Soft pretzel bites with cheese sauce – This is it! The #1 homemade version of soft mall-like pretzel bites and cheese sauce out there!

Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce

Photos in this post were updated in November 2019. Same great recipe, now with new and fresh photos!

I am a complete sucker for mall pretzels.

And it’s a darn good thing that you’ll only find me at the mall once or twice a year because more trips would definitely equal more pretzels. But as much as I love them, I don’t make soft pretzels at home too often because Kyle isn’t a huge fan (crazy boy, I know).


Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce

However, in all the years since I first made them, there’s been one recipe I’ve been saving.

And I finally decided to bust it out just in time to share it with you while you’re all getting crazy planning your Super Bowl (or maybe anti-Super Bowl?) party menus.

For the record, we’ll both be watching movies this Sunday, as is our annual tradition, while the rest of the nation is either watching the Super Bowl or waiting for the commercials (rarely both).

mall soft pretzel bites with cheese sauce

So this soft pretzel bites with cheese sauce recipe isn’t any big secret! In fact, it’s probably the most widely adored one out there but if you haven’t made it yet, you need to Like now!

Try not to be intimidated by making these homemade soft pretzel bites either, because this recipe is practically fool-proof!

Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce

I not only halved the recipe (something that isn’t always recommended with yeast recipes), but I also refrigerated the dough overnight after the rise (something that is usually done to yeast dough before the rise, if at all). I let the dough come back to room temperature for about 2 hours before using it.

And let me tell you, these soft pretzel bites turned out like a dream!

Like, seriously awesome soft pretzel bites!! And dipped in that homemade cheese sauce (no processed ingredients with this recipe!)? I mean come on, cheese dip is a MUST with pretzel bites!

I was floating through mall pretzel heaven!!

And if you want a different twist on cheese dips for these pretzels, you will absolutely love my white pizza pretzel cheese dip!

Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce

Josie made this recipe back in October and suggested brushing the pretzels both before and after baking them and I couldn’t agree more – buttery soft pretzels might just be the perfect snack food!

And I completely concur with the butter brushing option. I now do this every time I make pretzels! What a fantastic addition!

Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce



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Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce

Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce

Yield: 8 dozen pretzel bites
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

This is it! The #1 homemade version of soft mall-like pretzel bites and cheese sauce out there!


For the pretzels:

  • 1 ½ cups warm (110 to 115° F) water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 ¼ tsp instant yeast
  • 22 oz all-purpose flour (approximately 4 ½ cups)
  • 2 oz unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil
  • 10 cups water
  • ⅔ cup baking soda
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • Pretzel or Kosher salt

For the cheese sauce:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (not package pre-shredded cheese - shred your own)
  • Kosher salt


  1. To make the pretzels: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the water, sugar, yeast, and salt on low speed for 10 seconds. Switch to the dough hook and add the flour and butter. Mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and transfer it to a well-oiled bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an wide 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
  4. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Slice each rope into 1 ½-inch pieces. Place a lightly damp towel over the pretzel pieces to prevent them from drying out while you roll and cut the other pieces.
  5. Using a slotted spoon lower a handful of the pretzel pieces into the boiling water and boil them for 30 seconds, flipping them around in the water with the spoon a couple of times. Remove the pretzel pieces from the water using the spoon, drain as best you can, and place them on the baking sheets. Brush the top of each pretzel with the melted butter and sprinkle with the pretzel/Kosher salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Brush with remaining melted butter before serving. Serve warm.
  6. To make the cheese sauce: In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in the milk until no lumps of flour remain. Stirring constantly, bring the milk to a simmer over medium-low heat until it thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the shredded cheese until all of the cheese has melted. Add a pinch of salt, if needed. Serve warm. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave on medium power at 30 second intervals.


Freezer Instructions: If one batch of pretzels is too much for your needs or you want to make them in advance for a party, these pretzel bites can be frozen after you cut them and before you boil them. Place the dough pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze then toss them in a zip-top bag. When you want them later, boil them directly from the freezer (add an extra 15 seconds to the boil time) and bake for the time instructed.

pretzels adapted from Alton Brown | cheese sauce is a Smells Like Home original

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soft pretzel bites with cheese sauce

Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce




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Leave a Comment

  • January 31, 2012 at 6:16 AM

    These would be great dipped in marinara or ranch too! I’m in love!

  • January 31, 2012 at 6:39 AM

    Tara. I swear sometimes you read my mind. I just had a friend ask if I could bring these to our Superbowl party (for the record, I don’t even know who is playing). Thanks for sharing the recipe. I know it will be great.

  • January 31, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    Perfect for the superbowl!! I’ve been wanting to make pretzel bites for some time now…

  • January 31, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    that cheese sauce looks excellent…and i’m not even a cheese sauce lover!

  • January 31, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    These look so good! I don’t watch the Super Bowl either but I wouldn’t mind some pretzels to celebrate not watching the Super Bowl! I am addicted to mall pretzels too and these look like a great alternative.

  • January 31, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    I love pretzels, and they are the perfect vehicle to shovel that cheese dip into my mouth.

  • Nicole
    February 1, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Say one doesn’t own a fancy shmancy mixer…. Any suggestions? I have a pretty good food processor, but no mixer.

    • February 1, 2012 at 7:32 PM

      Nicole: No problem! Mix everything together in a bowl with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a cohesive ball then on a floured surface, knead the dough by hand for 6-7 minutes. The dough should be smooth by the end of the knead. Let me know how it turns out!

  • February 2, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    I needed this in my mouth, like, yesterday! Yum!

  • Lauren
    February 3, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Hey Tara – I was just on “epicurious” looking for something comforty and fun to make for Super Bowl. I wasn’t getting anywhere and figured you probably posted something. I googled your name, found your website, and voila! These look awesome!!! I’m not super confident about cooking with flour and yeast, and am thinking about making the dough in a bread machine. But if all goes as planned and they happen, I’ll let you know how they turn out.

  • February 4, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    If it’s fool-proof – it’s for me! 😉
    They are looking just too good!
    And so does the cheece sauce! I can see myself adding some slices jalapeños for some extra fire and simply serve it with nachos when time is limited. Though I’d prefer the pretzel bites. 😉


  • Erin
    February 4, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    I just made the pretzels… they are amazing!!! thank you for sharing!!!!

  • Heather
    February 6, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    I tried these today for the first time and lots of the bites have a VERY strong baking soda flavor. Where did I go wrong? 🙁

    • February 6, 2012 at 3:41 PM

      Heather: I wish I could tell you what went wrong but I don’t know what baking soda tastes like. Did you use enough water to boil the pretzels?

      • October 30, 2012 at 9:29 PM

        We tried a different recipe and had one batch come out rather bitter. We realized that we did some things wrong. First, the baking-soda bath should not boil while dipping the pretzels. Bring it to a boil, then remove from heat and dip the pretzels. Secondly, we probably left them in for too long. If they are really soggy when you remove them (so soggy that a small amount of liquid pools around them on the baking sheet prior to baking) then you probably left them in the bath for too long, which can cause them to taste bitter (or like baking-soda). I hope that helps! Try them again, once you get it, it’s really fun and delicious.

        • October 31, 2012 at 5:59 AM

          I’m sorry, but I don’t agree with removing the pot from the heat before *boiling* the pretzels. The water will not be hot enough to boil the pretzels if you take the pot off the heat. The pretzels should only boil for 30 seconds total so they shouldn’t be soggy when you remove them. Perhaps the different recipe that you used didn’t have these instructions. I’ve made these pretzels several times and have never had an issue.

      • Angie
        October 31, 2012 at 7:52 PM

        I too made them and it was very bitter. I know that we left them in the poaching too long, after baking we could see the ring around the pretzel where the water/baking soda actually soaked into the dough. I was contemplating just dipping in (shorter than 30 seconds even). Problem is that this poach is what makes it taste like pretzels, but if left too long, it turns very bitter!

    • Nikki
      October 8, 2012 at 7:56 PM

      As the water was boiling, it was probably boiling down too. Meaning the water gets less and the baking soda stands out more. Same thing happened to me just now. The last batch had a strong baking soda taste and I had a LOT of pretzels. I guess a way to remedy this is add hot water a 1/2 cup at a time and reboil, then continue adding the pretzels.

      Otherwise, this recipe it absolutely wonderful. I’m gonna be munching on these all night 🙂

      • heidid26
        January 11, 2013 at 4:07 PM

        I had this same issue. It occurred in my third tray of of bites. Each tray held close to 36. My third tray came out of the oven really dark and the smaller ones were bitter. After this tray I added more water (about 4 cups) to my pot with just a little (maybe a tablespoon) more baking soda. Prior to adding more water my water had become pretty brown as well. I’ve made larger pretzels before and had to add water halfway through the process as well. I think because these are smaller they really soak it up fast. I think in the future I’ll start with 7-8 cups of water and about 1/2 soda, at most. Then add water after the second tray and a little more soda. And continue as I go through the remaining trays. The ones I cooked after adding more water were fine.
        In my other recipe it calls for 7 cups of water and 4 tablespoons of soda. This might be a good combination to start with and go from there…

  • Erin
    February 7, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    Any suggestions on how to store these? I put them in Tupperware but they were stale-y the next day…

    • L.B.
      December 28, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      Pretzels tend to get stale easily anway, but they also taste great if you slice them, toss in some olive oil & maybe a lil seasoning & toast them in the oven

  • February 10, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Yum! Thanks for sharing. There’s nothing like a warm pretzel! I like ’em with spicy brown mustard.

  • andrea
    February 26, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    When you put the dough in the fridge are they already cut into bites?

    • February 28, 2012 at 12:03 PM

      Andrea: No, put the dough in the fridge in a ball. When you’re ready to use the dough, allow it to come to room temperature and then portion it, roll, cut and proceed.

  • Miranda
    March 9, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    dough is rising RIGHT now!!!!! i cant wait to try em! been craving em all day!! thanks for the recipe!

  • JAZA
    March 11, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    I have a question when you start mixing the stuff together do you add yeast 2, Heres what it says: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the water, yeast, sugar, and yeast on low speed for 10 seconds. It has yeast 2 in the same sentence. I am new at baking anything with yeast.

  • Kristi
    March 18, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    I’d like to make these for my book club … which meets about an hour after I get home from work (not enough time for the entire baking process).
    Could the bites be made the evening before, boiled for 30 seconds … then … before serving, bake for the appropriate amount of time?

  • Robyn
    March 24, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    My favorite is the almond crunch specialty pretzel from the mall. Any idea how to make that topping? I know it has coconut and almonds not sure what else. Man that is so good with caramel….can’t wait to make the little pretzel bites

    • March 26, 2012 at 12:17 PM

      Robyn: No, I’m sorry. I don’t often use almonds so I would have no idea where to start with that.

  • June 26, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    I just saw this on Pinterest and I think you may have just made my husband’s day. He has been harassing me to find a recipe for soft pretzels. Thanks!

  • Desiree
    July 15, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    When do you add the first bit of salt? I notice in the instructions it says to add “water, yeast, sugar, and yeast on low speed for 10 seconds”.

    Is the second yeast supposed to be salt?

    • July 15, 2012 at 9:24 PM

      Desiree: Yep, you’re right – the second “yeast” should be salt – I just made the change to the instructions so thank you for catching that!

  • July 30, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    Tried out this pretzel recipe yesterday, they were delicious. Thank you for sharing!

  • Kathleen
    August 18, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Im literally eating these right now fresh out of the oven and they’re SO GOOD! Thanks for the recipe! So happy I found it! … Or maybe not so happy because I will probably make them too often! Haha 🙂

  • Mel
    August 20, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    Just made these tonight. They turned out great!

  • Kara
    August 20, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Would love to try this in my bread maker. Has anyone made the dough in a bread maker? I’m guessing it would work fine, but i don’t know. 😉 Thanks!

    • Crystle
      March 2, 2013 at 12:39 AM

      When I don’t have time to devote enough attention to the rising of bread, I make it in a bread machine. I have done this with all my yeast recipes, including pretzels. What you will want to do is add all the liquid ingredients to the bottom as you would standard bread, then the dry. I also put my yeast on top of the dry so the liquid doesn’t touch it before it’s sufficiently warmed. I haven’t had a problem with this thus far – I am not sure if you would need to change any measurements. Just place it on the dough cycle and let it be! Hope this helps (even if it’s a little late)! 🙂

  • Amber
    September 2, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    I absolutely loved these pretzel bites and so did my husband and daughter. The cheese sauce didnt turn out very well for us though. It was very grainy and didnt thicken very well until it had cooled quite a bit. But the pretzel bites were to die for!

    • Kisten
      November 8, 2012 at 4:00 PM

      I had the same problem Amber. I was coming on here hoping that someone knew how to fix it.

      • November 9, 2012 at 5:58 AM

        Did you use pre-shredded cheese or did you shred the cheese yourself?

  • Keitha
    September 6, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    O-M-G…. You will think I’m the most noob baker ever! I made these today, and was so excited. I got the dough mixed and it rose beautifully! Then I rolled them out and cut them. Boiled them and baked them. The color didn’t look right and ended up over cooking them. 10 min is the perfect time. But the taste wasn’t there either, and I am dissappointed. And I got on here to ask why they weren’t great, and I reread the ingredients and completely forgot the baking soda! Holy moly I can lose my mind sometimes. Im so angry at myself because I made an entire batch and am not in love. I will eat them cause I hate wasted food, but for the future and for other home bakers, Dont Forget the Baking Soda!

    • September 6, 2012 at 7:59 PM

      Keitha: What a huge bummer! But don’t give up – it sounds like everything was perfect except for the baking soda. These pretzels really are so amazing!!

  • Alison
    September 7, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    I made these today and they were wonderful! My plan was to make them today because I wasn’t sure how everything would go, but I’m taking them to a football party tomorrow. Unfortunately I’m not sure if they’ll be as good! Straight out of the oven they were excellent, but as I’ve tried them throughout the day they’re just not the same, still tasty, but not as good. Have you ever had leftovers and been able to make them taste as good as fresh out of the oven? I’m wondering if I heat them in the oven tomorrow when we get to the party they’ll be as good?!? Oh well, if all else fails I’ll just make extra cheese dip and we can dunk the heck out of them! 🙂

    • September 7, 2012 at 6:43 PM

      Alison: We actually ate them all on the same day that I made them so I don’t know how they reheat. You could try to reheat a few tonight – wrap them in some aluminum foil and heat them at 300 degrees in the oven. See how that does…and if they’re so-so, extra cheese sauce is always welcome. 🙂 Let me know how they turn out if you reheat them this way.

  • September 16, 2012 at 8:01 AM

    We’re making these today for sure! We’re all mall pretzel lovers, but they’re SO expensive for just a snack for a family of four. And seriously. Cheese sauce NOT full of crap. Can’t wait to try it!

  • Kelly M
    September 16, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    Wow! I made these today for my family to enjoy while watching the Phila Eagles football game. I had hoped they would remind my husband of the soft pretzels we used to get before and after concerts in Philly back in the day. Boy, we’re they perfect! I couldn’t believe how much they tasted like “real” soft pretzels. We loved the cheese sauce, too, but they were even more perfect with a simple dip into plain mustard, they way we always ate them as kids. My kids loved them, too, especially with cinnamon sugar sprinkled all over them. This was one of my all time favorite new recipes which is a definite keeper!

  • Sharon
    September 17, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    My husband and I just made these – they turned out great! We don’t have a stand mixer so we kneaded the dough by hand. They are perfect. Thanks for the recipe and the easy to follow instructions!

  • September 19, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    I tried this yesterday and it was so delicious!

  • Ashley
    September 19, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    Has anyone tried making these at a higher altitude? I am above 7,000ft so I usually have to alter some of the measurements when I am baking or else it won’t turn out! 🙁

  • 12Carolyn12
    September 24, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Is the “instant” yeast (the recipe calls for) and “active” yeast the same thing. I bought “active” yeast this weekend for another recipe. Hope it is the same thing. Can’t wait to try the pretzel bites. They sound yummy!!!

    • September 24, 2012 at 2:24 PM

      No, they are not the same but you can use active (dry) yeast in the recipe. If you use active yeast, let it sit in the water with the sugar for 5 minutes. When the mixture is foamy, add it to the stand mixer bowl with the flour and salt, then continue on with the recipe.

  • September 25, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    This cheese sauce is absolutely delicious!

  • rebecca
    October 1, 2012 at 4:51 PM


  • Traci
    October 4, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Has anyone tried to make these at high altitude?

    • October 4, 2012 at 1:17 PM

      King Arthur Flour has a great guide for high altitude baking:

  • wendy
    October 4, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    i made these last night and they were pretty good. I cut back on the baking soda since someone else commented that there pretzels tasted to much like the baking soda. I had a problem with it being to sticky when rolling it out, but other wise they were good!

    • October 5, 2012 at 6:00 AM

      If the dough was too sticky, you likely needed to add more flour. The level of humidity in your kitchen and the altitude at which you live affects how sticky a yeast dough will be and sometimes more flour is needed to suffice one or both varying conditions.

    • October 5, 2012 at 6:03 AM

      Also, you’re not supposed to taste the baking soda. It’s only added to the water to give the pretzels their characteristic taste. Someone else commented recently that they forgot to add the baking soda to the water and their pretzels didn’t taste much like pretzels at all. If you make this recipe again, I would strongly suggest you use the full amount of baking soda the recipe calls for in order to maximize the flavor. Hope that helps!

  • Rachael
    October 9, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    How many pretzel bites does this recipe make? I was thinking of making them for youth group, but I need to make sure I have enough for everyone.

    • October 9, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      I don’t really remember – maybe 3-4 dozen? However, if you’re making them for kids, I’m sure you won’t have leftovers if you make a double batch. 🙂

      • Rachael
        October 9, 2012 at 10:26 PM

        Okay, great! Thanks for the quick reply!

    • April 27, 2013 at 12:43 PM

      She said it makes 8 full size pretzels/…….I would think you could figure it from there

  • Betianne Floeter
    October 15, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    I was just wondering about the flour. It says 22 ounces is about 4 1/2 cups. However, 22 ounces is more like 2 and 2/3 cups. Should I be following the 22 ounces or the 4 1/2 cups? I don’t want to screw these up lol!

    • October 16, 2012 at 6:13 AM

      When measuring flour, you can’t measure it by 8 oz = 1 cup because 1 cup of flour only weighs about 4 1/4 oz, when properly spooned into the measuring cup. I just made this recipe over the weekend again and weighed the 22 oz of flour – the recipe was perfect. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, I highly recommend spending a few $$ to buy one. If still prefer to measure the flour, just be sure not to compact the flour in the measuring cup – lightly spoon it in there. Hope that helps!

      • Betianne Floeter
        October 18, 2012 at 5:59 PM

        It does, thank you! I think my mom has an extra kitchen scale that I can snag off of her 🙂

  • BrittnieD.
    November 1, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    Have you ever done a beer version of this cheese ?

    • November 1, 2012 at 8:39 PM

      I haven’t but The Curvy Carrot has a beer cheese sauce that looks awesome!

    • April 27, 2013 at 12:42 PM

      Use beer to replace the “liquid” portion of a cheese sauce recipe….a little at a time till you get the flavor you want.

  • Lisa
    November 3, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Just wondering…why can you not used pre-shredded cheese? What will happen? I have a TON of it on hand and was thinking of trying this. Should I maybe cut back on the flour? That’s the only thing I can think might be an issue – they add flour or cornstarch or something to packaged shredded cheese so it doesn’t clump together.

    • November 4, 2012 at 9:17 AM

      Pre-shredded cheese doesn’t melt as smoothly, can make sauces grainy, and often separates in sauces because of what it is tossed in to keep it from clumping. I never ever recommend pre-shredded cheese when I post a recipe when cheese is called for in a sauce for these reasons. Plus? A block of sharp cheddar just tastes way better than the pre-shredded stuff.

      • Porky
        December 9, 2012 at 6:10 PM

        Even here in WI we can’t get any good Extra Sharp shredded cheese. FAR better to shred your own and the best quality ya can afford… Worth is.. Thanks

  • Carrie
    November 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    I just made the pretzel dough, it has been sitting for an hour but does not look like it is rising. Should I continue on with the recipe?

  • Gabrielle
    November 4, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Made the cheese sauce and I added some diced pickled jalapeno. Turned out great!

  • Kaitlyn Midkiff
    November 11, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    I just made these and they’re awesome. I’m not the best cook, a teenager actually, and to me it is a simple recipe and I already had all the ingredients at home. I did change a few things, however. One, I do not have a fancy mixer so I used what I had and mixed it as best I could. then, I kneaded it by hand instead of using a dough hook. Also, instead of rising in the sun or whatnot, I heated the oven just enough that it was warm and I was able to easily touch the inside of the door. I let it rise for an hour like it said and it doubled in size perfectly.
    As for the sauce, I did not have cheddar so I used Colby jack instead. Best cheese sauce I ‘ve ever had, much better than what I get in the mall lol. The only problem I had was that the bottom of the pretzel bites stuck to the parchment paper. I was able to get the off eventually but most were a bit misshaped. Thank you for this recipe, I will be making it again. 🙂

    • November 12, 2012 at 9:16 AM

      Great job, Kaitlyn! Yes, kneading by hand is always ok with yeast recipes and warming your oven is a great trick. My kitchen is always too cold (around 65-67 degrees in the winter) to get dough to rise properly at room temperature so I always let it rise in a barely warm oven. And as far as the pretzels sticking to the parchment paper, try raising the oven rack up one notch before baking next time – sometimes if the rack is too low, the bottoms brown faster because it’s warmer towards the bottom of the oven.

  • Jackie
    November 16, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    Me and my husband made these the other day and they turned out wonderfully, but I have a slight issue I am hoping someone can help me fix. After we finished making them I had to leave and left my husband to clean up ( not the best choice but the only one I had at the time) he left the baking soda and water in the pan and then next day when i went to wash it I cant get the residue out of the pan. Help please anyone know how to fix my pan ???

    • November 18, 2012 at 9:24 AM

      I’ve had the same issue with the baking soda water. Depending on the material of your pan, you can use Bar Keepers Friend. I’m not sure if it’s recommended for enameled cast iron but it works great on stainless and hard anodized. You can also try letting the pot soak in hot soapy water for a little while and see how that works – sometimes a good hot soak is all it needs.

    • Eliza
      December 2, 2012 at 5:05 PM

      Try wiping it down with vinegar? I soak lots of my hard to scrub pots & pans with a vinegar/water mixture and it works wonders. Good luck!

  • Melodie
    December 2, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    Just made these! They are delicious even without any sauce! My one-year-old daughter loves them too. I won;t have any room in my stomach for dinner!

  • A. Rehnborg
    December 9, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    Made these today to take to a Christmas party… they are beautiful! Cheese sauce turned out awesome too (although I did use pre-shredded cheese), and I added some Louisiana hot sauce to give it some spice. Thanks for posting these recipes.

  • L. B.
    December 28, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    Pretzels came out great, but I was wondering do you have to use all purpose flour for the sauce or would self rising be ok?

    • December 28, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      I’ve never used self-rising flour in a cheese sauce before but I suspect that because there is baking powder in the flour, it could alter the consistency of the sauce. I would stick with all-purpose here.

  • Paula
    December 30, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    Can you make this recipe in a breadmaker?

    • January 1, 2013 at 9:19 PM

      I have no idea. I don’t make yeast recipes with a bread maker so I can’t say for sure.

  • Becky Teeters
    January 8, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    I have a two-part question:
    1. What if I wanted to make the classic twisted pretzel (like how you get them at the mall)? I foresee the boiling method being an issue.
    2. Do you know how “Annie’s” (or where I’m from, “The Pretzel Twister”) makes theirs? I used to sit and watch them make the pretzels when I was younger and I never saw them boil the dough. They would roll it out, twist, flip, then put on a convector belt oven (kinda like at Quizno’s).
    Anywho, I’m just curious. Thanks!

    • January 8, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      Check the original recipe for instructions on how to make a twisted pretzel. I’ve done it before and it’s no harder than boiling pretzel nuggets, it just takes a little finagling to transfer the whole pretzels to the boiling water. I’m willing to bet that they conveyor belt you mention bakes the pretzels with a wet heat, akin to boiling them but faster for a commercial setting. However, in a home kitchen, boil the pretzels before baking is essential to get the pretzel-y taste we all love. Hope that helps!

  • Celeste
    January 8, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    can you freeze this dough if you dont want to use it all?

    • January 9, 2013 at 6:06 AM

      Yes. Freeze after you shape the pretzels and before you boil. Then boil for an additional 15 seconds and add a couple minutes to the bake time. This is also a great idea when you want to serve them at a party – all of the initial prep work is cut out on party day!

  • Vicki
    January 20, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    I used to work at Auntie Anne’s Pretzels in the mall. If you have to strong of a baking soda taste, just blot the pretzels on a paper or hand towel. I also added the pretzels to the butter after baking and added cinnamon and sugar over the top of the butter pretzels. They turned out sooo good! You can also add rasins to the dough before letting it rise and make a cream cheese dip/ icing. They turned out sooo yummy!

  • Amanda
    January 21, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    My husband and I made these yesterday and they were soooo good!! I didn’t think the cheese sauce turned out great, so I will probably try to find a different cheese sauce recipe, but the pretzels were amazing!

  • Trish
    January 22, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    Does anyone know if you can substitute the flour with other types for people who are glutin intolerant?

    • January 23, 2013 at 8:25 AM

      I’m not familiar with gluten-free substitutes but maybe someone else will have a suggestion. Also, check the comments – someone may have already answered your question.

  • Lakeisha
    January 26, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    Making thesenfornthe second time because the kids adore these. They are DELICIOUS!!!!! Thank you for this recipe!!!! Have you tried the cinnamon sugar versions?

    • January 28, 2013 at 8:17 AM

      I certainly have! The very first time I made pretzels years ago I rolled the pretzel bites in a cinnamon-sugar mixture after brushing them with butter. We ate them for dinner that night – screw chicken when you’ve got pretzels! 🙂

  • Emma
    February 2, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    These look delicious! I wanted to make some for tomorrow’s game, but it seems at bit like a large batch. You said you cut the recipe in half? Did you cut the recipe above in half or is that already halved? Also, how many would the original yield?

    • February 2, 2013 at 7:32 PM

      I would recommend making a full batch and if you don’t need all of the dough, freeze it. I’ve got instructions for that here: The recipe posted is for the full batch and honestly, I don’t remember how many pretzel bites it makes (it does make 8 full-size pretzels though).

  • Jess
    February 3, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Oh my gosh, my husband and I just made the pretzel bites and cheese sauce (using New York extra sharp white cheddar) for a Super Bowl party, and they are INCREDIBLE!! I hope there are some left for the party! 🙂

    • February 3, 2013 at 7:33 PM


  • Amanda
    February 3, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    These are awesome! We opted for full blown pretzels instead of bites and were blown away!

  • Kristeen
    February 9, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Say I wanted to boil the dough hours before the guest arrive and then cook them once they arrive. Would that mess anything up?

    • February 10, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      You can boil, bake, and freeze, then warm in the oven for few minutes. I wouldn’t leave them boiled and unbaked – they will dry out.

  • Kelly
    February 10, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Today my daughter was craving that queso dip you make with the mystery cheese product and canned peppers/tomatoes. We didn’t have any cheese product, but I remembered I had pinned this recipe for pretzel cheese. She prepared the recipe as directed and then added the can of peppers/tomatoes. We needed to warm it a little in the microwave because it tastes better hot, but it came out perfect! No more cheese product for me!

    • February 10, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      So great to hear! My gosh, adding a can of peppers/tomatoes to this cheese sauce is brilliant!! Hand over the tortilla chips!

  • Alaskan Cook
    February 20, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    i loved the pretzels however that baking soda wash i found tooooooooo strong, i wouldnt mind maybe putting a bit less inside so it’s not so soda-y in the end o.o

    other then that i looooved it!

  • March 5, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    I have to admit that I am not a really talented baker but I was quite proud after making these. I followed your instructions and they came out amazing!

    • March 5, 2013 at 8:49 PM

      Great job!!

  • Amanda Q
    March 6, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Thank you so much for posting your pretzel recipe, but most especially, your cheese sauce recipe! I am horribly lactose intolerant, and can’t seem to find one that looks as velvety smooth sauce as yours looks. Maybe I can start using cheese dip again? Thank you!

  • Amber
    March 8, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Oh my!! They are SO yummy! I made them with my boys on Monday, and here it is a snowy Friday and this is he first thing they asked todo!!!

  • Allie
    March 24, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    I was just wondering I there was a way to maybe half the recipe because its just me and my husband and I don’t think we will eat that much in one setting.

    • March 24, 2013 at 8:07 PM

      It’s easier to make the whole recipe and freeze the unboiled pretzel bites. Then you can boil them directly from the freezer and bake them off as you want them. There’s nothing better than pretzels on demand!

  • Sarah
    April 6, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    umm so i just made my dough but its not dough it’s like a batter. i can not pick this up like its ball. its just a big gloppy mess! what did i do wrong i added the right amount of water. did i not do enough yeast or something. flour?

    • April 6, 2013 at 4:30 PM

      Sounds like you need to add more flour. Add 1/4 cup at a time until it comes together.

  • scarlett71177
    May 22, 2013 at 2:36 AM

    Any tips on how to store this AFTER you’ve baked them? I don’t want them to get gummy. Thanks, great recipe!

  • Marie
    June 8, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    Do you have any suggestions for a butter alternative to make this vegan friendly?

    • mah
      August 24, 2013 at 1:04 AM

      to be vegan friendly, you can use margarine, vegetable butter , does it sound good enough??? my name is mah

  • Elizabeth
    June 22, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    I just made these, they taste wonderful! Go easy on the salt at the end, and make sure to not overbake 🙂

  • July 29, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    […] pretty sure that these will be a delicious treat for the dreary, rainy weekend we’re […]

  • […] Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce | Smells Like Home […]

  • September 7, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    […] For full directions please visit: Smells like Home […]

  • September 9, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    […] Dipping sauces: Cheese sauce- This cheese sauce was so good! I got it from  You can find the recipe here […]

  • September 23, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    […] Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce by Smells like Home […]

  • Natalie
    October 7, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    I served these at an Oktoberfest themed party. They were the best thing there! So authentic tasting, and such a pretty color!

  • Amy Boergesson
    October 12, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    These are AMAZING! A relative brought them over, and she gave me the recipe! Can’t wait to make them myself!

  • Bethany
    October 24, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    I made the cheese to go with pretzels I made earlier, and all it tasted like was flour. DID NOT LIKE!

    • taraliptak
      October 25, 2013 at 10:55 AM

      I’m sorry you didn’t like the sauce. It sounds like maybe you didn’t cook the flour for long enough before adding the milk. Sauce made with a roux base can taste floury if the flour isn’t cooked long enough.

  • mepalko104
    November 14, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    I have a cheap stand mixer that doesn’t have a paddle attachment or a dough hook attachment and I was just wondering if you had any tips on how to make these without those.

    • taraliptak
      November 15, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      Stir everything together in a bowl and knead the dough by hand. Old-school bread making at its best. 🙂

  • taraliptak
    December 31, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    You’re looking for a soft and tacky dough that is relatively smooth when you’re finished kneading it. All whole wheat flour won’t work – you’ll get a really tough dough. Try using half white and half whole wheat or even white whole wheat flour if you’ve got it on hand. Hope this helps! Happy New Year!

  • […] and they looked really good, so I figured I’d give one a try.  I used a recipe from the blog Smells Like Home.  While I am sure this recipe is great, I had to change a few things based on my baker’s […]

  • Deb
    February 2, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    Can you use Active Dry Yeast instead of Instant since the sugar and warm water are already included in the recipe

    • taraliptak
      February 6, 2014 at 5:38 AM

      You can use active dry yeast but you have to let it sit in the warm water to “activate” before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. This will take about 5 minutes and you’ll see the yeast start to dissolve and become slightly foamy.

  • […] Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce ~ Smells Like Home […]

  • taraliptak
    February 6, 2014 at 5:40 AM

    Please reread the instructions. You’ll add the baking soda into the pot of water before you boil the pretzels.

  • taraliptak
    February 19, 2014 at 6:03 AM

    In my experience, you don’t need to increase the amount of active dry yeast you use in a recipe when you’re swapping it for instant. The only difference in the two yeasts is that active dry is less processed than instant and thus many recipes suggest time at the start of the recipe for it to soak in the warm water in order to bloom. And depending on the recipe you’re using and the conditions in your kitchen, recipes made with Active Dry yeast may need some extra rising time.

    Sugar and warm water are basic parts of many yeast-based recipes (some recipes call for warm milk instead) and they play no role in which type of yeast you use.

    A great reference guide for yeast can be found here:

  • Natalie
    March 11, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    Oh my goodness! We found Alton Brown’s pretzel recipe a couple of months ago and have made it three times since then, with rave reviews from friends. We are having a party this weekend and finally thought of making a cheese sauce with them. Found this blog, and it looks like EXACTLY what we were looking for! Thank you! (Plus the poster’s idea of using this sauce with chillies instead of that “con queso” junk is brilliant. Now I’m hungry.)

  • Jenny
    June 11, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    Is there any particular reason we cant use prepackaged, shredded cheese? It’s all I happen to have right now.

    • taraliptak
      June 12, 2014 at 8:23 PM

      Pre-packaged shredded cheese comes coated in flour or cornstarch to prevent clumping in the bag. They usually also give you a clumpy cheese sauce because the flour/cornstarch hits the mixture last with the cheese after the original amount of flour nicely whisked into the roux (butter-flour mixture). Hope that helps!

      • Noah Lemke
        April 21, 2016 at 7:58 PM

        It’s actually sawdust (cellulose).

  • November 24, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    […] After months of eating extremely healthily I am ready for a night of sweet indulgence. Buffalo dip, pretzel bites, cranberry feta puffs and a caramel apple bundt cake is on the menu. All of this will be followed […]

  • January 17, 2015 at 10:03 PM

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  • August 9, 2015 at 11:23 PM

    […] with several cracker and olive choices, spinach artichoke dip with bread, homemade pretzels (recipe here), bacon wrapped tater tots (recipe here – I did eliminate the chili powder and brown sugar […]

  • December 26, 2015 at 6:43 PM

    […] On Christmas Day Josh and I like to make some creative interesting time on consuming food items. This last year we made chicken and waffles eggs Benedict.    This year we decided to make Scotch Eggs and pretzels bites.  […]

  • July 18, 2016 at 9:54 PM

    […] recipe and went looking for something that was more exciting.  I came across this recipe from the Smells Like Home web site and decided to go with this.  It turned out great and complemented the pretzel bites well.  I […]

  • […] Smells Like Home’s Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce […]

  • Madison Stewart
    February 6, 2017 at 9:15 PM

    I feel these measurements are pretty off. 2/3 cup of baking soda is A LOT of baking soda to cook in, and the amount of salt you put into the dough was too much. I tried making these, and did not turn out very well. I followed the directions completely even with the crazy amount of salt and baking soda, and when they were done baking, they overwhelmingly had a strong taste of baking soda and salt.

    • February 12, 2017 at 4:40 PM

      I’ve made these pretzels with this exact recipe lots of times and never had an issue with the measurements. So sorry you didn’t feel as if this one worked out for you.

  • Kristin Dixon
    May 28, 2017 at 5:12 PM

    I make these a lot…everyone loves them! Every so often though, I make a batch and my dough doesn’t rise despite making it the same every time. Any idea what could be causing that?

    • Tara
      November 25, 2017 at 9:36 PM

      Hi Kristin! So sorry for taking so long to approve and respond to your comment! There could be a few things going on here: 1) your yeast is expired, 2) the water is too cool which doesn’t allow the yeast to bloom in advance of the rise, or 3) your water is too hot and it actually kills the yeast (water should be around 110 degrees F), or 4) your kitchen is too cool to get a good rise from the yeast. Hope this helps!

  • Kim
    August 3, 2017 at 10:32 PM

    Has anyone ever made these and put them in a crock pot on warm to keep the warm for a party hours later? Wandering if that would work.

  • Kristina
    October 11, 2017 at 9:19 PM

    Hi! For the cheese, can you use salted butter? That’s what I have in my fridge and just wondering if it makes a huge difference?

    xo ,Kristina

    • Tara
      October 12, 2017 at 11:55 AM

      Hi Kristina! Sure thing but I would cut back on the Kosher salt in the dough recipe by 1/2 teaspoon. And then if you’re going to use salted butter to brush over the finished pretzels as well, I would go a little lighter on the salt sprinkle at the end. Hope that helps! Please do let me know how they turn out for you!

  • Becky
    November 26, 2017 at 9:26 PM

    Is there a way to make these ahead of time and just throw in a crockpot the day of?

    • Tara
      November 28, 2017 at 8:04 PM

      Hi Becky, I haven’t tried this so I can’t say. I guess it depends on the settings your crock pot has. If it has a “warm” setting, that would probably be ok but I wouldn’t use a “low” setting since that would cook them. If you only have a high/low setting on your crock pot, you could try putting the pretzels in a heat-proof bowl and setting the bowl inside the crock pot and then using the low setting – that might do the trick! Let me know how it goes!

  • August 25, 2018 at 3:06 PM

    Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce

    […]Find one which works for you.[…]

  • […] people pleaser — and I know how tasty that combo is claimed to be! So I headed to the store with this cheese sauce recipe, and whipped up a batch. I bought Tillamook cheese, because … […]

  • kt
    April 24, 2019 at 8:37 PM

    I had this in my book marks for literal years and i finally made them and i can’t believe i didnt get to this sooner! amazing!!

    • Tara
      April 25, 2019 at 11:52 AM

      YES!! I love it when that happens and I’m thrilled to hear how much you loved these pretzels and the cheese sauce! Thanks so much for coming back to leave a review, Katie! If you want to hit up the stars at the top of the recipe card (below the circle photo) with your rating, I would greatly appreciate it!

  • Melissa
    June 25, 2019 at 5:14 PM

    the recipe calls for 8 oz of shredded cheese for the cheese sauce but it doesn’t say if that net weight or 1 cup. If I’m shredding it myself I’m not sure why you would refer to it as ounces.

    • Tara
      June 26, 2019 at 11:28 AM

      Hi Melissa! 8 oz of cheese is the weight of the piece of cheese that you will shred for the cheese sauce recipe. I referred to it in ounces so readers would know how much cheese to purchase. I’m not sure where you’re located (US or internationally) but in the US, a standard block of cheddar cheese is usually sold in an 8 ounce package. However, if you purchase a 16 oz block of cheese and you know you only need 8 oz for this recipe, you’ll use half of the block of cheese. Likewise, if you have multiple smaller pieces of cheese in your fridge that you want to use up, as I sometimes do, you can weigh them out to see if you have enough cheese already or how much more you’ll need to purchase to equal 8 ounces.

      And cup-wise, 8 ounces of cheese will give you about 2 cups of shredded cheese. The volume measurement (cup) for solid food doesn’t work the same as it does for liquids. 1 cup of water is 8 ounces. 1 cup of shredded cheese is about 4 ounces of cheese.

      Hope this all helps!

  • Genny
    February 4, 2020 at 6:03 PM

    I made the cheese dip following your recipe (and multitasking a little, so stirring was not exactly continuous 😬). This was awesome! No fake junk or peppers to worry about ❤ Thank you for this go-to cheese dip recipe!

    • Tara
      February 10, 2020 at 9:00 AM

      Yay!! This makes me so happy to hear! Thanks so much for coming back to leave a review, Genny!!

  • Chelsea
    May 3, 2022 at 3:34 AM

    looks delicious! I will save it in my bookmark and make them some day! Thanks for sharing.

  • AmazingTalker
    November 22, 2022 at 7:18 AM

    This is perfect!!!! Thank you for sharing this!

    • Tara
      November 24, 2022 at 9:53 AM

      You’re welcome! These are a big favorite in our house!