Nothing says comfort food more than fresh pretzels warm out of the oven and a cheddar cheese dipping sauce. Perfect for game day treats or just to treat your family to a special snack. I promise my Tavern Style Beer Pretzels and Beer Cheese Sauce won't disappoint!
One the great joys in life is a freshly made pretzel, warm out of the oven. This was my first attempt at making Tavern Style Beer Pretzels and I have to say they were just as good as the pretzels I had in Germany!
This post is sponsored by Cabot Creamery. The opinions, recipe, and images are 100% my own.
If you’ve never made pretzels, you don’t know what you’re missing. They’re really easy to make and are great for a game day snack or family night.
And when you serve those ah-mazing warm pretzels with a creamy cheddar cheese sauce made with Cabot Cheddar Cheese….. well, it just doesn’t get any better than that.
If you were to look in my fridge at any time (even when vacationing) you’ll find a variety of Cabot cheese (this is the cheese I have in my fridge now). And when I’m lucky enough to find in my local grocer, Cabot 10% Greek Yogurt, Butter and Cream Cheese….sigh.
Cabot has a full line of dairy products including dips, yogurt, whipped cream, sour cream, and more. So if you see the name Cabot on any dairy product in your grocer, buy it, you won’t be disappointed!
What do I need to make Beer Pretzels?
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make Tavern Style Beer Pretzels In Chef Speak this is called the Mise en Place which translates into Everything in its Place.
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed the cooking process, but it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
Do I have to use beer to make the pretzels?
No, you don’t. You can use a non-alcoholic beer or simply substitute the same amount of water or sparkling water for the beer.
What kind of beer should I use to make beer pretzels?
It really doesn’t matter what type of beer you use for the pretzels, I used an amber ale for mine, but feel free to use a wheat beer, or Guinness stout or your favorite craft beer.
In other words, use what you like to drink.
How do I make Tavern Style Beer Pretzels?
Using a sauce pot or the microwave, heat the beer to 105 -110 degrees.
*If you get the beer too hot it can kill the yeast. Too cool and it will take longer for the dough to rise.
In a large bowl dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warmed beer. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together. Cover with a kitchen towel and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.
**If the mixture hasn’t foamed, the yeast is dead and you need to try again with new yeast. If it doesn’t foam the recipe will not work.
While the beer mixture is resting, mix the sea salt into the flour.
Start by adding two-thirds of the flour into the beer mixture. Work the flour in with a large spoon until blended. Add the remainder of the flour and work it into the dough until fully incorporated.
Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead for 6-8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place the pretzel dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Can I use a Stand Mixer to make the pretzels?
Yes, you certainly can. I was away from home and my three mixers when I decided to make the pretzels. So I went old-school and made them by hand. Feel free to use your mixer. They weren’t hard to make but a mixer would definitely make the process easier.
Here is the process for the stand mixer:
- Whisk together the beer, yeast, and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow to sit for 5-7 minutes to activate yeast, then add the melted butter.
- Attach dough hook to stand mixer. Add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed until dough starts to come together. Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue to mix for 3-5 minutes until the dough is smooth and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
- Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature in a warm draft-free area of your kitchen for one at least one hour, or until the dough has doubled in volume.
Once the dough has doubled, punch the dough down and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Divide and shape the dough into 8 balls.
**Alternatively, you could work the dough out to an 8-inch by 14-inch sheet and cut it into eight strips.
Chef Dennis Tip:
Keep the dough covered with plastic wrap as you work with individual pieces so the dough doesn’t dry out.
To make the iconic pretzel shape, start by forming the rolled out dough into a “U”. Cross the two ends over each other twice, leaving a circle at the other end.
Take the ends and secure them to the bottom of the circle. Place the formed pretzel on a parchment-lined (or lightly greased) baking sheet. Keep the pretzels covered with plastic wrap while you repeat with remaining strips of dough.
**Allow shaped pretzels to rest for 15-20 minutes.
After the pretzels have rested, it’s time for the boiling step. Add 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a deep skillet or large pot and bring to a boil.
Carefully add the pretzels 2 at a time and cook for 30 seconds. With a ladle or large spoon pour the water over the tops of the pretzels as they cook.
**Carefully remove the pretzels with a slotted spoon or spatula and drain well on a wire rack or paper towels.
Brush the pretzels with the egg yolk wash, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt or pretzel salt. Use as much or as little salt as you like.
What do ingredients do I need to make beer cheese sauce?
While the pretzels are baking, start making your beer cheese sauce.
As with the pretzels, you don’t have to use beer in the cheese sauce, but it does add a nice flavor. And all the alcohol will burn off as the cheese sauce cooks.
**If you decide against adding beer, use can replace the beer with milk.
Start the cheese sauce by adding the beer and milk to a small saucepan. Once the mixture starts to get hot add in the cream cheese, using a wire whisk to blend the cream cheese into the liquids.
Next add in the Cabot cheddar, mozzarella, and the optional seasoning. I like adding mozzarella to the sauce because it adds a stretchy quality to the finished cheese sauce.
But the Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar is definitely the star of the show!
**I honestly like the cheese sauce without the seasoning, but it is a way to add some heat or other flavors to the sauce.
The only thing left to do is enjoy those delicious beer pretzels and cheddar cheese dipping sauce. I promise there won’t be a pretzel left in the house after you serve these beauties to your family and friends.
Chef Dennis Tip:
If you want to make your pretzels a little more decadent, brush them with. melted butter right after they come out of the oven. They’ll be even better than your favorite mall pretzel!
If you enjoyed this recipe you may also like these:
- The Best Homemade Artisan Bread
- Pecan Caramel Cinnamon Rolls (no-knead)
- Apple Butter Sticky Bun Recipe
- Pan Dulce Recipe (no-knead)
Tavern Beer Pretzels with Cheddar Sauce
- 12 ounces beer heated to 105-110 degrees in microwave
- 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 ounces unsalted butter melted (½ stick)
- 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (for greasing bowl)
- 10 cups water
- ⅔ cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt or pretzel salt use more or less to your taste
- 1½ cup Cabot's extra sharp cheddar cheese grated
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2 ounces milk
- 2 ounces beer
- 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning (optional)
- In a small saucepan heat the beer to a temperature of 105- 110 degrees F. **You can use the microwave instead for about 30 seconds.
- In a large bowl dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warmed beer. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together. Cover with a kitchen towel and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. **If the mixture hasn’t foamed, the yeast is dead and you need to try again with new yeast.
- Mix the flour and sea salt together.
- Add the melted butter to the beer mixture.
- Add two-thirds of the flour to the beer mixture and mix the flour until fully incorporated. Add the rest of the flour in and mix well until all the flour has been worked into the dough.
- Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Once the dough has doubled, punch the dough down and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Divide and shape the dough into 8 balls.
- Roll each into a 20 – 24-inch rope.
- Preheat the oven to 450F.
- To make the iconic pretzel shape, start by forming the rolled out dough into a "U". Cross the two ends over each other twice, leaving a circle at the other end. Take the ends and secure them to the bottom of the circle. Place the formed pretzel on a parchment-lined (or lightly greased) baking sheet. *Keep the pretzels covered with plastic wrap while you repeat with remaining strips of dough.
- Add the baking soda to a large pot with the 10 cups of water and bring to a boil. Carefully add the pretzels 2 at a time and cook 30 seconds. With a ladle or large spoon get the water over the tops of the pretzels. **Carefully remove the pretzels with a slotted spoon or spatula and drain well on a wire rack or paper towels.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease the baking sheets with oil. Set aside until needed.
- After draining for a few minutes, transfer the pretzels to the prepared pans. Brush the pretzels with the egg wash, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt or pretzel salt.
- Bake until golden brown, 12-15 minutes, depending upon how you like your pretzels. Allow the pretzels to cool for 5 minutes before eating.**I love dark pretzels so I let them go a little longer.
Beer Cheese Sauce
- Add the beer and milk to a small saucepan. Once the mixture starts to get hot add in the cream cheese. Use a wire whisk to blend the cream cheese into the liquids.
- Add in the Cabot cheddar, mozzarella, and the optional seasoning. *Adding mozzarella to the sauce gives a stretchy quality to the finished cheese sauce.
- Mix all the ingredients until well blended and remove from the heat.*Don't let the cheese sauce get too hot, or it will get grainy.
- Serve the cheese sauce with the pretzels and enjoy!
- If the yeast doesn’t foam, it is dead, Don’t use it your recipe will fail.
- When pressing the two ends of the U to form the pretzel shape, pinch them in with enough force to make them stick together.
- Don’t over-boil the pretzels.