Appetizers & Snacks/ Party

Soft Pretzel Bites

9 September 2021 By Aleksandra

These soft pretzel bites are fluffy, buttery, and perfect for dipping in beer cheese dip. They are actually very easy and quick to make and taste so much better than store-bought!

Soft pretzel bite is being dipped in a cheese sauce in a brown bowl.. Pretzel bites scattered around.

Below you will find information about the ingredients and how to make the recipe. Scroll down for a printable recipe card with measurements and detailed instructions.

Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make these delicious soft pretzel bites:

For the yeast dough:

  • all-purpose flour
  • active dry yeast
  • brown sugar (or white sugar)
  • melted butter (or vegetable oil)
  • warm water (or milk, but I prefer water)
  • salt

Additionally, you will need:

  • baking soda – for the soda bath – the recipe calls for 1/4 cup of baking soda but don’t worry it doesn’t go into the dough, the pretzels are briefly cooked in the soda bath which makes their outsides delightfully chewy and gives them their unique “pretzel” flavor
  • beaten egg – for brushing the pretzel bites before they go into the oven
  • coarse salt / pretzel salt – you can also use regular salt but coarse salt really makes them taste better, it contributes to the authentic “pretzel flavor”
Labeled ingredients for soft pretzel bites.

Authentic German pretzels

This pretzel bites recipe is a spin on the classic German pretzels recipe (Laugenbrezel) but in a smaller form that is perfect for sharing and dipping in your favorite sauces!

The only difference between the authentic recipe and this one is the soda bath. The authentic recipe uses a lye solution for cooking the pretzels. This substance is not easy to buy and you need to be quite careful when using it so I opted for baking soda which is a great substitute, it’s easy to buy and use.

Why do you put baking soda in water when making pretzels? Boiling them for a short period of time gives the pretzels their chewy texture. The baking soda bath helps turn the outside into a brown crispy crust.

In comparison to soft pretzels that I bought in my local grocery store in Austria (they are shown on the last photo), their crust is less chewy and softer, but in terms of taste, they are almost identical. Coarse salt is very important in achieving authentic taste.

Cooking vs soaking in soda bath: I’ve found recipes that call for soaking the unbaked pretzel bites in the soda bath instead of cooking them. I’ve tried this method and wasn’t happy with the results – I could taste the baking soda on the outside of the pretzels after they has been baked.

Flavor variations

Cinnamon sugar pretzel bites: You can also make a sweet version of these fluffy pretzel bites. Simply coat them with butter after they have been baked, then dip them in a cinnamon sugar mixture (1/2 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon cinnamon).

Instead of coarse salt, you can sprinkle them with everything bagel seasoning.

Another great option would be to make garlic parmesan pretzel bites – take the pretzels out of the oven 2 minutes before the end of the baking time, brush them with a mixture of minced garlic, melted butter, and grated parmesan cheese. Bake for the remaining 2 minutes.

How to make soft pretzel bites step by step

Make the dough

A collage of 2 photos showing proofing yeast.

STEP 1: Add the sugar into a medium/large mixing bowl. Add very warm water, stir the water with sugar. Stir in the yeast.

The water should be pleasantly warm to the touch. It’s best to check its temperature with a thermometer, it should be 100-110°F (38-43°C)). The water can’t be too hot or the yeast won’t work.

STEP 2: Let stand for 5 minutes until foamy (a sign that the yeast is working).

Yeast dough ingredients in a bowl. Roughly combined dough ingredients in a bowl.

STEP 3: Add all the other ingredients for the dough: flour, melted and slightly cooled butter, and salt.

How to measure flour: if you will use a kitchen scale to measure out all the ingredients, it all goes easy breezy! But if you’re using measuring cups, remember that 1 cup of flour can weigh 120-150g, depending on how you’re filling your cup. Don’t scoop the flour directly into the measuring cup, which can compact it! 1 cup of flour in my recipes weighs 125g. To correctly measure the flour, you need to:

  1. Fluff the flour by stirring it in the bag/flour container with a spoon.
  2. Spoon the flour and sprinkle it into your measuring cup.
  3. Sweep off the excess flour with the back of a knife.

So, if you’re using measuring cups to measure out the flour, add 3 cups of flour first and then add the remaining 1/2 cup while kneading the dough if it’s still sticky.

I’ve made this recipe several times and I have never needed to adjust the flour amount when using a scale – it yields great, consistent results every time!

STEP 4: Stir the dough with a spoon until roughly combined.

Pretzel dough in a bowl. Proofed pretzel dough in a bowl.

STEP 5: Knead the dough by hand or with a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment – about 3-4 minutes until the dough is smooth and not sticky.

If it’s too sticky just add more flour (see the note about the flour measurements above).

STEP 6: Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let stand in a warm place until roughly doubled in volume. You can put it in a turned off oven with a light on. It should take about 30-45 minutes.

Shape the pretzel bites

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

Yeast dough in a bowl is being punched with a hand. Yeast dough cut into 8 parts on a silicone mat.

STEP 7: Punch the dough with your fist to deflate it.

STEP 8: Place the dough on the counter or on a rolling mat, shape it into a thick disc and cut into 8 parts.

Collage of 2 photos showing how to shape pretzel bites.

STEP 9: Roll each part into a 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick rope.

STEP 10: Cut the rope into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces.

Pretzel bites held in a hand. Pretzel bites ready to be cooked on a tray lined with parchment paper.

STEP 11: Make sure your pretzel bites are really small, they will rise in the oven.
STEP 12: Place the pretzel bites on a tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Cook and bake the pretzels

Pretzel bites are being cooked in a pot. Pretzel bites are being brushed with beaten egg.

STEP 13: Combine water and baking soda in a medium/large pot. Bring to a boil. Add 8-10 pretzel bites at a time to the pot and cook for 15 seconds (it doesn’t have to be exactly 15 seconds but try not to cook them longer than 30 seconds).

Take them out with a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

STEP 14: When all the pretzel bites have been cooked, brush them with beaten egg. Sprinkle the pretzels with coarse salt.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.

Take out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

Soft pretzel bites on a piece of parchment paper.

Storage

Soft pretzel bites are best eaten the day that you make them. The longer they sit out, the more they lose their soft pillowy texture. They become rather dense and not as fluffy as freshly baked.

How to store them: store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

How to freeze: place them apart on a tray (make sure they are not touching each other). When frozen transfer to zip lock bags on containers.

How to thaw: I bake them straight from the freezer: place them on a baking tray and put them in a cold oven (this gives them time to thaw). Set the oven to 325°F (160°C) and bake for about 15 minutes (time may vary depending on the oven) until thawed and warm.

How to make them ahead: if you want to make them ahead I would recommend freezing them! They are light, fluffy, and delicious just like freshly baked. They are much better than baked pretzel bites stored in an airtight container for just 1 day.

Pretzel bites, large pretzels, cheese sauce on a tray lined with parchment paper.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Soft Pretzel Bites

These soft pretzel bites are fluffy and perfect for dipping in beer cheese dip or your other favorite cheesy sauce. They are actually very easy and quick to make and taste so much better than store-bought!
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Soft pretzel bites on a piece of parchment paper.
Print Recipe
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
rising time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 98 pretzel bites (about 8 servings)
Calories 254kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

for the pretzel bites:

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 cup warm water 240g
  • 1 packet active dry yeast 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (440g) spooned and leveled not scooped*
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt

for the soda bath:

  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup baking soda 65g

additionally:

  • 1 egg
  • coarse/pretzel salt

Instructions

Make the dough:

  • Add the sugar into a medium/large mixing bowl. Add very warm water – it should be pleasantly warm to the touch (it’s best to check its temperature with a thermometer, it should be 100-110°F (38-43°C)). The water can’t be too hot or the yeast won’t work. Stir the water with sugar.
  • Stir in the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes until foamy (a sign that the yeast is working).
  • Add all the other ingredients for the dough: flour, melted and slightly cooled butter, and salt (note about the flour: if you’re using measuring cups to measure out the flour, add 3 cups of flour first and then add the remaining 1/2 cup while kneading the dough if it’s still sticky, if using a scale you can add all the ingredients as written in one go).
  • Stir the dough with a spoon until roughly combined.
  • Knead the dough by hand or with a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment – about 3-4 minutes until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
  • Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let stand in a warm place until roughly doubled in volume. You can put it in a turned off oven with a light on. It should take about 30-45 minutes.

Shape the pretzel bites:

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
  • Punch the dough with your fist to deflate it. Place the dough on the counter or on a rolling mat, shape it into a thick disc and cut into 8 parts.
  • Roll each part into a 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick rope, then cut the rope into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces..
  • Place the pretzel bites on a tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining dough. Make sure your pretzel bites are really small, they will rise in the oven.

Cook and bake the pretzels:

  • Combine water and baking soda in a medium/large pot. Bring to a boil.
  • Add 8-10 pretzel bites at a time to the pot and cook for 15 seconds (it doesn't have to be exactly 15 seconds but try not to cook them longer than 30 seconds).
  • Take them out with a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • When all the pretzel bites have been cooked, brush them with beaten egg.
  • Sprinkle the pretzels with coarse salt.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
  • Take out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Ingredients notes: you can also use white sugar instead of brown sugar, and vegetable oil instead of butter. You can also use milk instead of water, but I prefer the recipe with water.
  • How to correctly measure the flour: Fluff the flour by stirring it in the bag/flour container with a spoon. Spoon the flour and sprinkle it into your measuring cup. Sweep off the excess flour with the back of a knife. 1 cup flour is 125g.
  • Storage: they are best eaten the day that you make them. The longer they sit out, the more they lose their soft pillowy texture. They become rather dense and not as fluffy as freshly baked. If you want to make them ahead it’s best to freeze them.
  • How to freeze: place them apart on a tray (make sure they are not touching each other). When frozen transfer to zip lock bags on containers.
  • How to thaw: I bake them straight from the freezer: place them on a baking tray and put them in a cold oven (this gives them time to thaw). Set the oven to 325°F (160°C) and bake for about 15 minutes (time may vary depending on the oven) until thawed and warm.
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/8 of the recipe = about 12 pretzel bites). This is only an estimate!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American, German
Keyword pretzel bites recipe, soft pretzel bites

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