Ham & Cheese Pretzel Bites

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I love a simple plate of cheese and crackers as much as the next person, but when I have time to plan before people come over, I like to make something to munch on that’s homemade and from the heart.

These ham and cheese pretzel bites are a fun little cocktail-type food I have been wanting to try for a while, especially since the Soft Pretzels I baked on a whim turned out so tasty. So, when my husband Mark invited our friend Chris over, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to make a chewy, gooey snack that the men were sure to love.

Well, not only did they love the little bites, but they kept coming back for more! Who could blame ’em, what with all that melted cheddar cheese and chunks of chopped up ham wrapped in blankets of soft, salted pretzel dough. Yum!

These finger foods were definitely good enough to keep going back for, but I’m already dreaming up different variations – Maybe next time I’ll fill them with Italian sausage and peppers, or maybe chicken, black beans and monterey jack cheese. Oh, the possibilities!

The bites took a little time and effort, but there’s nothing better than seeing your friends smiling and satisfied with something you made. I may still put out a plate of cheese and crackers once in a while, but I’ll definitely be making these – or some variation of them – again and again!

Ham & Cheese Pretzel Bites

Servings 4 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 package (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast or instant yeast
  • 2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. packed brown sugar divided
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped ham
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese of choice I used cheddar
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter melted
  • 1-2 tbsp. coarse salt

Instructions

  • Combine the yeast, 1 tsp. brown sugar, and warm water in a large bowl. Set aside until foamy, 5-8 minutes. (If using the instant yeast, you can skip this step and just add it to the flour.) In another bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tbsp. brown sugar and warm milk until dissolved.
  • Add 2 1/2 cups flour and milk mixture to the yeast. Stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Add the remaining flour as needed. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead a few times, forming a smooth ball.
  • Brush the inside of a large, clean bowl with olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm, draft free area for about 2 hours (such as an unheated oven), until dough has doubled in size.
  • Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Lightly dust your hands and rolling pin with flour. Roll one of the four sections into a 12×4-inch rectangle. With the long side facing you, gently press 1/4 of the ham and cheese into the bottom third of the dough, and roll as tightly as possible, starting with the end that has the filling. Cut into 12 2-inch pieces and transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining 3 portions of dough.
  • Let rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400˚F.
  • Bring 6 cups of water to boil. Add the baking soda and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Boil pretzels in batches, cooking about 20 seconds each, turning once. They should be slightly puffed. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them back to the baking sheets.
  • Bake until puffed and golden-brown, about 15 minutes.
  • Brush warm pretzel bites lightly with melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  • Enjoy!

Join the Conversation

  1. I can only imagine how popular these would be at a party. I would almost be hesitant to serve them just because people would leave with such high expectations for any future parties! I love pretzels and cheese, and I would love to pop a handful of these into my mouth (dipped in mustard first, of course!)

  2. love it! is this the recipe from Gourmet from fall of 09? i wanted to make them then but they seemed too time consuming. Do they keep ok? reheat ok?

  3. This sounds delicious!

  4. Thanks for the note! Your pretzel bites looks great!!

  5. Hi Tia,

    I got this recipe from Pennies on a Platter. The original link is here: http://penniesonaplatter.com/2010/01/08/ham_che

    Yes, these kept in the fridge and reheated in the microwave very well! I’d say about 30 seconds per 3 bites. They do take a little time to make, but the end result is well worth it, and our guests absolutely LOVED them.

    Thanks for visiting!

    Georgia

  6. Foodalution says:

    I saw these the other day and thought to myself… “Self…. these look amazingly delicious….and how yummy with a beer” – they are so much fun!

  7. Marketing Girl Eats Great Food says:

    These pretzel bites look really tasty! Wish I had a plate of those next to me right now! Thank you for sure sharing!

  8. your pretzel bites look delicious! what a great idea for a snack, they will be perfect for watching football!!

  9. Jenn's Food Journey says:

    These look wonderful… I bet they are the first to go at a party for sure!

  10. I’ve been wanting to make pretzel bites for a long time. Yours look perfect and so tempting!

  11. These look like great party food! I love homemade pretzels and your filling sounds yummy. Thanks!

  12. Looks delicious — another one I am going to save. There really aren’t enough meals in a day!

  13. These looks so awesome

  14. Brownieville Girl says:

    Mouthwatering photos – I’d just love some now!!

  15. I’m attempting homemade soft pretzels for the first time this week. Now I have another option for the dough once I (hopefully) master it. Love!

  16. Great recipe. I’ll definitely be making this for next season’s super bowl!

  17. I was surprised by how much these really did taste like a ballpark pretzel. Great recipe!

  18. Have you had any luck freezing these?

  19. No, I’ve never frozen these so I can only recommend you make them the same day.

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