Why are soft, salty homemade soft pretzels so dang good? Picture a golden chewy pretzel dotted with coarse grains of salt and…wait for it…stuffed with melty cheese! Bam!
Pretzels are going to take over the world. Or my blog. Probably both. We love our soft pretzels with cheese sauce, but I started thinking what if I put cheese on the inside? Nailed it! So good! For our sweet tooth people, we have our cinnamon roll pretzel bites that are heavenly and I just can’t stop thinking about variations of soft pretzels!
These cheese stuffed pretzels blow Annie’s in the mall out of the park. Dude, do not tell me you don’t secretly love those hot, salty, bready pieces of deliciousness dipped in oh, so very fake cheese. Gosh, I can taste it sitting here!!! Sometimes you just need one of those to get you through the shopping!
But these homemade pretzels are so much better! The outside is all chewy and salty and wonderful, and the inside is like pure squishy, soft flipping perfection, but then, oh my gosh, then you hit the cheese. It’s blasted wonderful! It’s so melty! And, and, it’s not fake cheese! It’s the real deal!!!! And when you tear a piece off, it like stretches with the bread like an awesome piece of pizza. HECK YES!
Ingredients for Soft Pretzels
Here’s the best thing about this recipe…you’re most likely going to have all the ingredients at home already. Yippee! I love when that happens! Here is what you will need:
- warm water – ideally the water should be 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit to activate the yeast properly
- sugar – food for the yeast
- kosher salt – the salt is added after the yeast has been activated and acts as a yeast inhibitor so it doesn’t go crazy and rise too much
- instant yeast – helps the bread get fluffy and chewy
- unsalted butter – butter releases steam as it melts and bakes creating air pockets and fluffiness in the pretzels
- flour – just regular all purpose flour
- sharp cheddar cheese – you can use shredded cheese if you want, but I’ve honestly found that cutting the cheese into little sticks really is the best way to get that cheese stuffed in there and extra melty and gooey
- baking soda – goes into the boiling water that the pretzels go into right before baking, the baking soda helps the pretzels develop that distinctive dark golden color and crispy-on-the-outside-and-soft-and-fluffy-on-the-outside texture
- egg – used for the egg wash that goes on the
- coarse salt – sprinkled on top
The measurements for each ingredient can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
How to Make Cheese Stuffed Soft Pretzels
I’m not sure why, but homemade soft pretzels can be intimating for people to make. They are super easy, but following the instructions is important to get the best results. I’m going to walk you through the steps…
Make the Dough
Start by making the pretzel dough which is easy to make, and rises really well. I hate when dough takes forever to rise. It makes me anxious. I just keep checking on it wondering if anything is wrong or it’s just taking a while to rise. I never have that issue with this dough. Once the dough has doubled I section it out into 8 wedges so each pretzel is roughly the same size.
Stuff and Shape the Dough
Grab one section of dough and roll it into a long rope. Press the rope out flat and lay the small cheese sticks right down the center. Grab either side of the rope between your two fingers and pinch the rope closed around the cheese. Press down lightly so there isn’t an edge poking up.
And then holding each end twist into a pretzel. Hold each end of the rope in one hand and make a u-shape with the rope, cross them over each other, bring it down, twist, and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form a pretzel.
Boil the Pretzels
The next part is key, boil water with baking soda and drop the pretzel in. Use a large metal spoon, keep pushing the hot water over the top, remove from the pot and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake the Pretzels
Brush the unbaked pretzels with the egg wash and then sprinkle with course salt or kosher salt and bake until browned and amazing. Enjoy! See, easy peasy right?! I highly recommend grabbing the pretzel that has oozed out some cheese that has become crispy crunchy on the pan and eat that one! That crispy cheese is everything!
Variations of Soft Pretzels
You can totally change up what type of cheese you stuff these pretzels with. My kids love cheddar, so we usually stick with that, but if you like a little heat, stuff it with pepper jack. Oh man, I love a good Swiss cheese, which would be amazing all melty inside. You could even stuff it with a good lather of cream cheese. So many options!
You could also add something other than salt on top. Everything bagel seasoning is a delicious option! Dried minced onions or dried garlic. A little dried rosemary. See, so many variations that I could create a whole different blog site just for bagels!
How to Eat Cheese Stuffed Pretzels
I mentioned that we love these as an after school snack, but they make a great appetizer for a gameday party or New Years Eve. They also make a great side dish for dipping in a delicious soup or chili.
How to Store, Freeze and Reheat Soft Pretzels
Cheese stuffed pretzels should be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
Soft pretzels can also be frozen for longer storage time (up to 3 months). Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze. Once pretzels are frozen, transfer to heavy duty freezer bags.
To reheat, preheat oven to 350°F, place pretzels on a baking sheet, and bake for about 4-6 minutes (10-12 minutes if frozen).
Everybody loves a soft and chewy salted homemade pretzel and this cheese stuffed version just doesn’t get any better. It’s totally indulgent, totally gooey and totally worth it!
Looking for more APPETIZERS to share for the big game? Try these:
- Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Brisket Nachos
- Pepperoni Pizza Stuffed Crescent Rolls
- Mexican 7 Layer Dip
- Taco Pinwheels
- Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites
- BBQ Bacon Cheese Ball
- Pineapple Habanero Dip
- Slow Cooker Sausage Dip
Cheese Stuffed Pretzel
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small sticks that are 1/4 - 1/2 inch wide and about 2 inches long
- 1 pot water
- 2/3 cups baking soda
- 1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water, whisked together (for egg wash)
- coarse salt, for sprinkling
- Combine the water and sugar in a standing mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top.
- Allow to sit for 10 minutes, until the mixture begins to foam and grow.
- Add the butter and stir to combine.
- Add the flour and salt together and whisk to combine.
- Pour in the liquid and use the dough hook attachment to mix on low speed until all of the ingredients are combined.
- Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the mixer and place it in a clean, oiled bowl.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm spot until the dough has doubled in size, about an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and drizzle with a little oil.
- Fill a large pot with water and the baking soda. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
- Meanwhile, place the dough on a slightly oiled counter and divide into 8 equal pieces.
- Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope, lay it on the counter and press out flat.
- Lay the cheese sticks right down the center. Pinch either side up over the cheese to close.
- Hold each end in one hand and make a u-shape with the rope, cross them over each other, bring it down, twist, and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form a pretzel.
- Place onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Drop the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 or 2 at a time for about 30 seconds, constantly spooning the hot water over the dough.
- Remove them from the water using a large, flat spatula and place right on the oiled baking sheet.
- Brush the top of each pretzel with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Bake until dark golden brown in color, about 12 minutes.
- Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
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