This simple and classic recipe for vegan pretzel bites will be a hit anytime you make it. With a crisp golden-brown outer layer and soft, fluffy inside, you won’t be able to get enough of them!
Best served with homemade vegan beer cheese dip or a honey mustard dip, these make for an insanely delicious appetizer. Just make the dough, boil in a baking soda bath, sprinkle on some salt and bake in the oven! While there are a few steps required, most time is just to develop perfectly textured dough.
Skill: Intermediate | Time: 1 hr 15 min | Yield: 24
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Are Soft Pretzels Vegan?
Some grocery store pretzels are vegan, but most soft pretzels purchased from a restaurant contain milk and/or eggs. These non-vegan ingredients can be replaced or avoided quite easily.
To make vegan pretzel bites, all that’s truly needed is a simple yeast-based dough recipe (sugar, yeast, salt, oil and flour) in addition to baking soda.
When dipped into a baking soda bath, the dough begins to form a crusted outer layer that crisps and turns golden brown in the oven. This eliminates the need for egg or butter, which is often brushed on the outside of dough prior to baking. Although you could certainly brush the tops of your pretzels with a vegan butter substitute for flavor if you like!
Ensure your pretzel bite dip is also vegan using your go-to dipper or something like my beer cheese dip recipe (which is super creamy and cheesy!).
Ingredients to Make Vegan Soft Pretzel Bites
This simple recipe for eggless and dairy free pretzel bites uses only a few simple ingredients. Outside of the water you’ll need for your dough and baking soda bath, make sure you have the following on hand:
- Agave syrup: Yeast-based dough recipes need sugar. While you could use granulated sugar or maple syrup, I chose agave syrup for this recipe.
- Yeast: When added to lukewarm water and sugar, dry active yeast begins to foam. Once activated, you’ll ensure a deliciously fluffy dough!
- Salt: Some salt helps to enhance the flavor of your pretzel dough. Only a small amount is needed in the dough recipe since you’ll sprinkle some more on top prior to baking.
- Vegetable oil: Oil adds some fat content into the pretzel dough, keeping the dough soft. While you can choose any vegetable oil, I like to use avocado oil because of its mild taste.
- Flour: To provide considerable bulk to the dough recipe, you’ll want to use both all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour. I like to use a 1:1 ratio; whole wheat makes for good texture and flavor while all-purpose flour helps keep it from becoming too dense. You can select to only use all-purpose flour for a more classic pretzel flavor and texture.
- Baking soda: One of the last ingredients you’ll need in the process, dissolve some baking soda into water and use as a bath for the dough balls. Once baked in the oven it’ll help to form a crispy outer layer.
How to Make Pretzel Bites: Instructions and Video Walkthrough
Let’s start making some vegan soft pretzels! Follow the steps below or watch the video to see how I make this recipe from start to finish.
Step 1: Make Pretzel Dough
To make your vegan pretzel dough, start by measuring out 1 cup of lukewarm water into a large mixing bowl. Lukewarm water feels warm to the touch but isn’t hot enough to produce steam (about 100-110 F).
Next, stir in agave syrup so it dissolves. You could use almost any type of sugar, like granulated sugar or maple syrup.
While the sugar water mixture is still lukewarm, sprinkle dry active yeast over the top of the water and wait for about 5 minutes, until the yeast has activated and gives a foamy appearance. A warm room or exposure to sunlight can help speed this process.
Once foamed, add the vegetable oil, salt, whole wheat and all-purpose flour. Stir until a ball of dough starts to form.
When it becomes difficult to stir and the ingredients are mostly mixed, dump the contents of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough until it feels smooth and there are no pockets of unmixed flour or other ingredients. This typically takes about 3-5 minutes.
The dough should feel slightly tacky or sticky but not stick to your hands. If it’s sticking to you or your surface, add about 1 tbsp more all-purpose flour and continue kneading until you’ve reached the right consistency.
Return the ball of dough to your large mixing bowl and drape a damp cloth or paper towel over the dough. This helps retain its moisture content until you’re ready to form the bites. Let sit for 20 minutes so the dough can expand.
Step 2: Form Pretzel Bites & Boil in Baking Soda Bath
Once the dough has had time to expand, you’re ready to shape it into small 1-2 bite balls.
Next, prepare a baking soda bath to boil the pretzel bites in. To do this, measure 8 cups of water and ¼ cup of baking soda into a large pot and bring to a boil. While the water is warming over high heat, prepare a baking sheet by lining with either parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. You’ll also want to have about ½ tbsp of course salt nearby.
When the baking soda bath is up to a boil, either cut your dough ball into even pieces or rip small chunks of dough from the main ball. Roll these dough bites and use a slotted spoon to lower them into the bath.
It only takes about 30-45 seconds for the balls to boil in baking soda water, so work in small batches of no more than 3-4 bites at a time, stirring/ rolling the dough balls halfway through to ensure both sides are exposed to the baking soda water.
Use your slotted spoon to remove the balls and sit them on your baking tray. While still wet, sprinkle a small amount of salt on top. Repeat this process until all the pretzel bites have gone through the baking soda bath and are topped with salt.
Step 3: Bake and Serve
When you’ve boiled and salted all pretzel bites, bake them in an oven preheated to 425 °F for 12 minutes, until the outside is a dark brown color.
Soft Pretzel Tips, Substitutions and Variations
The two most common ways you can adjust this recipe to your taste is through the sugar and flour used in your dough.
As noted above, any type of sugar will help activate the yeast. You can use a simple granulated sugar, maple syrup or agave syrup. There’s not much sugar in this recipe so you likely won’t taste the difference… it’s all about your preference.
Secondly, and more prominently, the type of flour you use will have an impact on the overall taste and texture of your pretzel bites. This recipe calls for a 1:1 ratio of all-purpose and whole wheat flour, but you could use entirely all-purpose for a classic flavor and softer, less dense texture. I don’t recommend using only whole what flour since that can lead to a dense, tougher texture that doesn’t melt in your mouth the same way.
You can also shape this dough into regular pretzels if you like!
Cinnamon Sugar Soft Pretzel Bites
In the mood for a sweet snack? You can easily change these salty pretzel bites into a cinnamon sugar version.
Simply bake the pretzel bites directly from the baking soda “bath” without topping them. Once you remove the soft pretzels from the oven, dip them into melted vegan butter and cinnamon sugar. These sweet baked pretzel bites taste just like a cinnamon roll and will satisfy your sweet tooth!
Can’t decide between salty or sweet? You can easily make a half batch of each version of this vegan soft pretzel bites recipe! Both varieties are a perfect snack to share with family and friends.
How to Store Leftovers: Refrigerating and Freezing this Recipe
Leftover soft pretzel bites can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days, but chances are they won’t last that long! These never last more than a day in my house.
I do not recommend freezing this recipe, either as dough or as cooked pretzel bites, since the texture may not hold up well. These are meant to have a crisp outer layer once baked in the oven, so eat them fresh and clean up any leftovers within a few days after cooking.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you make it, please rate and comment below so others benefit from your experience.
More Intermediate Vegan Recipes
Vegan Soft Pretzel Bites
- Large bowl
- Large pot
- Large slotted spoon
- Silicone baking mat (or parchment paper)
- Paper towel or kitchen towel
- 1 C lukewarm water
- 1 tbsp agave syrup (or maple syrup)
- 1 tbsp dry active yeast
- 1 tbsp oil (neutral flavor like avocado oil)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 C all-purpose flour , plus more for kneading (about ¼ C)
- 1 C whole wheat flour , or more all-purpose flour
Baking Soda Water:
- 8 C water
- ¼ C baking soda
- ½ tbsp coarse salt
- Place 1 C lukewarm water into a large bowl. Lukewarm water is around 100-110 °F (feels warm to the touch but doesn’t steam).
- Stir in 1 tbsp agave syrup.
- Sprinkle 1 tbsp active dry yeast over top of the water.
- Allow yeast to activate for about 5 minutes, until foamy.
- Once the yeast foams, add 1 tbsp oil, ¾ tsp salt, 1 C all-purpose flour and 1 C whole wheat flour.
- Stir until a ball of dough forms then turn out the dough onto a lightly flour surface.
- Knead dough until it feels smooth, about 3-5 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky but not clump to your hands. If needed, add in extra flour about 1 tbsp at a time to achieve this texture.
- Return the ball of dough to your large mixing bowl and cover with a damp piece of paper towel (or kitchen towel).
- Let the dough rest and rise for 20 minutes.
Form Pretzel Bites and Boil in Baking Soda Bath
- While the dough rests and rises, prepare a baking soda bath to boil the pretzel bites in before they are baked.
- Measure 8 C water and ¼ C baking soda into a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Prep a baking tray by covering it with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- Have your coarse salt for topping the pretzel bites.
- Once the dough rises, divide it into 6 even sections then divide these sections into 4 (creating 24 pretzel bites). Or just grab small pieces of dough and form pretzel bites as you go!
- Roll each pretzel bite in your hands, forming a ball.
- When the baking soda water is boiling, place a pretzel bite into a slotted spoon and carefully lower into the bath. Allow to boil for about 30 seconds then use the slotted spoon to remove the pretzel bite, allowing excess water to drip off, and transfer to your baking tray.
- Top pretzel bite with a small sprinkle of coarse salt while still wet.
- Repeat (working in batches) until all pretzel bites are boiled, transferred to baking tray and topped with salt.
Bake and Serve
- When you’ve boiled and salted all pretzel bites, bake them in an oven preheated to 425 °F for 12 minutes, until the outside is a dark brown color.
- When cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving!