Mini Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce are a great appetizer for any party! These mini pretzel bites will be gobbled up in no time and your guests will secretly wish you made a double or even a triple batch.
The cheese sauce gives it a little extra kick to the nice soft salted mini pretzels. Cheese sauce is just an added bonus! YUMMY!
Find a huge bowl or platter and serve away. They will be gone is minutes! If you don’t want to have cheese sauce with the pretzels add another condiment like mustard or ranch. Having them by themselves is even good!
Mini Pretzel Bites with Cheese Sauce
Prep Time 1 hour
Servings 5 Dozen
- 1 1/2 cups warm water plus 9 more cups for step 5
- 1 packet Red Star Platinum instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter previously melted and not scorching hot
- 3.75 - 4.25 cups all-purpose flour more for the counter surface
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg beaten
- coarse sea salt for sprinkling
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flower
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese grated
- 2 tbsp hot sauce
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- salt & pepper to taste
Whisk the yeast into 1 and 1/2 cups warm water. Allow to sit for 1 minute. Some clusters of yeast may remain. Add salt, brown sugar, and melted butter. Whisk until fairly combined. Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon (or dough hook attached to stand mixer) until dough is thick. Add 3/4 cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, add up to 1/4 cup more. Poke the dough with your finger - if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes, then shape into a ball. Place in a large greased mixing bowl. I usually use nonstick spray to grease it, but olive oil works too. Cover and let the dough rest in a warm area for about 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
With a sharp knife, cut ball of dough into 6 sections. Roll the dough into six 20-inch long ropes. Cut the rope into 1.5 inch pieces to make bites.
Combine 9 cups of water and the baking soda in a large pot and bring to a rapid boil. Drop 8-10 pretzel bites into water and let sit for 20 seconds. Remove with a spatula and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Make sure the bites aren't touching.
Brush beaten egg over each pretzel bite. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake batches for 15 minutes each, or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and serve with cheese sauce, mustard, ranch or any condiment you enjoy. Pretzel bites remain fresh for up to 3 days in an airtight container, though they will lose some softness.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the top, stirring constantly until a thick paste forms, 1 to 2 minutes.
Slowly add the milk to the flour/butter paste in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Continue cooking, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. It should be thick but still pourable. Add the cheese, whisking constantly until it is melted. Add the hot sauce and red chili flakes. Taste, then add salt and pepper to taste. Add more cayenne and/or hot sauce if preferred.
The sauce will thicken upon cooling. Store leftovers covered tightly in the refrigerator. Heat over stovetop or in the microwave before serving again.