Making pretzels from scratch is a little intimidating and labor intensive, I know, I know. I've got about a billion recipes on here that ask you to do all of that yeast and kneading and rolling business... but this isn't one of them. These Jalapeño Popper Pretzel Bites might seem complicated (they are two appetizers in one, after all) but they're super easy to put together, super delicious, and super, well, super.
Oh and did I mention that they're perfect for the Super Bowl?
We've gotten to the time of year again where I get all mad scientisty and start inventing snack hybrids by combining party foods; Quesadilla Sticks, Pizza Nachos, and Buffalo Chicken Mac N Cheese Bites are some (pretty tasty) examples. Last year, I took one of my absolute most favorite appetizers ever (Jalapeno Poppers) and decided to mix them with Pigs in a Blanket -- those instantly skyrocketed to the very top of my party must-make list.
This year, I was juuuust about to make the Popper Pigs in a Blanket again when an idea hit me. The dough that I'd normally wrap around the poppers and cocktail wieners would work just as well as a simple base for pretzels. And if you've ever been around to cringe at my use of the term "pretzel aficionado" or my bragging about my high school job at Auntie Anne's before, you know that I NEVER. Say no. To pretzels.
Over the years, I've picked up a couple of pretzel shortcuts that I now take advantage of when making a lot of my pretzel treats. The first is that you can absolutely use baking soda instead of lye to get that brown and glossy pretzel coating, which you're a lot more likely to have on hand. The second is that you can pretzelify just about any pre-made dough. No need to spend all that time making it yourself, unless of course you're in the mood to start from scratch!
For my Jalapeño Popper Pretzel Bites, I use crescent dough, because it easily separates into the perfect-sized portion for wrapping up cheese-stuffed jalapeño halves. Like I said, these are surprisingly simple! You can also keep it as straight-forward as possibly by just stuffing your jalapeños with cheese like I did in these pictures, or you can get fancy with it and mix in crumbled bacon and garlic powder like I do in the video below.
These Jalapeño Popper Pretzel Bites are phenomenal straight from the oven-- just ask my neighbors and my video assistant, Rob, who fought over far too many of 'em when I was first testing the recipe-- but they also freeze and reheat awesomely.
I made them in advance for an NFL party I hosted not too long ago (check back tomorrow to read about it) and the reheated ones flew off the table just as fast as the originals did. I now keep an extra couple of batches of them in the freezer so that I can break them out whenever we have unexpected (hungry) company!
Yeah, by unexpected company, I do mean for whenever I want them. A girl deserves a great snack when she's craving one, don't you agree?
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
- 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, optional
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder, optional
- 8 jalapeños, stemmed, halved lengthwise, and seeded
- 2 (8 ounce) cans crescent dough
- 10 cups water
- ⅔ cup baking soda
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Pretzel salt, for topping
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, and garlic powder (if using).
- Fill the jalapeño halves with the cheese mixture and place each half on a section of crescent dough. Wrap the jalapenos fully in the crescent dough and set aside.
- Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a gentle boil in an 8 quart saucepan. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, a few at a time, for 30-40 seconds. Remove them from the water using a slotted spoon. Place the popper pretzels on the lined baking sheet and brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with the pretzel salt as desired.
- Bake the pretzels until dark golden brown in color, about 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins