These soft pretzel bites with creamy cheese sauce are a snacker’s dream. The hot, soft, pretzel bites, the deliciously smooth, creamy, cheesey sauce… There are no words. You can also make these into full size soft pretzels, with or without the cheese sauce (although why anyone would leave out the cheese sauce, I have no idea.)
Start with a basic flour and water dough, knead, etc. What makes the dough into pretzels, and not just basic bread rolls, is the baking soda bath. Before baking the pretzels, you boil them in hot water and baking soda for around a minute. This is what will give the your pretzels their unique, shiny, brown crust.
As mentioned above, you want to make hot pretzels, not bread. If you would take your pretzel dough and simply bake it, you would end up with boring old bread rolls. Boiling the dough in baking soda creates the pretzel crust that we are looking for.
Some recipes call for simply placing the dough in hot water + baking soda for a few seconds before baking, but I’ve found that actually boiling them yields a better crust.
No. You need to boil pretzels in an alkaline solution to get the distinctive pretzel crust. Baking soda is an alkaline substance, so it works. Baking powder is composed of both an alkaline and acidic substance, so they neutralize each other and will not be able to give your crust the texture and shine you need.
Disclosure: Product links may be affiliate, which means I get a commission if you click through and purchase. This does not affect the price of your item.
How to make the soft pretzels
- Dissolve yeast with brown sugar in warm water and leave it until it becomes foamy.
- Mix flour and salt, then add yeast mixture and knead for 5 to 8 minutes, until dough is smooth and not sticky.
- Let dough rise for around an hour or until at least doubled.
- Roll dough into long ropes, then cut into 1-inch pieces.
- Bring a pot of water and baking soda to a boil, then lower it to a simmer. Place a few pretzel bites into the baking soda bath for around 30 seconds. When they start to puff up, flip them and let them simmer for another 30 seconds.
- Remove pretzel bites from the baking soda bath, and place on parchment-paper-lined baking trays. Use a spider to remove the pretzels from the water easily.
- Bake at 450F/230C until deep golden brown.
How to make the cheese sauce
- Melt butter, and stir in flour.
- Add heavy cream, and whisk well to combine.
- Add cheese and keep on whisking.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
Other dipping sauce options
Some other delicious things to snack on:
For the pretzels:
- 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast (1 packet)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 4 cups flour
- 1 1/8 tsp salt
For the water bath:
- 2 tbsp baking soda
- 4 cups water
For the cheese sauce:
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup shredded white cheddar (or your favorite hard cheese)
- salt and black pepper, to taste
For the pretzels:
1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1 1/2 cups warm water and allow it to sit until yeast is proofed and foamy.
2. While yeast is proofing, mix flour and salt. Add the proofed yeast mixture and mix well, then knead for 5-8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough will be sticky at first but will become smoother as you knead. If absolutely necessary you can add a bit more flour to make the dough less sticky.
3. Set the dough aside to rise in a warm place until it is doubled in size, around an hour.
4. Roll the risen dough into long ropes, and then cut the ropes into 1-inch pieces. Allow the cut pieces to rest for a few minutes while you prepare the baking soda bath.
5. Bring 4 cups of water and 2 tbsp baking soda to a boil. Once it's boiled, lower heat to a simmer. Add the pretzel bites to the simmering water, a few at a time. When they puff up (about 30 seconds, but I don't actually count), flip them, and then leave them to simmer for another 30 seconds.
6. Remove the pretzel bites with a spider or slotted spoon and lay them on parchment-paper-lined baking trays.
7. Bake at 450F/230C until golden brown, approx. 10 minutes.
For the cheese sauce:
1. While the pretzels are baking, melt 2 tbsp butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour, and whisk well to combine. Add heavy cream, and keep on whisking until there are no lumps.
2. Add cheese to the saucepan, and whisk until melted and sauce is thickened.
3. Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning as necessary.
4. Dip the baked pretzels into the cheese sauce and enjoy!
1. Use more or less hard cheese than the recipe calls for, according to your preference. You can even skip the cheese entirely, and just make a roux-like cream sauce. Add extra salt to make up for the lack of cheese. It will still taste great.
2. Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 servings Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 356Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 1186mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 9g
Nutrition information was calculated by a third party.