Soft, fluffy pretzel bites are easy to make and a great snack for any party or event.
What about the baking powder?
A baking soda bath is the key to chewy, golden brown pretzel bites. The alkalinity provided by the hot baking soda bath gels the surface starch which bakes to a browned, hardened surface. Many professional bakers use food-grade lye to provide the alkalinity, but baking soda is safer and more accessible to home cooks.
These little bites are easier to make than soft, full-size pretzels because there's no need to form each individual piece into a perfect knot. Just slice them up, dip them in the baking soda bath and bake them!
How to serve pretzel bites
Pretzel bites are perfect for the game day crowd and are a great treat for family gatherings. Cheese sauce is great for dipping warm pretzels, but feel free to serve it with honey mustard or a mustard mayonnaise dip. Impress your friends and family with homemade, freshly baked pretzel bites!
“Homemade soft pretzels are such a delicious treat that everyone should try them at least once. The cheese sauce enhances the savory and salty flavor of the pretzel bites, but you might consider a sweeter topping like brown sugar in the future.” —Noah Velush-Rogers
For the pretzel bites
1 cup (226 grams) Water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 cups (362 grams) all purpose flourshared, more for desktop
1 teaspoon fine Salt
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) unsalted buttermelted and cooled, more for greasing
1/2 Cup baking powder
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoon pretzel salt or flaky sea salt
For the cheese dip
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoon all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 Cup milk
2 cups (8 ounces) grated cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon hot saucemore to taste
1 prize Saltmore to taste
Make the pretzel bites
Gather the ingredients.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the mixer attachment, combine the water, sugar and yeast. Mix everything and leave to stand for about 10 minutes until foamy.
Add 2 cups (240 grams) of flour to the bowl and whisk until smooth.
Add the remaining 1 cup (122 grams) of flour, salt, and melted butter. Switch to the dough hook and knead until dough is soft and slightly sticky, about 7 minutes. Alternatively, knead by hand for about 10 minutes.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place, 45 minutes to 1 hour, until doubled in size.
Place a rack in the top and bottom of the oven and heat to 400 F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly grease the paper.
Fill a large Dutch oven or other large saucepan half full with water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Knead the dough, place on a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 equal pieces.
Roll each portion of dough into a 10 to 12 inch long block. Cut the stem into 1 inch pieces. Cover with a damp kitchen towel. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
Slowly add the baking soda to the boiling water and reduce the heat to medium to maintain the simmer.
Add 9 to 10 pieces of pretzel dough to the boiling water and toss for 15 seconds.
Using a slotted spoon or slotted spoon, transfer the dough pieces to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1.5 inches apart. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
While still wet, sprinkle salt to taste over each piece of dough. Bake the pretzel bites for 12 to 15 minutes until deep golden brown. While the pretzels are baking, prepare the cheese dip.
Make the cheese dip
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add flour, dry mustard and black pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until combined and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Gradually stir in the milk and continue beating until the mixture thickens (2 to 3 minutes).
Add the cheese and stir smooth. Add the hot sauce and salt to taste.
Serve the dip immediately with the warm pretzels.
The baking soda will foam up as it is added to the boiling water. So add it little by little.
The pretzel dough can be made a day or two in advance. After the dough has risen for 45 minutes to 1 hour (Step 5), place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Remove dough from refrigerator, let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, then shape, dip and bake as directed.
- For a sweet finish, replace the pretzel salt with coarse sugar or powdered sugar.
- Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites: Combine 1/2 cup of granulated sugar with 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon. Omit the pretzel salt and bake the easy, unsalted pretzel bites as directed. Mix the hot pretzel bites with 3 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter. Add the cinnamon sugar and mix.
How to store it
- Soft pretzels are best eaten warm, just after baking. The salt will melt and the pretzels will become soggy if stored in an airtight container or bag. However, they can be kept in a paper bag for a few hours or frozen for longer storage.
- To freeze soft pretzel bites, place them on a baking sheet and place the mold in the freezer. When the pretzel bites are frozen solid, wrap them in foil and place in an airtight container or freezer bag. Label the bag with your name and date and freeze the pretzel bites for up to 3 months.
- To reheat soft pretzels, wrap them in foil and place in a preheated 300 F oven; Heat for 6 to 8 minutes.
- Store the remaining cheese dip in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To freeze leftover cheese dip, place it in a freezer container. Label container with name and date and freeze dip for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
- Heat cheese dip in a saucepan over low heat; Stir frequently and thin with milk or cream if necessary.