Ham & Cheese Pretzel Bites

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For New Year’s Eve, I wanted to make an easy appetizer that was at least a little impressive.  These pretzel bites were perfect, except that I poorly planned my timing so that I was making them as our guests arrived.  Little did I anticipate that our guests were going to finish making some of their dishes in my kitchen, too, so I was a bit distracted on making these. So distracted that they turned out with an unappetizing appearance.  Fortunately, they still tasted great!  A few days later, we were invited to our friends’ to watch the UFC fight, so I made another batch of these to bring with us.  This time I didn’t have to hurry to free up my kitchen, so their appearance was much more appealing!

Contrary to what it seems, it doesn’t take much effort to make these.  Just whip up the dough, let it rise for 2 hours, shape the pretzels, let rise again for 30 minutes, then boil and bake! If you’re anything like me, you’ll have the itching to pinch the sides of the rolls shut, but don’t.  Some of the ham and cheese might ooze out, but that’s fine.  They puff right up in the oven, resulting in the perfect soft pretzel texture.  Served with your favorite mustard dip, these buttery, salty bites will have you asking for more!

Ham & Cheese Pretzel Bites

Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Serving Size: 6 bites

  • 1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast (or instant yeast)
  • 2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
  • 1 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees F)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped ham (about 3 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese of choice (I used cheddar)
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1-2 Tablespoons coarse salt

Combine the yeast, 1 tsp brown sugar, and warm water in a large bowl. Set aside until foamy, 5-8 minutes. (If using the instant yeast, you can skip this step and just add it to the flour.) In another bowl, stir together the remaining 2 Tbsp brown sugar and warm milk until dissolved.

Add 2 1/2 cups flour and milk mixture to the yeast. Stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Add the remaining flour as needed. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead a few times, forming a smooth ball.

Brush the inside of a large clean bowl with olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm, draft free area for about 2 hours, until dough has doubled in size and bubbles appear on the surface.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Lightly dust your hands and rolling pin with flour. Roll one of the four sections into a 12×4-inch rectangle. With the long side facing you, gently press 1/4 of the ham and cheese into the bottom third of the dough, and roll as tightly as possible, starting with the end that has the filling. Cut into 12 1-inch pieces and transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining 3 portions of the dough.

Let rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400?F.

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the baking soda and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Boil pretzels in batches, cooking about 20 seconds each, turning once. They should be slightly puffed. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them back to the baking sheets.

Bake until puffed and golden-brown, about 15 minutes.

Brush warm pretzel bites with melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: Adapted from Pink Parsley


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  1. Love these! Your’s look delish – so pretty and buttery!

  2. These look fantastic. YUM!

  3. Mmmmm, these look gooood. I bet they are totally yummy to snack on. As a matter of fact I’m making soft pretzels for the first time today. If all goes well I’ll be giving these a try soon.

  4. Okay, we need to make these. I would like to make some for the Super Bowl party. They look really yumcious.

  5. i almost laughed at that sentence because i would TOTALY be itching to pinch the sides. they look yummy! awesome job.

  6. Oh, yum! I make some little pretzel rolls filled with cheese, but I’ve never thought about adding ham. Sounds delicious!

  7. I’m hoping to try making these babies tomorrow- so excited!!!

  8. I made these last night and they were so fun, and yummy!!! I loved making them and eating them. I love your pic too. thanks for sharing the recipe!

  9. Wow. Absolutely delicious and exact to the recipe. With some left over “batter,” my husband made pretzels and those were amazing too. Thanks!

  10. This dough was wonderful and the pretzel bites were a super hit at my house! Thanks for the great recipe… its a keeper!

  11. Hi Nikki!

    I almost forgot to mention, I made these earlier this month and they were a HUGE hit with my husband and his friend – They couldn’t stop eating them! Here’s a link to my post about them, with credit to you: http://comfortofcooking.blogspot.com/2010/08/ham-cheese-pretzel-bites.html

    Thanks for the great recipe! I’ll be making these again and again, I’m sure.


  12. Mmmmm… They look delicious. I could go for a plate (or two) right now!
    The only way these could be any better is if they were pepperoni pizza pretzel bites 🙂

  13. Wow, these look great and perfect for snacking on while watching college football. Thank you for the great recipe – I am going to try these on Saturday!

  14. Any clue on whether these can be frozen (and at what stage of the recipe)? I want to make these for a 10am gathering but don’t want to be up at 6am to wait for all the rises. I can’t wait to try these!

    • Hi Lauren,

      I think I would just make them the night before, refrigerate them and pop them in the oven for a few minutes right before serving. If you need to make them days in advance, then again, I would just freeze them already baked and then throw them in the oven to warm them up when ready to eat. Since you need to boil them right before baking, then you won’t have to mess with it right before your gathering.

      Let me know what you end up doing and how it works! 🙂


  15. I wish I could upload a picture! I made this tonight– I was worried it did not rise enough but it taste awesome!! I made a few with just pretzel. Yum yum.

  16. Sorry – just to clarify your comments on making these in advance – would you prep UP TO the point of boiling/baking, then do both right before serving? Or would you completely make them in advance, and then reheat them in the oven before serving? Thanks! They look great!

    • Hi Jami,

      When I prep them in advance, I always go ahead and bake them the day or hours before then refrigerate. Right before serving, I’ll pop them in the oven at the normal temp to warm them up. I’m sure you can prep in advance up to boiling, then freeze or refrigerate, but haven’t done it so don’t really have tips. I’m guessing you would need to let the dough rise for 30 minutes again before boiling once you’re ready. But, just a wild guess. Hope that helps!


    • I make them in the morning or day before and put in fridge without boiling and cooking. I boil and cook shortly before serving. I have boiled and then put in fridge. then just slide them in oven when ready. They turned out fine both ways.

  17. I tried making this as a snack for my kids and they definitely loved it! My wife loved it too. Thanks a lot for sharing with us this easy to make recipe. So delicious! Please do share more recipes in the future. Kudos!

  18. These were a huge hit! I planned on making them for the Superbowl, but wanted to test it out first. I made them tonight for dinner and served them along side of tortilla soup. I followed the recipe to a tee, but had to sprinkle a bit of garlic powder on top. Mmmmmm! My (extremely picky) husband said he LOVED them! Thanks for the great recipe.

  19. How come my pretzel dough was so sticky? It was almost impossible for me to handle. After I unfortunately had to give up a few along the way (because of the stickiness), the ones that survived tasted awesome! I just wish I didn’t have to struggle with it to get there. Help!

    • Hi Jessie,

      Without being there with you, I can’t tell you why your dough was sticky. There could be many reasons, such as temperature, humidity, accidental wrong measurements, etc. But, if it is as sticky next time, try adding a little more flour so it’s easier to work with. I’ve actually had to do that before and they always turned out fine in the end. 🙂 Hope this helps!


  20. What would you use as a dip for these? I’m just thinking about presentation. I’m sure they’d be awesome by themselves, just curious what I should serve ’em up with!

  21. Clayton Chick says:

    These were THE favorite at my superbowl party. Suprisingly easy even though the directions sound complicated. I have a feeling I will be asked to make these for many future parties!! Thank you!!

  22. They don’t look unappetizing at all, and I’m sure they were a hit at a fun party. Anything homemade tends to go over well. I hope everyone started their new year’s off with exercising!

  23. Oh! How delicious!

  24. I think you mean “addictive”, not “addicting”. There is no such word as “addicting”. :O)

    • I’m not sure what you’re talking about Sorilea. Addicting is indeed a word, but I didn’t even use either word in this post.

  25. I would love to make these but I don’t have the space in my kitchen (very small studio with barely any counter) to make the dough… any suggestions for pre-packaged dough?

    Thanks! 🙂

  26. These look beyond delicious. I am so making these….

  27. Just made these for a tailgate tomorrow! So delicious and cheap! Thanks for a fabulous recipe! I know these will not last long tomorrow!

  28. trying these this weekend. thanks for sharing

  29. I wonder if this can be done with cresent rolls or some kind of premade dough. Anyone know if there is premade pretzel dough?

  30. I just made these little nuggets. They turned out beautifully and were easy to make. What a confidence builder served as little appys for a dinner party. Yum. These aren’t low calorie by any stretch but I decided not to use the butter on half of them to see how I liked it better. They are more “traditional” pretzel-like without the butter and are still wonderful. Thanks soooo much!

  31. I have been baking bread, from scratch without a bread machine for 20 years. IDK who told you that “if using instant yeast you may choose to skip this step as it only requires one rise” but that is an incorrect statement. Even so, here you are not talking about a 2nd rise, you are talking about letting the end product proof before cooking it. The reasons you knock dough down & let it rise again comes down to flavor and texture. By failing to allow your formed, in this case pretzels, rest for 30-45 minutes before cooking you run the risk of getting a flavorless, rock hard end product.

    • Hi Jenna, Glad to have a bread baking expert give their input. You are right, after the dough is formed you usually need to let it rest, no matter the type of yeast used. When I wrote the recipe two years ago, I didn’t understand the difference between a 2nd rise and a “rest.” Because the pretzel bites always worked for me without the “rest” and because I mistook it for the 2nd rising, I never realized the need to update the recipe wording. My choice of wording was poor (I’ve since fixed), but I’ve made these numerous times and never once ended up with flavorless, rock hard pretzels bites. Judging by the other comments, it doesn’t seem this affected anyone else who followed the recipe. 🙂

  32. I made these using pepperoni & a blend of Italian cheeses and served them to my Christmas guests. It was a huge hit!!!

  33. Do you have to use the parchment paper? I just baked mine and they completely stuck to the pan…they are mostly ruined…I’m so sad. I used a non-stick spray…did not have any parchment paper…I guess better luck next time.

    • From your experience, it sounds like the parchment paper is necessary. I always use it, as stated in the recipe. Hope you try them again with the paper! 🙂


  35. Hi
    You mentioned the following line in the recipe: In another bowl, stir together the remaining 2 Tbsp brown sugar and warm milk until dissolved.

    But after that didn’t say what to do with the brown sugar and warm milk? Does it also go into the yeast mixture??

    • Hi Emela, The second paragraph of the instructions says “Add 2 1/2 cups flour and milk mixture to the yeast.” 🙂

  36. Kelly Leonard says:

    These sound delicious!

    What kind of flour do you use for this recipe (bread, all purpose, etc)???

  37. Can the dough be made in a breadmaker? My son would love these!!

  38. Thanks! I haven’t ever tried that! Sounds amazing though! I use all purpose flour. Hope they turn out great!

  39. They look yummy im going to make them for my grandkids !!!
    Thanks we are a prezels family!!!

  40. can I skip the boiling step? I made pretzel rolls awhile back and they were too soggy and I followed the recipe exactly.

  41. I haven’t read the other comments but I’d like to say that I made these little bites and they were delicious. They worked perfectly after preparing them exactly as stated. The only thing wrong with them is they are too good and you will not stop eating them LOL! They freeze well also.

  42. Beatrice says:

    I made these with my husband and they were so good! My 1 and half year old liked them too! Thanks for the recipe

  43. Jennscookin says:

    We made these for my son’s graduation but skipped the boiling step because we were worried that we would lose all the yummy filling. They turned out great anyway but like you said, did not have the golden look. How did you boil them without the filling all coming out? I definitely plan on making these again, they were the hit of the party!

    • Hi Jenn, There really isn’t anything particular I do to keep the filling from falling out. It just doesn’t fall out. lol. Try it again, and you’ll see! (hopefully) 😉

  44. Hmm, they look wonderful, perfect party snack!!!

  45. Hi. I’m planning on making these for a party this weekend. Its a rather large gathering. I see you recipe makes approx 48. There will be probably 30-40 guests. I’m thinking of doubling the recipe. If these little guys are as awesome as everyone says I would hate to run out. Have you ever doubled the recipe? How do you think the dough would do if you made one large batch or would you make the dough in two separate patches & then roll them out & proceed.

    • When I double it, I make it in two separate batches as it’s much easier to work with. And, yes, with a crowd that big they are definitely going to go fast! 🙂 Have fun!

  46. I have made these twice. Each time, after the hours waiting, the bottoms have completely stuck the the paper. Why???? That is very frustrating.

  47. Mine didn’t raise like yours! Also, would they bake without boiling them? Thank you

    • You can bake them without boiling, but they won’t be the same result. The baking soda bath gives them a browner crust and more of a pretzel taste. They might just taste like baked breadsticks without it. As far as the dough not rising like mine, it could be many factors… type of yeast, age of yeast, not letting rise long enough, temperature of room, etc.

  48. Oh, such a beautiful snack for friday evenings infront of the telly with good friends. Can’t wait to make them!

  49. hi, in the picture there a bowl of a cheese sauce… do you have a recipe for it? the sauce look so good

  50. I made these a while ago and they were eaten right off the pan so quickly that I didn’t even get an end picture! I kind of cheated with the baking soda part. I made another recipe and you just brushed baking soda + water mixture on the dough, so I did that for this too and they still turned out really well 🙂 Thank you for the recipe!

    P.S. Love the new name and look!

  51. I made these exactly like the recipe says and they were perfect! Just not enough of them. My daughter who is 21 is having her first party, these are what she requested! That’s a pretty big compliment!

  52. Made these today for a work party. The dough was insanely sticky…added another half cup flour and did not help much. Almost threw the whole thing out but stuck with it. Not pretty by any means and made a huge mess. I over floured everything and jsut kept sticking. Thought was FL humidity but no amount of flour helped and I measured so careful. Mine are like mini calzones since dough was too sticky to make smaller and cut them after i baked

  53. I made these for the first time yesterday after having them “pinned” to my board for over a year. Wish I hadn’t waited so long! Our PTA fed the teachers yesterday for a meet the teacher night, and I brought these. I made a double batch and there were no leftovers! My son was decidedly disappointed and I’ve had to promise to make them again this weekend for a football watching party.

    I used my bread machine on the dough cycle, and used just almost a full 3 cups of flour. Bread machine made it super easy. I made 1/2 with shredded colby jack cheese and half with shredded swiss cheese. Also bought the pre-packaged small diced ham. It takes a while just because of rising cycles, but this is super easy! Thanks!

  54. amazing!!!!this goes definitely to my recipe collection.i added some extra flour -it was a day with high humidity.hy husband made them disappear in minutes and he’s a picky eater.so they were a huge success.i loved them.thank you so much

  55. Hi, I know its been quite awhile since you posted this but am hoping you will see this. I made these today but, they did not turn out pretty and brown like yours at all. I cooked them for 30 minutes at 400 and still not very brown at all and not near as pretty as yours. My kids said they tasted good and ate them all, but I thought they were kinda tough. I used baking pd instead of baking soda because I didn’t have any and had already started them before I realized I was out. Could that have made that much of a difference? The internet said to used triple the amount of bk. pd. to replace the bk. soda. Any thoughts?

    • Nikki Gladd says:

      Hi Tina,

      I’m going to guess that the reason they didn’t brown is because of the baking powder. I couldn’t tell you exactly why, but if that was your only substitute it was probably the culprit. And, the reason they were tough is from baking them too long. Sorry it didn’t turn out as hoped! The only way to know for sure is try again with baking soda and 15 minutes of baking time. 🙂

  56. Can an electric mixer and dough hook be used? I’m looking forward to making this tomorrow for the super bowl and would like to utilize my Kitchen Aid 🙂

    • Nikki Gladd says:

      Hi Kelly! I’m too late in responding for the Super Bowl (wasn’t on here all weekend) but, yes, you can use your lovely KitchenAid! 🙂 Hope you had a great Super Bowl party!

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