Cinnamon Bun Soft Pretzels – Soft pretzels are baked, dipped in cinnamon sugar, and drizzled with a cream cheese icing. Extra cream cheese icing is the perfect dipping sauce!
I’ll never forget my first cinnamon sugar soft pretzel – it was at the mall and my grandma ordered a couple for all of us to share. She was equally obsessed with them as I was. I mean, twisted dough that’s sweet, chewy, and a little salty- what’s not to like?!
My husband is a cinnamon sugar fanatic (and it turns out my kids are headed in that direction) so I had to make my own version of these at home. I tested them out a couple ways and found that baking them was my favorite. Boiling them before baking wasn’t necessary and I found that it made the saltier, which I didn’t necessarily want for a sweet pretzel.
To make these cinnamon sugar soft pretzels even more special, I added a drizzle of cream cheese icing. We’re biiiig cream cheese icing fans over here so this was a welcomed addition. Plus, we used the extra icing for dipping.
Without further ado, here are my Cinnamon Bun Soft Pretzels!
Making these pretzels
Soft pretzels are a lot simpler to make that you’d imagine. If you’ve made a yeast dough before, you can handle this dough without issues. The only extra step that you’ll need to practice is twisting the pretzels. After twisting a couple, you’ll get the hang of it. You can even watch a YouTube video of it to see it in action.
Making the dough
This dough is made with typical yeast dough ingredients – flour, yeast, water, oil, salt, and a little sugar. It’s kneaded for 5 minutes to develop the gluten a little and then left to rise for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
Forming the pretzels
After the dough has risen, it’s punched down and rolled into a 12×6 rectangle. The rectangle is sliced into 12 even strips. Each strip is rolled to about 22 inches long and then twisted into a pretzel. To do this, I form the strip of dough into a U. Then I twist the two ends together at the top and then fold them over to seal to the bottom of the U.
The pretzels get placed on baking sheets and covered with damp towels to rise for another 20 minutes.
Baking and sugaring the pretzels
The pretzels are brushed with melted butter on top and baked in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the tops start browning. Remove them from the oven to cool for about 5 minutes.
The pretzels are brushed with more butter on top and dipped, top side down, into cinnamon sugar.
Cream cheese icing
Finally, the pretzels get drizzled with cream cheese icing. This icing is almost equal parts butter and cream cheese. Then, powdered sugar is added in, with a pinch of salt and vanilla extract. Milk or half and half can be used to thin it out, if too thick.
The finished icing is drizzled over the pretzels, with extra icing kept for dipping.
Tips and Tricks
- Forming the pretzels. If you’ve never seen a soft pretzel made before, it might be initimating to make them for yourself at home. There’s no shame in looking up YouTube videos to help visualize the process. I do it all the time for new recipes.
- Icing consistency. You want the icing to be thick but pourable, similar to pancake batter. If it’s too thick, add a little cream or milk to thin it out. If too thin, add more sugar to thicken it up.
Cinnamon Bun Soft Pretzels
For the cinnamon bun pretzels:
- 1½ cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 packet instant yeast
- 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 tablespoons butter melted, divided
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the cream cheese icing:
- 3 ounces cream cheese softened
- 4 tablespoons butter unsalted, melted
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon half and half
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
For the pretzels:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add warm water, brown sugar, yeast, and canola oil. Use a dough hook to combine. Once combined, let stand for 3 minutes to foam up a little.
- In a separate bowl, whisk flour and salt together. With the mixer on low, add in flour mixture. Mix until dough comes together and then increase speed to medium. Knead for 5 minutes. Remove from bowl and place in a clean, greased bowl. Cover with a damp towel and leave in draft-free spot to rise for 90 minutes.
- Prepare two baking sheets by lining with parchment paper. Punch down dough and turn out onto clean counter. Roll into a 12×6 rectangle, with the long side parallel to the counter's edge. Cut rectangle into 12 even strips. Grabbing one strip, use your hands to length and roll into a 22 inch strip. Then form strip into U. Twist the two ends at the top two times and then fold down to attach the ends to the bottom of the U, forming the pretzel. Press down dough to seal it into place. Place formed pretzel on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the other 11 strips of dough.
- Cover baking sheets of pretzels with damp towels and let rise until puffy, about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Once rise, remove damp towels from baking sheets. Brush pretzels with a little melted butter and place into oven until slightly golden on top, about 18 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl until combined. Brush tops of pretzels with more melted butter and then dip into cinnamon sugar, butter side down. Set aside to set while you make the icing.
For the icing:
- Whisk all ingredients in a spouted bowl or measuring cup until smooth. Drizzle over the pretzels. Serve extra as a dipping sauce.