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Cheddar Jalapeño Pretzels

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Homemade cheddar jalapeño pretzels are an easy snack loaded with spicy diced chilies and melty cheddar cheese. Made with beer, they’re soft, chewy, buttery, and delicious!

Homemade Cheddar Pretzels with Jalapeños

I know what I’m making for every game day ever… and it’s definitely these baked Cheddar Jalapeño Pretzels from The Simple Kitchen Cookbook. These homemade soft pretzels are loaded with diced jalapeño and cheddar cheese and finished off with a bit of melted butter and a sprinkle of pretzel salt. They’re perfectly soft and chewy, and deliciously golden-brown. Serve them alongside a bowl of ranch dressing or your favorite dipping sauce for an easy party appetizer (or solo snack)!

Why You’ll Love These Homemade Soft Pretzels

  • Packed with flavor. Zesty diced jalapeños and heaps of cheddar cheese fill every bite of these soft pretzels. They’re like your favorite soft pretzels from the food court, with a Tex-Mex twist.
  • Soft and chewy. To go with all that flavor, the texture of these soft pretzels is just the best. They’re fluffy, buttery, cheesy pretzels with the perfect chewiness. You won’t be able to resist gobbling up more than one!
  • Easy to make. This recipe for baked cheddar pretzels is quick and easy, ready in a little over 30 minutes from start to finish. Make a batch (or two!) for your next football party, and watch them disappear.
A plate piled with homemade cheddar jalapeno pretzels, next to jalapeno slices.

Ingredient Notes

There are a few key ingredients that make all the difference in these cheesy homemade soft pretzels. I’ve included my notes below. Scroll to the recipe card after the post for a printable list of ingredients.

  • Beer – I use Pacifico (a Mexican lager), but pretty much any beer works here. You’ll need to warm it up a little before you start. Alternatively, you can use warm water.
  • Active Dry Yeast – You’ll use the warm beer to activate the yeast.
  • Jalapeño – Unless you want some seriously fiery cheddar jalapeño pretzels, I recommend removing the seeds before you mince up the jalapeño.
  • Cheddar Cheese – Shredded cheddar cheese, or another kind, like Pepper Jack or Colby Jack.
  • Baking Soda – You’ll soak the pretzel dough in a baking soda bath before baking. This is the secret to homemade soft pretzels that taste like the authentic pretzels you find at the mall!
  • Egg – To make an egg wash.
  • Pretzel Salt – Or another coarse salt, like Maldon salt, to sprinkle over the pretzels.

How to Make Cheddar Jalapeño Pretzels

These homemade soft pretzels are surprisingly simple to make! Check out the short step-by-step below. Scroll down to the recipe card for printable instructions.

  • Activate the yeast. Start by adding warm beer (110ºF-120ºF) to the bowl of your stand mixer. Sprinkle in the yeast, then let it bloom for 3-5 minutes until it looks foamy.
  • Make the pretzel dough. Add flour and salt, then knead the dough into a ball. Mix in the jalapeños and cheese. You may need to sprinkle in some extra flour if the dough is still a bit sticky.
  • Shape the pretzels. Divide the dough into quarters, and roll each piece into a log. Cut each log into three pieces. Next, roll each piece into a long rope, fold it in half, and twist. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. You should end up with 12 pretzels.
  • Soak the pretzels. Before baking, add the pretzels to a bath of hot water and baking soda. Let each pretzel soak for about 30-45 seconds. Afterward, drain and move them to a lined baking sheet.
  • Bake. Brush the top of each pretzel with an egg wash and sprinkle with salt. Finally, bake the pretzels in a 450ºF oven for 8-10 minutes. Right when the cheddar pretzels come out of the oven, brush them with melted butter, and serve! See the section below for easy serving ideas.

Why Do You Soak Soft Pretzels Before Baking?

I mentioned it in the ingredient notes earlier, but soaking the pretzel dough in a hot baking soda bath is a must. It’s what gives these homemade pretzels their signature chewy interior, crispy and golden exterior, and classic pretzel flavor. Don’t skip it!

A plate piled with homemade cheddar jalapeno pretzels, next to jalapeno slices.

Tips for Success

Once you’ve tasted these soft and chewy cheddar jalapeño pretzels, you’re going to want to make them all the time! These are my top tips for perfect homemade soft pretzels:

  • If the dough is too sticky, add little bits of flour at a time until it isn’t. You should be able to touch the dough with your fingertip and pull it away with no dough stuck to your finger.
  • If your dough is stretching and then shrinking while you’re rolling it out, just go slower and allow it to rest a bit so it can hold its shape better.
  • Swap the beer. If you’re sensitive to alcohol, you can swap the beer out for water instead.
  • Salt it! Homemade pretzels just aren’t the same without good salt. I recommend pretzel salt or a large flaked sea salt for the best flavor and that classic salty crunch.
  • Use a light-colored baking sheet so the bottoms of the pretzels don’t brown too quickly in the oven.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best salt for homemade soft pretzels?

Pretzel salt is the best salt for sprinkling over pretzels. It’s coarse, with large grains that adhere to the dough but won’t melt in the heat of the oven. You can also use another type of coarse salt or sea salt, but avoid regular table salt.

What happens if I don’t soak the pretzel dough?

If you skip the baking soda bath, your pretzels will still bake up well enough. However, they’ll be softer (more like cinnamon rolls) and won’t have a chewy, dark exterior.

Why brush homemade soft pretzels with an egg wash before baking?

Giving the shaped pretzel dough a light brush with egg not only helps the salt adhere but also makes the pretzels crispy and golden-baked. If you’d like to make these cheddar pretzels egg-free, brush them lightly with water instead.

Serving Suggestions

Cheddar jalapeño pretzels make an easy appetizer to enjoy on game day. They’re also a great way to bring a zesty kick to potlucks, parties, and gatherings! These are some of my favorite ways to serve soft pretzels:

  • Dips and sauces. I recommend serving these soft pretzels warm right from the oven and with a side of jalapeño spinach dip for dunking. You can also serve them with plain queso, nacho cheese, spinach artichoke dip, or on their own.
  • With sides. If you can’t get enough of the zingy combo of jalapeño and cheddar, try serving these cornbread muffins alongside your spicy cheddar pretzels.
  • More appetizers. Making snacks for a crowd? Serve your pretzels with more tasty apps like chicken taquitos.
A cheddar jalapeño pretzel being dipped into a bowl of cheese dip.

Can I Prepare Cheddar Pretzels Ahead of Time?

If you need to plan ahead, assemble the dough as instructed. Store the prepared dough in the fridge for up to 24 hours or in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to bake it, thaw in the fridge if frozen then bring the dough to room temperature and proceed with the recipe as instructed.

Storing and Reheating Soft Pretzels

  • To Store. Homemade soft pretzels are best enjoyed right away. However, any leftover pretzels will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Reheat. Enjoy these pretzels at room temperature, or warm them in the microwave. You can also reheat pretzels in the oven at 325ºF until heated through.
  • Freeze. To freeze the baked soft pretzels, store them airtight in the freezer for up to 2 months. You can reheat soft pretzels straight from frozen in the oven, or defrost them in the microwave.

More Game Day Recipes

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Closeup of a plate piled with homemade cheddar jalapeno pretzels, next to jalapeno slices.

Cheddar Jalapeño Pretzels

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 9 minutes
  • Total Time: 39 minutes
  • Yield: 12

Description

Homemade cheddar jalapeño pretzels are loaded with spicy diced chilies and melty cheddar cheese. Made with beer, they’re soft, chewy, buttery, and delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups warm beer (110°-120°F)
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 ½4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • 2 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 cups hot water
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons cool water
  • Pretzel salt (or another coarse salt)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Heat the beer in a microwave safe dish to 110°-120° F. If it’s too hot, allow to cool. Then pour the warm beer into the bowl of your stand mixer.
  3. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over top of the beer and stir together. Allow the yeast to bloom for 3-5 minutes (or more as needed until really foamy).
  4. Add 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour and salt to the mixer. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes until the dough comes together into a ball.
  5. Next add the jalapenos and cheese and mix until combined about 1 minutes. The dough should be tacky, not sticky. When you touch the dough with your fingertip and then pull it away, there should be no dough stuck to your finger. If your dough is sticky, add additional flour, about ¼ cup at a time.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the hot water and baking soda and stir until the baking soda dissolves.
  7. Place the dough on an unfloored counter and form a ball. Quarter the dough. Roll each quarter into a log and then cut it into 3 equal pieces. When you are done, you will have 12 pieces.
  8. Roll each rope 12-18 inches long. Fold the rope in half and then twist together. Pinch the bottom edges together and tuck under the edge.
  9. Place the pretzel twist in the baking soda bath for 30-45 seconds. Remove the twists from the water with a slotted spoon and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Retwist as needed. Repeat for all 12 pieces.
  10. In a small dish, beat the egg together with the water. Brush the egg wash over the pretzels and sprinkle with a coarse salt.
  11. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. One removed from the oven, brush the tops with melted butter. Serve warm.

Notes

  • This recipe is reprinted with permission from Donna Elick and Page Street Publishing
  • Donna’s tip for this recipe is, if you’re sensitive to alcohol, you can substitute the beer with water.
Nutrition Information:
1 Pretzel
252
4.4 g
1498.7 mg
9 g
33 g
1.3 g
9 g
39.2 mg
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

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