These everything bagel soft pretzel bites are perfect. Crisp on the outside and soft, chewy, and pillowy on the inside. Plus, they're surprisingly easy to make!
Soft pretzel BITES are where it's at if you've ever wanted to make soft pretzels at home but have been intimidated by all that twisting and twirling.
All the soft pretzel yumminess without any of the fussing. Plus, bite-size nuggets of perfectly baked pretzel dough = LOVE.
These little pretzel bites are delightful to eat and fun to make. Please, please, please don't be intimidated by this recipe. As far as homemade breads go, this one is easy breezy. And my goodness, is it worth it.
These pretzels have the most amazing crisp exterior and the most comforting soft, chewy, pillowy interior. As far as pretzel bites go, these are PERFECT. And that statement carries weight considering the (recovering) perfectionist whose fingertips it's coming from.
I've included lots of step-by-step photos for you below to make the recipe as straightforward and easy-to-follow as possible. If you typically jump straight to the recipe, you may want to swing back around for a glance or two at the process photos if you want a little help.
Alright, let's get started. I'll walk you through the recipe here and offer a few tips, tricks, and insights along the way. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full recipe.
First thing's first. Prepare your yeast mixture. Whisk together warm water (105F–115F), active yeast, and a teaspoon of pure maple syrup. Then, let it stand for 5 minutes or until a layer of foam develops across the surface like this...
If you're waiting much longer than five minutes and a foam still hasn't developed, your water was either too cold to activate the yeast or too hot and killed the yeast. Your yeast could also be old, but the other two scenarios are more likely. Either way, you'll need to start over with fresh water, yeast, and maple syrup or your dough won't rise.
While the yeast mixture activates, add all-purpose flour and fine sea salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. I've included instructions for hand-kneading the dough in the recipe notes, but I'll outline the mixer version here as that's what I recommend if you have access to one.
Whisk together the flour and salt. Then, add the yeast mixture and two tablespoons grapeseed oil. Turn the mixer on and mix/knead for 8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Pretzel dough is dense and tough, so I've found that I actually have to pin my mixer down with my hands to prevent it from hopping around on the counter! The last thing anyone needs is a heavy kitchenaid mixer falling onto their floor. Just a tip to keep a close watch!
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place for one hour.
Just before the dough finishes rising, whisk together water and baking soda (see recipe for amounts) in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a bowl.
Punch down the dough.
Once you've punched down the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface.
Then, cut it into five (nearly) equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 1-inch-thick rope, and slice each rope into 1-inch pieces.
Transfer the dough pieces to a floured baking tray. If you'd like to add some decorative flair to your pretzel bites, I recommend using a sharp knife to make shallow x's across the surface of each. This creates lovely marks while baking.
In a pinch, you can skip this step altogether.
Next, you'll drop several of the dough bites into the boiling baking soda mixture. Boil for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Then, use a slotted spoon to scoop out the dough bites and transfer them to a parchment-lined pan.
Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
This step is absolutely imperative, so don't skip it! This quick parboil in baking soda water is what makes pretzels... well, pretzels. If you skip it, you'll end up with plain old bread balls.
Once you've parboiled all of the dough balls, lightly brush the top of each with a bit of oil.
Next, generously sprinkle with the everything bagel seasoning.
Then, bake the bagel bites for 8 to 14 minutes, or until deep golden brown. The baking time will vary based on your oven, humidity levels, the size of your pretzel bites, etc.
I recommend baking for 8 minutes, checking them, and then continuing to bake and check in two-minute increments.
Also, go with your gut. If you like very light golden soft pretzels, under-bake them a touch. If you like super crispy soft pretzel bites, bake them until they're very deep golden brown.
Personally, I love mine right in the middle. Deep golden brown tops and bottoms, golden around the sides, and soft and pillowy inside.
These soft pretzel bites are best enjoyed warm from the oven, but they can be stored in an airtight container for a few days as well.
Also, you don't have to bake all of the dough at once. See the recipe notes for tips on freezing portions of the dough to bake at a later time.
I like to serve these pretzel bites with mustard, but they're honestly so, so good all on their own.
I'm sure they'd also be tasty with some sort of nut-based beer "cheese" dip. I'll have to get to work on a recipe for that...
Everything Bagel Soft Pretzel Bites
- 1 ½ cups warm water (105F–115F)
- 1 package yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons expeller-pressed grapeseed oil, plus plenty more for brushing
- 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
- 5 cups water
- ⅓ cup baking soda
- ¼ cup Everything Bagel seasoning
- In a small bowl, gently whisk together the warm water, yeast, and maple syrup. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until a foams develops on the surface.
- Meanwhile, add the flour and sea salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk. If you have the kitchenaid mixer with dough hook attachment, I recommend using that. In which case you'll want to add the flour and sea salt to the bowl of the mixer.
- Add the yeast mixture and the oil to the mixer or mixing bowl. Knead the mixture in the kitchenaid* for 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic (or 10 to 12 minutes by hand). Pretzel dough is very dense—I find that I have to hold my mixer in place while it kneads so that it doesn't bounce off the counter. If the dough is too soft or loose (read: it doesn't hold its form), add more flour, ¼ cup at a time, and continue kneading until the proper texture is reached.
- Transfer the dough to the well-oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
- Just before the dough finishes rising, add the water and baking soda to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Lightly flour a clean work surface and a large baking tray.
- Preheat the oven to 450F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Punch down the dough. Turn it out onto the floured surface, and slice into 5 strips***. Roll each strip into a 1-inch-thick rope. Slice each rope into 1-inch segments. Transfer the segments to the floured baking tray. If desired, use a sharp paring knife to cut shallow x's in the top of each dough ball (this adds a decorative mark while baking).
- Once the baking soda water is rapidly boiling, drop in several of the dough pieces. Boil for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Then, use a slotted heat-safe spoon to scoop out the dough balls and transfer them to one of the parchment-lined baking sheets. Repeat until all of the dough balls have been parboiled.
- Use a pastry brush to brush the tops of the parboiled dough with a bit of grapeseed oil. Sprinkle generously with the everything bagel seasoning.
- Bake for 8 to 14 minutes****, or until deep golden brown.
Celeste Jackson says
I’m usually intimidated by bread recipes but I took your advice and gave it a try. I was surprised at how easy these were to make. So worth the time too.... so yummy! Thanks for the encouragement 😉
I tried, everything failed though this is not the first time I make pretzel. 4 cups of flour with 1.5 cup water make the dough way too wet, stick all to the hands.And 1 tbsp of salt is too salty. At temperature 450F for 8 minutes, already got the pretzels hard like like stones outside but uncooked inside.
Hi, Daphne. I'm so sorry to hear the recipe gave you trouble and didn't turn out. Did you knead by hand or did you use a mixer with dough hook attachment? If by hand, how long did you knead the dough for? Hand kneading requires more time than kneading in a mixer. I noticed a recipe error on my part—I neglected to make a note to use your judgment and add more flour as needed to get the dough to the proper texture. Every brand of flour is a bit different and every kitchen environment is different, too. Four cups is a jumping off point, but the final amount used will vary depending on a variety of factors. I've updated the recipe to reflect this now, and I'm so sorry I'd left that very important bit out. With regards to the underbaked centers, your dough either needed more flour or more kneading (if the gluten isn't properly developed, it can lead to underbaked centers). Your oven temperature might also be too hot and in need of recalibration (you can test it with an oven-safe thermometer), which would explain the super fast exterior bake. I hope this helps problem-solve, and again, I'm so sorry the recipe was a flop for you.
"well-oiled boil" 🤔
Sorry, I just got a laugh out of this!
Thanks for the great recipe. :)
Hahaha, oh my. What a visual typo that one is. Thanks for letting me know—just corrected. No well-oiled boils around these parts anymore. 😆
Is there a substitute for grape seed oil?
I'm so sorry for the delay, Kristen! Any high-heat oil will work well (avocado oil would be a great option).
Do you know how one might use a sourdough starter instead of active dry yeast?
Hi, Darizkal! I'm not sure since I haven't tested it that way myself, but it's a great idea and I'd love to know how it turns out if you give it a try.