them down, or the cookies, I might add lol. My next mission is your pie crust and pecan pie. By far, your blog is my favorite!! Thanks so much!!

  20. I just wanted to say that I have tried more than a few pretzel recipes, and yours was the first that tasted like mall pretzels, better even! Thanks so much for posting this great recipe, and I will be sure to point people here if they need a fail-proof amazing snack 🙂

  21. I’ve made these so many times but hadn’t reviewed yet! Just have to add my praises to the list–these are the BEST pretzels! I’ve also used to dough to wrap around little smokies to make pretzel dogs. Either way, this pretzel recipe is always a hit in my house! (As are all of your recipes that I’ve tried!) Thank you!!!

  22. Amazing! We had so much fun making these last night. We put half the dough in the fridge for tonight so I hope it works as well. I’m excited to try wrapping little smokies some time. We made a spreadable pub cheese to eat them with. Made a frigid Sunday night in bearable!

  23. I’ve made this recipe countless times and everyone loves it.  I’m a beer geek and now when I head to beer festivals these always go with me.  I’m not the “pretzel guy” and people keep raving about how good they are!

  24. I just made these today, but without the cheese sauce! I just used a premade one. This recipe is AMAZING!!! Its labor intensive, but totally worth it. The pretzel bites came out golden brown, with a loud beautiful crunch on the outside and a soft, fluffy pretzel on the inside. My family and I devoured them. Two thumbs up!!

  25. These were perfect for Game Day. Thank you.

  26. Wow. Thank you so much for this amazing recipe, and easy to follow directions . I was a bit nervous as I was making the pretzel bites for company, and didn’t know if they would turn out that great. Well they ended up tasting even better than I could have imagined, and looked just like the ones you get at the mall. My guests LOVED them and so did I! Thanks again!

  27. I made these on New Year’s Eve to pair with buffalo chicken dip. They were the star of the evening without a doubt – but I had so much dip leftover because everyone was just grabbing the pretzel nuggets and popping them in their mouth as they passed the plate. Another winning (and totally easy even you would think they would be intimidating) recipe!

  28. Note to anyone reading this that has yet to make the pretzel bites…. DO NOT FORGET THE PARCHMENT PAPER. I showed this recipe to my brother a few days ago, and he decided to make them…. without parchment paper…. on my new baking sheets…. Now I have to soak them to get the bottoms off the bottom.

    But they are tasty, I give them that.

  29. Tried this recipe and pretzels came out perfect! However the bottoms got stuck baadlyy to the parchment paper so all my pretzels were wasted from the bottom. Any suggestions how to avoid this?

    1. Hi Sana. I’m not sally but have been baking for over 5 years and following sally’s blog since almost day 1. Parchment paper is a little tricky since the pretzels are preboiled I suggest investing in a silpat. Pretty sure that is what Sally uses for this recipe. It’s a lot better than parchment paper for basically everything except when you make brownies and want something as an overhang to take out!

      Best of luck!

    2. I had that same problem. On my next batch, I used aluminum foil and sprayed some cooking oil. That fixed the problem.

  30. I made these today with the spicy cheese dip. Unfortunately they came out perfect and I can’t stop eating them!   Diet?  What diet?

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