If you need the perfect gameday appetizer, this soft pretzel skillet with beer cheese is it!
The ingredients are simple, it doesn’t take very long to make, it’s delicious, and it’s shareable.
And might I add…just look at that bubbling beer cheese.
You can prep this entire skillet ahead of time, bring it to your party, and bake it when you arrive for a sizzling hot skillet appetizer.
The cheese dip in this recipe does use actual beer, but it’s not a ton, so you don’t have to worry about anybody getting intoxicated from this one. But if you’re concerned, or you happen to hate beer, it can easily be omitted and you’ll still have a delicious cheese dip.
How to make this pretzel skillet
The secret to turning these into pretzels is the baking soda bath, which entails simply letting the dough float in boiling water + baking soda before baking them.
The baking soda bath is what gives pretzels their brown color and authentic pretzel flavor. Without it, you’re just making bread!
To make these pretzels, start by mixing all the ingredients together into pretzel dough. I mixed the ingredients up as two separate dough balls, but that is only because I only had smaller bowls on-hand. You can (and likely will) mix it all up together!
Break the dough up into 12 pieces, lightly kneading each in your hands to form them into balls.
I didn’t measure the sizes, so the pretzel bites are not exactly the same. If you want them to be uniform, you can weigh your pretzel dough and divide it up by 12 to make sure they are the same size.
Create your baking soda bath, then drop each dough ball into the bath and allow them to float for 20-30 seconds.
Use a slotted spoon or spatula to be able to easily remove each dough ball without scooping out too much water.
Place each pretzel ball on a baking sheet to allow any excess water to run off.
When I first made this recipe, I added the pretzels directly into the skillet from the baking soda bath, but the extra water in the skillet ended up creating a mess. Allow the pretzel dough to sit before adding to the skillet really helps the final product!
Lightly spray a skillet with nonstick spray, then place the pretzel balls around the perimeter.
The pretzels will fit snuggly, so be sure to press them together to make sure they fit. They’ll expand into each other a bit (like cinnamon rolls) but that is totally fine!
Brush the tops of the pretzels with melted butter, then sprinkle coarse salt on top.
Mix up all the ingredients for your beer cheese, then pour directly into the center of your skillet.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 24 minutes. The baking time can be adjusted as needed, but this has proven to be the perfect amount of time for my preferences.
Allow the pretzel skillet to cool for about 10 minutes, then use a butter knife to carefully separate each pretzel bite. Since this is a shareable skillet, we want the pretzels to easily pull apart!
Ingredients needed for the beer cheese dip
The beauty of this recipe is that you can customize the beer cheese dip to your liking! Feel free to play with the ratios or make substitutions, but here are the specific ingredients I used:
- Laughing Cow Spreadable Pepper Jack Wedges
- I love Laughing Cow cheese wedges because they’re light, creamy, and this particular flavor has a great kick to it. If you don’t have this cheese, it can be swapped out for cream cheese, sour cream, or even Greek yogurt. Obviously, those substitutions will change up the flavor, but they will provide the creaminess we are after.
- Low Fat Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- I use Trader Joe’s Lite Mozzarella, but any mozzarella cheese works great. I don’t recommend fat free mozzarella because it doesn’t melt very well, but any other mozzarella will work.
- Fat-Free Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- I happened to have fat-free cheddar, which worked out great, but any cheddar cheese will work. If you want a more mild flavor, you can also use American cheese here instead.
- Queso Cheese Dip
- Grab a jar of Queso dip from the store and mix that right into your cheese dip! The queso not only adds volume, but is the main contributor to the flavor for this beer cheese dip.
- Pinch of garlic powder
- Beer of choice
- I used a local craft beer for this beer cheese dip. The beer you choose totally depends on your taste preferences, so feel free to experiment. A darker beer (like Guinness) will work best, and I don’t recommend going with a light beer (like Bud Light) because it really won’t contribute much in terms of flavor. Don’t worry, it’s only 2oz of liquid & the alcohol will be baked right out of it in the oven. The small amount of beer helps give the cheese an amazing beer cheese flavor, but it can be left out altogether if needed.
If you follow this recipe exactly as is, I promise you’re going to love this beer cheese! But if you have different taste preferences, you can very easily play around with it and come up with the perfect mixture for you.
More recipes for pretzel lovers
I love pretzels. If you’ve made it this far down the post, it’s clear that you do, too! Here are some other incredible pretzel recipes you need in your life…
- Easy Bavarian Pretzel Recipe (Without Yeast)
- Simple Pretzel Bagels Without Yeast
- Pizza Dough Soft Pretzels
- Soft Pretzel Biscuits
Ingredients for Pretzels
- 240g (2 Cups) Self-Rising Flour - Or the same amount of All-Purpose Flour + 2 tsp Baking Powder & 1/2 tsp Salt
- 300g Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
- 8g (2 tsp) Sugar or Sugar Substitute (or regular sugar)
Baking Soda Bath
- 1/4 cup Baking Soda
- 3 Cups Water
- Pretzel Salt / Coarse Sea Salt
- 14g (1 Tbsp) Melted Light Butter
Ingredients for Beer Cheese
- 28g Light Shredded Mozzarella (or any mozzarella)
- 28g Fat Free Shredded Cheddar (or any cheddar)
- 68g (4 Tbsp) Queso (I use Kroger brand, but Tostitos is comparable)
- 4 Laughing Cow Spicy Pepperjack Cheese Wedges (84g total)
- 1 dash Garlic Powder
- 1/4 cup (2.5oz) Beer of Choice
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, add all of the beer cheese ingredients together. Use an electric hand mixer to fully mix everything together. Set aside.
- Add 3 cups of water to a small pot and put it over medium heat to bring it to a boil. Continue with the directions while that heats up.
- Mix up all of the ingredients for your pretzels in a large bowl until it comes together to form dough.
- Flour a clean surface and transfer your dough onto it, then divide the dough into 12 total pieces. If you want them to be exactly the same size, you can weigh the dough and divide by 12, but I just eyeballed it. Use your hands to lightly knead them into balls.
- Now it’s time for the baking soda bath. Add 1/4 cup of baking soda to a large bowl (it’s important for the bowl to be large because it’s going to bubble up and we don’t want it to spill over) and then pour your boiling water into the bowl. Drop your pretzels in one at a time and let them float for 20 seconds. Remove them with a slotted spoon and add to a baking sheet to allow excess water to run off.
- Generously spray a 10.25″ skillet with nonstick spray and add your dough to the perimeter- mine fit perfectly. If you have a different-sized skillet, they may fit differently.
- Melt one tablespoon of butter to brush the tops of your pretzels, then top with coarse salt. Pour your beer cheese directly into the center, then bake at 400 degrees for 24 minutes.
- Carefully remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Use a butter knife to lightly separate the pretzels a bit to make them easy to pull apart, then dig in!
Nutrition for beer cheese (the entire batch): 375 Calories, 18g Fat, 15g Carbs, 27g Protein
- You can use skillets of varying sizes- mine is 10.25" and the pretzels fit perfectly.
- I found it very important to let the dough balls sit on parchment paper before adding them to the skillet. Adding them directly to the skillet led to them sticking from the excess liquid.
- The nutrition info I listed is based on my specific ingredients- I always advise you to calculate your own, as you'll be using different brands.
- The small amount of sugar in the dough seems to really help the structure of these. If you don't have any sugar substitute, definitely just use some regular sugar. It's only one teaspoon, so it won't add many calories at all!
- You can play with the ratios of the beer cheese as much as you want. The dip ends up being similar to queso in terms of consistency, so you can add more shredded cheese (or less queso) if you want it to be a thicker cheese dip.
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Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1 Pretzel with Beer Cheese
Amount Per Serving Calories 85Total Fat 1gCarbohydrates 16gProtein 4g