What is it about a freshly baked pretzel that’s so nostalgic and fun?
If you ever want to win someone over, and I mean really put a smile on someone’s face, just put a plate of warm freshly baked pretzel bites in front of them.
Today, I’m sharing my fun-sized bakery style pretzel recipe – the easy way (because I really want to win you over).
These bite-sized balls of golden deliciousness are straight from my ultimate party playbook where I’ve made this pretzel dough into:
- pretzel wrapped hot dogs (the BEST)
- hand woven pretzel gifts with homemade mustard
- even pretzel buns for ham sandwiches
So why go bite-sized? Because these tiny rolls are by far the most straightforward path to the pure joy that is buttery, salty pretzel heaven.
You don’t need a rolling pin or any equipment; You just need to make the dough then boil and bake. You will get between 8 to 15 little bites, depending on how small/big you make them — perfect as an appetizer with some cheese sauce.
Making the Pretzel Bites (An Easy 4-Step Process)
To get started, gather your dough ingredients and a medium mixing bowl.
- all-purpose flour
- honey (or any sugar)
- warm water
- butter (for coating)
Mix and Knead Dough. Let Rise (1-2 Hours).
Combine the yeast, warm (not hot) water, sweetener, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Knead over the bowl for 3 minutes to form a smooth ball.
Coat with melted butter and cover bowl with cloth and let rise until doubled in size.
Shape pretzel rolls. Rise again (20 minutes).
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Portion the dough into 10 equal sections or more depending on how small you want the bites to be.
Flatten the dough piece by piece to form a small circle then press the dough between your thumb and fingertips (like your making the ok sign). This creates tension across the surface to form a tall rounded shape.
Cover and rest dough balls for 20 minutes so that the surface will be nice and smooth.
Alternative Method: If you prefer your pretzels to have less of a round shape, you can roll the dough and cut into mini rectangles using a bench scraper.
Boil briefly in a baking soda bath (1 minute).
Bring the water and baking soda to boil over high heat. Gently slip the rolls into the water and boil 20 seconds each side, turning with a slotted spoon. Transfer to a parchment lined sheet tray (*the parchment prevents sticking).
Technical Note: Don’t skip this step. Baking soda helps the pretzels brown in the oven and boiling gives the rolls a nice sheen.
Salt, Score, Bake (15-18 minutes).
While the dough is still wet, sprinkle with coarse salt and cut a shallow line into the top of each roll using a sharp knife (a slash or x mark will act as a vent for gases to escape so your pretzels look pretty).
Bake at 425°F on the middle rack until golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes. *For darker pretzels, simply bake longer.
How to Store
Place baked and cooled pretzel bites in a seal-able bag and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Warm in the microwave for about 10 seconds for the best texture.
Freeze baked rolls in sealed bags for up to 1 month. Defrost just until warmed through to enjoy.
Make the dough ahead and freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost for 1-2 days in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before using.
5-Minute Melty Cheese Sauce
You can make a fantastic cheese sauce with butter, flour, milk, and shredded cheese. Do this right before serving, so the cheese is ooey, gooey.
Feel free to torch the top of the cheese with a culinary torch (a sure way to raise some eyebrows).
- Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Dust the melted butter with 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour. Stir for 2 minutes to form a blonde roux.
- Add 2 cups milk. It will simmer right away. Stir well (lumps ok). Add 1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, colby, jack, swiss). Serve immediately.
Variation Tips: Add 1 can hatch green chiles or a splash of beer to your cheese sauce.
Dessert Style Variation
If you want to try some crazy delicious dessert pretzel bites, you can dust them with the trifecta: salt-sugar-cinnamon just after boiling (prior to baking so the seasoning sticks).
Then, if you’re feeling really indulgent, warm up some butter and stir in some powdered sugar and a drop of vanilla for a vanilla icing. Dunk and tell me if your eyes roll in the back of your head:)
So, are you team cheese sauce, mustard, or cinnamon-sugar? I’m usually a pretzel and mustard kind of girl, but I wouldn’t say no to a bite of each.
More Fun Recipes
- Disappearing Apricot Coconut Bites
- Lime Cheesecake Bites with Toasted Coconut
- Mangonada Smoothies or Mango Chamoy Fruit Roll Ups
- Fiery Hot and Juicy Jerk Chicken
Soft Baked Pretzel Bites
For the Pretzels
- 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm filtered water (110℉)
- 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour spooned and leveled
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 3 T baking soda
- 5 cups water
- coarse salt (such as Kosher salt) for garnish
- Combine the yeast, warm (not hot) water, sweetener, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Knead over the bowl for 3 minutes to form a smooth ball. Coat with melted butter and cover bowl with cloth and let rise until doubled, between 1 to 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Portion the dough into 10 equal sections or more depending on how small you want the bites to be. Flatten the dough piece by piece to form a small circle then press the dough between your thumb and fingertips (like your making the ok sign). This creates tension across the surface to form a tall rounded shape. Cover and rest dough balls for 20 minutes.
- Bring the water and baking soda to boil over high heat. Gently slip the rolls into the water and boil 20 seconds each side, turning with a slotted spoon. Transfer to a parchment lined sheet tray.
- Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and cut a shallow line into the top of each roll using a sharp knife. Bake on the middle rack until golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days or freeze in sealed bags for up to 1 month.
What’s the deal with yeast?This recipe involves adding active dry yeast directly to the flour. Your dough should be doubled in size between 1 and 2 hours later (a sign your yeast is working). If you prefer, you may test your yeast prior to adding the flour. To do this, add the yeast to the lukewarm water with maple syrup/honey and wait 5 minutes minimum to see if the yeast forms tiny bubbles (a sign that the yeast is alive). Note that this may take up to 15 minutes. If your yeast does nothing, it is bad and needs to be replaced.
Double the Recipe to Feed a Crowd or a Big FamilyHey, these are really good. You might just want to use the built-in portion slider (at the top of this recipe card) to double this recipe. When doubling any recipe, don’t double the salt. Instead, increase the salt to 1 1/2 teaspoons.
Veganize ItInstead of butter, use olive oil in this recipe. Instead of honey, use maple syrup.
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