Sourdough Pretzel Bites From Scratch (Better Than Auntie Anne’s)

These sourdough pretzel bites are soft and pillowy on the inside with a buttery crust. They’re from scratch, and according to my husband, better than Auntie Anne’s! You’ve got to try them for yourself!

pretzels bites on a plate with cheese dip
Source: Plum Branch Home

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With the NFL’s season coming to an end on Sunday, I wanted to develop a few recipes for us to enjoy while watching the game. These pretzels are 100% on the list but we’ll also have homemade boneless wings, buffalo chicken dip, and orange soda from scratch.

If you’re still planning your menu, try a few of these treats for yourself. You can’t go wrong with any of them!

Sourdough Pretzel Bites Recipe Inspiration

I’ve had sourdough pretzel bites on my mind for months but never got around to creating a recipe for them until a few weeks ago. With the big game coming up I wanted to have this recipe up on the blog for you all to enjoy.

Growing up we’d always grab an Auntie Anne’s pretzel while visiting the mall. That iconic taste is what inspired the flavor of these pretzel bites. I knew I could make them better so I got to work and here we are haha!

pretzels bites in a dish and one getting dipped into cheese by a hand
Source: Plum Branch Home

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • one of the most simple recipes online for pretzel bites
  • easy to follow steps
  • only uses wholesome ingredients
  • each pretzel bite is brushed with butter after baking

Tips to Make These Pretzel Bites Ahead

If you’d like to make these sourdough pretzel bites ahead of time follow the recipe until the baking step. Instead of placing them in the oven after their water bath allow them to cool completely. Then store them in the freezer until you’re ready to bake.

tray of pretzel pieces with a cup of cheese sauce
Source: Plum Branch Home

Ingredients

Pretzels

  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter (fed 4-12 hours prior to use)
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 tsp Raw Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 1/2 cups Flour

Water Bath

  • 8 cups Water
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Baking soda

Butter Topping

  • 2 Tbsp Melted butter
  • Pinch Sea Salt (over the pretzels)

Kitchen Tools You’ll Need (affiliate links)

How To Make Sourdough Pretzel Bites

The Dough

whisk in a liquid mixture in a bowl
Source: Plum Branch Home

Mix starter, water, maple syrup, and salt in a large mixing bowl until combined with a bread whisk or spoon

whisk combining flour into a mixture
Source: Plum Branch Home

Add flour one cup at a time, stirring until combined.

hand kneading dough
Source: Plum Branch Home

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 3 minutes (the dough will be a little sticky, add a few tablespoons of flour if needed while kneading)

Place back into a clean mixing bowl and cover with a kitchen towel or lid for 7-8 hours (or until doubled) to bulk ferment in a turned-off oven or microwave. (If this fermentation period finishes at night and you don’t have time, pop it in the fridge until the next day)

Shaping the dough

hand punching dough down
Source: Plum Branch Home

After the dough has finished bulk fermenting punch down the dough and turn it out on a lightly floured surface

dough cut into 4 sections
Source: Plum Branch Home

Cut the dough into 4 even section

dough rolled into logs
Source: Plum Branch Home

Roll each section out with your hands to form a rope 8 inches long (dough will be a little sticky, dust with flour when needed)

Repeat with the other 3 pieces

Using a bench scraper or pizza cutter, slice the ropes into 1 inch pieces (8 per rope)

Water Bath

water bath being prepared for pretzels
Source: Plum Branch Home

In a large saucepan or pot combine water, maple syrup, and baking soda. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.

While waiting preheat the oven to 425 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment or lightly grease with butter

Once boiling turn water bath down to medium-high

pretzel dough in a water bath boiling
Source: Plum Branch Home

Drop 8 pretzel pieces into the boiling water at a time for 25-30 seconds. (Do not allow them to stay in longer they’ll develop a metal taste).

dough being removed from a pan
Source: Plum Branch Home

Scoop pretzel dough out of the water bath with a slotted spoon or spider strainer and onto the prepared sheet pan 1/4-1/2 inch apart.

Repeat until all pretzels have had a water bath.

Finish

Bake for 12-14 minutes.

pretzels being brushed with butter
Source: Plum Branch Home

Remove from oven, immediately brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.

Enjoy them warm! (Especially with a side of homemade cheese dipping sauce)

Example Baking Schedule

  • Feed sourdough starter 8am
  • Mix dough at 12pm
  • Shape pretzels and do water bath at 7pm (or place in the fridge until next day)
  • 7:20pm bake pretzels
  • 7:32 brush with butter and enjoy

Storing Leftovers

Store pretzel bites in an air-tight container for 2-3 days at room temperature or in the fridge for 4-5 days.

Reheating Pretzel Bites

When you’re ready to enjoy leftover pretzel bites, pop them on a sheet pan and heat in the oven at 375 for 3-5 minutes or until warm.

Freezing Baked Pretzel Bites

Store cooled-down pretzel bites in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months in the freezer.

Long fermenting Pretzel Dough

If you’d like to long ferment this pretzel dough recipe you can but it is 100% optional. To do this place in the fridge for an additional 8-12 hours after the bulk ferment.

pretzels being dipped in cheese by hand
Source: Plum Branch Home

Serving Pretzel Bites

Serve these pretzel bites warm with homemade cheese dip for the perfect snack or appetizer. For a unique twist dip each bite in nut butter or yogurt.

Recipe FAQ

What is the difference between sourdough pretzels and regular pretzels?

Regular pretzels use commercial yeast to rise the dough while sourdough pretzels use an active sourdough starter.

What makes pretzel dough different than bread?

My pretzel dough is enriched with maple syrup and kneaded, while bread dough is not enriched and uses a stretch and fold method.

Why do you boil pretzels before baking?

Boiling pretzels in a water bath before baking gives them that iconic outside texture and a pillowy inside.

What would happen if I skip the water bath step?

Your pretzels will not turn out like pretzels. The texture, taste, and color will be different.

Are sourdough pretzels a healthy snack?

Sourdough pretzels from scratch are a much healthier snack than ones you’d buy at the mall or in stores. You don’t have additives, preservatives, or fake butter flavoring. Sourdough pretzels also contain gut health benefits from the starter cultures.

What makes a pretzel taste like a pretzel?

The baking soda bath makes the pretzel taste like the iconic pretzel taste.

How to season a bag of sourdough pretzel bites

If you’d like to season your sourdough pretzels in a bag, brush them with butter, add them to a brown paper bag with sea salt, and shake. You’ll be able to season them this way if you choose.

Can sourdough pretzels be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze them after baking in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months. Reheat them straight from the freezer in the oven until warm.

If you would like to freeze the dough, place the unbaked bites on a sheet pan and freeze for 2 hours before placing them in a bag or container. This will prevent them from sticking together. Bake them as the instructions say on the recipe. You may need to add a few minutes to the baking time.

What do you eat sourdough pretzels with?

You can eat them with a homemade cheese dip, cream cheese, or any other type of dip you choose.

Are sourdough pretzels better?

In my opinion, yes, they are so much better. They taste 100 times more flavorful, and they don’t have any nasty additives. 

Do I have to boil pretzels before baking?

Yes, you need to boil the pretzels before baking to achieve that iconic pretzel taste and texture.

Try These Other Sourdough Snack Recipes

Full Printable Recipe

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pretzels bites in a dish and one getting dipped into cheese by a hand

Sourdough Pretzel Bites From Scratch (Better Than Auntie Anne’s)

Molly LaFontaine of Plum Branch Home
These sourdough pretzel bites from scratch are among the best recipes I've developed in my kitchen. They're soft and pillowy on the inside with a buttery crust. According to my husband, they're better than Auntie Anne's and I couldn't agree more. You've got to try them for yourself!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Bulk Ferment 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 32 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Sourdough
Servings 32 pretzel bites

Ingredients
  

Pretzels

  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter (fed 4-12 hours prior to using)
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 tsp Raw Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 1/2 cups Flour

Water Bath

  • 8 cups Water
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Baking soda

Butter Topping

  • 2 Tbsp Melted butter
  • Pinch Sea Salt over the pretzels

Instructions
 

The Dough

  • mix starter, water, maple syrup, and salt in a large mixing bowl until combined with a bread whisk or spoon
  • Add flour one cup at a time, stirring until combined.
  • Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 3 minutes (the dough will be a little sticky, add a few tablespoons of flour if needed while kneading)
  • Place back into a clean mixing bowl and cover with a kitchen towel or lid for 7-8 hours (or until doubled) to bulk ferment in a turned-off oven or microwave. (If this fermentation period finishes at night and you don’t have time, pop it in the fridge until the next day)

Shaping the dough

  • After the dough has finished bulk fermenting punch down the dough and turn it out on a lightly floured surface
  • Cut the dough into 4 even section
  • Roll each section out with your hands to form a rope 8 inches long (dough will be a little sticky, dust with flour when needed)
  • Repeat with the other 3 pieces
  • Using a bench scraper or pizza cutter, slice the ropes into 1 inch pieces (8 per rope)

Water Bath

  • In a large saucepan or pot combine water, maple syrup, and baking soda. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
  • While waiting preheat the oven to 425 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment or lightly grease with butter
  • Once boiling turn water bath down to medium-high
  • Drop 8 pretzel pieces into the boiling water at a time for 25-30 seconds. (Do not allow them to stay in longer they’ll develop a metal taste).
  • Scoop pretzel dough out of the water bath with a slotted spoon or spider strainer and onto the prepared sheet pan 1/4-1/2 inch apart.
  • Repeat until all pretzels have had a water bath.

Finish

  • Bake for 12-14 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, immediately brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.
  • Enjoy them warm! (Especially with a side of homemade cheese dipping sauce)
Keyword plum branch home pretzel bites, sourdough pretzel bites
brush brushing butter on dough
Source: Plum Branch Home

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Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Awesome pretzel bits!! Your not kidding these are so much tastier then Auntie Anne’s.
    Easy recipe to follow and make.
    Love that you can control the amount of salt to put on them.
    Your cheese dipping sauce is delicious also! Goes wonderful with these.

    Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Thank you so much!! No, I was not 😂, they’re so delicious! Thank you for sharing what you love about this recipe. So glad you enjoyed my pretzel bites!