Ham and Cheddar Pretzel Bites with Honey Jalapeño Mustard

As soon as I read the tantalizing description of these bites in the “Gourmet” I rushed into the kitchen to make them. And I am glad I did!

The recipe is adapted from Edward Lee

Makes 4 dozen bites


  • 1 1/2 tbsp tsp active dry yeast (Thank you, Sara, for pointing it out and my apologies for the typo)
  • 2 tbsp plus 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110F)
  • 1 cup warm milk (110F)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 oz finely chopped country ham, divided
  • 2 ½ oz finely chopped sharp Cheddar, divided
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • About ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 to 2 tbsp pretzel salt or coarse salt (fleur de sel is great)
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped seeded fresh jalapeños
  • 2 tbsp mild honey


Stir together the yeast, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, and warm water in a large bowl and let stand until foamy, 5 to 8 minutes. (If the mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.) In a separate bowl, stir the remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar into the warm milk until dissolved.

Add the milk mixture and 2 ½ cups flour to the yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms, adding up to 1/2 cup additional flour, a little at a time, if necessary. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead a few times to form a smooth ball. Transfer to a clean and lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free place at warm temperature until doubled and bubbles appear on the surface, about 1 ½-2 hours.
Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 400F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 4 equal pieces. Lightly dust your hands with flour, then gently roll and stretch 1 piece of dough to form a 12-inch-long rope. Flatten the dough and arrange so a long side is the nearest you, then roll out to a roughly 12- by 4-inch rectangle with a lightly floured rolling pin. Gently press one fourth of the ham and cheese into lower third of the rectangle, leaving a 1/2-inch border along the bottom edge. Stretch the bottom edge of dough up over the filling and press tightly to seal, and then roll up as tightly as possible to form a rope. Cut the rope into 12 pieces and transfer to the prepared sheet pan. Make 3 more ropes with the remaining dough, ham, and cheese and cut into pieces, transferring them to the sheet pans. Let rest at room temperature, uncovered, 30 minutes (the dough will rise slightly).

Bring the water (6 cups) to a boil in a 4-to 5-quart saucepan. Reduce the heat and stir in the baking soda. Cook the pretzel bites in batches in the gently simmering water, turning once, until slightly puffed, about 20 seconds. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the sheet pans. Brush with some of the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt and bake in batches until puffed and golden-brown, about 15-17 minutes (the cheese may ooze slightly).

Meanwhile, stir together the mustard, jalapeños, and honey. It also can be done up to a day in advance.

As soon as the pretzels are removed from the oven, brush them again lightly with the remaining olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature with jalapeño mustard for dipping.

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22 Responses to “Ham and Cheddar Pretzel Bites with Honey Jalapeño Mustard”

  1. Fantastic! What a super idea for a party appetizer.

  2. Enjoy your issue of “Gourmet” while you can! November is the last issue :(

  3. what a wonderful combination! Those look fantastic!

    Yes, Gourmet will release their last issue in November.



  4. I LOVE these!!

  5. YUMMM yes please!!! Perfect little snacks!

  6. Holy cow! THOSE look amazing!

  7. You are tantalizing us with these wonderful hors d’oeuvres!

  8. Oh yes, and with the fleur de sel I don’t know what I want to do first, nibble the crusty or dip and bite.

  9. These look so delicious, I’ll definatley be giving them a try for the next pub night :)

  10. Thank you, everybody, very much for the great comments! I really appreciate it.

    It is sad indeed that the Gourmet seizes its publishing. I love the magazine; their food styling is fantastic.

  11. Wow, these look really scrumptious! I love pretzel dough!

  12. I was thinking about making these as well. do you think they hold in the freezer (before baking) okay? i like munchies that i can pop in the oven on weekdays =)

  13. Vera, missed your blog. Have been bad at following my favorites. Your pretzel bites look great!

  14. Okay, that looks good, even the beer.
    Last year you commented regarding the table settings from a charity luncheon. The event just finished again and I just put the first post up if you are interested.

  15. My husband would love these with a Belgium ale! I’d score some brownie points for making these! Thank you!

  16. Thank you, guys, for your comments!

    Jeni, I don’t see why they can’t be frozen before boiling and baking. I would defrost them overnight in the fridge and then let them sit at room temperature for a while as well before boiling.

  17. What a great idea, and sounds incredibly delicious!

  18. Look delicious what a great combination of flavors and testures.

  19. What and awesomely unique flavor combo! Delish :/ :\ :)

  20. Y, Mimi, Ivy, thank you!

  21. You should correct the amount of yeast from Tbsp to teaspoons!

  22. So we tried this, just before a whole bunch of guests arrived. And what a disaster. Well, we left the dough overnight (after it had risen) in the refridgerator.
    It puffed a very tiny bit, and turned slightly golden in the baking powder water. What went wrong???

    Is Sara’s comment about 2 tsp instead of 2tbsp of yeast right??

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