Pretzel Bites: a super bowl-ful

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You know the chewy texture and distinctive “street vendor pretzel” flavor you get in those soft, chewy pretzels bought hot from a charcoal-grill pushcart in the city?

Sure you do. Maybe it’s the grimy pavements, the diesel fumes, the clash and clatter of metal grates and loading gates. But whatever the reason, there’s something about a mustard-slathered metro-pretzel on a frigid morning that soothes the soul.

Guess what? You don’t have to travel to Manhattan (NY, not Kansas) or Philly to enjoy this culinary experience. In fact, when you make these “pretzel bites” at home, you can enjoy their signature flavor and texture – without the racket. And the traffic. And the $3 price tag.

Better yet, even though these are yeast pretzels, you can have them made, start to finish, in little more than an hour. Now THAT’S life in the fast lane!

Getting ready for a Super Bowl party next weekend? Hike yourself into the kitchen, huddle up with your ingredients, and score a touchdown with these chewy, butter-basted Pretzel Bites.

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Combine the following in a mixing bowl:

2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
7/8 to 1 cup warm water*
*Use the greater amount in the winter, the lesser amount in the summer, and somewhere in between in the spring and fall. Your goal is a soft dough.

Beat everything until well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand or electric mixer, for about 5 minutes, until it’s soft, smooth, and quite slack.

Flour the dough and place it in a bag; close the top of the bag. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes. It won’t rise a whole lot, but will spread out, as shown in the pictures above.

Want to make this dough in your bread machine? Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your machine, program the machine for dough or manual, and press Start. Allow the dough to proceed through its kneading cycle (no need to let it rise), then cancel the machine, flour the dough, and give it a rest in a plastic bag, as instructed above.

While the dough is resting, prepare the “soak.” Combine 1 cup boiling water and 2 tablespoons baking soda, stirring until the soda is totally (or almost totally) dissolved. Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm (or cooler).

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil spray, or lining it with parchment paper.

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Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into six equal pieces.
Roll the six pieces of dough into 12″ to 15″ ropes; a very lightly greased silicone rolling mat is handy here, as it provides just the right “traction” for rolling: not so much the dough sticks, but not so little it slips.

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Cut each rope crosswise into about 12 pieces. A pair of scissors works well here.

Pour the water/soda solution into a 9″ x 13″ pan, add the pretzel bites, and slosh them around so the solution washes over them; don’t worry, they don’t need to be totally covered by the solution. Let them soak for about 2 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.

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Transfer the bites to the prepared baking sheet, and top with pretzel salt or sea salt; or with pearl sugar, for sweet pretzel bites.

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Bake the bites for 12 to 15 minutes, until they’re golden brown.

Remove them from the oven, and roll them in 6 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle any sweet bites with cinnamon sugar, if desired. Serve immediately.

If you don’t plan on serving the bites until later, let them cool on a rack (or right on the pan), then store in a plastic bag at room temperature. Want to freeze them? Go right ahead.

Just before serving, warm the room-temperature bites briefly in a 350°F oven; about 8 minutes should do. Roll them in melted butter, and serve.

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SUPER!

Please bake, rate, and review our recipe for Pretzel Bites.

Print just the recipe.

 

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Lorraine Stevenski

    Love this recipe. How can you get sesame seeds to adhere to these little bites before baking? I would then sprinkle garlic pepper blend over them to serve.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      As soon as the pretzel bites leave the water bath, the moist surface will be ready to take your sprinkle of choice, whether it’s salty, sweet or savory – Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  2. Dean

    These look delicious! A quick question: At the top of the blog, it say preheat over to “Preheat to 475 and prepare baking sheet” and later it says “Bake at 400 for 12-15minutes”. Which temperature will give me the golden nuggets of deliciousness and not tiny nuggets of salty charcoal? Thanks! :^)

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Dean, preheat the oven to 400°F and bake them at 400°F – that’s the correct information (which I’ve now corrected!) Thanks – PJH

    2. Mary Ellen

      When doing baked goods like muffins, breads and such I often preheat the oven 25 degrees higher anyway. Once you open the oven, I think the temperature would plummet and heating the oven higher – especially when I make muffins – gives them the temperature they need from the beginning. You guys are the experts, but this technique has worked for me quite a while. My cupcakes and muffins turn out taller.

    3. PJ Hamel , post author

      Good tip, Mary Ellen – that first “big” blast of heat does tend to lift muffins nicely. Thank you for sharing. PJH

  3. Suzanne Francus

    Preheat 475 degrees and bake at 400 degrees? Just double checking..
    Thanks! I am looking forward to making these for my family for Super Bowl!!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Suzanne, that was a goof – preheat to 400°F, and bake at 400°F. Sorry about that! Enjoy – PJH

  4. Karen Schmidt-Dill

    Why let the dough rest in a plastic bag? How is that different from putting it inside a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap, like you do for most yeast breads?
    I really think I will be making these. They sound wonderful and easy.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      No different, Karen – just a change of pace. I do like the bit of flour on the outside of the dough, as it’s pretty sticky and it helps with handling. But letting it rise in a bowl is absolutely fine. Cheers – PJH

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Just another way to let bread dough rise, Melodie – we like to give people all different kinds of ideas, and this one springs from when you need your mixing bowl to make something else, and don’t want to wait. Absolutely let it rise however you like – PJH

  5. Barbara

    I wanted to make your pretzels a few months ago and have been unable to find pretzel salt on your site or anywhere else. Will you be carrying it soon? The kosher salt and other coarse salts just don’t have the same appearance or taste.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Barbara, we’ve carried pretzel salt on and off over the years, and it never sells well enough to keep it permanently; but we’re working on some pretzel-type items in the test kitchen now, and the product developer I just spoke with says it might make yet another comeback, so stay tuned! PJH

  6. Becka

    I have made pretzel buns in the past and found that after freezing them the pretzel sale “disappears”. Any tips on adding the salt back after freezing?

    Reply
    1. Amy Trage

      Yeah, salt doesn’t really survive the freezing/thawing process too well. Thankfully, the flavor is still there, it’s just not as visible. ~Amy

  7. Liz

    I love the idea of the soak instead of the usual bath. Seems like this will be much easier.
    Thinking this might be the perfect snack for tonight…Texas weather has been a bit nippy. :)

    Reply
  8. Gail

    Do you think the recipe will work with your Gluten Free flour? Or would numerous adjustments have to be made? I love soft pretzels and this seems like a wonderful way to make some, they would just have to be GF for me.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Amy Trage

      Unfortunately we have not tested this with the GF flour. It would be best to find a gluten-free soft pretzel recipe online. ~Amy

  9. Roxann

    Oh, I recognize this recipe! I have been making your “hot buttered soft pretzel” recipe for several months now, but rather than shaping into pretzels, I just cut it into little pretzel bites. Looks like we had the same idea. I use the KAF plastic bowl & dough scraper to cut them, works beautifully. These always turn out great, and get many compliments.

    Reply
  10. Laura

    I made these tonight and they taste wonderful. I had trouble with the sticky dough, though. Despite greasing my work surface, the dough stuck to my knife and hands. I still had a great outcome, but they weren’t as prettily shaped. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Add enough flour to make these easy for you to work with, but bear in mind it is a sticky dough – you’ll get best results from tacky-like-tape or even slightly sticky. Happy Baker = happy product (and happy football fans?). Irene@KAF

  11. ArwenMasteller1313

    Love this recipe. Really easy – and kids had them finished off before I could even think about possibly storing them.

    Reply
  12. Donna Studniarz

    I’d like to make these and mail to my son several states away for a Super Bowl party he is having. Do you recommend baking them and then bagging them up to ship and letting him re-warm and add the salt or cinn sugar the day of the party?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Yes, Donna, exactly. Leave off the butter, too – have him do that along with adding the sugar or salt. I’d send them USPS Priority mail, too – so they get there as quickly as possible. Good luck – PJH

  13. barbra

    What could be better than these pretzel bites? More pretzel bites? Nope, more pretzel bites stuffed with pepperjack cheese! I made a double recipe of these this morning, six regular pretzels and six dozen or so pretzel bites.Grandson pronounced them the best I’ve ever made and would be even better with cheese in the middle. Of course I had to try that and it worked. Roll dough into rope, then pat with three fingers into a flattened rope, line up about 3/4 inch pieces of cheese, leaving 1/4 inch between pieces. Pull sides up, pinch together, and give it a little roll over to seal. You can easily feel along the sides with a gentle pinching motion to find where the spaces are between cheese chunks. For the second batch I just lightly floured the countertop for the resting phase and sprinkled a little flour over the top, covered with plastic wrap. Thanks for the recipe, it is a keeper, and the stuffability options are endless.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Outstanding! I’m working on a stuffed breadstick recipe and I keep finding new ideas to try! ~ MJ

  14. Betty

    I make pretzels nearly every weekend for my husband (gosh he’s a lucky man, the wonder that is me AND pretzels?). Now I please need the amazing denizens of the KAF family to give me some ideas for dipping ideas for these pretzel bites (MJ’s bacon jam in a cheesy beer sauce for one). Any ideas?

    Reply
  15. Mia

    How well do these hold up over a few hours? The recipe says to serve immediately, but that isn’t really how Super Bowl parties work. No one wants to be in the kitchen when the game starts (or leading up to half time), and everyone wants to be able to snack for the next 3 hours – not just when something comes out of the oven. Not to mention that many people drive (short distances, but enough time for any food to cool off in this miserable winter weather) to watch to game with friends. I don’t want to make these and have them end up gross by the time we reach the party!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Mia, they’re best served warm, as with many baked goods. My choice would be to pop the finished bites back into a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes just before serving – is that a possibility? You can certainly serve them at room temp.; they’re not gross, just more delectable when served oven-warm. Enjoy – PJH

  16. Kalisa

    So glad to see a KAF recipe for pretzel bites! I have made them before with a random recipe from the Internet, which were fine until the water/soda bath. It left them so bitter that the poor pretzel bites (which turned out well!) were incredibly bitter and completely inedible. Of course it wasn’t until I had put them all through their water bath and baked them that I could tell what went wrong.

    But hope springs eternal! I’m looking forward to trying this recipe out.

    Reply
  17. Barbra

    PJ you have created a monster with this recipe! A friendly monster to be sure though. This morning I baked Danish Pretzel Bites, Pepperjack Cheese Pretzel Bites and then Pizza Pretzel Bites. For the Danish I made little logs of cream cheese, sprinkled them with sugar and froze until ready to add. For the pizza bites, I rolled a slice of pepperoni around a little log of pepperjack cheese. The cheese needed a touch more sugar, would be great mixed the same way as for the middle of those pumpkin muffins. Some form of fruity or honey yogurt dip would be good, pizza sauce type dip for the cheese bites I think would be the most simple. (All this was really from just a double recipe)
    Will look forward to your blog about the stuffed breadsticks.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Barbra, sounds like you’re already most of the way there as far as a blog about stuffed breadsticks! Very creative – thanks so much for sharing here, I look forward to branching out to new pretzel bites, with your guidance. PJH

  18. ChezSam

    I’ve renamed these ‘fat crackers’ as they didn’t turn out to look like your pictures but were wonderful with cheese. Can you please give me a hint as to how you took them out of the bath. My first try left them really wet on the parchment paper. And they needed to be toasted in the toaster oven the next day to achieve their wonderfuly crisp outside and chewy inside. I try to stay away from bread but these keep calling my name. I’m making them again today.

    Reply
    1. Amy Trage

      You could try using a slotted spoon to remove them from the bath so that the excess water drains off before they are placed on the parchment paper. ~Amy

  19. LizD

    I baked these a few days ago and froze them. I will be reheating as per the instructions for Superbowl tomorrow. Would you recommend I thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and then let them come to room temperature before reheating in the oven? Or should I take them out of them freezer and thaw on the counter? Please help!! I tasted a few before I bagged and froze them and they were tasty!!

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Best to go straight from freezer to oven, Liz. Less chance for any condensation or sogginess. Susan

  20. Tegan

    These are so delicious!! I tried the recipe out last month (via the hot buttered soft pretzels) and everything turned out beautifully, so I decided to do pretzel bites for the Super Bowl party we were attending. I did a double batch and made half salty, half sweet. The sweet I tossed in butter, then cinnamon/sugar. For the salty, I sprinkled with coarse sea salt before baking and made a cream cheese/mustard/black pepper sort of dip. It turned out delicious! There was not a single bite of either kind left over at the end of the game, and my husband talked about them for days afterwards. I made them again last week and again they turned out wonderfully, this recipe is definitely a keeper.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Tegan, thanks for sharing your enthusiasm here – so glad these were a hit for you, and it sounds like they’ve earned a spot in your “favorites file.” Enjoy – PJH

  21. Francine

    These are fantastic! The only issue I had was with the water bath. I only had a bowl to soak them in – by the time I get them all out of the bath, the last ones were really mushy. It didn’t seem to affect their baking time or flavor. Was my water still too warm or was it the bowl? or the fact I put the whole batch into the bowl at once?

    Other than that, they were easy to make and a huge hit!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      HI Francine,
      I’d say try a larger vessel next time, or do them in two separate bowls. A countertop full of little pretzel hot tubs? ~ MJ

  22. sharon olson

    could i use the sourdough pretzel recipe and this technique? if so, how many ropes should i make to get the correct size “bite”? i’m thinking maybe 8?

    never want to throw away any starter when i feed it, so i’m always looking for a new use!

    Reply
  23. Cakes2008

    I’ve been making the hot buttered pretzel recipe for a little over a year now and we LOVE that recipe. This looks a little more simple but I have some questions – with the hot buttered pretzel recipe, in order to double, you said to use the same amount of yeast as for a single recipe, is that the same for these as well? Also, When I make the dough and then put them in the bath, I don’t bake all of them off, I flash freeze most of them on cookie sheets and then vacuum seal them by twos to bake off later. They come out perfect, just like they were just made – can I do that with these as well?
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe! I look forward to trying it out!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hello Cakes2008 – Yes, just double all the ingredients and what a super idea you have for freezing for later. It should work the same for these. I have made pretzel bites for bake sales as a non sweet option and they fly out the door! Elisabeth@KAF

  24. Marie Sampson

    I know this is a hand made recipe, but because my terrible results in the past from making pretzels, I was wondering will a pizza dough work. Also how do stop my homemade bread from being so dense? Please HELP!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hello Marie! I would strongly suggest to call our chat with our Baker’s Hotline, we will be able to help a bit better if we can chat live! Jon@KAF 855 371 2253

  25. the best charcoal grills

    Thank your for presenting such types of delicious food.These are so delicious!! I tried the recipe out last and everything turned out beautifully, so I have decided to do pretzel bites for the Super Bowl party we were attending..

    Reply

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