Tell me that you’re as an obsessive party planner as I am.
Tell me that you hem and haw, and go back and forth a minimum of six times about which desserts you want on your menu. Tell me that I’m not the only one, because I sure feel like it sometimes!
I keep a working menu for each party or dinner we plan in Evernote, so that wherever I am, I have access to the most up-to-date file. And that file gets worked over.
How do You Shape a Soft Pretzel?
I’ve included a step-by-step photo guide below about how to shape these soft pretzels because lots of you have asked me about this. The full recipe below includes instructions that you can print out, along with step-by-step photos.
The pretzels themselves are super easy to make and are far more amazing than any mall, stadium, or street pretzel you could buy.
1. Once the dough has risen, dump it out on your work surface and divide it into 8 equal (ish) pieces. Keep the extra dough covered with a lightly damp towel to prevent it from drying out. Very lightly oil the surface with some vegetable oil – you can see the droplets above.
2. Roll each piece into a 24-inch log. (This one was almost finished.) The dough may shrink in size – just keep rolling until you get the size you want. (It doesn’t have to be exactly 24 inches. Don’t stress if it isn’t.)
3. Shape each log into a large “U” with the ends pointing away from you.
4. Cross the ends over each other.
5. Twist the ends around each other once to form the classic pretzel shape.
6. (Not shown here) Transfer each pretzel to a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover the formed pretzels with another damp towel. Either freeze the pretzels on the baking sheets or proceed with boiling and baking them to serve immediately.
Can You Freeze Soft Pretzels?
So the awesome thing about these pretzels? You can make the dough and form the pretzels WELL in advance of your party!
The key is to freeze them early, so that they are ready to quickly boil and bake for a few minutes before your guests arrive.
You basically do all the hard work days (or weeks!) before your party, then have plenty of time to sit and enjoy the commercials and other incredible food you’ve made during the big game. Or wait, do you ladies actually watch the Super Bowl?
To freeze these pretzels, you’ll make the dough and shape the pretzels first. Then you’ll freeze them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toss the frozen pretzels into a zip-top bag.
When you’re ready to party, simply boil and bake the frozen pretzels as the instructions in my recipe state.
Oh, and if you’re a pretzel cheese dip lover like I am (without any processed ingredients!), you’ll love the roasted jalapeño pretzel cheese dip recipe I made as well.
Game on, people. Game on!
Soft Pretzels with Roasted Jalapeño Pretzel Cheese Dip
Soft pretzels with roasted jalapeño pretzel cheese dip, when made at home, are exactly like those big, buttery mall pretzels you know and love. This recipe includes a spicy roasted jalapeño pretzel cheese dip that is insanely delicious and super easy to make!
For the pretzels:
- 1 ½ cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 ¼ tsp instant yeast
- 22 oz all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
- 2 oz unsalted butter, melted
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- Pretzel, Kosher, or course sea salt, for sprinkling
For the roasted jalapeño cheese sauce:
- 2 small jalapeño peppers
- 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)
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- Kosher salt
- To make the pretzel dough: 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 lightly 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.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide it into 8 equal pieces.
- Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Place a barely damp towel over the dough and the formed pretzels to prevent them from drying out while you form the other pretzels. (At this point, you can freeze the formed pretzels on the baking sheets. Once completely frozen, transfer them to a large zipper bag and continue to freeze until you need them. Use within 2 months.)
- Shape each rope into a large "U" with the ends pointing away from you.
- Pull the ends towards you and cross them over each other.
- Twist the ends around each other once to form the classic pretzel shape.
- To make the pretzels: Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an wide 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan. If you're freezing your formed pretzels, skip this step now and continue with it when you're ready to boil and bake your pretzels from the freezer.
- Using a flat spatula, gently lower the pretzels into the boiling water and boil them for 30 seconds. If boiling the frozen pretzels, add them to the water directly from the freezer - do not thaw them - and boil for a total of 45 seconds. Depending on the size of your pot, boil 2 to 4 pretzels at a time.
- Remove the pretzels from the water using the spatula, drain as best you can over the pot, and place them on the baking sheets. Brush the top of each pretzel with some melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. If the pretzels were frozen, bake for an extra 1 to 2 minutes. Lightly brush pretzels with the remaining melted butter immediately after you remove them from the oven. Serve warm.
- To make the cheese sauce: Set the jalapeños on a baking sheet and roast under the broiler until blackened on all sides, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you roast them over a gas burner on the stove, turning with tongs. Place the jalapeños in a heatproof bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Allow the peppers to cool for 15 minutes then with a paper towel, peel and discard the blackened skins off leaving just the fleshy peppers remaining. Slice, remove and discard the seeds, and roughly chop the peppers. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the chopped jalapeños to coat with the butter. Whisk in the flour, coating the peppers, 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 3-5 minutes. Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the shredded cheese until all of the cheese has melted. Stir in the cilantro and add a pinch of salt, if needed. Serve warm. The sauce can be kept warm for 15 to 20 minutes over very low heat on the stove, stirring occasionally. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave on medium power at 30 second intervals.
pretzels adapted from Alton Brown | freezing method from Annie's Eats | cheese sauce is a Smells Like Home original recipe
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OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Pro Half Sheet 13 x 18 Inch
KitchenAid 6 Qt. Professional 600 Series Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer
Norpro Stainless Steel Scraper/Chopper
Non-slip Silicone Pastry Mat Extra Large with Measurements 28''By 20'' for Silicone Baking Mat, Counter Mat, Dough Rolling Mat,Oven Liner,Fondant/Pie Crust Mat By Folksy Super Kitchen (2028, red)
All-Clad 8-quart Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Stockpot with Lid/Cookware, Silver
Set of 2 Pastry Brushes, 1-Inch and 1 1/2-Inch Width Natural Boar Bristle Pastry Brushes, Lacquered Hardwood Basting Brushes, Cooking / Baking Brushes
These look amazing! I love homemade pretzels, and it’s been way too long since I’ve made them. And that dipping sauce just looks so delicious! 🙂
I absolutely love this pretzel recipe! We make it every year for the Super Bowl, though usually as bite-sized pretzels. Great step-by-step pictures (I have that same KAF mat)! 🙂
I too am an obsessive menu maker. It’s just as bad narrowing down things for a small dinner party as it is for Thanksgiving 🙂 The dip sounds fabulous!
Yep, definitely right up your alley!
These are so pretty. I have a serious love affair with breads of all kind!
Great tutorial! That sauce looks so good. I’m definitely making these for super bowl!
I’ve been wanting to make homemade pretzels for what seems like forever. These are absolutely gorgeous, and the cheese dip sounds amazeballs. I think I have to add these to the Superbowl party menu, especially where they can be made in advance!
Thanks, Laura! You need to make them now!! I still have a few in the freezer and I’m hoping I can hold off on making them until the weekend for our movie night – I definitely couldn’t hold out until Super Bowl though! lol
I know just what you mean about obsessing over details when you’re having people over. I wish I could be that person who can just throw something together at a moment’s notice, but I just can’t help being a planner. 🙂 These pretzels look incredible – love the paper bag point of authenticity too!
Is it possible to make these without a standing mixer? I only have novice kitchen tools. Thanks!
Yes, you can mix the ingredients in a mixing bowl until it loosely starts to come together (called a “shaggy mass”) then knead the dough by hand on the counter for about 8 minutes. You’ll know the dough is ready to proof when it is smooth and slightly tacky.
sensacionales tengo ganas de hacerlos y poder presumir de ellos
Oh my…..these look so good!
I saw the photo on Pinterest (I think) a few days ago and have been obsessing about these ever since!
Omgoodness these look so Yummy. My mouth is watering!!
Love the sound of this cheese sauce!
The title sounded so good to me but I am allergic to cilantro. Have you ever made it without or can you recommend a good substitute?
You can omit the cilantro.
Just out of curiosity, if you do NOT have a stand mixer, what is the best way to make the dough? This recipe looks absolutely awesome and I want to try making these!
I’ve answered this question already – please check out the comments.
Thanks, I passed that one right on by 🙂
I read the recipe a couple of times and hopefully I didn’t miss it, but if one were to make a single batch of pretzels, how many does that work out to?
Gah, found it in the photo tutorial.
Made these pretzels this afternoon and they tasted so wonderful on such a cold, icy day! I sprinkled a few of them with freshly grated parmesan cheese during the last four minutes of the baking time. Those were my husband’s favorite. I’ve frozen a few to have next week as an afternoon snack. Thanks for the recipe!
So glad you loved them! The parmesan cheese sounds like an excellent addition!
You call for baking soda in your ingredient list, but did not tell when to add it. I assumed with the flour? Gonna give it a try:)
Nevermind…I had to reread it! Thanks for the great recipe!
This dip looks fabulous!! and the Chorizo / carmelized onion dip in on my to-do list already. I love making my own pretzels, and if you want to save youself even more time, boil them and prep them for baking (like adding salt / herbs) and then freeze them. I bake them from frozen on my pre-heated pizza stone in about 17 minutes! Great snack for my kids too!
I am very, very in love with the first photo. Well done, dear. And, this sounds like an awesome combo. We are on the same wavelength!
Thanks, Annie! Yes, totally on the same wavelength – and such a good one to be on too. 🙂
Excuse me? ADD 10 CUPS OF WATER FOR THE MIXTURE?!?!? I followed this recipe to the T and it would next get passed the state of crepe batter. I have no idea how anyone would get this recipe to work.
You misread the recipe. As you can see in the ingredient list, the 10 cups of water is listed separately from the water for the dough. In step 5 of the instructions, it says to bring the 10 cups of water to a boil – this is to cook the pretzels. Oh, and there’s no need to shout either. Thanks.
perfect, love it!
This pretzel recipe is amazing and I love how you have worked the freezing method to help with the party planning for the Superbowl. Great idea!
Oh, wow! That scrumptious looking picture is making me drool. These pretzels look absolutely PERFECT. Now I’m in the mood for a soft pretzel. I’ll definitely have to try that cheese sauce too.
Do you think a soymilk substitution for the regular milk will make a big diffetence?
I don’t really know. I don’t use soy milk so I can’t say for sure but I encourage you to give it a try. Your feedback will help others who may have the same question.
This looks awesome! Question- is the flour sifted 22oz or not sifted 22oz? Thanks!
Thanks! The flour is not sifted. I always will indicate if the flour needs to be sifted.
Just made these, and they turned out absolutely perfect! Threw a few in butter, then cinnamon sugar, only problem is that I can’t stop eating them! Perfect recipe!!
Oh yeah, stopping is definitely the hardest part! I’m sure the cinnamon sugar ones were amazing!
These pretzels are beautiful. . and thank you for the step by step tutorial. . this is great. Now I’m not so intimidated anymore! I’m going to give these a try!
Thanks, Alice! Yes, they really are easy to make – you’ll love them!
I sincerely don’t mean to be a troll but I didn’t find the pretzels all that appetizing. Am going to try a second time today however; not giving up. Maybe they didn’t rise well enough. I also had trouble with the butter burning/smoking in the oven. Must have used too much. I’m not giving up though. It’s probably my lack of skill. Attempt 2 tonight. Thank you for sharing 🙂
I’m sorry they didn’t work out for you on the first try. I fully trust and love this recipe so if you have questions about where you think you may have gone wrong the first time, let me know. If they didn’t rise well, there are a couple things to do – check the expiration date on your yeast, take the temp of your water (water that is too hot or too cold won’t allow the yeast to bloom and your dough won’t rise properly), and make sure your kitchen is warm enough. My kitchen isn’t usually above 66 or 67 in the winter and it’s just too cold to get dough to rise. I proof my dough in a slightly warmed oven – just turn the oven on to the lowest temp and let it warm for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn it off and put the covered bowl of dough in to proof. Keep me posted with how your second attempt goes!
I have been looking to make homemade pretzels forever, but I live by myself so I wanted ones that I could easily freeze. When I saw your recipe with the freezer instructions I knew I had to make them. Just pulled them out of the oven and they are DELICIOUS! Thanks for a great recipe!
Made these. The pretzels were delicious. While The Mr. and I looove cilantro, we surprisingly found it very off-putting in the cheese sauce. The cilantro tasted very grassy, and we could hardly taste the cheese. We will definitely make the pretzels again. If we try the cheese sauce, we’ll either do it without cilantro, or cut down the amount of cilantro quite a bit.
You had me at jalapeno! mmmm.
I just made these and very easy! Love the step by step turitotial… But, my pretzels stuck to the parchment! I literally had to rip off the bottom of each pretzel because parchment was stuck to it. Might try baking them on a cooling rack next time.
I wouldn’t recommend baking the pretzels on a cooling rack – you really will never get them off. The dough will seep through the wires and bake right to the rack. It sounds like maybe one of two things happened: 1) you put too much butter on the pretzels and it dribbled down under the pretzels or 2) your oven rack was too low in the oven and the bottoms overcooked. Glad you liked them in spite of the parchment issue!
Can’t wait to try these. A question about freezing… I freeze the shaped pretzels, then do I let them completely thaw before putting them in the water?
They can be poached frozen just leave them in an extra 15 seconds. when you bake them, you need to bake them an extra 2-3 mins
Looks fab & can’t wait to try for the next gathering of friends! The poaching with the baking soda–is this process the same with bagels? I’ve tried to make them homemade a few times and results aren’t great. I live in Ireland and good bagels are hard to find….
Yes, it’s the same concept but I’m pretty sure the ratio of baking soda to water is different for each recipe. Believe it or not, good bagels are really hard to find in CT too so don’t feel too bad! lol Have you tried Peter Reinhart’s bagel recipe? Outstanding!
I made the pretzels today and they came out great. The dough was fantastic. Super airy. I like them since the dough isn’t sweet like some other recipes. Didn’t try the cheese sauce but will one day.
I love Alton Brown- he never disappoints! Your jalapeño cheese sauce was great too- I did a rendition of the pretzels on my blog and credited you for the sauce. Spoiler alert… jalapeño cheese sauce with black pepper pretzels…. not a great combo, but they are entirely amazing by themselves!
I made these over the weekend – my first attempt at homemade pretzels. They were AMAZING! And so simple too!! Thank you for the recipe. We will be making them over and over again!
[…] super easy to make! The hardest part is actually getting the dough to stretch out as much as the recipe says it should (two feet of rope!), but they came out HUGE so next time I’ll just make […]
What if I don’t have a stand mixer? What do I do then?
You can knead the dough by hand.
[…] Soft Pretzels with Jalapeno Cilantro Cheese Sauce recipe from Smells Like Home […]
[…] the time to make them as a snack. Or as a dinner, who am I kidding. I adapted the recipe from here [x] with a few changes of my own. To make these tasty bits of deliciousness, you will need: 1 1/2 C […]
[…] Found on Pinterest at http://www.smells-like-home.com/2013/01/soft-pretzels-with-roasted-jalapeno-cheese-sauce/ […]
Yum! First time ever using yeast, it it worked perfectly! Got the ingredients the other day and forgot we drank all the milk!-so no dipping sauce. Gonna freeze half the batch and bake when I can make the sauce. Ta!
That’s awesome! It’s so cool to hear about people’s first yeast experiences and it’s even better when they are successful. So glad you liked the pretzels and I hope you love the sauce when you make it.
I made these last night for our German meal (served with German white sausage, sauerkraut, sweet mustard and German white beer, must try!). We loved them so much that I made them again this morning! Thanks so much for the recipe! p.s. they work really well with half wheat flour too
That’s awesome! And your meal sounds ahhhmazing! Thanks so much for coming back to let me know how they went over for you.
[…] Whole Wheat Pretzel Bites with Roasted Jalapeño Cheese Sauce pretzel bites adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking, sauce adapted from Smells Like Home […]
Hi Tara! I just made these, and they SMELL SO YUMMY! However, mine aren’t shiny like most soft pretzels, in fact they are very dull. Other than that they look gorgeous. I’m not too experienced in the bread/bagel/pretzel department, but isn’t the poaching what makes them shimmery? (Maybe I’m wrong) Do you have any advice for that? Thank you!
[…] 3.2.1652 Source: Slightly adapted from Smells Like Home […]
I’m sorry but I don’t. A quick Google search can give you a way to convert the measurements though.
Hi Kimberly! I have never used a bread machine so I can’t comment on that but maybe someone else has tried it and will comment.
I have made these several times ! My family goes crazy over them… Always have to double the recipe. Yummy and gorgeous looking!
Thanks, Trish! Doubling the recipe is never a bad idea since any extras freeze so well. So glad your family is loving these pretzels! 🙂
Thank you for sharing your recipe. I made some the first time a few weeks ago. I was so nervous about boiling the dough and had trouble sliding them out of a slotted spoon. My son quickly suggested using a large slotted spatula to fish them out. It worked like a charm.
My other problem is the dough puffed up so much they became buns instead of those nice pretzel shapes. At this point I am considering making pretzel bites instead. Maybe attempt at peanut butter filled?
I think I will freeze them like you suggested so they will keep the shape with the boiling better?
BTW, some links suggested oiling the parchment paper to prevent sticking. The silpat worked great without oiling as well.
I would appreciate any suggestions you have. Thank you.
Hi Anh! It sounds like you did a great job making these pretzels! To keep the dough from puffing up too much, I would suggest not letting the shaped pretzel dough rise as long before you boil the pretzels. Your kitchen may be warmer than mine so it may have taken less time for your shaped pretzels to rise the right amount. I love the idea of oiling the parchment paper to prevent sticking! You could also spray some cooking spray on the parchment if you have some – that’s must faster than oiling the paper. I hope the pretzels turn out great for you next time and let me know how they are if you fill them with peanut butter! Sounds AMAZING!!
[…] the other hand, these pretzels turned out AWESOME (at least in my opinion). Recipe from Smells Like Home. Honestly, didn’t change any part of the recipe. So I am not even going to list the […]