You can have mall-style soft pretzel biteswithout ever leaving home! This simple recipe makes sweet or savory (you choose!) homemade soft pretzel bites that taste just like the real thing. Scroll down to watch the how-to video!
In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) combine approximately 2 cups (250g) of flour, brown sugar, yeast, and table salt and stir to combine.
3 cups bread flour, 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar, 2 ¼ teaspoons rapid rise yeast, 1 teaspoon table salt
Add melted butter and warm water and stir until mixture is completely combined and smooth.
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 cup warm water
Gradually add remaining flour as needed (plus additional as needed) until the dough begins to cling together and pulls away from the side of the bowl (if using a stand mixer, use the dough hook attachment for this). Dough should be slightly tacky to the touch, but not unmanageably sticky.
Transfer to a clean, lightly floured surface and briefly knead for 1-2 minutes until dough clings together and you have a mostly smooth ball (or you may use the dough hook attachment and mixer on low-speed for 1-2 minutes).
Transfer to a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes).
Boiling & Baking
Once dough has risen, preheat oven to 450F (230C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Prepare an egg wash by beating together 1 egg with 1 teaspoon of water and set this aside for now, too.
1 large egg, 1 teaspoon water
Measure 8 cups of water into a large pot, stir in baking soda, and bring to a boil. While water is coming to a boil, return to your dough.
8 cups water, ¼ cup baking soda
Gently deflate risen dough and transfer to a clean surface. Divide into 5 pieces and roll each into a rope approximately 12” (30cm) long. If the dough is sticking to your hands, lightly flour it but too much flour can make the dough even more difficult to work with, so use sparingly.
Cut each rope into 1-1 ½” (2-3.5cm) bite-sized pieces and transfer to prepared baking sheet.
Once water is boiling, carefully lower a handful of pretzel bites into the water at a time. Boil for approximately 30 seconds (if pretzels are floating I’ll flip them and continue to boil another 15-30 seconds) then remove with a strainer or spider or pair of tongs and return to baking sheet, spacing pretzels at least 1-2” (2cm) apart. Repeat with remaining pretzel bites until all have been boiled.
Lightly brush pretzels with egg wash (I just do the surface that is exposed, I don’t flip them and brush the underside with egg wash, though you could) and sprinkle with pretzel salt or sea salt.
Transfer to 450F (230C) oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown. Allow to cool before enjoying. Pretzels are best enjoyed warm the same day they are made.
Bread flour is best for this recipe as it yields the more characteristically chewy pretzels you’re used to. However, all-purpose flour can be used in a pinch as a straight 1:1 substitution, just note that your pretzels will be less chewy and more fluffy.
I can’t always find pretzel salt in stores. I’ve linked to where you can buy it on Amazon in the “Recommended Equipment” section above, but if you can’t find it you can use coarse sea salt instead.
Cinnamon Sugar Version
For a cinnamon/sugar version of this recipe, skip sprinkling with coarse salt, brush the bites with melted butter after baking, and then immediately toss in a blend of cinnamon/sugar.
These are best enjoyed warm the same day they are made, but they may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.