Cheesy Garlic & Herb Pretzels

Want to know a secret? Despite my career in pastry, I’m more of a savory person than a sweet person! Where some people crave chocolate chip cookies or slices of cake, I gravitate towards wedges of cheese, salty pretzels, or nachos. To honor my affection for the magical cheese + carbs duo, I bring you these savory, delicious cheesy garlic & herb pretzels.

While I love all cheese, my desert island cheese selection would be a sharp white cheddar. Cabot Creamery makes some of the best sharp cheddar around, so I was thrilled when they asked me to develop a special recipe using their cheddar cheese! 

Not only does Cabot Creamery make incredibly delicious cheese and butter, they’re also a company who really lives up to their values. They’re a cooperative owned by farm families throughout New England and New York, and 100% of Cabot’s profits go back to the farmers. In addition, Cabot is a certified B Corp, which means that in addition to making cheese, they also work for the betterment of their employees, communities, and environment. Y’all know I believe that food is so important in how we build healthy, happy communities, so I love the work that Cabot is doing! 

cheesy garlic & herb pretzels, close up

The lowdown on these cheesy garlic & herb pretzels

I wanted to develop a recipe for Cabot Creamery that highlighted both their delicious cheese and sweet cream butter, so these cheesy garlic & herb pretzels were born! These soft pretzels have cheddar cheese and herbs in the dough, and then they’re brushed with garlic butter right after baking. For bonus deliciousness, serve the soft pretzels with even more garlic butter for dipping!

You can use any soft herbs you like for these pretzels; I used a blend of dill and parsley. You can also use your favorite Cabot Creamery cheese flavor! I chose their Extra Sharp White Cheddar because I love how the tanginess of the cheese comes through, but you absolutely could not go wrong with any of their flavors (like how good would these be with their Pepper Jack?!) 

Don’t be daunted by the number of steps in this recipe for cheesy garlic & herb pretzels. I realize it looks like a lot, but the dough comes together really easily and the bake time is short. There is the added step of making tangzhong for these soft pretzels, which involves cooking flour and water into a paste. By making tangzhong, we’re gelatinizing the starch in some of the flour which will keep the pretzels extra-soft! 

A few other notes about these cheesy garlic & herb pretzels: 

  • I really, really recommend using lye for these soft pretzels! You can order lye from Amazon pretty easily, and it gives the pretzels a color, flavor, and chew that you’re just not going to get from a baking soda bath. If you’re feeling nervous about working with lye, King Arthur has some great tips for using it safely. 
  • This recipe calls for bread flour over all purpose flour to make the pretzels nice and chewy! Stick with bread flour if at all possible.
cheesy garlic & herb pretzels, pre-bake

The inspiration

  • Auntie Anne’s airport pretzels, always
  • Pretzels dipped in beer cheese
  • Garlic bread glistening with butter and adorned with herbs
tearing a piece off a cheesy garlic & herb pretzel

Cheesy Garlic & Herb Pretzels

Soft pretzels made with cheddar cheese and herbs folded into the dough, brushed with the most delicious garlic butter after baking!
Servings 6 pretzels



  • 100 grams water
  • 25 grams bread flour

Pretzel Dough

  • 190 grams warm water 100-110F aka a bit warm to the touch
  • 7 grams instant dry yeast
  • 20 grams sugar
  • 30 grams neutral oil like canola or sunflower
  • 380 grams bread flour
  • 6 grams table salt
  • 100 grams Cabot cheese shredded or diced into small cubes
  • Big handful soft herbs, chopped finely like dill, parsley, and/or basil
  • Pretzel salt or flaky sea salt

Lye Bath

  • 30 grams food grade lye
  • 1000 grams room temperature water
  • Gloves!

Garlic Butter

  • 75 grams salted Cabot Creamery butter
  • 10 grams garlic, minced from 3-4 cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt optional



  • Make the tangzhong by combining 100 grams of water and 25 grams of bread flour in a small pot or pan.
  • Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens into an opaque paste. This should take about 3-5 minutes. Make sure you’re scraping the bottom and sides of the pan as the tangzhong cooks
  • When the tangzhong is thick and sticky, turn the heat off and set the pan aside while you start making the pretzel dough

Pretzel Dough

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large steel bowl, measure 190 grams warm water, 7 grams dry yeast, and 20 grams of sugar. Mix gently with a fork or whisk to combine
  • Let the yeast mixture sit for 5 minutes, until it is frothy and smells like yeast
  • Add the warm tangzhong, 30 grams oil, 380 grams bread flour and 6 grams salt to the bowl
  • Use a rubber spatula or spoon to roughly bring the mixture together so there are no big wet or dry spots
  • Add 100 grams of Cabot cheese and a handful of soft herbs to the bowl
  • Using the dough hook on your stand mixer (or a wooden spoon and some elbow grease), mix the dough until it forms a shaggy mass. This should only take 3-4 minutes
  • Turn the dough out onto your counter and knead by hand until the dough is smooth – about 5 minutes. The dough will be very sticky at first, but will get more manageable as you knead. You’re done kneading when the dough has formed a smooth, supple ball that is a bit tacky
  • Rub a bit of oil in the bottom of the metal bowl you used for mixing
  • Place the dough ball in the oiled bowl and roll it around a bit to get oil on the top and bottom
  • Cover the bowl with a dish towel, dinner plate, or plastic wrap
  • Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size. Start checking your dough after about 40 minutes; this could take 40-70 minutes depending on the temperature of your kitchen and the water you used in the dough

Shape the Pretzels

  • When the dough has risen, preheat your oven to 450F
  • Place silicone baking mats on 2 baking sheets. You can use parchment paper instead, but make sure you grease it well so the pretzels don’t stick while they bake
  • Gently punch the dough down and turn it out onto your counter
  • Divide the dough into 6 pieces using a bench scraper or knife
  • Roll each piece into a ball
  • Let the dough balls rest for 10 minutes. This rest will allow the gluten to relax, which will make rolling them into long ropes easier!
  • Roll a dough ball into a rope 20 inches long. Apply more pressure when rolling out the ends to make the ends a bit tapered
  • Make a U-shape with the rope, then twist the ends together twice
  • Pull the twisted ends down over the bottom of the U to create the pretzel shape. Tuck the ends under the base of the pretzel to keep the shape
  • Repeat with the remaining dough balls

Dip the Pretzels

  • Before you make the lye bath, put on gloves!! Lye is very caustic and will burn your skin if it makes direct contact
  • Once your hands are protected, combine 30 grams of food grade lye and 1000 grams of water in a baking dish. Use a dish that is at least 2 inches deep, like a casserole pan or cake pan
  • Stir gently to dissolve the lye in water
  • Lift up a pretzel and gently place it in the lye bath. Make sure the entire pretzel gets covered in lye
  • Place the dipped pretzel on the silicone-lined baking sheet
  • Repeat with the remaining pretzels – you’ll be able to get 3 pretzels on each baking sheet
  • Sprinkle each pretzel generously with pretzel salt or flaky salt
  • Bake the pretzels for 10-15 minutes until deep golden brown

Garlic Butter

  • Make garlic butter while the pretzels bake
  • Place minced garlic in a small bowl or pot
  • Top the garlic with 75 grams of salted Cabot butter
  • Heat the mixture until the butter is fully melted. You can do this in the microwave or on the stove
  • Add ¼ teaspoon garlic salt to the garlic butter for an extra pop of garlic flavor
  • Brush the warm pretzels with garlic butter
  • Serve immediately!

Make one of these variations of come up with your own creation? Leave a comment or tag me on Instagram!

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