My love for soft pretzels runs deep, and it's even better when they can be a sweet treat! These Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels are light and fluffy and have the perfect sweet coating. I've also paired them with macerated strawberries that you can use as a sweet dipping "sauce." They're delicious as an afternoon snack or dessert!
If you're looking for other pretzel recipes, check out these Sourdough Discard Pretzels. You might also like this Sourdough Discard Apple Pull Apart Bread! These Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels would also be a great addition to a Dessert Charcuterie Board, especially in a smaller "pretzel bites" version!
Why you'll love this recipe
- These Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels are easy to make with less than 30 minutes of hands-on time!
- Soft pretzels freeze well, so you can enjoy them now and freeze some for later.
- You can make these in a traditional pretzel shape, or as smaller pretzel bites! See the Substitutions & Variations section below for those directions.
- Pretzels are easy to make and a great recipe for beginner bakers or making with kids!
- They're a great sweet afternoon snack or dessert that everyone will love.
There are only a few things you'll need to make these Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels.
- Non-dairy milk: This recipe uses unflavored, non-dairy milk. I like to use almond milk, but it will work with any unflavored, non-dairy milk. This will also work with regular dairy milk, too!
- Dark brown sugar: You can use light brown sugar if you prefer, but dark brown sugar provides a deeper flavor.
- All-purpose flour: Using all-purpose flour helps to make these pretzels light and fluffy. If you used bread flour, the pretzels would have more of a crust.
- Unsalted butter: A bit of butter in the dough helps the pretzels develop a nice "crusty" exterior. You'll also use some to brush the pretzels before tossing them in the cinnamon sugar.
- Granulated sugar and cinnamon: That cinnamon sugar coating that we all love! You'll also use some granulated sugar to make the macerated strawberries.
- Strawberries: If you're making the macerated strawberries (this is optional), you'll need the berries! You'll want a small dice on the strawberries so they're small enough to eat with a bit of pretzel, but it doesn't need to be a compote, or jam. I recommend using fresh strawberries for this recipe.
See full recipe below for detailed instructions.
How to Make Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels
These Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels come together in a few easy steps.
Combine the almond milk, brown sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large mixing bowl). Sprinkle with the yeast and let sit for 10 minutes to bloom. Add remaining dough ingredients and mix until dough forms.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Turn the dough onto a work surface and divide into 8 equal-sized pieces.
Roll each piece into a rope about 18-24 inches long.
Form a U shape with the rope.
Fold the ends of the U shape down to form a heart, give one twist, and press the ends into the bottom of the pretzel.
In a pot of boiling water mixed with baking soda, boil each pretzel for 30-60 seconds. The pretzels should float while boiling.
You can reshape the pretzels slightly after boiling, if needed. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden.
Let the pretzels cool until they are comfortable to handle. Brush with melted butter.
Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture to coat and serve!
Variation: Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites
An easy variation to this recipe is to make Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites. Instead of shaping the dough into the classic pretzel shape, follow the below directions to make pretzel bites.
Roll each piece of dough into a 12-14 inch rope. Then use a knife to cut into individual pieces about 1 ½-inches long. Roll each piece into a small ball.
Boil the pretzel bites in a pot of boiling water and baking soda for about 30 seconds. Transfer the boiled bites to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and spread them apart so they're not touching.
Bake the bites until golden brown, then let cool slightly.
Brush the bites with melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Making Macerated Strawberries
This is optional, but the macerated strawberries are a nice addition to these Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels. Think of it as a sweet "salsa" for dipping! Of course, if you'd rather skip it, you can.
Macerating is the process of soaking berries in sugar to release the juices. It makes a delicious, syrupy liquid (plus the berries themselves) that is fantastic in nearly any dessert. It can also be used to top ice cream or simply served with whipped cream.
Wash and dice your strawberries.
They should be a fairly small dice - you want them to be small enough that you could take a scoop of the berries along with a bite if the pretzel at the same time.
Combine the strawberries and sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
Cover and let the berries sit for at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sugar will draw some of the liquid out of the berries.
Expert Baking Tips
- Don't forget to warm the milk! This is important for activating the yeast and getting the dough to rise appropriately. If you're working with cold milk, the yeast will take much longer to active and rise.
- Make sure to knead the dough long enough. You want a smooth, soft dough (not sticky) before it goes into the bowl for the rise. This will give you beautiful, smooth pretzels. If the dough still looks shaggy after kneading, your final pretzels will also look shaggy.
- Let the dough rise long enough. Dough will take longer to rise in a cooler room and will need less time to rise in a warmer room. Adjust as needed for your environment.
- Let the pretzels cool before sprinkling with cinnamon sugar. If you don't, the sugar will melt right in. It will still be delicious, but won't look as nice!
Passing the float test
When you boil the pretzels, they should float. This is called "passing the float test." When you put the pretzels into the water, there are a few things that could happen:
- They float immediately: These pretzels have passed! This means that the pretzels have risen enough and will be light and fluffy after baking. Contine baking as directed.
- They sink, and then float after a few seconds: This counts as floating! Continue wiht the recipe as written.
- They sink to the bottom: This means the dough needs more time to rise. Cover the unboiled pretzels in plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes, then try again. If the dough is sinking, it's too dense and those would create dense final pretzels.
I like to make pretzel dough in a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, but this is optional. You can also make the dough in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. I recommend using a kitchen scale to measure your flour, and then a large pot for boiling the pretzels (I like to use a Staub Cocotte for this). You'll also need a slotted spoon or spatula to remove the pretzels from the boiling water.
Room Temperature Storage: If you're going to eat them quickly (in the next day or so), keep these Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels in a paper bag at room temperature. You can reheat them in the microwave for about 30 seconds to make them soft and warm again.
Freezer Storage: Transfer the fully cooled pretzels to a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months. I like to do this in individual bags so it's easy to take out one pretzel at a time. When you're ready to reheat, place the pretzel in the microwave for about 60 seconds or until soft and warm again.
Storing Macerated Strawberries: Store the macerated berries separately from the pretzels in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.
No, this would work with any kind of unflavored milk (non-dairy or regular dairy), so feel free to try different options!
They're optional, but I think it's a nice add to eat with the pretzels!
If your pretzels look shaggy after baking, the dough was not kneaded long enough to be completely smooth.
If your pretzels are unraveling (perhaps while you're boiling them), you can always reshape them. When you're shaping the pretzels, make sure to press the ends of the pretzel into the bottom of the shape to help keep it together.
Sometimes flipping the pretzels while they boil can be challenging. If it feels like flipping the pretzels won't work, I like to "dunk" the pretzels with the spatula a few times to make sure they're getting coated on both sides.
Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels
For the Dough
- 1 ½ cups non-dairy milk* warmed
- 1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 22 ounces all-purpose flour about 4 ½ cups
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 10 cups water
- ⅔ cup baking soda
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the Macerated Berries
- 1 ½ cups fresh strawberries small diced
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- Combine the warmed non-dairy milk and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment**. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit for 5 minutes, or until it begins to foam. If your yeast does not foam, that means your yeast is dead and you'll need to start again with fresh yeast.
- Add the flour, salt, and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the melted butter. Increase speed to medium and continue to mix until the dough is smooth and wrapped around the dough hook, 3-4 minutes. You can also knead by hand for 3-4 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth. If your dough is sticky, add an additional 1-2 Tablespoons flour to reach your desired consistency.
- Transfer the dough to a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 60-90 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- While the dough rises, make the macerated strawberries. Dice your strawberries and combine with 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar in a small bowl. Cover and let sit for at least 45 minutes to draw out the juices, stirring occasionally.
- Turn the dough out onto a smooth work surface. Divide into 8 equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into an 18-24 inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, then cross the ends of the rope over each other like a heart. Twist the ends once, and push them down at the bottom of the U to make your pretzel shape. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Cover the pretzels with plastic wrap, then preheat the oven to 450°F. Bring 10 cups of water and ⅔ cup baking soda to a boil in a large pot. During this time, the pretzels are getting some additinoal rise time.
- Place the pretzels in the boiling water, one by one, and boil for 20-30 seconds on each side. The pretzels should float (called "passing the float test"); if not, see notes section below. Remove the pretzels from the water using a slotted spatula and return to the baking sheet.
- Bake until golden brown, approximately 13-15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.
- While the pretzels cool, melt the 4 Tablespoons butter for the topping and mix together the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Brush the cooled pretzel bites with melted butter, then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve immediately with the macerated strawberries.