These homemade vegan pretzel bites are chewy and soft with a classic pretzel flavor. This recipe is perfect for feeding a crowd for game day festivities, parties, or snacks! Serve these pretzel bites up and watch them disappear!
These bite-sized pretzels are amazingly delicious with garlic or vegan horseradish aioli, spicy mustard dip, or vegan queso.
I love this soft pretzel bites recipe any time of the year, particularly when entertaining. They are simple, tasty, and please a crowd!
What led me to create this recipe? My husband and I visited Alsace, France, years ago. While we were there, we visited Basel, Switzerland. We walked by a vegan pretzel shop as we strolled by the markets. We each got a different type of pretzel, and after we finished them, we went back for another round!
I'd been dreaming about making a fresh pretzel recipe ever since. I had no idea how easy it was to make pretzels!
This recipe was inspired by Peter Reinhart's recipes for white breads (he has three variations) in The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I skipped the egg and milk, substituted vegan butter, and adapted the recipe and method to suit my preferences.
These pretzel bites are like classic pretzels, only bite-sized with a nice salty bite! They are firm on the outside, soft on the inside, and have a good chew.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make these homemade soft pretzel bites:
- Melted vegan butter - you can use oil if you prefer
- Fine sea salt - to bring out flavor
- Pretzel salt - or a pinch of coarse salt to sprinkle on the pretzel bites after the baking soda bath.
- Bread flour - all-purpose flour is fine too (organic if possible)
- Organic cane sugar - The sugar feeds the yeast to help the dough rise.
- Active dry yeast - you can use instant yeast also. Make sure your yeast is not past its expiry date.
- Warm water - approximately 85°F to 90° F. It should feel warm to touch, not hot. If you are not sure, flick some warm water on the inside of your wrist to check the temperature.
- Baking soda bath: I don't have the ingredients pictured for the baking soda bath. You will need at least a couple of quarts of water and baking soda. You will be boiling the dough briefly in this water.
See the recipe card for the exact quantities.
How to make vegan pretzel bites
Prepare the yeast
- Pour warm water into a large bowl and stir in the sugar. Make sure your yeast is not past its expiry date. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes, after which you will likely see small bubbles on the surface.
- If you are using instant yeast, you can skip waiting 15 to 20 minutes.
- Melt the vegan butter and let it cool for 5 minutes. Add it to the bowl with the yeast and water mixture, and add salt.
Stir the bread flour in slowly. I use a dough whisk for this purpose. Mix until everything is combined.
Knead the dough and let rise
- Knead the dough on a clean surface such as a wooden board or a marble countertop for five to eight minutes. If you're not sure how to knead the dough, take a look at this instructional video.
- If the dough is too sticky to handle, add more flour, two tablespoons at a time. Fold, press, and turn the dough, adding more flour as needed.
If you prefer, you can use a KitchenAid mixer at the lowest speed with a dough hook to do the kneading.
- After five to eight minutes, shape your dough into a ball with your hands. It should be smooth at this point.
- Place the round dough ball into a clean large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a slightly damp kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place for an hour and a half until the dough has doubled.
While waiting for the dough to rise, preheat the oven and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
While you're waiting, it would be a good time to make this vegan horseradish aioli to serve with the pretzel bites!
Prepare the baking soda bath
- Once your dough has doubled in size, like in the photo above, make the baking soda bath. Heat a large pot with over two quarts of water. Once it's boiling, slowly add the baking soda and reduce the heat to a gentle rolling boil.
- The baking soda bath is what gives pretzels their characteristic color and flavor. Traditionally, lye has been used to dip the pretzels in, but I prefer to use baking soda as I feel it is safer for home use.
Shape the dough and briefly boil
With a bench scraper (my preference) or a sharp knife (on a cutting board, not on marble or granite or you'll dull your knife), cut the dough ball in half, then cut each half into three pieces. You will get six pieces of dough in total.
Hint: Do not flour your surface or the dough will slide around, making it hard for you to roll it out. A bit of moisture on the surface is okay, as you can see on my cutting board.
- Take a small ball of dough and roll it into a long rope, approximately the length of your cutting board.
- Cut the rope into 2-inch pieces. If your rope of dough is 16 inches long, like mine, you will get approximately 8 pieces or more, depending on how big you cut the pieces.
- Place the cut pieces of dough from one rope into the baking soda bath you have boiling on the range. Boil for approximately 30 seconds. I recommend setting a timer for this.
- After thirty seconds, scoop out the puffy dough pieces with a frying ladle or a slotted spoon and line them up on your prepared baking sheet, being careful not to crowd them.
- Repeat with another length of dough until your baking sheet is full. For example, I can usually fit three cut lengths of dough (half the total amount) on a large rimmed baking sheet.
Tip: Sprinkle the pieces of dough with pretzel salt before they go into the oven.
Bake for 15 minutes. You want the tops of the pretzel bites to be golden brown. While the first batch is baking, prepare the rest of the dough, usually half.
How to serve
This recipe makes approximately 75 bites, approximately 12 servings. However, if you serve other food, you may get more servings from this recipe. That said, these pretzel bites will disappear fast. And if you lose your modicum of self-control, I won't judge!
Substitutions & Variations
- Bread flour - You can use all-purpose flour instead. The result is a slightly softer pretzel that is super delicious. I haven't tried this recipe with 100% whole wheat. I would recommend doing a 1:1 mixture if you wish to try it out.
- Organic cane sugar - You can use brown sugar instead.
- Dough whisk - I find this essential to mix the dough by hand. I love using it to mix the dough for these pretzel bites and overnight artisan bread.
- Bench scraper - I find this essential to cut the dough and clean the work surface.
- Fry ladle - This fry spoon is essential for scooping the pretzel bites out of the baking soda water. This spoon, also known as a spider strainer, is also handy when you boil dumplings or gnocchi.
- Baking pan - I recommend a rimmed baking pan.
These pretzel bites freeze well. And you can take out what you need and quickly bake them in the oven or the toaster oven. They come out just as good as freshly baked! Freeze any leftover bites in a single layer in a freezer-safe ziplock bag.
Reheat frozen bites (no need to thaw) at 350°F for approximately 15 minutes on a rimmed baking sheet, do not crowd them.
I don't recommend storing them at room temperature or in the fridge. The texture changes, and they're just not the same.
Before baking, briefly boil the dough in the hot baking soda water, as instructed in the recipe, resulting in chewy pretzels with a golden brown exterior.
Eat these pretzel bites when they are fresh out of the oven!
You can refrigerate the dough overnight and make it the next day. Cover the dough on the counter for about 30 minutes before making your pretzel bites.
You can use a KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook attachment instead of kneading by hand. Knead for 5 to 8 minutes at the slowest speed while adding the flour slowly until you get a smooth and elastic dough. However, if you are a beginner with dough, I highly recommend kneading by hand to get accustomed to the look and feel of the dough.
If you make these Vegan Pretzel Bites, please take a moment to ★ star rate it and leave a comment below. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook and share your creation with me! Tag me @resplendentkitchen and hashtag #resplendentkitchenrecipes.
Homemade Vegan Pretzel Bites
- large mixing bowl
- Medium saucepan
- Wooden cutting board
- Small bowl
- 3 ¾ to 4 cups unbleached bread flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast or 1 package active dry yeast
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons plant-based butter melted
- Extra virgin olive oil for oiling the mixing bowl
- Pretzel salt sprinkle on dough before baking
Baking soda bath
- 10 cups water
- ¼ cup baking soda
- In a large bowl, pour the warm water and stir in the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes to activate the yeast.
- Stir in the fine sea salt and melted and cool plant-based butter. Slowly stir in the bread flour until combined.
- On a clean lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 5 to 8 minutes. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add more flour, 2 tablespoons at a time.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in a clean and lightly oiled large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and place the bowl in a warm area to rise for 60 to 90 minutes or until the dough has doubled.
- While the dough is rising, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Once the dough has risen, heat the water to boiling and slowly add the baking soda to make baking soda bath.
- Cut the dough into 6 pieces; start by cutting the dough ball in half, and then cut each half into 3 pieces with a bench scraper.
- Roll a piece of dough out to a 16 to 18-inch long rope, or however long your cutting board is. Cut each rope into 2-inch pieces with the bench scraper. You will get 8 to 11 pieces.
- Place the pieces of dough you get from one rope in the baking soda water for approximately 30 seconds. Scoop them out with a frying ladle and carefully line them up an inch apart on your parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat this process until the baking sheet is full. Sprinkle each piece with pretzel salt.
- Bake at 400ºF for 15 minutes, or until the tops are brown. While the first batch is baking, I work on the remaining half of the dough.
- Let cool for 5 minutes and serve immediately with vegan horseradish aioli (link below), mustard, or vegan queso.
Resplendent Kitchen offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site as a courtesy. Although resplendentkitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information from online calculators, these figures are estimates.