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 unsalted butter, melted and slightly cool
- 3 and 3/4 – 4 cups (469-500g) all-purpose flour (spoon & 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.
- 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