These Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites are little pieces of heaven! Bite-sized nuggets of soft pretzel dough are baked golden-brown, rolled in butter and cinnamon sugar, and served with a sweet cream cheese dipping sauce.
Irresistible Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites
I have kind of a love-hate relationship with mall food, know what I mean?
On one hand, a lot of the food you find in mall food courts is, well, SO delicious! It’s hot, it’s full of salt and fat, and after a long day of shopping, I used to love stopping at the food court for some kind of junk-food treat!
But, I’d rather find a way to enjoy those kinds of foods in a healthier way, from scratch. It’s satisfying to make your own snacks that are just as good as the commercial version, and better for you! When you make your own versions of your mall favorites, you can use good-quality ingredients and omit most of the artificial ingredients. Win! 🏆
These pretzel bites are a delicious and easy copycat version of Auntie Anne’s. If you’re a soft pretzel fan, get excited! Pillowy-soft on the inside, golden-brown on the outside, and coated with a buttery cinnamon-sugar topping, these are the snack you need in your life.
What You’ll Need
So we’ve got two components here to make these pretzel bites a truly rockin’ snack. First, we have the soft pretzel dough recipe (with cinnamon sugar coating, excuse me while I drool). You could stop there—but trust me, you need the cream cheese dipping sauce in your life! Thus, do yourself a favor and make it. It’s the perfect pairing! 😋
For the Cinnamon Pretzel Bites
- Flour: You’ll need 4 cups of good all-purpose flour.
- Sugar: Just a couple of tablespoons of ordinary granulated sugar are perfect for the texture and taste of pretzel dough.
- Yeast: I use 1 envelope of fast-rising yeast for this recipe.
- Salt: You’ll need 1 ½ teaspoons of salt. That might seem like a lot, but it really isn’t—remember, this is a pretzel recipe!
- Milk: One cup of milk gives a hint of richness and makes the dough consistency work.
- Water: In addition to the milk, we’re going to add half a cup of water.
- Olive Oil: You can use other oils here, or even melted butter, but I think that two tablespoons of olive oil add just the right flavor.
- Egg: Lightly beat one egg for egg wash. This gives the pretzel bites a beautiful, golden-brown color.
- Butter: For brushing the baked pretzel bites; you’ll need about 5 tablespoons of salted butter, melted.
- Sugar and Cinnamon: ¾ cup granulated sugar mixed with a tablespoon of ground cinnamon creates the perfect coating for these tasty treats.
Cream Cheese Dipping Sauce
- Cream Cheese: Soften up half a block or tub (so about 4 ounces) of cream cheese, by setting it out at room temperature.
- Powdered Sugar: Sift 1 ½ cups powdered sugar using a fine sieve or a sifter, to remove any lumps.
- Vanilla: Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor!
- Milk: You’ll need 1 – 2 tablespoons of milk to thin the sauce to the right consistency.
How to Make Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites
If you’ve never made pretzel dough before, have no fear! It’s actually really easy. And, if you’ve got some eager helpers around like a lot of us do, enlist them to help knead the dough and roll it into ropes!
- Make the Dough Mixture. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour, plus the sugar, yeast, and salt. Set that aside, and heat the milk, water, and oil together slowly in a small saucepan. It doesn’t need to be hot, just warm—about 120°F. Carefully pour the warmed milk into the flour mixture, and stir until just combined. Slowly fold in the remaining 2 cups of flour until a soft dough forms.
- Knead the Pretzel Dough and Rest It. Knead the dough on a floured surface (or in a stand mixer with a dough hook) about 4 – 6 minutes, or until smooth and slightly elastic in texture. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest in a bowl for 10 minutes.
- Shape into Ropes and Rest It Again. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces (It’s easiest to cut it in half, and then cut each half into three pieces.) Roll each piece into a roughly 16-inch rope. Cover the dough again and let rest for another 5 minutes.
- Cut and Bake. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut each dough rope into 1-inch chunks. Arrange them on the lined baking sheets and brush them with your beaten egg.
- Place the baking sheets in the oven, and bake the pretzel bites for 12 – 15 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool.
- Coat with Butter and Cinnamon Sugar. While the pretzel bites are baking, mix together the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Brush the cooled pretzel bites with melted butter, and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. It’s easiest to do this using a spoon. Place the finished bites on a serving platter.
- Make the Cream Cheese Sauce: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese for about 1 minute. Slowly add in powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. Add in the vanilla extract and mix until smooth.Gradually add in the milk, until a creamy texture has formed. I do this with an electric mixer, but you could also do it by hand if preferred.
- Enjoy! Serve your amazing pretzel bites warm, with the cream cheese dipping sauce on the side.
Tips for Success
Here are a few helpful ideas for making the best pretzel bites ever! You’re going to love this easy snack.
- Use Beer: Traditional pretzel recipes often include instructions to use beer as part of the batter, and it does add a nice, malty flavor. You can substitute half a cup of your favorite beer for the water in this recipe. Easy!
- Try Boiling: Did you know that pretzels are often given a quick dunk in boiling water for a minute or so, before baking? It’s true! This step gives them an extra-chewy crust, so if you have the time, feel free to try this step!
- Savory Options: This recipe is also adaptable! You can make a savory version simply by omitting the coating step. Serve your savory pretzels with honey mustard sauce.
How to Store Pretzel Bites
- These pretzel bites will stay fresh at room temperature for two days. Seal them in an airtight container or food storage bag.
- If you refrigerate them (again in an airtight container or bag), they’ll last for a week.
- You may want to warm the bites in the microwave or oven before serving.
- The cream cheese sauce should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- It will keep for 3 to 4 days.
Can I Make These in Advance?
- You can definitely make these ahead and follow the storage guidelines above, but keep in mind that you get the best texture by making them fresh, the day of!
Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites
For the Pretzel Bites
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 envelope (2 ¼ teaspoons or 0.25 ounces) instant dry yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 5 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- ¾ cup granulated sugar, for coating
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, for coating
For the Pretzel Bites
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, the sugar, the yeast, and the salt. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, slowly heat the milk, water, and oil to about 120°F.
- Carefully pour the warmed milk into the flour mixture, and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the remaining 2 cups of flour until a soft dough forms.
- Knead on a floured surface (or in a stand mixer with a dough hook) for about 4 to 6 minutes, or until dough is smooth and slightly elastic in texture. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest in a bowl for 10 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a roughly 16-inch rope. Cover the dough again and let rest for another 5 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Cut each dough rope into roughly 1-inch pieces. Arrange the pieces on the lined baking sheets and brush with egg.
- Place in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- While the pretzel bites are baking, mix together the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
- Remove the pretzel bites from the oven, and allow to cool.
- Brush the cooled pretzel bites with melted butter, and use a spoon to roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture until coated. Place the finished bites on a serving platter.
For the Cream Cheese Dipping Sauce
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese for about 1 minute. Slowly add in powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.
- Add in the vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Gradually add in the milk, until a creamy texture has formed.
- Serve pretzel bites warm with the cream cheese dipping sauce.