Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese

We were staying in the countryside of northern Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula when an impending snowstorm threatened travel for several days. Knowing we’d be stuck inside the farmhouse for a prolonged period of time, we decided to make a ton of snacks to keep ourselves busy, fat and happy. Our first project was my favorite soft pretzel bites.

Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese
Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese
Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese
Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese
Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese

This recipe seems like it has lots of steps, but they’re all super easy and you’ll be making delicious, better-than-store-bought pretzels in a snap. First, you’ll make the dough, then you’ll trim the dough into bites. You’ll boil the dough bites, then bake ’em, and poof! InstaPretzels!

Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese
Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese
Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese

The original recipe is courtesy of Annie’s Eats, who offers a couple additional options to flavor your pretzel bites, like adding garlic and herbs or cinnamon and sugar.

Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese

We were tackling several kitchen projects at the same time, so we kept things simple by making only the classic soft pretzels and an accompanying cheese dip. We also discovered a locally-made mustard in the market that was too irresistible to pass up, which added a second option in addition to the cheese. But to be honest? The cheese is good enough and plentiful on its own, so don’t feel like you need to rock two different options.

Here’s the recipe:

Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheddar Dip

Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese
Ingredients for the pretzel dough
  • Warm water: 1½ cups, 110-115° F
  • Sugar: 2 tsp
  • Kosher salt: 2 tsp
  • Instant yeast: 2¼ tsp
  • All-purpose flour: 22 oz (about 4½ cups)
  • Unsalted butter: 4 Tbsp, melted
  • Vegetable oil: as needed
Finishing ingredients
  • Baking soda: ⅔ cups
  • Egg Yolk: 1, beaten with 1 Tbsp water
  • Kosher salt: as needed
Cheddar dip
  • Milk: ¾ cup, 2% or whole
  • Cornstarch: 2 tsp
  • Cheddar cheese: ¾ cup, shredded
Instructions (pretzel dough)
  1. Combine the water, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  2. Mix on low to dissolve the yeast.
  3. Slowly add the flour and melted butter and mix until the dough comes together.
  4. Switch the mixer to the dough hook and knead on medium until the dough is smooth and clears the sides of the bowl (3-5 mins).
  5. Lightly coat a large bowl with vegetable oil and transfer the dough to the bowl. Turn the dough to coat with oil. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm corner of the room. The dough will take about about an hour to double in size.
Instructions (baking the pretzels)
  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or cooking spray.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450° F
  3. Fill a large pot with water (about 10 cups/2½ quarts). Add baking soda and bring to a boil.
  4. Turn your dough out onto a floured surface and divide into six equal pieces.
  5. Working one at a time, roll each piece of dough into a long rope, about one inch in diameter.
  6. Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut each rope into one-inch segments.
  7. Working in batches, dunk the pretzel dough pieces into boiling water for about 30 seconds, stirring to ensure all sides are submerged. Don’t overcrowd the pot, yo.
  8. Carefully remove the dough pieces from the boiling water using a slotted spoon or skimmer and spread them out on the baking sheets.
  9. Once all your pretzel pieces have been boiled, brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle with Kosher (or pretzel) salt.
  10. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until dark golden brown.
  11. Transfer to a cooling rack for 5 minutes before eating.
Instructions (cheddar dip)
  1. Combine milk and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk frequently and bring to a simmer.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue simmering until it thickens a bit.
  3. Remove from heat and whisk in shredded cheese until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

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