Soft Pretzel Bites

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Soft Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheese Dip by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 nacho cheese sauce. That stuff is like liquid gold. I apologize for doing this to you in the beginning of the week!

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. Watch the video above and see how truly simple soft pretzel bites are!

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.

Soft Pretzel Bites

I apologize, pretzel dough is ugly:

How To Make Soft Pretzel Bites - get the full recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

It’s an easy 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:

Soft Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheese Sauce - this recipe is so simple. And the cheese sauce is to die for! sallysbakingaddiction.com

I’ll take a dozen right now, please!

So… let’s discuss spicy nacho 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.

Kickin' Cheddar Cheese Dipping Sauce - it's like liquid gold! Get the recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

Soft Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheese Sauce - this recipe is so simple. And the cheese sauce is to die for! sallysbakingaddiction.com

Cheese and pretzels are always the answer, trust me.

Soft Pretzel Bites

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!

Ingredients:

  • 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
  • Spicy Nacho Cheese Sauce for serving

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Brush beaten egg over each pretzel bite. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake batches for 15 minutes each, or until golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and serve with spicy nacho 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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Soft Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheese Sauce - this recipe is so simple. And the cheese sauce is to die for! Easy recipe found on sallysbakingaddiction.com
Soft Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheese Sauce - this recipe is so simple. And the cheese sauce is to die for! Easy recipe found on sallysbakingaddiction.com

208 Comments

  1. Hi Sally! First, I love everything on your site and in your book, I can’t tell you how many recipes I’ve made of yours, they are all wonderful! However, I cannot get this recipe to work. I’ve tried this and the pumpkin pretzel recipe, both tasted fantastic but looked terrible… In both recipes, I vastly adjusted the flour when when what was called for just wasn’t working. I’ve tried more/less depending on humidity, etc. Do you have any pictures of the rolling/cutting process? I think it would help to know the consistency of your dough. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Erika! Thanks so much for the comment – sorry for the late response, I was away on vacation for a couple weeks and I’ve been a little slow to respond to reader questions this week as I get back into work. I have some photos here – https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/12/25/30-minute-whole-wheat-pretzels/

      Rolling them into perfectly smooth shapes takes practice. If your dough keeps snapping back and is hard to roll, let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes to relax the gluten. This helps!

  2. I made these last night and every single one stuck to the parchment paper like glue! Any ideas on what went wrong? Are you supposed to grease the parchment paper? I did the boiling step, and definitely wasn’t using wax paper (done that before). They were still good though 🙂

  3. Hi Sally, these look great! I LOVE making soft pretzels and this sounds like a really easy/quick recipe. I just have one question, it looks like these could be done in about 40 minutes from start to finish, but it says “2 hours total time” am I missing something?? THANKS!!

    1. Hi Lara, I take into account all the batches, all the baking soda baths, as well as making the cheese sauce. Perhaps closer to 1 hour 30 minutes would be a better estimate! Enjoy.

  4. Sally, these look soooo good! We’re having friends over tonight and it seemed like the perfect thing to make. I made the dough last night and put in the fridge to shape, soak, and bake tonight after work and this morning the dough had about tripled in size! Is that what’s supposed to happen (obviously I know that yeast doughs rise, but I’ve never had one rise that much in the fridge before)?

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

    1. I would simply mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle each unbaked pretzel with it. Instead of an egg, brush with melted butter (about 1/4 cup of it).

  8. 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?

  9. 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!

      1. Thank you for the fast reply 🙂 I’ll be able to make these on Super Bowl Sunday. I really like your recipes by the way.

  10. These are great, instead of bites I make full size pretzels though. My only issue is with the bath. I ruined my Calphalon one aluminum pot. It must be some kind of chemical reaction. That would be my only issue. Because I am going full pretzel I also lower the temp a little and bake a little longer. Simply awesome.

  11. 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.

  12. Hi Sally,

    Can you use pre-made store bought dough from your local bakery instead? Just thought it may take out some of the time it would take to make from scratch. Just curious?

      1. So, I made these for the Super Bowl using store bought dough to cut some prep time out and they turned out perfect. They were a huge hit!! I Followed your directions to a “T”. I will definitely keep these in my recipe file 🙂

  13. These are wonderful! The first time I made them to go with fondue, they are so easy. The second time I shaped them into about 2×1″ rectangle and stuffed them with cheddar cheese and Sambal( a spicy chili paste!) amazing! Thanks Sally!

  14. 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 !!

  15. Hi Sally,
    I made these pretzels today afternoon they looked lovely from the outside( golden brown), but the inside was not soft and a bit raw…I did bake them for the 15 minutes as stated in the recipe though.
    What could have gone wrong?
    Regards ,
    Aamena

  16. Hi! I’m wanting to make these for a friend’s potluck, but she’s gluten free… do you know if it would be possible to sub brown rice flour and still have similar results?

  17. Hey Sally! I’m wondering if you can let the dough rise, shape them into the ball shapes, and then freeze them? If you did that, would you just take them out a day or two before to let them thaw? And then take them out of the fridge an hour or so before to get up to room temp?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Allison! Here are freeze instructions for the dough. The prepared pretzel dough (or shaped 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 pretzels while still cold, but allow some extra time for the pretzels to puff up before the baking soda bath and baking.

  18. 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.

  19. I did not like them. They’re good, but they aren’t the ones that I was looking for. These taste like the small, crunchy pretzels, that you would buy at the store. I was looking for the soft ones like at Weztel’s Pretzels. They don’t taste bad, but I wasn’t looking for this type of pretzel.
    Thank You

  20. 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!

  21. 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 🙂

  22. I subbed half of the white flour for wheat flour and they still taste amazing, but they stuck to the parchment paper.  Any ideas?

    1. Hi cathy mine did too, well the second and third batches did but the first were great. I only have one oven rack and one pan so it took a while to complete bathing and baking.Came to the conclusion that the baking soda water went bad/cooked too long. Next time I’m going to bath them all first/quickly, then bake in batches.

  23. 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!

  24. Hey Sally …I’m trying to make this recipe and wondered if fast rising highly active yeast will work the same as the red star instant that you list on the recipe… The brand I have is from Aldis its bakers corner….and is active dry yeast a different kind too? I just don’t wanna ruin this recipe. Thank you

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