One of my favorite things to decorate and give away at the holidays is dipped pretzel rods. They’re easy, relatively inexpensive, and universally loved by kids and adults alike. One of the greatest things is that you can customize them according to tastes and holidays–in October, I made dark chocolate/white chocolate magic wands dipped in colored sprinkles. For this go-around, I was inspired by everyone’s caramel apple suggestions and REALLY wanted to do caramel, white chocolate, and cinnamon sugar for the pretzels. Here is what I discovered:

1) Tasty as homemade caramel is, it’s too thick, rich, and chewy to work on pretzels. You wind up with a mouthful of stickiness that’s too hard to eat. Just buy a bag of Kraft caramels and don’t beat yourself up about it. Also, homemade caramel is too thick on the pretzels. And they kept snapping in half after the caramel hardened. It just did not work for me on so many levels.
2) The cinnamon sugar, while great in theory, was too sweet on the pretzels. Also, it wasn’t very pretty. I’ve toyed with the idea of mixing cinnamon (no sugar) in with the white chocolate before drizzling it on the pretzels. Someone do me a favor and try that and let me know how it goes! :)
3) You can do this however the heck you want. Try caramel. Chocolate. White chocolate. Sprinkles. Crushed candy canes. Get creative and festive and have fun!
This isn’t so much a recipe as it is an idea, so I’ll just give you some helpful tips I’ve discovered along the way.
Walmart pretzel rods are the worst. I guarantee, at least 1/2 the bag will be broken when you buy it. Rold Gold pretzels look pretty in the bag, but the snappage factor is pretty high. I actually have found that Kroger pretzels are perfect for dipping! Who knew…
–If dipping in chocolate, melt 1 c. chocolate chips (or white chocolate chips) with 1-2 tsp. SHORTENING or vegetable oil (never, ever butter or olive oil; it will end in disaster) in the microwave, stirring at 30 second intervals. For drizzling, dip a fork in melted chocolate and drizzle as desired. Almond bark and Chocolate bark works great too.
–Keep the layers thin. It’s tempting to load those puppies up, but pretzels are pretty fragile and you still want to be able to taste the pretzel underneath everything else.
–You want to dip the base layer about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way down the pretzel. To make any dipping easy, you can either melt the chocolate (or caramel…or whatever) on the stove top and transfer it to a mug or just melt it directly in the mug in the microwave. Then you can hold the pretzel in one hand and the mug handle in the other and maneuver it however you need to to coat the pretzel.–After dipping, allow the excess to drip back into the mug. You can also roll the pretzel rod between your hands to spin the excess back into the mug.

–After dipping or decorating each layer, you don’t want to ruin your pretty creation, so you can either allow them to harden with each end of the pretzel on a wide-mouthed bowl or you can use a cooling rack. Just be sure and spray whatever you use with non-stick cooking spray.

–Try to be patient and let the layers cool completely before dipping or drizzling. This is especially important if you’re using two different kinds of chocolate. Otherwise, they’ll melt right into each other and that ain’t pretty.

After these had completely hardened, I placed them in cellophane treat bags and tied each one with holiday ribbon (9″ of ribbon each, if you’re super curious) and delivered the lot in a holiday gift bag.


You can get creative for just about any holiday- like Halloween!

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66comments

  1. 1
    Anne says:

    Those look so pretty and I think my kids would love to make them with me!

    • 1.1
      Danni K~Scholz says:

      I absolutely love this and it gave me an idea, u could do this for any holiday….. For example, valentines day…. White choc dipped with red decor or Easter ……. White choc dipped with pastel colored choc drizzled on…. Possibilities are endless…. Thanks for posting ; }

  2. 2
    Amber says:

    My husband and I do hundreds (literally!) of these every year. We give them to friends/neighbors/coworkers/church friends you name it… We actually buy our rods from Sams club, they have smaller rods, about 8″ long. and they never break, and they fit inside a regular size cello bag. We buy Peter’s Caramel in the 5lb block and melt it as we go. Can you imagine unwrapping 5lbs of Kraft!! We toast pecans, and after we dip the rods in the caramel, we roll them in the chopped, toasted nuts. After we dip it all in chocolate for a turtle pretzel. I just bought my supplies this week, so we’ll be making them soon. I’ll post on my blog when everything is done. They really are a hit! Great timing for this post. I’m going to try your peppermint brownies this weekend!

  3. 3
    LollyChops says:

    This is an amazing idea! I am def going to have to do this for the folks at work. They are all eataholics.. so it will go over well!

  4. 4
    Jennifer says:

    Nice! I’ve done rice krispy treats dipped in white chocolate before…that’s a huge hit!

  5. 5
    The Wilkes Week says:

    Yum, yum, yum! These look wonderful! Wish I was your neighbor! Those caramel bits were a brillant idea! I just wish they were easier to find where I live. One of my blog readers shared with me that you cna order them in bulk from Amazon! Love them – make things so much easier.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. 6
    Sharon says:

    Wow, thanks for sharing such a lovely treat! And great tips – definitely will keep those in mind.

    It looks scrumptious and so pretty!

  7. 7
    Derek and Mary says:

    I’ve never dipped them myself but I LOVE to eat them! I’m looking for a bunch of things to put together for our neighbors and I think this is going to be one of them! Thanks!!

  8. 8
    Patti says:

    Our sales rep JUST came into the office and brought chocolate-dipped pretzels. I had mine finished before she left, and I was thinking about stealing my husband’s pretzel, but I guess that would be wrong. Now that you’ve posted this, I can go make more my own self!

  9. 9
    HoneyB says:

    I want some! I should try this!

  10. 10
    Sara says:

    Yum! This is bringing back memories of college when one of my roommates would make these by the hundreds and then hide them. Then the rest of us would find them and sneak into them every day. Hahaha.

    LOVE the polka-dot ribbon too, so cute!

    Oh, and I mix cinnamon into my white chocolate or almond bark before drizzling on cinnamon caramel corn, so I bet it would be awesome on these!

  11. 11
    Adriann says:

    Those look great! And probably much easier to chew than the homemade carmel ones. Thanks for trying them out on me though – they were still delicious!

  12. 12
    About Ours Good One Home says:

    Ahhh, Kate. How am I going to fit into my jeans with you and Sara around? Someone showed my how to take caramel and roll it into a “snake” shape, then twirl it around and around the pretzel (sort of like a ringlet surrounding the pretzel,start at the top, work down, words escape me) before dipping it in the chocolate.

  13. 13
    Kelly says:

    This came at the most perfect time. I am planning on making these next week and you answered my questions. Thanks so much!

  14. 14
    Shannon says:

    I have made these and they are super easy and look super good! I have used Snyders brand of pretzels and they did the job. Also I have dipped them in chocolate and rolled them in crushed candy bars. I had forgotten about these. Thanks for the reminder.

    By the way I did your orange roll filling and glaze with my own roll recipe and it was the hit of Thanksgiving. Thanks for earning me the title “roll making guru.”

  15. 15
    Ben and Angela says:

    I do love a good pretzel dipped in white chocolate and sprinkles, makes my holidays bright. Thanks for all your ideas ladies.

  16. 16
    lesley says:

    Aw, you guys make it so hard to decide what to make! I just want to try everything. I have cookie dough chilling in the fridge right now. I can’t wait to try the brownies, popcorn, pretzel rods, and many, many others. Keep them coming!

  17. 17
    Malesa says:

    mmmmm. Those look good.

  18. 18
    Stephanie says:

    Mmmm, these look yummy! I also want to try some with dark chocolate and peppermint (crushed candy canes). Your packaging looks wonderful!

  19. 19
    Christina says:

    I’ve never made them, but I always eat them! Very cute wrapping!

  20. 20
    HoneyB says:

    I bought pretzel rods tonight on my way home after seeing this – I HAVE to make them!

  21. 21
    Aggie says:

    Oh your pretzels look fantastic! I’m actually making some tomorrow for my son’s class and a party this weekend…they are the best and you can do so much to make them festive! Love your packaging!

    Thanks for the add on Foodbuzz!

  22. 22
    Mikki says:

    Hey….I love pretzels. I really love the gold rush ones that I would buy at the chocolate factory there in Boise. They were by far my favorite….homemade caramel and all the nuts and goodies….YUMMY!!!

    I will have to give these a try

  23. 23
    Raquel says:

    Great tips, thank you! I made these today with my daughter for the first time and she loved them! We even found “pretzel bags” at our local craft store, by Wilton (company that makes all the cake/candy supplies). 20 bags for like $2.50.

  24. 24
    olivia's mommy says:

    hey ladies! if anyone is around checking this old post i have a question!

    how far in advance do you think you could make these? if i did them and packaged them in the cellophane bags i'm thinking a couple weeks right?

    thanks!
    Sara

  25. 25
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Sara–I'd probably say 1 week, maybe 2 tops, just because the "handle" of the pretzel might start getting stale.

    Hope that helps! :)

  26. 26
    olivia's mommy says:

    you're the best! thanks!!

  27. 27
    David says:

    I have made these for a few years as well and you know what makes it prettier? Use a squeeze bottle (like the ones for dying hair?), put the melted chocolate in that & then drizzle that over the dark chocolate. Using a fork to drizzle sometimes clumps, the bottle helps keep it consistent. Also, don't use caramels…you can buy a brick of caramel that is used for wrapping around pretzel rods. I twist that around the rod, then dip the chocolate. It makes it super yummy with the thick twist of caramel. Also, using the mercken milk choc wafers (buy them at a bulk store) are a lot tastier & you don't have to use shortening with it. It melts really nicely & they come in all kinds of colours!

  28. 28
    AJ says:

    please please- I have not been able to get white chocolate chips to melt for me! I would love to make these with white choc chips, but can't! Doesn't adding shortening or oil like you mentioned keep it from hardening again?

  29. 29
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    AJ–Nah, oil or shortening just makes it melt and drizzle smoothly, but it will get nice and solid after a little while. In fact, that's all almond bark is–white chocolate with oil or shortening added to it to help it melt.

    Hope that helps! :)

  30. 30
    AJ says:

    thanks so much! I will give a go again today! :)

  31. 31
    Amber says:

    These were perfect to add to a Christmas package. Thanks so much for the idea!!! :)

  32. 32
    McKinna says:

    I'm making these this weekend for my son's birthday! My 1st time trying the caramel- hopefully it turns out! I definatly bought the Kraft ones as well… one less step in the kitchen!!

  33. 33
    KickButtMommy says:

    I get my pretzel rods at Staples of all places! They sell them in the office snack section in a big tub. MUCH cheaper and fewer broken ones!

  34. 34
    Diana Sibley says:

    I have found a wonderful way of cooling my hand dipped pretzels and it will give you the ability to dipped up to 60 at a time. I use a funnel to punch about 60 hole half way through the block of white Styrofoam.Press each pretzel into a hole and the pretzels will cool standing up.

  35. 35
    Paula says:

    I tried caramel (Brach's) and then chocolate. The caramel part is really hard; too hard I think to send to preschool tomorrow for a snack. The candies were soft but I might have put too much on? It was my first attempt. Also, the little one and I were looking for something to hold the pretzels upright to dry. Guess what? The plastic mold for popsicles worked great!

  36. 36
    Debra says:

    I had a horrible time using caramels (Kraft). Delicious, but it was so gooey it never really got solid again. It sort of slid off the pretzel and just a pooled around the pretzel rod. A total mess. Delicious, but a total mess. Any suggestions?

  37. 37

    If you want to do homemade caramel, I have a great caramel recipe that is really chewy and wonderful for pretzel sticks and caramel apples. The trick is to take it off the heat at the early softball stage! If you are interested, you can visit my blog at http://thezauggblaugg.blogspot.com/2011/03/delicious-chewy-caramel.html!

  38. 38
    Tali says:

    Fabulous post! Hey, how long will these stay fresh? I am hosting a party on Tuesday and want to make these as far out as possible.

  39. 39
    Eva says:

    wow! this is great! how long do they take to dry?? (on the first dip) i want to do this with my children at sunday school at church! except we have a time limit…

    • 39.1

      Hi, Eva! You know, it really depends on so many factors, but if you have a fridge/freezer handy at church, you can pop these bad boys in there and they’ll be solid within a few minutes.

      Hope that helps!

  40. 40
    Annette says:

    Hi Kate & Sara – I made some of these last night and wanted to use white chocolate to drizzle over the milk chocolate. Three batches – no luck. I tried melting about 1/2 C. at a time, added a little oil, microwaved in short 15 seconds intervals at 50% power and all 3 batches didn’t get any thinner than a thick frosting. I used the Nestle’ brand chips. Also, I put all the rods I made into freezer bags just to keep them fresh and the undipped ends tasted a little stale today (the following day). Help?! Thank you. P.S. LOVE your blog!

  41. 41
    Christy says:

    I want to do these for party favors. Where did you get the cello bags? Are they sealed at the bottom?

    • 41.1

      Hi, Christy! Really, you can find them anywhere–check out the cake decorating sections of Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, etc. And yes, the bags are sealed at the bottom. :)

  42. 42
    Natalie says:

    Try adding a few drops of cinnamon oil (the stuff used to flavor candy like suckers) to your melted white chocolate. It tastes amazing!

  43. 43
    Heidi says:

    I have a question… If I wanted to do this at a party and allow the kiddos to decorate them as they wish, could I keep the chocolate melted in a crock pot? Has anyone tried this? I would love any tips or suggestions!

  44. 44
    Marie Lewis says:

    DO NOT use wax paper for melted caramel….

  45. 45
    Glenda says:

    Thanks for the step by step instructions and the information on what you already know won’t work. Have you ever used the red sugar sprinkles over the white chocolate?

  46. 46
    Melanie H says:

    I am wondering if the caramel recipe from your gourmet caramel apples would work well with the pretzel rods.

  47. 47
    julie says:

    any ideas for decorating the rods for wedding favors? Colors are navy and pink.

  48. 48
    Yani says:

    I love this creation its so cute and good for every ocation

  49. 49
    Donna A says:

    Awesome advise , I’m doing graduation party favors “Class of 2012″ decorated on each rod in anvertical format , wrapped and tied with ribbon in school colors.

  50. 50

    The last pic’s very cute! I’ll try to make something like that for my sister’s kids :)

  51. 51
    Katie Garner says:

    These look tasty! When do you add the sprinkles…it seems you’d have to do it before the chocolate hardened.

  52. 52
    Susan says:

    Mine ended in disaster! I used vegetable oil instead of shortening. It didn’t even melt right. The chocolate ended up burning!

    so disapointed!

  53. 53

    does someone have any idea how many rods are inside of one kroger package?

    • 53.1
      grace says:

      As with most packaged items, you take the number of items in each serving, (Kroger rods are 2.5 rods per serving), times the number of servings in a bag, (Kroger has “about 12″ servings per bag).

      That means there are about 30 pretzels in each bag, though you’ll likely have some broken ones.

  54. 54

    [...] Fun and easy to make pretzel rods. They will for sure be the first to go from your table. Click for directions and recipe ideas from  Our Best Bite  [...]

  55. 55
    Melissa says:

    Thank you, this is just what I’ve been looking for! Never dipped pretzel rods before and this sounds like an easy way to do it :)

  56. 56
    Julie Thompson says:

    Has anyone mailed pretzel rods before?

  57. 57
    Nancy DeLuca says:

    Where do you find the cellophane bags?

  58. 58
    sherry butcher says:

    This is so good too. I will fix some of this using your ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  59. 59
    JenH says:

    I have to second the vote for the Sams Club pretzels. You can get a barrel of Utz’s rods (finger length sized, perfect for dipping!) and there’s a gazillion in there. Virtually zero breakage. I use Kroger vanilla candy melts and put it in a Mason jar to dip. Easy to reheat/seal up and leftovers. This is a great party snack for kids at schools that are egg and nut free. I’ve seen some fun ideas to make them into snowmen by adding gummy scarves and chip eyes etc. I’m not that talented, however :)

  60. 60
    Laurie says:

    First time at making dipped pretzel rods. when dipping in caramel,do I let it harden before dipping into the chocolate,then harden and drizzle or sprinkle,etc.

  61. 61
    Fran says:

    Where can I find step by step instructions for the bloke sprinkled pretzels you show for a boy baby shower. I’ve looked everywhere

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