Instant Pot No Knead Apple Cinnamon Pretzel Bites are an absolutely perfect fall treat. Have some sprinkled with cinnamon sugar or without. Both are delicious, soft, chewy, and spiced. Made with apple cider and apples, they will become your favourite fall recipe!
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Some recipes take awhile to go from an abstract idea to something concrete. Some are very deliberate. Some happen spontaneously.
I wrote about recipe development process in my post Truth About Food Bloggers in case you are interested to see how these recipe posts come to life.
And some recipes go from a thought to a plate in just a few hours. This Instant Pot No Knead Apple Cinnamon Pretzel Bites recipe is one of those.
Two weeks ago I was listening to a radio in my car and Apple Cinnamon Pretzels were mentioned in some program. I knew right away that I got my new recipe idea! A few batches later I finally perfected the recipe and technique.
These Instant Pot Apple Cinnamon Pretzels taste similar to apple fritters. They are delicious, soft, sugary, spicy. Perfect to eat with a cup of tea in the afternoon. Dip them in cinnamon sugar for a decadent treat or leave unadorned for a healthier yet no less delicious snack!
Ingredients to make Instant Pot No Knead Apple Cinnamon Pretzel Bites
This recipe uses both fresh apple cider and apples for double-apple flavour!
For the dough:
For the pretzel water bath:
- Baking soda
For the cinnamon sugar sprinkle:
- Melted butter (or to keep the whole recipe vegan, use melted coconut oil or other melted vegan butter)
- White sugar
More Instant Pot No Knead Bread Dough Recipes:
- Instant Pot No Knead Dinner Rolls
- Vegan Instant Pot No Knead Hawaiian Rolls
- Instant Pot No Knead Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- Instant Pot No Knead Carrot Bread Rolls
- Instant Pot No Knead Lemon Cheesecake Rolls
How to make No Knead Apple Cinnamon Pretzel Bites in Instant Pot
First thing first, you must have a model of Instant Pot that has Yogurt function. If you do not have Yogurt function, you cannot use this technique!
I have read various articles online where people were able to “hack it” and use Keep Warm function to let the dough rise, but I have not tried it so I cannot comment or recommend it. Straight up Keep Warm function will be too hot and will probably result in the dough not rising properly.
Why do you need yogurt function?
Yogurt function in Instant Pot keeps the pot at the ideal nice and warm temperature for the dough to rise. It’s not too hot, it’s not too cold. It is just perfect! In fact, I find that it is better than room temperature or any other traditional ways to help proof the dough.
How to make Instant Pot Pretzel Bites:
- Warm up the apple cider using sauté function. Make sure that it is at just above body temperature. It needs to be between 38-43C (100.4-109.4F). If it is higher then you will kill the yeast, so make sure that it is at the correct temperature.
- Add a bit of sugar and the yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes until it foams up.
- Add the rest of the sugar, cinnamon, oil, and diced apples, mix.
- Add the flour and salt in small increments and mix with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated.
- Cover Instant Pot with a lid, choose Yogurt function and turn it on for 1 hour.
- Remove the dough from Instant Pot, divide into 8 equal portions. Roll each into an 8-inch log and cut into 6-8 pieces.
- Boil 1.7 litres of water and add them to a clean Instant Pot liner. I have an extra Instant Pot insert and it’s super convenient.
- Turn sauté function on and make sure that the water simmers. Add baking soda.
- Boil Apple Cinnamon Pretzel Bites 4-5 at a time for about 10-15 seconds.
- Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Dip each pretzel bite into melted butter (or vegan alternative) and then in cinnamon sugar.
Tips for making No Knead Apple Cinnamon Dough
I have made different variations of Instant Pot No Knead breads, rolls, and buns a few dozen times in the last year and a half. I absolutely adore this technique of just mixing all the ingredients in Instant Pot and letting the dough rise there.
However, lots of people complain that these kind of recipes result in sticky dough. YES! The dough WILL BE STICKY!
It is just science. Since there’s no kneading, the gluten (although it still develops) doesn’t form as well as if the dough was kneaded. It’s the long kneading process that turns the dough from sticky to silky smooth.
This particular technique is for No Knead Dough, which means it will be sticky! There’s just no way around it!
If you’d like non-sticky dough for this particular recipe, then you could use the same recipe but make it in your KitchenAid mixer (or even by hand). The kneading process will create a smooth dough (you may need to use more flour) which you then can transfer into Instant Pot and still use the yogurt function to proof the dough.
- The first step of letting the yeast foam is important. If it doesn’t foam it means that the yeast is either old or the liquid was too hot and you killed the yeast.
- Note: you can still make these No Knead Apple Cinnamon Pretzel Bites even if you killed the yeast but they will not be as soft and delicious. I know, because I’ve done that.
- You have three options here:
- Restart from scratch (this is the most advisable option) and make sure that the yeast foams
- If you are sure that they yeast is not old, then cool the liquid enough and add more yeast. This will make slightly yeastier dough but it’ll still work.
- Or, keep going. The dough will not rise much and the pretzels will be a bit tough but still delicious!
- As I said above, this recipe makes sticky dough. Use more flour once the dough is out of the pot and you roll and cut the pretzels.
- Do no add more flour to the dough while making it, I tried and it resulted in pretty tough pretzels.
- Note: I’ve mentioned in many other recipes but whenever I weight my flour I get 1 cup=150 g. I never make bread by weight, I always do by volume but my volume somehow is heavier than most other resources out there. So, keep this in mind.
- Use any apple you like. I prefer crisper apples but you can use softer too. Sweet or tart, whatever you prefer.
- No need to peel the apple if you don’t want to, but you can if you’d like.
- Technically, you can also omit the apple.
- Baking soda bath
- Boiling pretzel bites in baking soda bath is what creates the characteristic dark brown pretzel colouring.
- Do not skip this step!
- Do not boil for too long though, just in, 10 seconds, and out. Boiling in baking soda for too long may result in the pretzels tasting like baking soda . I know, because I’ve done that also.
- I use my Instant Pot to boil the pretzels because I like that the pot has very high sides so there’s no splashing. You can also do it on the stove if you prefer.
- I have an extra Instant Pot insert, so it’s easy to use as I don’t have to clean up after making the no knead dough.
- If desired, you could make real big pretzels instead of pretzel bites, however, because the dough is sticky, making proper pretzels is actually a bit more challenging than making smaller pretzel bites.
- If you choose to make proper pretzels, this recipe will make 8 medium ones. You will need to use more flour to roll the dough into a very long rope. Tip: roll it much longer than you think you need to shape a pretzel, it’ll shrink once rolled and folded.
- Cinnamon sugar dip
- The recipe has enough butter and cinnamon sugar for half the pretzel bites.
- If you’d like to dip all the pretzel bites, then double the amount of butter and cinnamon sugar.
- Use coconut oil or your favourite vegan butter to keep this recipe fully dairy-free and vegan.
For more tips on making Instant Pot No Knead Bread, check out my Instant Pot No Knead Dinner Rolls post, it has a lot of information and suggestions!
How to store Apple Cinnamon Pretzel Bites
After making quite a few batches, I can say with all certainty, these delicious pretzel bites are better to be eaten the day they are made. After they are cooked, they are fluffy and soft and quite pillowy.
The day after they are still delicious but become harder and less airy. Closer to a dense bagel in texture. I would recommend eating them the day they are made.
However, if they aren’t finished right away, just keep them on the counter for up to 2 days. No need to cover. If you still have some leftover, I would recommend refrigerating them because of the apples inside.
Can you make Apple Cinnamon Pretzel Bites without Instant Pot?
Of course, you can! If you have a KitchenAid Stand Mixer then you can use it to knead the dough. Then just let it rise in a warm place. You can follow the same recipe direction but add the flour in increments with the mixer with the dough hook running. You might need to use more than 2.5 cups, closer to 3 cups of flour and the dough in the end will not be sticky.
If you do not have a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, then you can knead the dough by hand. You will most likely need about 3 cups of flour.
And the final alternative, is to actually do a No Knead dough. So, follow the instructions exactly but instead of letting the dough rise in Instant Pot, let it rise in a warm place in the kitchen. It’ll most likely take more than 1 hour to rise, closer to 2 hours.
Once you have the dough ready, boil the pretzels on the stove.
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Instant Pot No Knead Apple Cinnamon Pretzel Bites
- Instant Pot
Apple Cinnamon Pretzel Dough
Baking Soda Water Bath
- 1.7 litre boiling water
- 1/4 cup baking soda
Cinnamon Sugar Coating (makes enough for half the pretzel bites)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter (or vegan butter or coconut oil)
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1.5 teaspoon cinnamon
Make Instant Pot No Knead Apple Cinnamon Pretzel Dough
- Turn your Instant Pot on and press sauté button.
- Add the apple cider and one tablespoon of brown sugar to the Instant Pot and just as it starts heating up, turn the sauté button off immediately.
- IMPORTANT: The apple cider must be between 38-43C (100.4-109.4F) which is just above the body temperature. If the liquid mixture is too hot then you’ll kill the yeast and the dough will not rise. So, test the liquid with your finger or a thermometer. It should be warm but not hot.
- Add the yeast, mix, and wait for about 5-8 minutes until it foams.If the yeast doesn't foam, read my points in the post on how to proceed.
- Add the rest of the sugar, cinnamon, canola oil, and diced apple to the yeast mixture. Mix to combine.
- Add the flour, salt, and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough forms.
- Close the lid on your Instant Pot, press the Yogurt function and change the timing for 1 hour.
- After 30 minutes, open the lid. The dough should be soft, puffed up and doubled (or almost doubled) in size.
Make Apple Cinnamon Pretzel Bites
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper. You might need to use two depending on their sizes.
- Take the dough out of Instant Pot. The dough will be quite sticky, so use plenty of flour on your hands and a working surface.
- Knead the dough a few times. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions.
- Roll each portion into a log about 20 cm long. Cut each log into 6-8 pieces. You should end up with 48-64 small pretzel dough pieces.
- Boil a whole kettle of water, about 1.7 litres.
- While the water is boiling, clean the Instant Pot liner that was used for the dough (or get a spare one).
- Add the boiling water to the clean Instant Pot liner, press saute button, and losely cover with a lid. Wait until the water starts simmering again.Alternatively, use a regular big pot and do that on the stove. Just make sure that the pot is high enough so that there's no splashing as the soda water will leave residue on the stove if it is spilled.
- Once the water is at a steady simmer, add 1/4 cup of baking soda and let it foam.
- Add pretzel bite pieces to the simmering baking soda bath 4-5 at a time. Let cook for about 10-15 seconds, then remove using a slotted spoon. Transfer to a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with all the pieces.
- Bake in the fully preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. If you are using two baking sheets, then switch them around halfway through the baking time.
Dip the pretzel bites in cinnamon sugar
- Once the pretzels are baked, let them cool for about 5-8 minutes, so that they are safe to handle.
- Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
- Dip each pretzel bite top side up into melted butter (or vegan butter or coconut oil).
- Then dip into cinnamon sugar.
- Note: ingredients for the cinnamon sugar coating are enough for half the pretzel bites only. Double if you'd like to dip all the pretzel bites.
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