Recipe Review

I Tried Making Auntie Anne’s Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites at Home, and It Was So Worth It

updated Mar 4, 2021
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copycat auntie annes pretzels on a plate
Credit: Nicole Rufus

For better or worse, I was one of those pre-teens who lived at the mall. It was the only place my friends and I were allowed to go unchaperoned, so it really represented my first true taste of independence. It didn’t matter to us that we rarely had enough money to buy anything — we just longed for that freedom. Well that, and Auntie Anne’s pretzels.

To this day, I’m a firm believer that no trip to the mall is ever really complete without stopping by Auntie Anne’s. While you can never go wrong with the classic pretzel, I’m partial to the cinnamon sugar bites, which have that signature buttery Auntie Aunt’s scent and are always served piping hot. If there’s one thing I’ve missed about in-person shopping this past year, it’s Auntie Anne’s.

It will likely come as no surprise, then, that I was more than a little excited when I found a copycat pretzel bites recipe on the blog Lil’ Luna, shared by blogger Alicia from The Baker Upstairs. It looked super straightforward and required no special equipment, so I rolled up my sleeves and made some immediately. Here’s how it went.

How to Make Lil’ Luna’s Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites

You’ll begin by dissolving active yeast into warm water with a little bit of sugar in a large bowl. Wait for it to foam, then add the remaining sugar, oil, and salt, followed by the flour in 1/4-cup additions. When the dough ball is soft but not too sticky, place it in a greased bowl and let it sit, covered, until doubled in size.

After the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl and gently deflate it. Divide it into four equal pieces and roll each one into a log about 1-inch in diameter. Use a knife or bench scraper to cut each log into 1-inch pieces.

Next, combine 3 cups water and 1/4 cup baking soda in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When the water is boiling, add the pieces of dough and cook for 30 to 45 seconds. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and place them on the baking sheet.

Bake until golden-brown, then let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Place in a gallon-sized zip-top bag, add melted butter, then give the bag a shake to fully coat the pretzels. Add the cinnamon and sugar and toss again. That’s it!

Credit: Nicole Rufus

My Honest Review of Lil’ Luna’s Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites

This recipe is a win on so many fronts. The first is that it’s way easier to throw together than I would have imagined. I’ve always been intimidated by homemade pretzels, but trust me when I say absolutely anyone can follow this recipe. Plus, chances are you already have most of the ingredients at home.

The finished pretzel bites also taste incredible. They’re soft and doughy with that very distinct pretzel taste, thanks to the baking soda bath. My whole apartment smelled like an Auntie Anne’s stand — my roommate even came out of her room just to comment on how amazing it smelled. Once you add in the coating of melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar, it’s game over. Just like when you get them from Auntie Anne’s, it’s impossible to eat just one. Now that I know how to make them, they’re definitely going to become part of my rotation of sweet treats.

The only thing I didn’t love about this recipe? The method for distributing the cinnamon-sugar coating. The zip-top bag trick is quick, but it’s not the most effective way to evenly coat the pretzels.

If You’re Making Lil’ Luna’s Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites, a Few Tips

  1. Bake until fully golden-brown. The directions say to bake for 10 to 12 minutes, but mine took 16 to fully brown.
  2. Skip the zip-top bag. Instead of using a zip-top bag, dip the bites into a bowl of melted butter and then roll them around in a mixture of the cinnamon and sugar in a shallow bowl or pie plate. It will take a little longer, but you’ll have a much more even coating on each pretzel bite.
  3. Make the cream cheese dipping sauce. This recipe also includes instructions for a cream cheese dipping sauce, which tastes just like the Auntie Anne’s version. I highly recommend it.

Have you ever tried making an Auntie Anne’s treat at home? Let us know in the comments!