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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I’ve made these a few times now, and they are delicious. My only comment aside from that would be that I needed almost a cup more flour to made the dough not too sticky to work with.
Really? Hmmm, we must just measure differently. Thanks for the comment in case anyone else has that issue. Hopefully this helps them out. Thanks!
Could be the difference In Humidity where you are
I have made these twice now. Once with cheese, and once without. The second time instead of cheese I wrapped the dough around a hot dog and it was absolutely delicious. Everyone wanted me to make them again. Both times they were a hit with everyone.
Now that is something I must do!! Great idea!
Carla L. Fletcher
I made this recipe for pretzels and will share my experience. I had to add about another 1/4 cup of water to the dough as it was too dry with 1 1/2 cups.
I made 16 pretzel sticks rather than 8 formed pretzels. The sticks were easier to make and a more appropriate serving size. I was going to twist them prior to the water bath until I realized doing so would likely cause the dough to break in places.
I made several different types of cheese and a powdered mixture of garlic, onion, chives and Molly Butter. My family is also fans of Tillamook cheese. I used shredded sharp cheddar and sliced med white cheddar. It was much easier to break the slices into 2/3 inch strips than to encapsulate the shredded cheese which liked to escape while closing up the pretzel. My family preferred the pretzels with 1 teaspoonful the garlic, onion mixture on each one. BTW, I haven’t found onion powder at grocery stores lately, I buy it at Amazon. One slice of cheese was the proper amount. I tried 1 and 1/2 slices and those ones all broke open and ended up with less cheese inside than the ones with one slice of cheese.
I used a 14″ saute pan filled half way with water. 2/3 cup of baking soda was WAY too much. Less than 1/4 cup is appropriate with this amount of water. After placing the pretzels onto the cooking sheet from the water bath, they need to be lifted up and the pan dried with a paper towel, otherwise they are, as my first batch was, soggy on the bottom. Placing the wet pretzels onto a cookie cooling rack so that the water could drain off prior to placing on the baking sheet might be an option.
1/8th teaspoon of course salt for four pretzel sticks is the right amount. It is easy to over salt without this measurement.
Note, pinch and squeeze the dough around the cheese and make sure that there are no holes, including the bottom, so that the cheese stays inside the pretzel.
Thank you for the recipe and the inspiration to make these yummy pretzels : )
They were a hit! My son has been after me to make pretzels. He found your recipe and forwarded to me.
Very easy and scrumptious. I used thinly sliced cheddar cheese
Thank you for sharing!!!
Yay!! I’m so glad! Aren’t they so delicious? I’m thinking of trying a few new version in the next few weeks!
kevin F s
Made these with the kids and we all filled with different things….we had ham and cheese filled, jalapeno and cheddar, cheese and olives, pepperoni and provolone. Thanks for the recipe it worked out great!
Now that is a fantastic idea! I’m thinking pretzel bar for our next get together!
Hi! I’m Christelle and I live in Guadeloupe (French West Indies). I saw your recipe, totally felt in love with the picture and pinned it. As a French, I love cheese!!! So I just made your recipe. I followed every step and the pretzels looked good and actually tasted good…until it get a bit cold. Me and my family had in mouth a horrible taste, which I think is due to the baking soda. Do you think it’s possible to make pretzels without dropping them in baking soda and water? Or do you think I made something wrong? I put 80g of baking soda for 1 liter of water. Thanks for your answer.
Christelle, Hmmm, I haven’t had that happen unless my dough sat for a day so I’m not sure what the problem was. You really do need the baking soda in order to create that chewy outside. The only thing I can think of is that 1 liter of water is only about 4 cups whereas this recipe needs 10 cups of water brought to a hard boil with 2/3 or about 80g of baking soda. If my measurements into grams is correct.
Do you thinkthese could be frozen?
Katy @ Tasty Little Crouton
Oh my… these look so good! I L.O.V.E. big soft pretzels. Looks like these would be a great one to make! Now I need to find 7 other people to eat the rest, because the BF doesn’t like soft pretzels (I know, right?) and I will for sure eat all of these if I’m not stopped. Love your blog!! 🙂
Ok, seriously we have got to talk to him about that! THey are the best!
Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie
Ooo wow that looks good! Perfect football food. Or who am I kidding, anytime food!
I totally agree, anytime!
capturing joy with kristen duke
oh my goodness,must make this! Pinning!
I sort of have a thing for soft pretzels and I LOVE your idea to stuff cheese inside! Pinning, and sharing on my Facebook page tomorrow! 🙂
Love how easy these are! I’ve been shying away from pretzels because I thought they would be harder to make. Must try this soon!
YUM!! I could definitely go for this right now 🙂 looks incredible
Soft pretzels are totally the bomb
Sarah @ StrawberryPlum
My brother and I were just reminiscing about a winter when were on a homemade soft pretzel kick…I swear we made them almost every night for months. I think your cheesy pretzel might get me back on a pretzel-baking binge!
That’s awesome! I just love those soft pretzels!
Sarah @ The Woks of Life
Oh my goodness. This look SO amazing. I’ve been wanting to make pretzels for a while…but the addition of cheese makes it a done deal. I’m trying these this weekend. Love your blog!
These do look over the top amazing, especially with all of that gooey cheese!
Thanks!! I’m definitely a fan of gooey cheese!
One of my boys just walked in and saw this. He says it’s epic….I totally agree!
Cute! Thanks Danelle!
Consuelo @ Honey & Figs
I’ve been wanting to try homemade pretzels for months! These look amazing, stuffed with all that cheese 😉
Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch
Carrian – You’ve got me craving pretzels right now!!! These look great!!!
Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction
Oh, I love soft pretzels! Such a great idea to stuff them with cheese!
Meagan @ A Zesty Bite
Oh man these pretzels look great and WAY better than Auntie Annes.
Rocky Mountain Woman
I need this in my life tonight…
These are what dreams are made of. Well, my dreams anyway.
oh don’t worry, my dreams too!
Barbara @ Barbara Bakes
Baking pretzels has been on my to do list for too long. Love your cheesy twist.
my high school senior just made pretzels in her foods class and said “mom we NEED to make some pretzels at home!”…….I’m going to show her this! she will love it!
yay! I’m so glad! I wish my high school had a foods class when I was in school!
Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor
Carrian, now you have me craving cheesy pretzels! Pinned and making soon.
They are seriously so delicious!