This cheese-stuffed soft pretzel bites recipe is the best! Homemade pretzel dough is wrapped around cheddar cheese, topped with sea salt and brushed with butter. Serve them as an appetizer, snack or on the side of your favorite bowl of soup.
This post is sponsored by my friends at Cabot Creamery. As always, all opinions, photos, and the recipe are completely my own!
It’s the fall which means cozy sweaters, warm lattes, and cuddling up watching copious amounts of football. Over the years I have learned to enjoy actually watching the games, but mostly I’m just in it for the snacks.
It’s no secret that I’m mildly famous for my pretzel bread recipe, (LOL, but seriously) so I decided to take it up a notch by turning our favorite bread into cute little bites full of melty Cabot cheddar cheese!
These pretzel bites are fairly easy to make, and the results are out-of-this-world delicious and totally worth the time it takes! Plus they’re a great appetizer or side dish to serve to really “WOW” your guests!
How do you make pretzel bites?
These cheese-stuffed pretzel bites are pretty straightforward, but I will walk through the process with you step-by-step to ensure your success!
Make the homemade pretzel bite dough
Start this pretzel bites recipe by making the dough. It’s a, soft, pliable dough that turns out perfectly every single time. If you want to watch a video on how to make the dough check out this pretzel bread post. Here are a few tips:
- Make sure all of the ingredients are room temperature before mixing.
- Don’t add too much flour. The dough should be slightly tacky but still easy to work with.
- Using a standing mixer to mix and knead makes it really easy, but you can also do so by hand.
- You may put the dough in the bread machine set to the “dough cycle” for an even easier option.
- Let it rise only once, until it’s doubled in size.
Can pretzel dough be refrigerated?
Yes! you can refrigerate the pretzel bites dough in a bowl tightly covered with plastic wrap. The dough will rise a little bit in the fridge. When you are ready to bake, remove the dough from the fridge to let it complete its rise and come to room temperature, then proceed with the recipe.
How long can I keep pretzel dough in the fridge?
I recommend keeping the dough in the fridge for no more than 24 hours!
Divide dough into equal portions
I am terrible at eyeing things, so I rely on my trusty food scale whenever I’m making dough recipes that require equal portions (like these dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls). It’s important that each pretzel bite is the same size so they bake evenly!
The weight of the entire recipe is around 800 grams, divided into 16 bites each one should be around 50 g. You can make more/smaller bites as well, just be sure to use enough dough to completely wrap the cheese on the inside!
Cut the cheese into cubes, about 1/2″ to 1″ in size. Then form each portion of dough into a flat round discs large enough the fit the cheese cubes you cut! Please note that the quality of the cheese you use in this recipe matters!
For the very best cheesy soft pretzel bites, you need to choose a cheese that is strong, flavorful and creamy! The taste, texture and quality of Cabot cheese is absolute perfection! All Cabot cheddars are naturally aged, naturally gluten-free and lactose-free!
I chose to use Cabot cheddar cheese because it’s my favorite! I recommend using any of their cheddar cheese varieties (especially Vermont Sharp, and Seriously Sharp)! They also have fun flavors like habanero cheddar and pepper jack if you want to add a little spice!
Not only is Cabot cheese amazing, but I love supporting US owned & operated businesses that support small farms and families, which is exactly what Cabot is all about! Cabot is a co-operative owned by 1,000 farm families throughout New England & New York and 100% of profits go back to the farmers, which is so great!
Form into bites
This step is very important to ensure the cheesy goodness stays inside the pretzel bites and doesn’t leak out! Take the flat disc of dough and wrap it around the cheese. Pinch the seams together and roll the dough ball between your hands until it’s smooth.
Boil in a baking soda & water bath
Just before you start rolling the pretzel bites, bring a pot of water to a boil. Once it’s boiling slowly add the baking soda. Be careful not to add it all at once, or the mixture will boil over and make a mess.
Boil the pretzel bites for 60 seconds, flip and boil 60 seconds more. Remove them with a slotted spoon, gently shaking off any excess water. Note: I use a skimmer spoon like this to take the dough out of the boiling baking soda bath and remove excess water.
HOW IS A PRETZEL DIFFERENT FROM BREAD?
Top with salt
Transfer the boiled soft pretzel bites to a greased baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle them with coarse sea salt and bake. I like to bake them 8 at a time, so that they don’t have a chance to rise too much. There is not a second rise in this recipe, you do not want them to rise after the boiling process or else they will become fluffy instead of dense and chewy like a soft pretzel.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once halfway through. The homemade pretzel bites are done when the outside is nicely browned.
Brush with melted butter
After baking immediately brush the soft pretzel bites with melted butter. Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool slightly.
These cheesy pretzel bites are best served warm, because you get that ooey gooey cheese factor. Here are some suggestions for serving:
- Serve with a variety of dipping sauces: your favorite mustard variety, more cheese sauce, etc.
- Plain! These soft pretzel bites taste amazing plain!
- With your favorite chili (like this easy chili, or this slow cooker chicken chili) or soup (like this sausage kale soup). Dipping these beauties in some tomato soup will change your life.
How do you store homemade pretzel bites?
Store these soft pretzel bites in an airtight container at room temperature for 24 hours, or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Can I freeze pretzel bites?
Yes! These pretzel bites can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
How do you reheat soft pretzel bites?
There are two ways to reheat this pretzel bites recipe:
- In the microwave. Simply warm the pretzel bites in the microwave for 15 seconds if they have been kept at room temperature, 30 seconds if they have been stored in the refrigerator, and 60 seconds if they have been frozen.
- In the oven. Preheat the oven to 25o degrees F. Place pretzel bites on a baking sheet or in a baking pan and cover with foil. Bake for 15-30 minutes until they are warmed through.
Cheesy Pretzel Bites: Ingredients & Substitutions
As always I recommend making this pretzel bite recipe exactly as written, however here are a few possible substitutions and notes about ingredients!
- Brown sugar. Both dark and light brown sugar work well in these soft pretzel bites! I use light brown sugar because it’s what I always have on hand! But dark brown sugar will add a little extra molasses flavor!
- Milk. 2% milk can be used in place of whole milk! I do this often with great results! Half & half or cream also work well!
- Butter. I use salted butter, but unsalted works just as well!
- Sea salt. Please note that I always bake with pure sea salt. If you are using iodized table salt you may need to decrease the amount.
- All-purpose flour. Bread flour is the only other flour I have used to make this recipe. I do not recommend making any other flour substitutions.
- Cheddar cheese. For the best results use a high-quality cheddar cheese! Obviously my recommendation is Cabot cheddars! You can pick your favorite!
- Coarse sea salt. This is a critical ingredient for the best tasting pretzel bread! One container of it has lasted me a very long time, and it’s totally worth buying (its not expensive) just to make these pretzel bites!
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Cheese-Stuffed Pretzel Bites
- 4 quarts water
- ½ cup baking soda
- coarse sea salt (to taste)
- 2 TBS butter melted
- Combine yeast, water, and brown sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Stir and let stand for 5 minutes (until foamy).
- While yeast is proofing, melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Mix in milk and set aside.
- Once yeast is proofed, add milk/butter to yeast mixture and mix on low speed with dough hook until just combined.
- Add salt and flour and mix with dough hook until flour is fully incorporated.
- Knead in a mixer until the dough forms a slightly tacky, but firm ball, you may need to add a little more flour 1 TBS at a time, but be careful, you want the dough to be a little tacky but not too sticky to handle.
- Oil a large bowl, place the dough ball in the bowl, and cover with a damp towel in a warm place to let rise for one hour or until doubled in size.
- After dough has doubled in size, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease a large baking pan, set aside.
- Chop the cheese into 16, ½” cubes, set aside. (there will be extra cheese)
- Remove the dough from the bowl and gently press out the air bubbles.
- Make balls of dough the same size (NOTE: I recommend using a food scale to do this. The total weight of the dough comes out to be about 800 g, so each bite should weigh about 50 g).
- Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, slowly add the baking soda a little bit at a time (Be careful not to add too much at once or you will have a baking soda/water explosion)!
- Form each dough portion into a round, flat disc. Add one piece of cheese onto each disc and form a ball around the cheese. Make sure to pinch of any seems and roll them into smooth balls so no cheese can leak out. (Do not let it rise at all here! Straight from forming the ball into the water). Complete with all 16 bites.
- Drop one of the pretzel bites into the boiling baking soda water. Boil for 60 seconds on each side, turning it once to guarantee both sides are covered. Use a slotted spoon to drain the excess water from the dough and place it on the prepared baking sheet.
- Immediately sprinkle coarse sea salt over the pretzel bites to your specific tastes.
- Repeat with each pretzel bite until you have used them all. (Do NOT let it rise here, the bites need to go straight from the boiling water into the oven. I recommend baking 8 at a time, so they don’t have the opportunity to rise).
- Bake the pretzel bites for 12-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once halfway through baking. The bites are done when they are browned and bounce back when touched.
- Once removed from the oven, immediately brush the tops of the bites with melted butter. Transfer to a wire rack to cool just enough to enjoy!
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