No one can resist these homemade Cheesy Jalapeño Pretzel Bites. Served with a spicy side of Cheese Dipping Sauce, these mini bites are absolutely addictive!
I immediately search for pretzels on the menu everywhere I go for happy hour. They’re a guilty pleasure for me and one of my absolute favorite snacks, especially with a side of cheesy dipping sauce. While pretzels may seem intimidating to make yourself, they’re actually easier than you’d think. These Jalapeño Pretzel Bites and Cheese Dipping Sauce take less than an hour to make, and it’s well worth the work to enjoy homemade pretzels. Trust me, you won’t see other pretzels the same way after your first homemade batch. The small chunks of jalapeño inside each bite give them a little kick, and let’s face it, everything is better when it’s slathered in cheese.
My favorite thing about this pretzel recipe is how well the pretzels reheat, even three days later, so you don’t have to eat the whole batch at once…unless you want to because I’m sure you’ll want to! Simply pop them in the oven or even a toaster oven for about five minutes to warm them up and keep the outsides lightly toasted. They’ll still taste delicious! Whether you’re making a batch for yourself on your cheat day or feeding a group, these Jalapeño Pretzel Bites are a hit for any occasion.
Jalapeño Pretzel Bites + Cheese Dipping Sauce
When making pretzels, the way to get the beautiful, golden brown outside and the soft inside is the baking soda bath. It gives the pretzels their signature flavor and causes them to bake completely different than they would without the baking soda bath. In short, it’s worth the extra step. If you want your Jalapeño Pretzel Bites to look and taste right, you definitely need to give them a baking soda bath before baking them to golden perfection.
I tend to use peppers sparingly, but the Cheese Dipping Sauce tones down spiciness. You can actually get away with adding even more jalapeños than designated in the recipe if you love spicy foods more than I do. I find that one finely chopped pepper is enough for one batch of Jalapeño Pretzel Bites, but I’ll leave that up to you to experiment with! Psst…I’ve also seen recipes that add bacon. If you want an over-the-top, cheat-day-appropriate, guilty pleasure type of recipe, you might as well just go for it, right?
Now let’s talk about the Cheese Dipping Sauce, which is also really easy. The key to making a thick cheese sauce is flour because as the milk simmers, the flour makes it thicken. By the time you add the cheese, you already have a thick sauce. In fact, you can utilize this recipe not only as a dipping sauce, but also as a topping for pastas. It’s incredibly versatile, and if you check out my Home Chef Tip in the recipe below, you’ll see what I add to make my cheese dipping sauce even better! Together, these Jalapeño Pretzel Bites and cheddar cheese sauce are a match made in heaven!
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 packet instant yeast (about 2 tsp)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 - 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- 1 medium jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1 egg lightly, beaten
- Course sea salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated or chopped
- Salt to taste
- Dissolve the yeast in warm water and stir to combine.
- In a large mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook, mix together the yeast mixture, melted butter, salt, and sugar until combined.
- Add 3 cups of flour in batches until the dough is very thick. Add chopped jalapeños.
- Scrape bowl as needed and add remaining cup of flour or more, if needed, until the dough is no longer sticky and springs when poked. The jalapeños should be well incorporated.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead with additional flour for several minutes, forming dough into a ball.
- Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and set in a warm place for the dough to rest for about 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Once the dough has rested, remove onto a lightly-floured surface and separate into 5-6 separate balls of dough, rolling each into 1/2 inch thick ropes. Cut into bite-sized pieces of dough.
- Bring about 8 cups of water and the baking soda to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Drop several pieces of dough at a time into the baking soda bath and let the dough soak for about 20 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on the prepared baking sheet(s).
- Arrange the dough so that the pieces do not touch. Beat the egg in a small bowl and use a pastry brush to brush on top of each piece.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with course sea salt. Let cool for about 10 minutes, until cool enough to eat.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add the garlic and a dash of salt, stir for about 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant.
- Whisk in the flour until it thickens, then add the milk, whisking constantly.
- Simmer the mixture for about 5 minutes, whisking often, until it thickens.
- Mix in the cheese and additional salt, to taste.
- Pour melted cheese sauce into small bowl for dipping.
Home Chef Tip: To improve the flavor of the cheese sauce, mix in about 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite salsa!
We hope you enjoy these homemade Jalapeño Pretzel Bites + Cheese Dipping Sauce recipe from SoFabFood Home Chef, Holly from Club Crafted, as much as we do. If you love this cheat day recipe, you can find more like it by visiting our Appetizer section. For daily recipe inspiration, subscribe to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Pinterest. Enjoy!