Everyone has their favorite snack foods when it comes to watching sports.  (Unless, of course, you don’t watch sports, and then I suppose you probably don’t.)  My number one favorite would have to be popcorn,  because I’m a popcorn fiend and it’s always my snack of choice.  But, when I think about the other snacks I associate with sporting events, soft pretzels are high up on the list.  Classic soft pretzels are great of course, but for one thing, they are a rather large snack.  Eat a single soft pretzel and you may be to full to try the other foods available.  That’s where pretzel bites come in.  All the goodness of soft pretzels that we love, without committing to eating an entire pretzel.  That’s what I’m talking about.

The basic pretzel dough lends itself well to many flavor variations, whether it be mixed into the dough, in the dipping sauce, or both.  After some deliberation, this was the trio I decided upon: garlic herb pretzels with cheddar dipping sauce, classic pretzels with honey mustard dipping sauce, and cinnamon sugar pretzels with chocolate dipping sauce.  We liked these all so much it would be tough to choose a favorite.  You’ll just have to try them out and decide for yourself which you like best!  Another variation you could play with is filling these in a similar fashion to pizza bites.  (Incidentally, those are another fabulous option for game day snacking.)  I used to have a ham and cheese pretzel bite posted, but it was removed some time ago because too many readers had issues with it being unreliable.  If you use the pizza bite filling method and are careful to be sure the bites are sealed before boiling, I think that would have better results than the old method.  Be sure to check out the make-ahead instructions below, so if you’re hosting for the big game this weekend, you can prep these in advance.  Enjoy!


Basic pretzel dough:
1½ cups warm water (110-115° F)
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
22 oz. all-purpose flour (about 4½ cups)
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for greasing the bowl

To finish:
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp. water
Pretzel (or kosher) salt


  • 01

    To make the basic pretzel dough, combine the water, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed to dissolve the yeast.  Add in the flour and melted butter and mix just until the dough comes together.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed until the dough is smooth and clears the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly greased with vegetable oil, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, about 50-55 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

  • 02

    Preheat the oven to 450° F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in a large saucepan or stockpot.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate it.  Divide it up into approximately 6 equal portions.  Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough out into a long rope about 1-inch in diameter.  Use a pizza cutter to cut the row into small segments, no longer than 1-inch each.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  Place the pretzel bites into the boiling water in batches so that they aren’t overcrowded.  Boil each batch for about 30 seconds, stirring once or twice to submerge all surfaces in the water.  Remove from the water with a slotted skimmer and spread out on the prepared baking sheets.  Once all the pretzels have been boiled, brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with salt.  Bake in the preheated oven until dark golden brown, about 9-11 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with mustard.

  • 03

    *Garlic herb variation: To the basic dough recipe, add in 3 cloves minced garlic, 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley, 2 teaspoons minced thyme, and freshly ground black pepper to taste while mixing/kneading the dough.  Continue with the rest of the recipe as instructed, using a lighter sprinkle of salt on top before baking.

    To make a cheese sauce, combine ¾ cup 2% or whole milk with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Whisk frequently.  Bring the mixture to a simmer.  Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer about 1 minute until slightly thickened.  Remove from the heat, whisk in ¾ cup freshly shredded medium cheddar cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Reheat as needed.

  • 04

    *Cinnamon sugar variation: Make the basic dough recipe as instructed, omitting the sprinkling of salt before baking.  While the pretzel bites are baking, combine ¾ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon in a small bowl.  Mix to blend.  In another small bowl, melt 3 tablespoons of butter.  When the pretzel bites are done baking and have cooled enough to handle, dip the top side briefly in the melted butter, then dip in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to adhere to the surface.  Gently shake off any excess.  Repeat with the remaining pretzel bites.  Let stand 5-10 minutes to allow the mixture to set on the surface of the pretzel.

    To make a chocolate sauce, place 5 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Bring 2/3 cup heavy cream to a simmer, pour over the chocolate, and let stand 2 minutes.  Whisk together until a smooth ganache forms.  Reheat as necessary to keep liquid for dipping. 

  • 05

    *Make ahead instructions: See the original post on classic soft pretzels for the full details, but the gist is that the best make-ahead option is to proceed with the recipe through shaping (so, cutting into the bite size segments).  Place on a baking sheet to freeze, then transfer to a freezer bag and store.  When you are ready to make the pretzels, proceed with the recipe as directed, boiling directly from the freezer (no need to thaw).  


  • Ummmm YES. Soft pretzels have been in my bucket list to make. Love all 3 of your versions!

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan

    These pretzels look perfect! Love the different flavor combinations.

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape

    Love this!! Is there any way to make the dough without the paddle attachment, though? I’m at school and my paddle attachment is back home with my parents.

  • hoda

    I love the mall prezels from auntie annes. Was wondering if these pretzels have a similar taste?

  • annieseats

    It’s been over a decade since I’ve had one of those so I can’t say for sure. But, these are great :)

  • annieseats

    Sure, you can just make it by hand. See the FAQ page for more info :)

  • Pretzel bites are a total guilty pleasure for me!

  • Caroline L.

    Perfect for the upcoming Super Bowl! Honey mustard sauce is just divine… can’t wait to try out the classic one! :)

  • Annie @Annie’s City Kitchen

    Holy cow, those cinnamon sugar bites look fantastic. I love making soft pretzels (such a crowd pleaser!) but I’ve never thought to go the sweet route. These are totally going on my Superbowl menu.

  • These look so good. I wish there were a like button on these so I could like it, then unlike it, just to like it again!!

  • The minxes would devour these! Especially the sweet version :)

  • What a fabulous recipe!

  • Autumn

    These look so good! I cant wait to make some!

  • Jen

    I LOVE this recipe for soft pretzels! It’s PERFECT! But, when I had previously tried experimenting doing a cinnamon sugar version, it still had that slight “baking soda-y” taste that makes soft pretzels taste right, but it wasn’t quite right for the cinnamon sugar version. I tried boiling without the baking soda but they didn’t taste quite right that way either. Do you have any tips?

  • Lindsay

    I am ecstatic to see these here – and with different flavor/dip options! I can’t wait!

  • These look awesome! Just wondering, did you follow a specific recipe for honey mustard dipping sauce, or did you just combine honey and mustard in a bowl? I’d love to know!

  • Erica

    I made pretzel bites once and boiled them for 30 seconds, but the resulting bites had this awful, baking soda (after)taste! Perhaps I used too much soda? Boiled them for look long? Any thoughts?

  • Sue

    I showed my husband this recipe today, and he got right to it! The traditional batch just came out of the oven, and I’ve already had a few. These are brilliant!

  • penciledin

    Am I missing the instructions for the honey mustard dipping sauce? And additionally, these look amazing.

  • tammi

    Lady, you are on fire lately. Such wonderful recipes, delicious food…. this is seriously dangerous for the waistline :-)) I love everything about your site.Thank you so so much for your generosity.

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape

    Fantastic — thank you!

  • mayalaurent

    Yum Annie! I’m going to have to try these different variations now. I didn’t think about freezing them…brilliant!

  • Rachel @ Baked by Rachel

    I’ve so far only made original pretzels and bites but the other varieties sound delicious!

  • annieseats

    Aw, thank you so much for the wonderful compliment :) I really appreciate it.

  • annieseats

    I just used premixed honey mustard because we had some in the fridge. So, I didn’t mean for there to be a recipe for that. But, you can mix honey and mustard to get the flavor you like best. Enjoy!

  • annieseats

    I already had honey mustard in my fridge, so I just used that. But, you can combine mustard and honey to get the sauce to suit your tastes as well. Enjoy!

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe

    Totally making these for game day! I love the different variations!

  • Joyce

    I love the idea, I made Guy’s pretzels once and it was a bit of work and I did not have great luck with it. I like that you can freeze these ahead of time! Thanks!

  • Wow I love this! I want to try the classic and a cinnamon-sugar version with royal icing. MMM now I’m getting hungry!

  • JensFavoriteCookies

    I really need to try my hand at pretzels one of these days, I love them so much! These look wonderful!

  • annieseats

    I guess it would depend on the recipe. There could have been many factors at play, especially the recipe itself if it wasn’t Alton’s. But yeah, I suppose if they actually had a baking soda aftertaste, it was too low of a water to baking soda ratio.

  • annieseats

    We still really liked these with the cinnamon-sugar while boiled the usual way, but if you’ve had issues with that in the past then maybe just use less baking soda?

  • Leslie Seetin

    Made these yesterday for the Super Bowl, and the only problem I had was that the first batch was almost gone by the time I finished the second batch. Everybody loved them!

  • Yaniris Gomez

    I’ve been looking for a good soft pretzel recipe. Thanks for posting. What did you use for the chocolate sauce?

  • annieseats

    It’s included below in the variation portion of the recipe. Enjoy!

  • Christine

    Chiming in to say I made these last week with my boyfriend and they turned out wonderfully. I’ve tried a few other pretzel recipes and this was a good one–very supple to work with. We made them at his place by hand and measured by feel (picture: no stand mixer, only a liquid measuring cup, you get the idea) and they still turned out wonderfully. We stuck with the plain salted bites, stuffed a few with soy chorizo and dipped them in a beer cheese sauce or a garlic mustard aioli. They were fantastic! Thanks Annie!

  • disqus_z9devWPId8

    We just tried these today- came out of the oven 30 minutes ago and are gone! I just deleted every other pretzel recipe I had in my collection! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Made these this weekend for St. Patrick’s Day — huge hit! My first batch stuck to the jelly roll pan for some reason. (not sure if I didn’t boil them long enough?) Next time I will use a silpat or flip the pretzels half way through. Great recipe, thanks for sharing!

  • annieseats

    Yes, you need to line the pans with something as indicated in the instructions. Glad you enjoyed them.

  • Alissa P

    Made a half batch of these a few days ago just to try it out. I only had a tiny bit of unbleached flour on hand so I ended up using mostly whole wheat. They were delicious!!! Now I am in the middle of getting two batches of dough ready to cut and freeze to bake later on this week for a bridal shower. Thanks so much for a great recipe!

  • I want to make these to bring to a church function, but I was wondering if they would be any good an hour after baking them. Are they the sort of thing that should be eaten quickly after coming out of the oven?

  • annieseats

    I think they’ll still be great within an hour, though if you could keep them warm they will be best. Enjoy!

  • Melissa

    I made these today. Oh my gosh they are fantastic. You have such an easy to follow recepe here. Thanks!!

  • Jude I⚡caяiot

    These were great!

  • Meliss

    Is rapid rise and instant yeast the same thing?..not sure which type of yeast to get, Ive only used active dry for other doughs… thanks!!!

  • annieseats

    Yep, they are the same. Enjoy!

  • Allison C.

    Can I substitute active dry yeast, if I allow the dough to rest/rise longer?

  • annieseats

    Please see the FAQ page. Thanks!

  • Jenn V

    thanks for sharing- was wondering how these would taste using whole wheat!

  • Jennifer Hamilton

    Annie…oh my…I was always a little intimidated with trying soft pretzels but I finally got up the nerve (and time) to try. WOW! I’ll never go back to the packaged kind again. I’ve already made a batch for the freezer!

  • annieseats

    Yay! So glad you tried them :)

  • Mary

    I was planning on making these for a birthday. Do you have a particular recipe you use for the mustard dipping sauce?

  • annieseats

    It was just pre made honey mustard, but you could mix your own honey and mustard to taste.

  • Mary

    Thank you. I made these pretzel bites this past weekend and they were a huge hit. I have recommended your blog to all of my friends. Thanks again for dedication you put into this site. You’ve inspired me to try new things in the kitchen.

  • annieseats

    I am so happy to hear that! Thanks Mary :)

  • Lindsay

    I’ve made this recipe in the past and it was very well received – so delicious that I (sadly) did not have any leftovers! I’m making it again for a work party and am having trouble remembering the recipe yield. I know you note 12-16 servings, but can you remember about how many bites you are equating to one serving? Thanks, Annie!

  • annieseats

    No, it’s really just an estimate. Sorry! So glad you enjoy them!

  • Annie Peuquet

    Hi Annie – how do you get your pretzels so perfectly brown? Mine are such lighter. I know you can use lye, but I’d rather avoid that…

  • Annie

    I only did what is described here in the recipe, nothing additional for browning. I haven’t heard of using lye. I think if yours are lighter than you would like them you probably just need to bake them a little bit longer. Hope that helps!