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As much as I LOVE the classic Soft Pretzel Recipe on the site (a recipe Joe actually invented!), sometimes I want to spice it up a bit.
What better way to spice up pretzels then by adding heaps of garlic and cheese?! There’s almost nothing better.
Introducing: Garlic Parmesan Soft Pretzels. The ULTIMATE game day food or savory party snack.
Buttery, cheesy, and loaded with garlic. What more could you want out of a carb?! I’ve shared all my secret tips for making perfect pretzels at home in the pink tip box below.
How to Make Garlic Parmesan Soft Pretzels
Knead Your Pretzel Dough!
This dough is quite dense and heavy so it needs to be kneaded well in order to allow the gluten to develop. The gluten is the backbone of the structure of these pretzels, giving them their distinct shape and chewy texture. If you don’t have a stand mixer with a dough hook, you can also knead by hand. It’ll just require some upper body strength and about 3 to 5 more minutes of time.
How to Make A Baking Soda Bath for Pretzels:
Don’t be afraid of this step. It is really easy, and makes a big difference in getting that golden crispy outside with the soft inside texture.
- You’ll need 2/3 cup of baking soda and 10 cups of water.
- In a large pot, bring the baking soda and water to a boil.
- Boil the pretzels in small batches in the soda solution for 45 seconds, then flip and boil for an additional 45 seconds.
Note: Make sure to dunk only up to two pretzels at a time to ensure they are able to soak thoroughly.
How to Shape Pretzels:
Shape the log into a letter U. Cross the arms placing one over the other, then twist them around each other once. Bring the ends down to the bottom of the U and gently press to stick. Place on two greased parchment-lined baking sheets.
Ingredients for the Garlic Parmesan Topping:
- Unsalted butter
- Fresh garlic
- Salt (add more or less to taste)
- Garlic powder
- Dried parsley
- Finely grated Parmesan cheese
How to Store Pretzels:
These pretzels are definitely best served the day they’re baked. Even better, still warm from the oven! However, you can store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Reheat in the toaster oven at 350°F for a few minutes to refresh.
How to Freeze Pretzels:
Store the baked but plain uncoated pretzels in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Defrost by letting them sit on the counter for about an hour. Or, simply microwave for about 30 seconds. If desired for a crispier texture, once defrosted, refresh in the toaster for about 5 minutes. Proceed with coating with butter and sprinkling with the topping as directed in the recipe.
More Recipes You’ll Love:
- Classic Soft Pretzels
- Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites
- Copycat Olive Garden Breadsticks
- How to Make Beef Empanadas
- Easy Homemade Pizza Dough
For the pretzels:
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (355 grams) warm water (about 110°F), divided
- 5 cups (635 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted
For baking soda bath:
- 2/3 cup of baking soda
- 10 cups of water
For the garlic Parmesan:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (add more or less to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Make the dough:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar, and 1/4 cup of the water. Whisk to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes or until frothy.
- Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups water, flour, and salt and stir to combine. On low speed, gradually pour in the melted butter.
- Increase speed to medium and knead for about seven minutes until the dough is elastic and completely smooth and doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl or your hands. This will be a dense dough, so be careful not to step away from your mixer in case it decides to jump on the counter.
Shape the pretzels:
- There is no need to allow this dough to rise prior to shaping. Remove the dough to a clean work surface (do not flour). Divide into 10 equal pieces (each should be about 100 grams). Roll each piece against the counter or between your palms into about a 20-inch long log.
- Shape the log into a letter U. Cross the arms placing one over the other then twist them around each other once. Bring the ends down to the bottom of the U and gently press to stick. Place on two greased parchment-lined baking sheets. Repeat with all the dough portions.
- Cover and allow the shaped pretzels to rise for 30 minutes while you prepare the bath. The shaped pretzels should be slightly puffed before 'bathing.'
Prepare the baking soda bath:
- In a large pot, bring the baking soda and water to a soft boil. Once risen, boil the pretzels in small batches in the soda solution for 30 seconds, then flip and boil for an additional 30 seconds.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the pretzels back to the prepared baking sheets. Using a paring knife, score two slices into the thickest part of each pretzel. Repeat until all pretzels have been bathed and scored.
Bake the pretzels:
- Bake both trays at 400°F for about 16 minutes, alternating the trays half through the baking time for even baking, until deeply golden brown. Bake for less time for softer pretzels and more time for crispier pretzels.
Prepare the topping:
- While the pretzels bake, melt the butter in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the salt, garlic powder, and parsley and stir to combine.
- Brush hot pretzels all over with the garlic butter mixture. Sprinkle generously with the Parmesan cheese. Serve warm.
This post was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2022 with recipe improvements and new photos. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.
January 2022 Baking Challenge
This recipe was the January 2022 selection for our monthly baking challenge! Every month you can join the challenge by baking the recipe and snapping a photo for a chance to win prizes! Learn more about my monthly baking challenges here. Check out everyone’s pretzels: