Sourdough Pretzels: A Healthier Snacking Option | Tasty Alternatives

Hi All!   While I’ve been a huge fan of pretzels and don’t eat them often…..I know many others do (including my son) as he will order a soft pretzel at a restaurant more often than not. Admittedly, when done well its hard not to like them.   But let’s be honest, pretzels might not be top the list when we’re talking about health foods. As with many things, it’s all about moderation and balance. Life’s too short to miss out on the foods we love!


That said, as a website dedicated to health and wellness, I’m always on the lookout for ways to make our favorite treats just a little bit healthier. And that’s where sourdough pretzels come into the picture. “Sourdough pretzels?” you might ask. “What’s so special about them?” Well, here is a brief break down.


The magic begins with the sourdough. Unlike regular dough, sourdough goes through a fermentation process, which gives it a unique tangy flavor and some impressive nutritional advantages.


For starters, this fermentation process helps to break down the starches in the flour. This can result in sourdough pretzels having a lower glycemic index than regular pretzels. Translation? They’re less likely to cause a rapid spike in your blood sugar levels. A definite plus if you’re trying to keep your blood sugar in check!


What’s more, the sourdough fermentation process also breaks down phytic acid, a naturally occurring substance in grains that can interfere with our bodies’ ability to absorb the minerals in our food. So, by opting for sourdough, you could be improving your mineral absorption.


And let’s not forget the ingredients. Sourdough pretzels often have fewer additives and preservatives than many regular pretzels on the market. When you reach for a sourdough pretzel, you’re reaching for a cleaner, more natural snack.


Then there’s the taste. That unique, tangy flavor of sourdough? It’s a game-changer, making your snack time even more satisfying. And when you’re satisfied, you’re less likely to overeat.


So, there you have it. While pretzels might not be the pinnacle of health foods, choosing sourdough pretzels over regular pretzels can give you a snack that’s lower in sugar, better for mineral absorption, made with simpler ingredients, and delicious to boot.


Remember, it’s all about balance. Enjoy your sourdough pretzels as part of a varied, nutrient-rich diet, and remember to savor each and every bite. After all, that’s what eating well is really all about. Happy snacking!


Note:  I find making pretzel bites much easier to make and snack on so the recipe below outlines that.  However, you can easily roll out the dough and make into the standard pretzel shape if that is of interest.  

Delicious Sourdough Pretzel Bites

Sourdough soft pretzel bites made using a mature and active starter.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword pretzel, sourdough
Author Dave


  • Brod & Taylor Proofer optional


  • 240 g active sourdough starter ~1 cup
  • 1 1/4 cup warm milk ~110 degrees F
  • 1 TBS light brown sugar
  • 540 g all-purpose flour 4.5 cups
  • 10 g sea salt
  • 4 TBS unsalted butter


Making the Pretzel Dough:

  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sourdough starter, warm milk, and brown sugar. Stir until everything is well combined. The sourdough starter should be fully dissolved into the mixture.
  • Add in the flour, salt, and melted butter. If you're using a stand mixer, use the dough hook attachment and mix on a low speed until all the flour is incorporated. If you're mixing by hand, use a sturdy spatula or your hands to mix until a shaggy dough forms.
  • Once all the flour is incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium and knead for about 5 minutes, or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic, and slightly tacky to the touch.
  • Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. (I used my Brod & Taylor Proofer here but you can put on counter or in your oven with light turned on. Allow it to rise at room temperature (preferably 78 degrees) for about 2-4 hours, or until it has approximately doubled in size.
  • At this stage if you don't have the time to shape, boil and bake the pretzels you can put them in the refrigerator covered for a few hours.
    Ideally, you don't want to wait too long or they might overproof. Make sure to allow the dough to come to room temperature before proceeding to the next steps

Shaping the Pretzel bits:

  • After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 4 equal pieces.
  • Roll each piece into a long rope, about 1 inch in diameter. Then cut the dough rope into ~1 inch long pieces. Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
  • Let the shaped pretzels rest for about 15 minutes. During this time, preheat your oven to 450°F (232°C) and prepare the pretzel bath.

Preparing the Pretzel Bath:

  • In a large pot, bring the water and the baking soda (~3 TBS) to a boil.
    Carefully lower the pretzel bites into the boiling water, one by one, using a slotted spoon or spatula. Boil for about 1.5 minutes making sure to flip them over frequently to boil evenly.
  • Then, carefully lift them out of the water with a slotted spoon, shaking out excess water, drain well, and place them back onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Baking the Pretzels:

  • Sprinkle the boiled pretzel bites with coarse sea salt while they're still wet. This will help the salt stick to the pretzels.
  • Bake the pretzels in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until they're deeply golden brown.
  • Once the pretzels are baked, remove them from the oven and while still hot, brush them with the melted butter.
    Enjoy your homemade sourdough pretzels!
    sourdough pretzel bites