We go to Disneyland a lot, we have season passes, it is just up the road and it’s magical – so duh, why wouldn’t we? Disney is super gluten-free friendly. I can always find multiple options there and no matter which restaurant I select, they send the chef out to speak with me directly about my intolerances and allergies, to tell me what my options are. It’s so comforting to feel so safe with my food outside of my home. Of course, if you know me, I always want more. Those carts that sell the Mickey Mouse shaped pretzels, they just kill me. Disney doesn’t have gluten-free soft pretzels and I don’t blame them, it isn’t a simple feat. My hubby loves getting those tempting hot pretzels and it has created a nearly year-long craving for me. I had plans of making pretzels in October some time for Oktoberfest, but that month somehow got away from me. The craving however has only got stronger.
I finally had an entire day alone in the kitchen to play with a gluten-free soft pretzel recipe. However, rather than fight with a gluten-free dough to make traditional twisted pretzels, I have done that before, it just ends in me being angry and frustrated, I decided the shape is less important than the taste and texture! I just wanted that traditional yummy soft pretzel taste to shove in my face, no matter the shape or size. So, soft pretzel bites became the clear winner!
Please trust me when I ask you not to get overwhelmed by the ingredients and instructions on this recipe. I know it seems like a lot, I am sure it seems like many steps, but the moment they come out of that oven and you bite into one that’s still warm with it’s both soft and chewy inside a slightly crispy outside, you will forget how much time you spent making them. The day I was working on this recipe, I made them THREE times! THREE. In less than 8 hours. I was in the kitchen all day making pretzels and it was never that bad or overwhelming, I got into a bit of a rhythm and it never felt like too much work. The hardest part for me was getting the measurements just right, and that work has been done for you already, after that – they are surprisingly easy.
Something to note about this recipe, I offer both the option to make these with a custom flour blend or with a pre-made all-purpose blend. Both turned out great. I found the custom blend to have just a tad bit more of a whole-grain type texture, it’s very subtle, likely from the different flours. Whereas the pretzels made with the all-purpose blend were a tad bit lighter in color and had less of a grain texture to them. (the all-purpose blend pretzels are the ones in the photos). Both were very good and I couldnt choose one over the other if I had to. The pre-made all-purpose flour blend I used has xanthan gum in it and I honestly didn’t notice a huge different in the texture, I think the psyllium husk provides that nice chewy texture on it’s own, so the gum isn’t as important one way or another.
Also, don’t worry if your dough doesn’t feel like gluten dough, it shouldn’t. Let it be it’s own thing. The nice thing about gluten-free dough is that it is very forgiving and you can take a little water on your hands and fix any tears in the dough as you go along.
These gluten-free soft pretzel bites are the best I have had yet. They are soft and chewy, with a nicely browned outer crust. They are so good warm dipped in a whole grain mustard, with an ice cold beer or cider on the side. I cannot wait to hear what you guys think of these.
[print_this]Gluten-free Soft Pretzel Bites (Dairy-free with vegan option)
makes approximately 4 dozen pretzel bites
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water, 100º-110ºF (you may need just a tad bit more)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons or 1 pack quick acting yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey or organic sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole psyllium husk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
- 1/4 cup olive oil (or softened butter)
(choose either a custom flour blend)
- 1/2 cup millet flour
- 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
- 1/2 cup sorghum
- 1 cup arrowroot starch
- 1 cup tapioca starch (or potato starch)
(a pre-made blend)
- 3 1/2 cups of your favorite gluten-free all-purpose flour blend (homemade or store-bought, I used this)
Baking Soda Bath:
- 8-10 cups water
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- pinch of salt
- Course pink Himilayan sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 egg yolk (skip and just use honey if you have an allergy)*
- 1 teaspoon honey*
- splash of water
*if vegan, skip eggs and honey and go without or use a butter substitute or olive oil instead
Line a couple rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
Combine water, yeast and sugar in a bowl; allow to sit for 5 -10 minutes until the mixture foams. Put the flours and starches OR just the AP flour blend with the psyllium husk, salt and baking powder in the bowl of your stand up mixer . Whisk together until well blended. Add the olive oil (or butter) and yeast mixture. With the dough hook, mix until it comes together, pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Stop the mixture a couple of times to use your spatula to incorporate all of the flour. Once combined fully, continue mixing an additional minute to knead dough. It should be just a tad bit wet, but not too wet where it doesn’t come together and hold. If it’s too dry add a teeny splash more water, if it’s too wet, add a teeny more flour. Don’t go crazy and let it be what it is. Different then glute dough.
Remove dough from the bowl and place in a oiled glass mixing bowl. Brush the top of the dough lightly with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This will vary based on the temperature. You are looking for the dough to be approximately double in size.
This dough is very tacky, thick and stretchy. Wet your hands when working with it and you can also very, very lightly flour your work surface, too.
Once the dough is done rising ,preheat the oven to 450ºF. Add the water and baking soda to a large pan over a high heat, whisk it quickly to dissolve the baking soda. While you are waiting for the baking soda bath to come to a boil, you will shape the dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, I like working on a bit of parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, divide the dough carefully into 6 equal parts. Wet your hands with a little water and roll each piece of dough on the floured surface into a cylinder about 1-inch in diameter, it is a very thick and stretchy dough, so really give it some elbow grease. I actually found myself molding it into a log, more than rolling it. It’s not the same as gluten dough. With a sharp knife, slice each cylinder into bite-sized pieces (about 1 1/2 inches long). Don’t stress if they aren’t perfect. They are just going into your tummy, after all.
With a sharp knife, score each pretzel bite by cutting diagonally into the top about ⅛ inch deep.
Once your water is boiling, take the heat down to a medium-high, you want it barely boiling. A rolling boil will break your pretzel bite apart. Place as many bite-sized pieces of dough into the nearly boiling baking soda bath as will fit comfortably. Allow them to cook in the water for about 30 seconds on one side before gently flipping the bites over. Allow to cook for another 30 seconds. Remove the bites with a strainer and place them, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheets. Whisk together the egg yolk and honey mixture or just honey and brush on each bite. Sprinkle each with a little coarse salt, to taste.
Place the pretzels in the center of the preheated oven and bake until golden brown all over, about 15 minutes. Let cool a bit on the baking pan then go to town. Dip in your favorite mustard, a cheese sauce – whatever you prefer.
If you’re not planning on eating them all at once, I would leave a few unbaked but cooked in the baking soda bath, and refrigerate them in a storage bag or container. When you’re ready to eat them, just bake them. You can also freeze the cooked (but unbaked) pretzels and pull them out whenever you want them. [/print_this]
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Oh my!!!! I learned how to make these helping in my daughter’s cooking class in school only now I can’t eat them as they were all made out of white flour. Hooray!!! They will be back in my kitchen!!!!!
Whoa! These photos are seriously gorgeous and I know that these were tasty because I stuffed my face with them at your house.:) Thanks for the drool fest this morning…now I am going to have to make a batch of my own.
Oh these sound absolutely incredible! I cannot wait to try!
THANK YOU! This has been my latest pregnancy craving and I have not been able to satisfy my that craving! I can’t wait!
Thank you for all the hard work with these! These look amazing and I cannot wait to make these for my daughter. My first attempt with another recipe had me near tears, took 2 hours and only produced 2 salvageable pretzels, I simply love the idea of cutting them down into bites- genius. Thank you!
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Great photos – these looks amazing! I’ve been waiting for a good gluten free soft pretzel recipe!
Just wondering what whole psyllium husk is and what does it look like and where do I find it? Thanks!!!
What made you use psyllium husk? I have never used it and would like to learn more about it.
Psyllium husk is used in many bread-like options. Some recipes call for it ground so you just put it in a coffee grinder. It makes things chewy. 🙂
Just finished making these and they are DELICIOUS! It’s been 4 years since I’ve had a soft pretzel and these hit the spot. I used King Arthur GF Flour and was able to find psyllium husks in the vitamin section. I stuck to recipe and directions and everything turned out perfect….YUM!!! Thanks for posting this!
Oh my goodness! I made these yesterday and they were perfect! Totally satisfied my craving. I frozen half of them and plan on baking them up as an appetizer on Christmas Day. Thanks for a perfect recipe. You rock!
Another question about psyllium husks. Until I can find them, will this work without them? Anything I should/could sub for them? I have flax and chia and some other seeds. Thanks!
I cannot say for sure if it will work without the psyllium husk or with those substitutes, I have ONLY made them with the psyllium husk, never without. I guess all I can say is feel free to experiment and report back, I unfortunately cannot make any promises about the recipe if you change it. Thanks!
I just made these today for the superbowl, and I searched up and down my specialty, non-chain grocery store for psyllium husk but could not find it. I even looked in the vitamin section as another poster suggested. So I used ground flaxseed, and the consistency was still on target as well as the taste. So I think at least flax can make a good sub.
Hi Erin, thanks for the comment. I am happy to hear that the recipe still worked quite well with the ground flaxseed. I am so glad you enjoyed these. Thank you!
Thanks Erin! I still haven’t tried them, so I’m thrilled to know flax worked 🙂 They are at the very top of the list of new things, have been for weeks, but since we have multiple allergies and have to cook everything ourselves treats sometimes don’t get made. Hoping to this weekend 🙂
and, Beth. thank you for posting this recipe. It was very delicious, and I very much enjoyed my first pretzel making experience 🙂
I’m excited and nervous, currently making these right now using King Arthur flour and substituting xantham gum for Psyllium husk . Keeping my fingers crossed 🙂
Heyy there Amani, please let me know how they come out. Xanthan Gum doesn’t necessarily have the same properties as psyllium husk, so I am very curious to see how it does in the recipe. If you did an exact substitution, that is an awful lot of xanthan gum, but who knows maybe it will work just perfectly. I cannot wait to hear the results. Thanks!
New to gluten-free for my husband, wonder if pretzel pizza crust might be a good thing? Can’t wait to try.
Just made these with my husband, first attempt was an epic fail, we forgot both the xantham gum and the psyllium husk, added both ingredients to the next batch, which was a huge success! Thank you so much for this recipe!
have you tried this with psyllium husk powder rather than the whole husk? I will get both, but I was curious 🙂
I haven’t yet, but I really want to. I only recently played with psyllium husk powder and I really loved how it reacts in recipes. I will definitely report back if I do, and you do the same, if you do 😉
Can’t wait to try this recipe! Thanks.
i can not wait to try this recipe.I love pretzels. love lovethem.iam going to try them with my grandchildren . so i be writing back to let you know how they turn out.
Wow — so good! Living in Vietnam, it’s super difficult to find pre-made GF products (especially of the homemade variety)! I used flax seed meal and it worked out perfectly!
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Looks amazing in the picture. Tried making it tonight and it did not turn out.
I will try another time with a different gluten free flour.
Thanks for posting
Christine, bummer I am sorry to hear it. What flour did you use? Sadly there is no possible way for me to test it with every flour out there and each flour blend varies so much, there is just no way to account for all the differences. Did you keep everything else exactly the same?
I see you use psyllium husk in your recipe. Do you know this is wheat.
Hey Lisa, I am not sure where you received that information but it isn’t true.
Psyllium fiber comes from the outer coating, or “husk” of the psyllium plant’s seeds. It is not wheat, and is therefore gluten free.
WOW!!! I just now finished making these and I am floored! I am a 22 year old experimental baker and health nut. These are simple enough for anyone to make. They were a little tedious with the baking soda bath, but WORTH IT! I did completely vegan and they are delicious! I recommend this to anyone who likes pretzels but can’t do dairy or gluten. I will use this recipe again. And the instructions here are very helpful! THANK YOU!!!
Where can you bur psyllium husk powder
I have made these several times and now I get request to make them for all gatherings. My friends were shocked to find out they were gluten free. Thank you so much for the recipe.
That makes me sooo happy to hear Barb!! I love it.
Wow! I will say that they do take quite a while to make but they are SO good that it’s worth the time! My biggest complaint about being GF is that the bread mixtures are NEVER right. They’re so dry I can’t choke them down. Not these! I am going to use this recipe to make pretzel buns with for hot ham sandwiches. MMMMMM. THANK YOU for experimenting your heart out with these and sharing the recipe with all of us!
Now that football season is back in full swing, I’m going to try these. Thanks to Kelly for the King Arthur flour blend recommendation. I’ve been using Cup 4 Cup, but not entirely thrilled with it.
I’m not sure if I over did something accidentally. My pretzel pieces sort of fell apart in the water bath. The water was barely boiling when I placed them in…maybe I didn’t realize it’s stage was a “rolling boil,” I’m not sure. Or perhaps could it be from not having risen quit enough?
They baked alright, but they were a little bland. Maybe I need more salt.
Hey there Brittany, did you follow the recipe exactly as it is? Which flour blend did you use? Did you change anything else out, any substitutions or did you leave anything out? Let me know and I will see if I can help you troubleshoot.
hey thanks for replying 🙂 I used Bob’s Red Mill all purposeflour. & I followed the recipe exactly. I didn’t substitute anything.
Hey there Brittany, so I have never tested this recipe using Bob’s Red Mill, so I am willing to bet that maybe that could be the culprit? Having a small amount of baking soda at the bottom shouldn’t be as big of an issue. Someone above said that they used King Arthur’s GF Flour and it worked well. I am sorry your first attempt wasn’t the greatest 🙁
Thats ok. Thanks, I’m rasiliant! I’ll try again:)
you know I was thinking perhaps it is due to this, when I did the baking soda bath the baking soda wasn’t really wanting to dissolve, well I realized this after. Because I saw some residual baking soda on the bottom of the pan after I removed the pieces of pretzel. I did make sure to stir it but could that be contributing?
Oh my goodness – made these today and they are fabulous! Hubby was very impressed. Water bath temp is a bit tricky, but the dough handled really well, followed all directions to a T.
Thanks for this amazing recipe!
Forgot to mention I used your custom blend and psyllium husk powder (always have on hand as it does wonders for GF baking) – I get it from Mother’s market or Whole Foods, also available online.
They are just cooling down now (not that my boyfriend cares, he’s scarfing them down).
He was recently told he’s sensitive to eggs, gluten, dairy and nightshades. Pretty much a death sentence for my baking escapades. I was so thankful to find these! They’re a little undercooked inside but super browned so I guess I’ll boil them a little longer next time. Thank you for letting him feel “normal” again! I used your flour mixture.
OMG!!! These are so good! I almost made myself sick. I couldn’t stop eating them!
I will be making them again and again and stashing some in the freezer for when I get cravings. Thank you so much!
haha awww Anna, I know that feeling all too well, unfortunately. So glad you like them.
I was wondering if you have ever tried to make gf pretzel bites with peanut or almond butter in them? I am searching high and low for a good gf recipe for them. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks, Beth!
Stacey Rae 😉
What brand psyllium husk did you use?
Thank you so much for this recipe! Soft pretzels were always one of my favourite baked treats and for the past seven years I assumed I’d never enjoy them again. These are so perfect in both taste and texture that I actually got a little teary-eyed when I ate my first one. We followed your custom flour blend recipe exactly and they came out perfect. Thank you!
Tamara!! This comment just made my whole day. Thank you so much for taking the time to share and I am so so happy that they came out so wonderfully for you. I felt the same way when I made these the first time – tears of joy, for sure!! Thanks again and be well! xo
OMG these look AAAMMMAAAZZZINGGG I am going to try them! You are the BEST Beth
If you happen to be on the East Coast or in some Midwest grocery stores you should pick up GF soft pretzels from Tonya’s Gluten-Free Kitchen. They are delicious!
Wow! These are yummy lol eating them now with a homemade gluten free cheese sauce! Saw a lot of comments about not having psyllium husk. I didn’t have any either so just used one egg (brought to room temp) in place of that then waited to add it when added the oil and yeast mixture. I also used Pamela’s gluten free all purpose Artisan flour blend (which has some guar gum in it) and they turned out great! Thanks for the recipe. Will definitely be using this again.
Honey is an animal product, is there any other suggestions to use
Can this dough be used to make a stuffed baked sandwich like a mini calzone or pizza pocket?