Easy and Cheesy “Cracked Out” Soft Pretzels are filled with cheese, ranch and bacon. This homemade soft pretzel recipe is so fun and delicious and great for beginners!
I am not sure when the combination of bacon, cheese and ranch became known as “crack” in the foodie world, so know I didn’t invent this title. I also know many people take offense to this turn of phrase. Please note that no offense is mean here…we’re just hyperbolizing. Mmkay?
ANYWAY…if you are still reading, I am going to assume you are a crack-y food person. I know I am. Bacon, cheese and ranch is a solid combo. And my guess was that if you took said “Crack” and stuffed it inside a homemade pretzel…well the heavens would open and I would be given a special place inside the Holy Gates.
Before we go any further, let me just preface this recipe with yes, there are a few steps, and yes, yeast is involved, but it’s all easy. And the beauty of this recipe (which is perfect for Game Day) is that you can make these WAY in advance, freeze them and then pop them in the oven completely frozen for a few minutes and boom! Warm, cheesy pretzels whenever you want them. It’s a pretty epic idea.
The deal with the process I am going to walk you through today is a not traditional. Generally with pretzels you will dip them into a baking soda and boiling water bath. I get that is the classic method, but today my goal was to get through the process faster. Less time making, means faster eating.
I made the dough with Quick Rise Yeast, which is the best. It only rests for 10 minutes. During this time I made the filling…because that’s why we’re all here, yes?
The filling is simple…it’s cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon and ranch seasoning. I specifically used Challenge Dairy Cream Cheese in this recipe, as it’s especially creamy and delicious. It’s farm to fridge in 24 hours (seriously), with zero growth hormones. So let’s just say it’s pretty fresh! Challenge is the only dairy company that controls the entire process, beginning with the milk. I have been devoted to their products for years.
After 10 minutes of rest time, divide the dough into 8 equal part and roll them into long ropes. Flatten the dough ropes and using a zip-top (or piping bag) squeeze your filling onto the dough!
Just pinch the sides of the dough closed, sealing up all the filling and form your ropes into pretzels!
Brush them lightly with an egg wash (to make them pretty) and bake for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, pull them out, brush on more egg wash and sprinkle on some extra cheese!
Pop them back in the oven for another 15 and here’s what you will have…these are seriously as pretty as they are delicious.
Knowing that they are filled with more cheesy goodness is the cherry on top!
My kids went crazy for these! This recipe yields large pretzels, perfect for Game Day Snacks, sharing with a friend, or even a quick lunch on the go!Print
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 envelope Quick Rise (Rapid Rise) Yeast
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons Canola (or vegetable) oil
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 8 ounces Challenge Cream Cheese, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon dry ranch seasoning
- 2 heaping tablespoons real bacon bits
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided
- In the bowl of your stand mixer stir together 3 cups of flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.
- In a separate microwave-safe bowl combine the milk, water and oil. Heat in 30 second increments until the mixture is very warm (between 120°-130°F). Pour this into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky. Attach the dough hook to the mixer and mix on medium speed for 4 minutes until the dough is elastic. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, create your filling by combining the cream cheese, ranch seasoning, bacon bits and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese by hand or with your mixer and paddle attachment, if you have a clean bowl.
- Transfer this mixture into a heavy duty zip-top bag with the corner cut off, or piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 8, equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 20- inch long rope. Flatten each rope and pipe the cheese mixture into the center of each. Pinch the edges closed tightly and form each rope into a pretzel. Place 4 pretzels on each prepared baking sheet. Cover the pretzels with a clean towel and allow to rise slightly, about 10 minutes.
- Brush each pretzel with the egg. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, brush again with the egg and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
- Continue baking for 15 more minutes or until the pretzels are golden brown.
- Allow to cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature.
To make in advance make and bake the pretzels as directed. Allow the pretzels to cool completely. Place cooled pretzels in an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month.
To reheat place frozen pretzels on a baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 6-8 minutes until warm.
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* I have partnered with Challenge Dairy on this post. Challenge is a brand that I have worked with for many many years and I am happy to use their products in my kitchen. All opinions are my own.