Homemade Soft Pretzels are the BEST appetizers for parties of all kinds! Soft, salty pretzels are so easy to make and way better than anything you can reheat from frozen. Serve them with homemade beer cheese sauce for the ultimate dip!
If there’s one thing about me, it’s that I’ll be swinging by the concession stand at a football game to grab a pretzel with cheese sauce! Or if I’m strolling the mall, I simply must grab a soft pretzel while I shop. You know, for required sustenance. It also is nostalgic for me to pick up a pretzel at the mall because when we were kids and my parents took us to the mall, we always got Auntie Ann’s pretzels and I always got the sour cream and onion powder on it. I can still taste it now, omg – sooo good!
When you make your own Homemade Soft Pretzels, the cheese sauce on the side doesn’t cost extra, and it’s SO much better than the plastic-flavored cheese you’ll find at most places! These easy Soft Pretzels are perfectly soft, salted to your liking, and served with the best beer cheese.
With football season just about here (where does the time go?!), it’s important to start racking up all of your game day appetizers. Homemade Soft Pretzels with beer cheese sauce are always the ultimate crowd pleaser! Consider making a double batch for a larger party, because these babies go FAST.
What You’ll Need:
For the pretzels:
- Milk – Make sure it’s warm.
- Active Dry Yeast – Just 1 envelope package will do the trick.
- Brown Sugar – It can be light or dark.
- Butter – It needs to be salted and melted.
- Flour – Use a butter knife to level the flour so your measurements are exact.
- Baking Soda – This also needs to be measured with care!
- Sea Salt – Coarse salt is what needs to be used to top off your pretzels, of course! Iodized salt will simply not get the job done.
For the beer cheese sauce:
- Butter – For the best flavor, use salted.
- Flour – All purpose gives the best thickness.
- Milk – Whole milk is preferred for both flavor and consistency.
- Beer – Use a lager or ale that has no special flavors!
- Dijon Mustard – This can’t be substituted with plain yellow mustard.
- Seasonings – You’ll need a medley of garlic powder, salt, and paprika.
- Cheddar Cheese – I recommend shredding it yourself.
How to Make Homemade Soft Pretzels with Beer Cheese
For more detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post.
Create the dough. Mix the warm milk with yeast and let it sit. Whisk in the salt, brown sugar, and melted butter. Add the flour one cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticky. Transfer to a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
Prepare. Let the dough rise for about 10 minutes. While you’re waiting, preheat the oven to 400°F, line baking sheets with parchment paper, and prepare the baking soda water by boiling water and baking soda.
Form the pretzels. Cut the dough into 10 pieces, then twist each piece into a rope. Shape the ropes into pretzels. This is the fun part!
Dip and bake. Dip each pretzel into the water, place them on the prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle them with salt. Bake for 15 minutes.
Make the dip. Melt the butter and flour together, whisk in the milk, followed by the beer, mustard, and seasonings.
I don’t have yeast in a packet – how much yeast should I use? There is 2 ¼ teaspoons of yeast in one packet.
Is it really necessary to give the pretzels a baking soda bath? This makes a huge difference in the texture (chewier) and taste (more pretzelly) of the pretzels. It is worth the extra time and it is how all pretzel shops do it. You hardly see this step missed.
Could I use white sugar instead of brown sugar? Yes, just substitute the same amount.
I don’t have Dijon mustard – what could I substitute? You could substitute yellow mustard or mustard powder.
Can I use pre-shredded cheese? The flavor and texture will be better if you shred the cheese yourself. Pre-shredded cheese has fillers added to keep it from clumping and it does not melt as nicely and comes out kind of grainy.
I prefer sweet pretzels – are they made the same way? Yes, when the pretzels come out of the oven, brush them with melted butter and sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar if you like!
What kind of beer should I use for the sauce? Make sure it’s a lager, ale, or a pilsner that doesn’t have any special flavors.
How long will Homemade Soft Pretzels stay fresh? To store leftovers, it is best to wrap them individually with plastic wrap. Store them for up to 2 days at room temperature or freeze for up to a month. They are best reheated in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until heated through.
Watch the big game with the BEST appetizers!
Homemade Soft Pretzels
For the pretzels:
- 1 ½ cups warm milk
- 1 envelope packet of active dry yeast, (¼ ounce)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon salted butter, melted
- Up to 4 cups of flour, spoon in and then level
- ⅓ cup baking soda
- 8 cups water
- ¼ cup coarse sea salt
For the beer cheese dip:
- 2 Tablespoons salted butter
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- ⅔ cup whole milk
- ½ cup beer
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Optional garnish: more shredded cheese, cayenne pepper if you’d like some heat
The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the warm milk, and yeast. Allow this to sit for a few minutes. Then whisk in the salt, brown sugar, and melted butter.
- Gradually add flour to this mixture, 1 cup at a time. I use my stand mixer with my dough hook, but you could use a wooden spoon until the dough is too thick, then use your hands. (It will be a workout.) Add flour until the dough is no longer sticky (you may not need to use all 4 cups). Then turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it for 5 minutes.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a lightly greased bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 400 °F, line 2 baking sheets with lightly sprayed parchment paper, and prepare the baking soda water.
- Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in a large pot.
- Cut dough into 10 equal pieces and shape each piece into 18-inch-long ropes. Shape the ropes into pretzels. Press the ends in to make sure they are stuck down.
- Use a slotted spoon to dip each pretzel in the baking soda water for about 30 seconds. Then allow the water to drip off of the pretzel and place it on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Do this for each pretzel. Sprinkle with salt as desired.
- Bake at 400 °F for 15 minutes or until golden. While these are baking you could make the dip.
- Make the dip by melting butter and flour together, gradually whisk in milk (stirring well to remove lumps). Once that is smooth, whisk in the beer, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and paprika. Allow this to bubble for 3 minutes. Then whisk in the cheese and serve hot.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.