These soft pretzel bitesare exactly like regularhomemade 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.
This recipe is brought to you in partnership withRed Star Yeast.
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, andsoft pretzel knots, too.
- Ease:Have you ever made my recipe for regular homemadesoft 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 usePlatinum 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 bagelsseasoning 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
- Sweet Potato Skins
- Crab Dip
- Stuffed Jalapeños
- Honey BBQ Popcorn Chicken
Soft Pretzel Bites
★★★★★4.9 from 78 reviews
- Author: Sally
- Prep Time: 40 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 5 dozen
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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.
- 1and 1/2 cups (360ml)warm water (lukewarm– no need to take temperature but around 100°F (38°C) is great)
- 2and 1/4 teaspoons (7g)instantoractive dry yeast(1standard packet)
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar orgranulated sugar
- 1 teaspoonsalt
- 1 Tablespoonunsalted butter, melted and slightly cool
- 3 and 3/4 – 4 cups (469-500g)all-purpose flour(), 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
What is the secret ingredient which makes a pretzel taste like a pretzel? ›
Lye. The dough is simple; take a basic yeast-risen dough that can be readied in an afternoon. But the trick to great pretzels is dipping the pretzels in a liquid wash before baking — and not just any wash, but a combination of water and lye. That's what gives pretzels their terrific color, texture and flavor.Why do you dip pretzels in baking soda before baking? ›
As noted above, baking soda is a staple ingredient for making homemade pretzels. Dunking your pretzels in a baking soda bath prior to baking is what enables them to develop their distinctive color and crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside texture.How do you make super soft pretzels? ›
Preheat oven to 400°. Place frozen pretzels on baking sheet and place in preheated oven for about 3 minutes. Take out and sprinkle pretzels with cheese.Do all soft pretzels need a baking soda bath? ›
Baking Soda Bath (Step 6): The baking soda bath is strongly recommended because it helps create that chewy texture and distinctive pretzel flavor. If skipping, brush the shaped and unbaked pretzels with a mixture of 1 beaten egg + 1 Tablespoon of dairy or nondairy milk. This is known as an egg wash.Do you have to boil pretzels before baking? ›
Like bagels, pretzels are made in boiling water prior to baking to give them their snappy outsides and chewy insides (messy!). Soft pretzels must be boiled, or dipped in a baking soda bath (or lye if you're gusty and strict with your pretzel traditions). THEN, they can be baked.Does Auntie Anne's bake or fry their pretzels? ›
Auntie Anne's definitely doesn't serve pre-made pretzels! Every location receives shipments of the signature flour mixture, which is put in a mixer along with water and yeast. They're baked, brushed with real butter, salted and served right there.Can I skip baking soda in pretzels? ›
Opting out of a baking soda bath cuts down the time it takes to make these by like half. A baking soda bath is actually a cheat for at home pretzel makers, it's used instead of lye, which can be a bit dangerous to handle if you aren't a professional in that area.How long do you leave pretzels in baking soda water? ›
In a large, wide pot, bring 6 cups water and 2 tablespoons baking soda to a boil. Then, transfer one shaped pretzel to the bath using a slotted spatula and let sit for 1 minute.What is the secret to making pretzels? ›
Lye itself is a caustic substance which is known to be in soap and other cleaning products. But the secret to making the best pretzels at home is, in fact, the use of lye. “The key to getting the perfect pretzel bite is that its traditionally dipped in an alkaline solution, which is food-grade lye.How do you keep pretzel bites soft? ›
Keep it in a paper bag
Paper bags are preferable to plastic bags, as these allow the moisture to escape. Keep in mind, though, that with a paper bag your pretzels may become stale more quickly than by freezing them or placing them in a bread box.
What salt is best for soft pretzels? ›
Pretzel salt, also known as Coarse Food-Grade Salt, is a white, large-grain soft compressed salt that is perfect as a topping or coating soft baked pretzels and other baked goods. The uniform, flat, rectangular-shaped particles adhere well and do not melt during baking.What are soft pretzels dipped in before baking? ›
Traditional Bavarian pretzels are dipped in a lye solution before they are baked. Lye, also known as sodium hydroxide, is essentially the same stuff that's used to make soap and clean drains. It can even dissolve glass.Do you salt pretzels before or after baking? ›
LIGHTLY Sprinkle the Pretzel Salt provided to have a small amount on each pretzel. You can re-use any salt that falls off onto the sheetpan after your baking process. Bake in your pre-heated 350° oven for 4-6 minutes, just enough to heat the pretzel through completely, and to dry the salt adhering to the tops.What is the purpose of putting an egg wash on the pretzel? ›
Egg Wash – Use an egg wash to give the pretzels a shiny golden brown exterior and help the salt (or seasonings) stick better.Can I use baking soda instead of lye? ›
It's not lye, but it's strong enough to irritate. Baked soda is also strong enough to make a good lye substitute for pretzels.Can I use baking powder instead of baking soda when boiling pretzels? ›
Baking powder mixed with water will not be alkaline, since it contains both an acid and a base. Thus it won't work for boiling pretzels.Can you bake pretzels without parchment paper? ›
You can also use parchment paper, but you will need to lightly spray the tops with either a flour-based baking spray or non-stick oil cooking spray to make sure the pretzels do not stick. Silicone mats are also nice because it's less waste. Baking sheets.Why are my pretzels sticking to the parchment paper? ›
The wet pretzels tend to stick to parchment paper when baked, so make sure your sheets are well greased. Remove your pretzels from the parchment paper shortly after they come out of the oven.Does Auntie Anne's put butter on their pretzels? ›
Our Original Pretzel only contains 5 grams of fat, and, yes, it is lightly dipped in butter. Since Auntie Anne's Pretzels are made fresh in our stores, you can request your pretzel without butter for a lower calorie option or order your pretzel without salt.Does Auntie Anne's use lye or baking soda? ›
Some of the distinctive color and flavor of Auntie Anne's pretzels comes from a quick dip in a baking soda water bath. Mix 3 cups of hot water (not boiling, but quite hot) with the baking soda and stir to dissolve.
What happens if you don't put enough baking soda in a recipe? ›
Baking soda is a strong leavening agent and it is important to always use the exact amount called for in the recipe. While not enough baking soda will give an inadequate rise and a heavy finished product, adding too much will cause baked goods to fall and leave a metallic, soapy taste behind.What happens if a recipe calls for baking soda and you don't have any? ›
If you don't have baking soda, you can use baking powder, at three times what the recipe calls for. So if a recipe calls for one teaspoon of baking soda, you can use three teaspoons of baking powder. Baking powder also contains a little bit of salt, so it's also a good idea to halve the salt the recipe calls for.What happens if I forget baking soda from a recipe? ›
You technically can leave out baking soda in certain recipes (like chocolate chip cookies or pancakes) in a pinch, but you need to understand that your finished product will not be as light and fluffy as the recipe intended. Unless you have no other option, you really should use a leavening substitute.Do you use lye or baking soda for pretzels? ›
Lye is primarily used to make pretzels, and it's the reason for their unmistakable shiny, mahogany color. To prepare, shaped pretzels are dipped in a lye bath, then baked in the oven. This method can also be used with rolls or buns.Does adding salt and baking soda to water help? ›
A 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda in 1 quart of water will make even the more acidic water alkaline. A pinch of Celtic sea salt or Himalayan pink salt in a glass of water helps nourish adrenal fatiguesufferers and boost alkalinity.How much baking soda should you soak in? ›
To make a baking soda bath, a person should add between a quarter to 2 cups of baking soda to warm bath water and stir it around to let it dissolve. Once the baking soda has completely dissolved, a person should soak in the tub for up to 40 minutes.Are soft pretzels fried or baked? ›
Pretzels are first baked and then kilned to drop the moisture content to produce the typical texture. Baking is continuously performed on wire mesh, direct gas-fired ovens that have at least three independent temperature zones or areas.What makes a pretzel hard or soft? ›
Soft pretzels can usually be baked in 15 minutes; hard pretzels, meanwhile, must be baked for up to an hour. The longer baking time further dries out the pretzel. And, as we have discussed, the lack of moisture is what gives the hard pretzel its brittle texture.How does Auntie Anne's cook their pretzels? ›
The pretzels are always made fresh.
You'll never find pre-made pretzels at an Auntie Anne's. Each location receives shipments of the signature flour mixture, which is put in a mixer along with water and yeast. Pretzels are baked, brushed with real butter, salted and served hot, fresh and ready to eat.
Overworked dough can happen when using a stand mixer. Dough will feel “tight” and tough, as the gluten molecules have become damaged, meaning that it won't stretch, only break, when you try to pull or roll it. Underworked dough on the other hand, won't form a ball shape easily.
How do you keep soft pretzel bites warm for a party? ›
If you are making pretzels fresh and just want to keep them warm without drying out there is a simple solution. Lightly wrap the pretzels in foil and place in a slow cooker, covered on “warm”.How do you get salt to stick to pretzel bites? ›
How do you get salt to stick to pretzels? Before baking the pretzel bites, you dip them in a baking soda solution. This gives them the “pretzel” taste that commercial pretzels get from lye. After dipping them, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle them with salt immediately.Why do my soft pretzels taste bitter? ›
The longer the pretzels are boiled, the more of the “bitter” taste from the baking soda there will be.Can I use kosher salt instead of pretzel salt? ›
Common substitutes for pretzel salt include: Bagel Salt, Kosher Salt, Red Diamond Sea Salt, rock salt, and Morton salt substitute.What is the best mustard for soft pretzels? ›
Dijon mustard or a spicy brown mustard are the typical go-tos, as they add an extra kick to your pretzel snack. However, you can also get the best of both worlds by choosing a cheesy mustard dip. All you need is spicy brown mustard, a cheese spread, and Worcestershire sauce.Is pretzel dough the same as bread dough? ›
How is a pretzel different from bread? A lot of people wonder how a soft pretzel is different from bread! The answer is that the dough is boiled before it is baked! Boiling the dough in the baking soda & water bath is the step in this recipe that gives this Homemade Pretzel Bread it's pretzel-y identity!Should pretzel dough be sticky? ›
Your pretzel dough should be tacky but not overly sticky. If it is sticky to the point it is sticking to your fingers, then knead a little longer or knead a little more flour into the dough.What is the difference between lye and baking soda? ›
Lye is a stronger alkaline than baking soda or sodium bicarbonate, with a pH reading ranging from around 13 to 14. Its base of sodium hydroxide is created commercially by the electrolysis of sodium chloride solution, as well as reacting calcium hydroxide with sodium carbonate, according to the FDA.How do pretzels get their flavor? ›
Salt is the most common seasoning, or topping, for pretzels, complementing the washing soda or lye treatment that gives pretzels their traditional skin and flavor acquired through the Maillard reaction. Other seasonings are mustard, cheeses, sugar, chocolate, cinnamon, sweet glazing, seeds, and nuts.Is lye the same as baking soda? ›
Lye is a stronger alkaline than baking soda or sodium bicarbonate, with a pH reading ranging from around 13 to 14. Its base of sodium hydroxide is created commercially by the electrolysis of sodium chloride solution, as well as reacting calcium hydroxide with sodium carbonate, according to the FDA.
Why does pretzel bread taste different? ›
How is a pretzel different from bread? A lot of people wonder how a soft pretzel is different from bread! The answer is that the dough is boiled before it is baked! Boiling the dough in the baking soda & water bath is the step in this recipe that gives this Homemade Pretzel Bread it's pretzel-y identity!How much baking soda to water for pretzels? ›
In a large, wide pot, bring 6 cups water and 2 tablespoons baking soda to a boil. Then, transfer one shaped pretzel to the bath using a slotted spatula and let sit for 1 minute. Then move the pretzel to a cooling rack on top of parchment paper.What do they dip pretzels in before baking? ›
Traditional Bavarian pretzels are dipped in a lye solution before they are baked. Lye, also known as sodium hydroxide, is essentially the same stuff that's used to make soap and clean drains. It can even dissolve glass.What can I use instead of lye for pretzel? ›
Baked soda does a much better job of approximating true lye-dipped pretzels. Just dissolve 2/3 cup (about 100 grams) in 2 cups of water, immerse the formed raw pretzels in this solution for three to four minutes, rinse off the excess dipping solution in a large bowl of plain water, and bake. So there you have it!What can I use instead of lye in pretzels? ›
That is by taking baking soda, spreading it out on a baking pan and putting it into the oven at about 250-300 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour. That changes the chemical properties in the baking soda to make it behave more similarly to lye.Does Auntie Anne's use lye? ›
I suppose I ought to share what I learned about whether or not Auntie Anne's uses lye with their pretzels. That's kind of the point of this post, after all. Well, the cheery ladies were very clear with me: they do NOT use lye. No sodium hydroxide/poison/caustic soda—none whatsoever—in their pretzels.Is bread flour better for pretzels? ›
The Best Flour for Making Soft Pretzels
I really recommend that you use bread flour rather than all purpose when making soft pretzels. Bread flour has a higher gluten content, which in this case yields softer and chewier soft pretzels than you could expect with all purpose flour.
Keep it in a paper bag
Paper bags are preferable to plastic bags, as these allow the moisture to escape. Keep in mind, though, that with a paper bag your pretzels may become stale more quickly than by freezing them or placing them in a bread box.