These Baked Soft Pretzel Bites are soft and chewy inside, with a crunchy, crackly exterior, and are absolutely fabulous dipped in beer cheese or mustard! Easier to make than you think, pretzel bites are so much better than anything store-bought!
This is one of my Appetizer recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
If there’s one appetizer/finger food we absolutely have to order whenever we go out to dinner, it’s soft pretzel sticks/bites. Our son is completely obsessed with soft pretzels of all shapes and sizes.
And you know what, who could blame him? Soft pretzels are insanely delicious, with that soft and pillowy interior and irresistible crackly crust on the exterior.
There’s a reason a certain pretzel shop in the mall is so popular!
I’ve had baked soft pretzel sticks on the website here for about 6 years, and I figured it was high time I shared a pretzel bites version.
How to make baked soft pretzel bites?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Proof yeast. This step is necessary if using active dry yeast as indicated, but if you use instant yeast, you don’t need to wait for the yeast to proof.
- Combine and knead dough. Using a stand mixer is definitely the easiest way, but not absolutely necessary.
- Rise. Let the dough rise, covered, for about one hour.
- Divide the dough. The easiest way to do this is to cut it, like a pizza, into 8 sections.
- Roll and cut. Roll each section into a long rope, then slice the ropes into bite-sized pieces.
- Boil. Boiling the pretzel dough in baking soda and water is really important for the texture and color.
- Egg wash. Brushing the pretzel bites with an egg wash helps them brown nicely.
- Brush with garlic butter. This is optional, but oh so delicious.
Don’t skip the baking soda bath! The boiling and baking soda do two things; puffs them up, and increases the pH of the exterior of the dough. That helps the pretzel bites get deeply golden and crackly on the outside. Essentially, the baking soda bath is what turns these bites of bread dough into soft pretzel bites! Without it, the texture and color just won’t be the same.
Variations of this recipe
- No topping – if you’d like a great base soft pretzel bite recipe, just omit the garlic butter topping option.
- Different toppings – alternately, if you’d like even more topping options, to the butter, stir in some Cajun seasoning, ranch seasoning, Italian seasoning, everything bagel seasoning etc.
- Dipping ideas – typically we dip these into beer cheese, but a regular cheese sauce, grainy mustard, honey mustard, etc are all great options.
- Salt – any coarse salt will work. Coarse kosher salt, sea salt, bagel salt, etc.
I know it may seem like a lot of work and hassle for such a quick boil, but trust me, it’s necessary. The boiling and baking soda do two things; puffs them up, and increases the pH of the exterior of the dough. That helps the pretzel bites get deeply golden and crackly on the outside. Essentially, the baking soda bath is what turns these bites of bread dough into soft pretzel bites! Without it, the texture and color just won’t be the same.
I haven’t tested it specifically, but I believe they could be. I would try baking them in a preheated 390°F air fryer for about 6-7 minutes. But know that this is just an educated guess, and you’ll need to do a bit of experimenting.
Sure can! You can combine the dough with a whisk, wooden spoon, or your hands, then knead by hand the old fashioned way. This may take a bit longer, and will take a bit of elbow grease, but it’s entirely possible.
Making soft pretzel bites ahead of time
We find soft pretzel bites are best served fresh, and even a bit warm from the oven.
However, they can be made entirely ahead of time, and reheated using the reheating tips below in the “storage” section.
Leftover pretzel bites should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or up to a week in the refrigerator.
To reheat and retain crispness, bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 4-5 minutes, or until hot and crispy.
The dough itself can be made and kept in the refrigerator (in an airtight container) for 24 hours. You can roll the dough and cut into bites while cold, but let the bites puff up and come to room temperature for a bit before proceeding with the recipe.
Pretzel bites can also be frozen for longer storage!
To freeze the dough:
- Complete making the dough, including rolling and cutting into bites if desired.
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw dough overnight in the refrigerator, then let the dough come to room temperature and puff up a bit before proceeding with the recipe.
To freeze the baked pretzel bites:
- Let baked bites cool completely.
- Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper, then add pretzel bites and freeze the whole thing for an hour.
- Transfer flash frozen pretzel bites to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Bake frozen bites in a preheated 300°F oven for 12-15 minutes, until heated through and crisp.
Spiders are such a great tool to have in the kitchen. I use mine for frying, straining pasta and veggies, and to boil these soft pretzel bites! The inexpensive price point is great too.
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 1 1/2 cups warm water warm to the touch, like a baby's bath water
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 (1/4 oz) package active dry yeast
- 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 8 – 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 2 large egg yolks beaten with 2 Tbsp cold water
- coarse kosher or sea salt for sprinkling on pretzels
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- pinch of minced fresh parsley
- pinch of kosher salt
Proof the yeast
- To the bowl of a stand mixer, add warm water, sugar, and yeast. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes. After that time has elapsed, it should look foamy and smell “yeasty”.
Combine and knead dough
- Add flour, salt, and melted butter. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on LOW speed until combined.
- Increase speed to MED and knead for about 4 minutes, until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Let dough rise
- Spray a separate large bowl with cooking spray, and transfer dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot for 1 hour.
- Towards the end of the hour, bring a large stockpot with 10 cups of water to a boil.
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet, or two baking sheets, with parchment paper. Lightly spray the parchment paper with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Lightly spray a work surface with cooking spray and turn out the dough. Shape it into a ball, and divide in half. Divide each half into fourths, so you have 8 sections of dough.
- Roll a section into a long rope, approximately 20” long. Slice the rope into roughly 1 1/2 inch pieces to make bites. Set aside and repeat with remaining sections of dough.
Baking soda bath
- Once the water is boiling, carefully add the baking soda. It will bubble up like crazy, so add it slowly.
- Boil about 15 bites at a time in the baking soda water, for just 15 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon or frying spider and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pretzel bites, boiling in batches.
- Whisk together egg yolks and water, and brush over pretzel bites. Sprinkle with salt.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until deeply golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Top and serve
- If desired, combine garlic butter ingredients and brush onto baked pretzels.
- Serve with beer cheese, grainy mustard, honey mustard, etc.
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- We love to serve these with a Creamy Beer Cheese Sauce.
- Recipe serves approximately 20 people, assuming each person has around 5 pretzel bites.
- Recipe makes approximately 100-106 bites.
- Instant yeast can be used, and you can skip the “proof the yeast” step (but you’ll still use all the ingredients, you just combine them and move forward, rather than waiting 5-10 minutes).
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.