These Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce are the perfect snack for tailgating. Soft, chewy and bite size with a golden crust, they’re perfect for dunking into a rich cheese sauce which can be customized in one of three ways.
There are essentially two parts to this recipe. Soft Pretzel Bites. Cheese Sauce. And both… are… AMAZING!
The pretzel bites come together quickly – No need to let the dough rise for hours on end. Just 10 minutes is all it takes and then you’re ready to assemble. Knead the dough, roll it and cut bite sized bits. The key here is in the baking soda bath. Before baking, the bites are dipped into a bath of baking soda and water, for a quick 20-second swim. Then, they’re spread out onto prepared baking sheets and baked for 10-15 minutes. In those last few minutes of baking, that deep golden color really develops and then you realize – I made pretzels!
I’m going to be snacking on these all Fall! They’re perfect for tailgating!!!
Ooey, gooey, creamy, cheesy sauce that coats those pretzel bites in the best way possible. And boy, did it ever. I <3 <3 <3 this cheese sauce – It’s the perfect consistency, doesn’t clump up at all, and is super easy to reheat.
- Make a mustard cheddar cheese sauce by adding a dollop of your favorite mustard to the prepared cheese sauce.
- Make a spicy nacho cheese sauce by adding 2 tablespoons hot sauce and 1 teaspoon cayenne when you add the cheese.
Let me just give you a minute to ponder —–> How many of these pretzel bites can you eat in one sitting?
Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 1/4 tsp instant rise yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- 3 3/4 cup - 4 1/4 cup all-purpose flour plus additional to coat worktop
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg beaten
- Pretzel salt or coarse sea salt for sprinkling
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese grated
- salt + pepper to taste
Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water. Stir until yeast is well combined, about 1minute. Some lumps may remain.
To a mixing bowl add the salt, sugar and melted butter, and the yeast mixture. Stir until combined. Slowly add in 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix by hand or use mixer fitted with dough hook, until dough is thick. Add 3/4 cup more flour and stir. If dough is still sticky, add flour, and additional 1/4 cup at a time, until no longer sticky, and dough bounces back when poked with your finger.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 3 minutes and shape into a ball. Place in a large mixing bowl that has been lightly coated with nonstick spray. Cover and let the rest in a warm area for approximately 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Section dough into six equal parts and roll each section into 20-inch long ropes. Cut each rope into 1-1/2 inch bites.
Bring 9 cups of water to a boil with the baking soda. Once rapidly boiling, drop 8-10 pretzel bites into water and let sit for 20 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and place onto the lined baking sheet, making sure that pretzel bites do not touch.
Brush beaten egg over each pretzel bite and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown, rotating the sheet pans once halfway through cooking.
Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles form on the top.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in another saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the top, and whisk until lightly browned, and thickened, 2-3 minutes.
Slowly add the warm milk to the flour butter mixture in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Continue cooking, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. It should be thick but still pourable. Add the cheese, whisking constantly until it is melted. Taste, then add salt and pepper to taste.
- The pretzel bites will remain fresh for up to 3 days in an airtight container, though they will lose some softness.
- Make ahead: The prepared pretzel dough can be refrigerated for up to one day or frozen for up to three months. Thaw frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight. Refrigerated dough can be rolled and cut while still cold, but allow some extra time for the pretzel bites to puff up before boiling and baking. Baked pretzel bites will freeze well for up to 3 months. Let thaw and reheat in the oven at 300°F until warm.