Easy Air Fryer Pretzel Bites

A bowl full of golden baked pretzel bites.

These golden baked Pretzel Bites are the perfect game day or Oktoberfest snack food. They are soft, yet chewy and bake up in no time at all in an air fryer. Oven directions also included.

It’s no secret that I love simple and approachable German recipes. I grew up making sauerkraut with my family and enjoy cooking classic dishes like Beef Rouladen. For me, there is no better comfort food than German cuisine.

Air Fryer Pretzel Bites

While these Pretzel Bites may not be as traditional as your average Oktoberfest pretzel, they are incredibly tasty and addictive. Baking pretzel bites in the air fryer makes this recipe very convenient, especially when the oven is full or when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen.

I like to describe these pretzel bites as little golden balls of doughy bliss. They have a soft chewy interior and a golden brown outer layer; both characteristics required of homemade soft pretzels.

A bowl of pretzel bite with a bite taken out.

Furthermore, they are the perfect bite size appetizer for any game day, German dinner party snacks, Oktoberfest celebration, or potluck. They are the perfect dipping size and equally delicious dipped in cheese dip, grainy mustard, honey mustard, or classic yellow mustard.

Ingredients for Pretzel Bites

Great news! There are no special ingredients needed for this pretzel recipe. It requires only 6 simple ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. The other two, coarse salt and melted butter, are for finishing the pretzels.

  • Water
  • Yeast
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Baking Soda
  • Butter
  • Salt
Ingredients required to make pretzel bites.

Water is essential for bread making. When using active dry yeast, it is necessary to rouse the yeast out of dormancy by giving it warm water and food (sugar). The water should be warm enough to activate the yeast but not hot enough as to kill it. The ideal water temperature for proofing active dry yeast is between 105° and 110°F.

Active dry yeast is the most common yeast used in bread baking. It has small granules and requires water to become activated. When it is activated it creates frothy bubbles so you will know if it is active or not. If your yeast is old and seems inactive after 5-6 minutes, discard it and buy a new jar of yeast.

Process images showing how to shape pretzel bites.

You can use fresh yeast, if you prefer. However, this recipe has not been tested using fresh yeast. Do not use instant yeast or Rapid Dry yeast in this recipe.

This pretzel recipe was tested with unbleached all purpose flour, iodized salt, and granulated sugar. A change either ingredient may not yield satisfactory results.

The pretzel bites are finished with a brush of melted butter and a sprinkle of coarse salt. You can also dip them in cinnamon sugar for a sweet treat. Use unsalted or salted butter.

A baking mat with several dough balls of the same size.

How to Make Air Fryer Pretzel Bites

The Dough

Place 1 1/2 cups warm water and the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl. Scatter the yeast over top and briefly mix it with a spoon. Allow the yeast to sit for 4-5 minutes, until it becomes active and frothy.

Next, add the flour and salt to the bowl and use a dough hook to mix the dough together, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if needed. If it seems really dry, you can add the extra 2 Tablespoons of water. Turn the combined dough out onto a clean counter and knead the dough by hand for 2-3 minutes.

Golden Pretzel Bites in an air fryer basket.

Once the dough forms a smooth, yet slightly sticky ball place it in a well oiled bowl (1/2 Tablespoon olive oil) and turn it over to coat the ball. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.

Portioning and Shaping the Dough

Turn the dough out onto a clean working surface or baking mat. Use a 1 1/2 Tablespoon cookie dough scoop to divide the dough into approximately 44 equal pieces. You can use a tablespoon to divide the dough, taking extra care to keep the dough balls uniformly sized.

Shape the balls slightly by rolling them under the palm of your hand on a clean counter. Place each ball on the counter or mat to rest.

A bowl full of golden baked pretzel bites.

Boiling the Pretzel Bites

Though it seems like an extra (and unnecessary) step, boiling the pretzels in baking soda water is essential during pretzel making. The alkaline boiling water helps the dough to puff up, creating a chewy interior and enables the outside to become golden brown during baking.

Fill a large saucepan (at least 5 quarts) with 4 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat.Carefully add 1/4 cup baking soda to the boiling water. It will bubble and rise quickly so take care.

Place 4-5 dough balls in the boiling water. Boil them for 30 seconds then remove and repeat boiling the rest of the dough balls.

A stack of golden baked pretzel bites beside a bowl of yellow mustard.

Baking Pretzel Bites in an Air Fryer

When there are 12 boiled dough balls, preheat the air fryer to 390 F then line it with parchment paper just before you add the dough balls. WARNING: Do not leave the parchment paper in the empty air fryer while it is running.

Bake the dough balls in the air fryer for 3 minutes at 390 F, then flip them over and bake for another 4 minutes. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle coarse salt or sea salt over the top.

Repeat boiling, baking, and brushing with the remaining dough balls. Serve warm with your favourite dip.

A hand holds a golden baked pretzel bite.

Oven Instructions: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the dough balls on a parchment paper or silicone baking mat lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

PRO TIP: These homemade soft pretzel bites are also delicious brushed with butter and dipped in cinnamon sugar (use white or brown sugar).

Make Ahead Instructions

If you don’t want to bake all 44 bites on the same day, you can freeze half of them. Simply form the balls, then freeze on a parchment lined plate or baking sheet for 30 minutes. Remove from freezer and immediately place the balls in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 30 days only.

To bake after freezing, thaw the dough balls on a parchment lined baking sheet in the fridge over night and resume recipe instructions beginning with the soda bath step.

A Golden baked Pretzel Bite in a bowl of yellow mustard.
Pinterest image featuring golden baked pretzel bites in a pile and in a yellow mustard dip.

If you make these Air Fryer Pretzel Bites, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe, please tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.

Yield: 44 bites

Easy Air Fryer Pretzel Bites

A Golden baked Pretzel Bite in a bowl of yellow mustard.

These golden baked Pretzel Bites are the perfect game day snack food. They are soft, yet chewy and bake up in no time at all in an air fryer. Oven directions also included.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 Tablespoons warm water (90-95 F)
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons of active dry yeast ( 1- ¼ oz. package)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons butter; melted
  • flaky sea salt for sprinkling

FOR THE BAKING SODA BATH

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup baking soda

Instructions

  1. Place 1 1/2 cups warm water and the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl. Scatter the yeast over top and briefly mix it with a spoon. Allow the yeast to sit for 4-5 minutes, until it becomes active and frothy.
  2. Next, add the flour and salt to the bowl and use a dough hook to mix the dough together. If it seems really dry, you can add the extra 2 Tablespoons of water.
  3. Turn the combined dough out onto a clean counter and knead by hand for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Once it forms a smooth, yet slightly sticky ball place it in a well oiled bowl (1/2 Tablespoon olive oil). Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
  5. After 20 minutes of rest, fill a large saucepan (at least 5 quarts) with 4 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat.
  6. Carefully add 1/4 cup baking soda to the boiling water. It will bubble and rise quickly so take care.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a clean working surface or baking mat. Use a 1 1/2 Tablespoon cookie dough scoop to divide the dough into approximately 44 uniform balls. You can use a tablespoon to divide the dough, taking extra care to keep the dough balls uniformly sized.
  8. Place 4-5 dough balls in the boiling water. Boil them for 30 seconds then remove and repeat boiling.
  9. When you have 12 boiled dough balls, preheat the air fryer to 390 F then line it with parchment paper just before you add the dough balls. WARNING: Do not leave the parchment paper in the empty air fryer while it is running.
  10. Bake the dough balls in the air fryer for 3 minutes at 390 F, then flip them over and bake for another 4 minutes. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle sea salt or coarse salt on the top.
  11. Repeat boiling, baking, and brushing with the remaining dough balls.














Notes

  1. This recipe was developed in a Cosori 5.8 quart basket style air fryer. Bake time may vary depending on the brand and style of air fryer you use. Start with 3 minutes baking time and adjust the second baking time as needed.
  2. Do not cover the dough balls between making them and boiling them. They will form a thin dry outer skin which makes them easier to handle.
  3. Oven Instructions: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the dough balls on a parchment paper or silicone baking mat lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

    PRO TIP: These pretzel bites are also delicious brushed with butter and dipped in cinnamon sugar.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

22

Serving Size:

2

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 100Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 824mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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