Pretzel Cocktail Buns

It’s finally football season!

These pretzel cocktail buns are the perfect slider for tailgating! |

Now, I know many of you aren’t big football fans {I am.  HUGE.  Like, I kinda go crazy during football season huge.}, but I have a feeling that even if you aren’t a fan of football…you might be a fan of football food.

I mean, who’s not a fan of football food? 😉

We’re football season ticket holders at my alma mater, and we tailgate with a giant group of people before every game.  It’s sort of a special place for the Tall Boy and me, because it was at that very tailgate that we met eleven years ago.  ♥

It is a 2 hour drive for us each weekend, plus a hefty walk down College Avenue to get to the stadium.  That being said, our contribution to the tailgate spread needs to be something easy to carry, and doesn’t require a cooler {note to self: taking monster cookies to a game in 102-degree weather not recommended}.

This weekend, we’re taking these pretzel cocktail buns.

These pretzel cocktail buns are the perfect slider for tailgating! |

These little buns are the perfect vessel for piling on basically anything your heart desires – our tailgates usually boast stacks and stacks of deli meats and cheeses, but also smoked meats that are pretty much the bomb.  It’s a smorgasbord to Heaven, basically.

Also?  Snarfing down lunch/dinner/halftime snacks that you can hold in one hand leaves the other hand free for an icy cold beverage.  Did I mention that first game when it was 102 degrees?

It takes a true fan to sit out in that mess.

These pretzel cocktail buns are the perfect slider for tailgating! |

These pretzel cocktail buns got the double-thumbs up from Doodle.  He also loves my jalapeño popper pretzel bites, which are especially perfect for game-watching at home.  What’s your favorite football food?

Pretzel Cocktail Buns
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2½ to 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1¼ teaspoons sea salt
  • 3 cups hot water
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • coarse salt, for sprinkling
  1. Heat and stir milk, ¼ cup water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, until the liquid reaches 110 to 115 degrees. Remove from heat and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the packet of yeast over the top and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes, or until foamy.
  2. Add 2½ cups of flour, the butter and the salt. Beat on low speed with the hook attachment to combine, about 5 minutes. Turn speed to medium-high and mix for an addition 8 to 10 minutes, or until a soft dough forms. If the dough is sticky, you may add in additional flour - I used about another ½ cup. You'll want the dough to be slightly sticky, but able to pull away from the sides of your bowl easily.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a dry surface and knead a few times. Shape dough into a ball. Place dough into a greased bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Punch dough down. Turn out onto a dry surface and divide into 12 equal portions - roll each into a smooth ball. Mine were about golf ball size. Place dough balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Cover an let rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 425. In a deep pot, combine hot water and baking soda. Drop dough balls, one at a time, into the hot water mixture with a slotted spoon. Turn once to make sure the entire surface of the dough ball is covered with the water. Remove balls and blot the bottoms dry with a paper towel. Arrange the balls on your prepared baking sheet, about 1½ inches apart.
  6. Combine egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Brush the tops of the dough balls with the egg wash, then sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the buns turn a deep golden brown.

Recipe from BHG Special Interest Publication|Fall Baking, 2013



  1. Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg

    Oh, my husband would love these! Football fans – yes, football food fans – definitely!
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Jackie Hammond

    These look very yummy and I really like pretzels and bread so it is a good combination of both. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Trish - Mom On Timeout

    These rolls looks so fabulous Ashley! They’d be perfect for any game day celebration – pinned!

  4. Jocelyn @ BruCrew Life

    I am definitely with you on the football food! Not so much the football 😉 These buns are awwwwwesome!!! I need them in my life!!

    • Ashley

      Thanks, Jocelyn. We loved these little rolls, and they were a fun switch-up!

  5. Amy | Club Narwhal

    Ashley, these are GORGEOUS!!! And while I am not a mega football fan, I am a fan of any food that graces a tailgating party and these sound phenomenal. Plus, pretzel roll? It is pure perfection. I bet these taste great with spicy mustard and roast beef 🙂
    Amy | Club Narwhal recently posted..PAELLA PRIMAVERA | GUEST POST BY SPICED CURIOSITYMy Profile

    • Ashley

      Thanks, Amy. And YES, these would be awesome with spicy mustard and roast beef – yum!

  6. Kristy

    On the recommendation of EmilyStyle blogspot, I made these Xmas eve for Turkey sliders. They had a great yeasty butter flavory. Some notes on my experience:

    golf ball -size is the operative word, these rise and spread during the 30 minute rise after the buns are formed. The small size bakes faster and browns nicely, any bigger and they are good, but hamburger bun size

    i adjusted the salt a little. These are “pretzel” buns so they are salty and the addition on cold cuts or whatever filling for instance will add to the salt, I also used a good sea salt, table salt can impart a bitter taste, so the addition of a decent salt is key.

    mIne took longer than 10 minutes to bake., but my oven is not great. I kept them in the oven until they were a deep brown. It’s a moist dough so a good browning didn’t over-bake them. Enjoy and thanks for the recipe, Ashley!

  7. Gina

    The pretzels cocktail buns were delicious and fun to make. Thank you



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