Homemade pretzels are a great baking project for beginner bakers. The dough is easy to pull together, it’s fun to shape and boil them, and you can customize them to your liking.
These mini garlic butter pretzels are easier to handle than the full-sized version! They cook faster and you can pile them up for a party snack or serve them alongside pasta instead of the classic garlic bread.
Tips for Shaping Homemade Pretzels
To make a pretzel, roll the dough into a thin strand about 12-14 inches long, then make a loop out of it and twist the ends of the dough. Wrap those ends back up to the top of the loop and a pretzel is born!
The good news is that even if the pretzel doesn’t look perfect, it will absolutely bake the same and be just as delicious. Ugly pretzels taste great! (And if I’m being honest, I’m not a pro at pretzel shaping. You get better once you do a few, but for some reason, I’d still get one occasionally that looked a bit funky.)
What to Serve With Garlic Butter Pretzels
I like to make a meal out of these pretzels by serving them alongside an Italian main like spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna.
They are also great served alone as an appetizer; they don't even need any sort of dip! But if you want a dip, I'd go with a cheese dip or a marinara sauce.
Suggestions and Substitutions for Garlic Butter Pretzels
- If you're out of garlic, substitute one tablespoon granulated garlic instead of the fresh garlic.
- For a heartier pretzel, substitute whole-wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour (although note you will lose some of that soft texture that people love in a pretzel).
Make-Ahead Tips for Garlic Butter Pretzels
The pretzel dough can be made up to a day in advance and stored in the fridge; just make sure to let the dough come to room temperature before shaping, boiling, and baking.
Also, the pretzels keep really well for a few days so feel free to make them in advance of any event!
Storing, Freezing, and Reheating Garlic Butter Pretzels
The finished pretzels are fine in an airtight container on the counter for a day or two. If you need to store them longer than that, keep them in the fridge for up to a week. They don't freeze well once you have tossed them with the garlic butter sauce and the fresh parsley.
To reheat, toss the pretzels in a low 300 ̊F oven for a few minutes until they are brought back to life.
More Bread-Y Sides
Mini Garlic Butter Pretzels
For a darker color on the pretzels, brush them with an egg wash prior to baking.
- 3/4 cup warm water (100-105˚F)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons or one packet (7 grams) of active dry yeast
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 cups water
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- For the garlic butter sauce:
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- Coarse salt
- Fresh parsley, garnish
Activate the yeast:
In a small bowl, stir together warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes so yeast can activate. It should be bubbling. (If not, your yeast is old and should be replaced.)
Make the pretzel dough:
In a large bowl, stir together flour and salt. Pour in yeast mixture and stir to form a dough. Knead the dough for 6-7 minutes in the bowl until it’s smooth and no longer sticky. If the dough is really sticky, add more flour by the 1/4 cup.
When dough is smooth, transfer to a clean bowl. Cover loosely with a towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm area to rise. Let dough rise for 60 minutes or until the dough at least doubles in size.
Boil a pot of water:
Fill a large pot with 6 cups of boiling water and 2 tablespoons baking soda. Bring to a boil. Get out two baking sheets. Line one with parchment paper. Place a wire-rimmed rack on top of the other.
Preheat the oven to 400˚F
Shape the mini pretzels and boil:
After the dough has risen, divide it into quarters and then each quarter into four pieces to make 16 small dough balls. Working with one dough ball at a time, roll the dough out into a thin strand about 12-14 inches long. Form a pretzel by twisting two ends together to form a loop and then folding the ends back up.
When your pretzel is formed, dunk it in the pot of boiling water. Wait until the pretzel floats (maybe 10 seconds) and then remove with a slotted spoon and place on the wire rack over a baking sheet. Let drain. Once all the pretzels have been boiled, move them to the lined baking sheet.
Bake the pretzels:
When all the pretzels are shaped, boiled, and placed on the baking sheet, transfer to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until they start to brown.
Toss with the garlic butter sauce, then bake for 3-4 more minutes:
In a small saucepan, melt butter with garlic over low heat. Once combined, remove from heat to avoid burning butter.
When pretzels come out of the oven, add them to a large bowl and toss with garlic butter mixture. Return to baking sheet, spooning any leftover sauce over each pretzel. Sprinkle pretzels lightly with coarse salt, then return pretzels to oven and bake a second time for 3-4 minutes.
Let cool and serve:
Remove pretzels and let cool. Garnish finished pretzels with fresh parsley.
Pretzels are best served slightly warm. Store pretzels in an airtight container on the counter for 1-2 days or in the fridge for up to a week. Reheat in a low 300 ̊F oven until warmed through, 3-4 minutes.