Pretzel Dogs

Something about a warm, soft pretzel is utterly irresistible.  The crisp, salted crust hiding a perfectly chewy center.  Something this delicious must be insanely difficult to make.  There is no way that I could possibly replicate that perfection in my tiny, amateurish kitchen.  First big surprise of the year: Pretzels are ridiculously easy to make.  Dangerously easy.

wrapped pretzel dogs

Using this simple base recipe, you can make pretzel dogs, pretzels stuffed with garlic and cheese, cinnamon sugar coated pretzel twists and other endless variations.  Like the baked corndogs, these are perfect party food.  They are addictive, filling and will be devoured quickly.  Serve them with a variety of flavored mustards and you will be the talk of the town.  Let’s just say that you may have to scrape a couple jaws off the floor when people say “You made these?!?!”

boiled pretzels

The recipe will make 16 pretzel dogs (each using one half of a hot dog) or you can make a variety of pretzel shapes and twists.  I tried a couple sprinkled with cinnamon sugar which, of course, were amazing.  If you are looking to truly replicate that Fresh From the Mall taste, brush the pretzels with melted butter after taking them out of the oven.  Irresistible.  Be careful though, once your loved ones discover just how easy it is to make these beauties, they will be demanding homemade pretzels by the dozen.

prezel buns


Pretzel Dogs

Yield: 16 pretzel dogs


1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package dry active yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda*
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt (or kosher salt), for topping
8 hot dogs, cut in half


- Combine the warm water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, until the yeast is foamy and begins to smell of yeast.
- Add the flour and butter to the yeast mixture. Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and, on medium-low speed, combine the mixture until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and appears shiny, roughly 4 to 5 minutes.
- Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray (or lightly grease with vegetable oil) and place dough in greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Place bowl in a warm area (near the oven, perhaps) and let dough rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Spray parchment paper with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- In a large pot, bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a roiling boil.
- Place the dough on a greased surface, and divide into 16 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope, roughly 12 inches long. Carefully wrap each piece around a half hot dog. Pinch the ends together to seal the dough. Alternatively, to make regular pretzels, shape the rope into a U shape, cross the ends over each other and fold the twisted ends back onto the bottom of the U. Again, pinch the dough together to form a seal. Place each shaped pretzel on the parchment lined baking sheet.
- Boil the shaped pretzels and pretzel dogs, one at a time, in the baking soda water for 30 seconds each. Using a slotted spatula, remove each pretzel dog from the water and place it on a drying rack to allow any extra baking soda mixture to drip off.
- Place the boiled pretzel dogs back on the parchment lined baking sheets.
- Brush with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with pretzel or kosher salt.
- Bake until golden brown, roughly 14 to 15 minutes. Transfer pretzel dogs to a cooling rack for a few minutes before serving. Serve with a variety of mustards.

* Yes, I know that this seems like a crazy amount of baking soda, but trust me, Alton has clearly done the math on this one. The baking soda mixture gives the pretzels that perfectly crisp crust that you are looking for

Adapted from Alton Brown's Homemade Soft Pretzels

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39 Responses to “Pretzel Dogs”

  1. 1
    The Cookbook Apprentice — January 30, 2010 2:36 pm

    Absolutely fabulous! I want these now!

  2. 2
    deana@lostpastremembered — January 30, 2010 4:32 pm

    These look beautiful… so great to snack on… how can you do better than hot dogs and pretzels in one place!

  3. 3
    Doc Rock — January 30, 2010 4:33 pm

    When we lived in Bavaria we loved the round pretzel rolls, Brez’n, and their many local variations. Top like an everything bagel–delicious!

  4. 4
    Sandra — January 30, 2010 4:55 pm

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing, we LOVE these!


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  6. 5
    Memoria — January 31, 2010 2:39 am

    ARGH!! These pretzel dogs are too cute and look so yummy!! Great photos. I’m bookmarking this.

  7. 6
    Karly — January 31, 2010 11:30 am

    I love making homemade pretzels! I’ve never thought to hide a hot dog in there though! Yum!

  8. 7
    Joanne — January 31, 2010 11:34 am

    So I’m not sure whether I should rejoice that I found these or run away screaming. Because I’m pretty sure that I’m going to have to make them and smother them in cinnamon and sugar and in doing so, possibly gain 50+ pounds. However. Considering how good these look. I think I can be okay with that.

  9. 8
    ButterYum — January 31, 2010 11:54 am

    What a fantastic idea!

  10. 9
    Gala — January 31, 2010 3:48 pm

    Mouth watering…love the endless options!

  11. 10
    THERESA — January 31, 2010 5:20 pm


  12. 11
    pannybear — January 31, 2010 8:57 pm

    You are one very creative “cookie”!

  13. 12
    Susan — January 31, 2010 10:39 pm

    They look delicious. I’ll definitely try them out sometime soon!

  14. 13
    Natalie (The Sweets Life) — February 1, 2010 1:58 pm

    wow, i cannot wait to try these! pretzels have been on my to-make list for awhile and yours are gorgeous!

  15. 14
    Chiot's Run — February 7, 2010 9:39 am

    I’m making these for the Superbowl tonight – yum yum. I’ve made sourdough pretzels before. These with the hot dogs sound like perfect game day food! Can’t wait!

  16. 15
    CaSaundra — February 10, 2010 10:36 am

    These would be so good alone or with various dips! I bet using spicy sausages would be amazing too!

  17. 16
    Rebecca — February 23, 2010 5:03 pm

    What if you don’t have a stand mixer? Will handheld beaters work as well? This recipe sounds amazing and I hope to make it tomorrow night if the handheld mixer works!

  18. 17
    Andy — February 24, 2010 10:37 am

    I’ve made Alton’s pretzels several times. Halving the dough portions for double the pretzels seems to provide a crispier skin and of course, more goodies. Also, if you plan to use sea salt or pretzel salt, be sure to sift in a strainer, as my first batches came out way too salty due to “salt dust”. Love the doggie twist, keep up the good work!!!!!

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  20. 18
    JoPi — March 14, 2010 5:41 pm

    While making any dough using yeast, never, never add the salt with the dissolved yeast until you have already added a portion of the flour to the yeast mixture. SALT WILL KILL THE YEAST and your dough WILL NOT RISE.

    • kate replied: — March 14th, 2010 5:59 pm

      JoPi — I had heard that about salt potentially killing the yeast and was nervous about following Alton’s instructions. I don’t know how Mr. Brown knows these things but this dough came out beautifully, even with the salt added at the beginning. The dough certainly doubled in size and had a perfect texture and flavor after cooking. If you are nervous about it, just add the salt in with the flour.

  21. 19
    brittany — March 25, 2010 2:45 pm

    Can you use a hand mixer if you do not have a stand mixer?

    • kate replied: — March 25th, 2010 6:57 pm

      Brittany — If your hand mixer has a dough hook attachment (mine does), that would be perfectly fine. However, I don’t think that using a regular beater would achieve the right result, since the dough hook is essentially kneading the dough (rather than beating it).

  22. 20
    tommy — May 5, 2010 11:23 am

    Just wanted to say I enjoyed the site. You have really put a lot of time into your content and it is just wonderfull!

  23. 21
    Jennifer — May 7, 2010 1:04 pm

    I made these last week and am going to make them again. The recipe is pretty forgiving, I didn’t have enough regular flour (I was hungry when I saw this recipe and decided to make a double batch) and so I subbed 1 cup rye flour and they still turned out beautiful (and scrumptious).

    This is a great recipe for kids to help with. My son rolled the dough around the hot dogs, helped me boil the pretzels and brushed the tops with egg and then sprinkled on the salt. I made beer cheese dip to go with these, but I think I will look around for a mustard dip this time.

    Thanks for the amazing recipe! I can make pretzels, AT HOME, wahoo!

  24. 22
    Kim — May 11, 2010 6:39 pm

    My boyfriend loves going to Auntie Anne’s to get their pretzel dog and these blow them away. I’ve made these a few times and it’s so easy. Waiting for the dough to rise is the toughest part. The key is definitely boiling them in baking soda and water. Really makes a difference. Thanks for the recipe we love them!

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  26. 23
    richard — February 20, 2011 6:28 am

    Love it, very imaginative website. If you are ever in California and/or coming to Tassajara, look me up, I’m the baker there. Would love to talk all things food with you. Thanks so much….Richard

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  29. 24
    Jaspenelle — June 2, 2011 2:24 pm

    Tested these today and they came out beautifully! Going to make a big batch for my son’s third birthday this Saturday. Thank you so much for sharing!

  30. 25
    MamaJessie — June 30, 2011 2:17 pm

    Made these a couple weeks ago and it was much easier than I thought they would be. I am making them again this weekend for my son’s birthday. Thanks for sharing!

  31. 26
    DeedlesDish — July 25, 2011 5:36 pm

    Love this recipe! I am not ashamed to admit that I love hot dogs and pretzels only make it better. Thanks for the idea!

  32. 27
    Paula — September 16, 2011 2:18 pm

    Can these pretzel dogs be made a day or two ahead of time and keep?

    • kate replied: — September 16th, 2011 6:42 pm

      Paula — I’ve only ever made these on the day they were going to be eaten so I’m not sure how they will keep. I imagine they would probably be fine for a day or two if stored in an airtight container and then reheated in the oven. Report back if you decide to give it a try!

  33. 28
    Tipling — October 8, 2011 4:52 pm

    Has anyone tried storing these yet? I made them this morning but won’t be eating them until this evening and since it has meat in it (the hot dog) don’t they need to go into the fridge? But if you put pretzels in the fridge they get soggy. What to do?

    Thank you in advance!

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  35. 29
    Nikki — November 14, 2011 5:43 am

    I wonder if these would freeze well? hmmm….

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