Dipped Pretzel Rods

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!
woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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 🙂

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

  5. 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 🙂

    1. 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.

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

    so disapointed!

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

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

  9. 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.

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

  11. 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?

  12. 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!

    1. Yep, definitely! Especially if you have a warm setting on your crockpot.

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

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

    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. 🙂

  15. 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!

  16. 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…

    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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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?

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. 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!!