12 Pretzel Recipes to Add a Twist to Your Next Snack Platter

Swedish Sugared Sweet Pretzels
Photo: © John Kernick

These salty snacks are delicious on their own, but we also love to use pretzels as ingredients to make recipes sing with flavor. Using coarsely crushed pretzels in lieu of breadcrumbs gives chicken or pork a super crunchy coating. Or using pretzels instead of cookies to make the crust for a milk chocolate tart turns a dessert into a memorable sweet-salty treat. Here are some of our favorite pretzel recipes.

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German-Style Pretzels


These chewy pretzels from chef Hans Rockenwagner develop a shiny, professional-looking crust as they bake.

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Soft Pretzels

Soft Pretzels
© James Baigrie

This pretzel recipe from baker Gale Gand has you boiling the formed pretzels before baking to give them a chewy interior, similar to that of a bagel. The baking soda in the water gives the pretzels the right shine after they bake.

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Milk Chocolate Tart with Pretzel Crust

Milk-Chocolate Tart with Pretzel Crust
© Con Poulos

This dessert from pastry chef Colleen Grapes is a tribute to the chocolate-covered pretzel and hits just the right salty-sweet note. Grapes mixes crushed pretzels with flour, butter, sugar and egg to make a crunchy crust, pours in a luxurious milk-chocolate filling, then sprinkles on more crushed pretzels as a garnish.

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Guinness Ice Cream with Chocolate-Covered Pretzels

Guinness Ice Cream with Chocolate-Covered Pretzels
© Maura McEvoy

This dessert, created by pastry chef Cory Barrett, is an ode to Michael Symon's father, Dennis, who loves beer, pretzels and chocolate. The ice cream has a strong, malty Guinness flavor that goes supremely well with the salty, milk chocolate-covered pretzels. If you don't want to make the chocolate-covered pretzels, they're easy enough to buy.

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Salty-Sweet Chocolate Pretzel Bars

Salty-Sweet Chocolate Pretzel Bars
© Marcus Nilsson

There are only a handful of ingredients in these simple but outrageously decadent dessert bars from Food & Wine's Justin Chapple. If hard pretzels aren't your thing, you can swap in thinner pretzels.

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German Soft Pretzel Sticks

German Soft Pretzel Sticks

"I've always been a fan of any food high in salt and starch," Grant Achatz says, "and soft pretzels right out of the oven are awesome." You can eat these slightly sweet, chewy, dark pretzel sticks plain or with mustard; Achatz goes for ranch dressing.

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Pretzel-and-Mustard Dumplings

Pretzel-and-Mustard Dumplings
© Greg DuPree

Dumplings made of day-old pretzels and bound with egg are common in Germany; they're a delicious way to use up stale bread and are great to serve alongside Roasted Goose Legs, soaking up gravy on the plate. Food & Wine deputy editor Melanie Hansche's version, an homage to the flavors of her hometown of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria, uses pretzel rolls, which she leaves out on the kitchen counter, uncovered, overnight. If you can't source pretzel rolls, any plain bread rolls will do. You can make the dumplings the day before and refrigerate overnight before simmering them to serve. It's not traditional to make them with mustard, but Hansche likes to add some to hers: "It's a such a lovely bedfellow with pretzels!" she says. These dumplings can be made one day ahead; just cover and chill until you are ready to cook them.

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Mustard-Baked Chicken with a Pretzel Crust

Pretzel-Crusted Chicken
© Tina Rupp

This dish, from chef Ilene Rosen at the City Bakery in New York City, matches chicken with the classic NYC street-vendor combo: pretzels and mustard. For a crisp topping, it's essential to use thick, hard pretzels, such as the sourdough or handmade versions.

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Bavarian Pretzels

Bavarian Soft Pretzels
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

All it takes is a few additional ingredients to transform ho-hum soft pretzels into something magical. A few pats of butter, barley malt syrup for earthy sweetness, and replacing some of the water with beer all lend depth for a more rustic, nuanced taste. An extended fermentation in the refrigerator overnight—rather than a quick rise—adds even more complexity, as does topping the pretzels with crunchy flaky sea salt. But the distinctive "pretzel" flavor comes from dipping the shaped dough in an alkaline solution before baking. (Food scientist Harold McGee discovered that heating baking soda in a low oven alters its pH, making it more similar to lye, and his baked baking soda is the secret ingredient for these exceptional homemade pretzels.) Forming these pretzels can seem tricky at first glance, but once you have the dough ropes in your hands, it flows like clockwork. Follow the instructions about handling the baking soda solution with care; while much safer than lye, it can burn your hands, as well as corrode aluminum pans. (No need to panic; just wear gloves, turn on your oven vent, and line your pans.) These pretzels are best the day they're made, preferably hot out of the oven.

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Gouda, Pancetta, and Onion Fondue with Pretzels

Gouda, Pancetta and Onion Fondue with Pretzels

Leyden, a Dutch cheese flecked with cumin seeds, inspired Laura Werlin to create this cumin-spiced Gouda fondue. Serve it with soft, warm pretzels or pickled vegetables for dipping.

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Swedish Sugared Sweet Pretzels

Swedish Sugared Sweet Pretzels
© John Kernick

A coating of butter and sugar makes these tender pretzels especially delicious and takes them into dessert territory; they're excellent with tea or coffee.

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Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Abby Hocking / Food & Wine

With nary a green vegetable in sight, calling this delicious dessert a salad might be a stretch, but we love the Midwestern potluck classic. With a sweet-salty pretzel crust, a creamy no-bake cheesecake filling and a strawberry gelatin top, this Strawberry Pretzel Salad is an F&W test kitchen favorite.

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