Caramel and Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods will make you the hero of the party this holiday season! Everyone goes crazy for this beautiful, tasty treat, made with homemade caramel, semi-sweet chocolate and sprinkled with all of your favorite toppings.
I’m not one to crave just plain old pretzels as a snack. Kind of boring. But dressed up pretzels: those just may be my favorite treats ever. The salty crunch of a pretzel, paired with chocolate and caramel is a match that can’t be beat!
If you’re reading this post, then I take it you’re into that kinda thing too. YES? Then you really must try these (super easy) salted chocolate and caramel pretzel bars or their peanut butter spin off. SOO good.
These dipped pretzel rods though– they are in a league of their own! I may argue that the best part about them is the homemade caramel they’re plunged into. It’s heavenly. If you’re looking for a faster method, you could use store-bought caramels and melt them for dipping.
It’s likely that when you dip the pretzels in caramel and place them on parchment paper you may notice some of the warm caramel pool at the base of the pretzel. When this happens, just let them cool off and then roll the pretzels (or use your fingers) to smooth it back onto the pretzel rod.
That’s a great little trick that will help your end result to be beautiful round pretzels.
Wait for the caramel to be completely cooled and set before dipping them in chocolate.
When you’re ready to dip them in chocolate, another great trick is to pour the melted chocolate into a tall glass. It makes it a lot easier to get good coverage, with minimal mess. Use a spatula or the back of the spoon to help sooth it around into a thin layer.
Next, lay your freshly dipped chocolate pretzel rods onto parchment paper to allow the chocolate to set. If you want to dress them up even more you can immediately sprinkle them with other toppings, while the chocolate is still melted.
We love adding crushed heath bits, coconut, mini chocolate chips, sprinkles and drizzled white chocolate.
I’ve given these as teacher gifts at Christmas time, neighbor gifts, and I’ve even brought them to my holiday cookie exchange. I love how beautiful and festive they are, and they taste amazing!
Tips for perfect dipped pretzel rods:
Choose a good brand of sturdy pretzel rods.
I love Snyder’s brand. I’ve also used Clancy’s brand from Aldi, that comes in a big tub, with success. You want good, sturdy pretzel rods. I’ve heard Kroger brand work well. I would avoid Walmart brand and Rold Gold brand because they break too easily.
The best caramel for dipping:
I usually dip these in homemade caramel. Making caramel from scratch is really easy, but takes time. Start to finish it may take about one hour. The taste is amazing.
If you’re looking for a faster method, you could use melted Kraft caramel bits or the wrapped caramel candy squares instead.
The best chocolate for melting:
It’s important to use high quality chocolate. Not all chocolate melts the same.
I prefer Ghirardelli baking chocolate bars for this recipe. They melt perfectly and taste great! You can find them in the baking aisle, near the chocolate chips.
Chocolate chips, particularly, are not meant for melting. If you do decide to use chocolate chips, make sure it’s a good quality brand, and add some shortening to them to help the chocolate melt smoother and not seize.
Keep the layers thin.
Use a spatula or the back of the spoon to help sooth the warm caramel and chocolate into a thin layer around the pretzel. You don’t want to overload the fragile pretzels with too much weight.
How to store dipped pretzels:
If you live in a dry area these should be fine stored in an air-tight container at room temperature. If you live somewhere warm and humid I would store them in an air-tight container in the fridge.
I wouldn’t recommend making these more than 1 week in advance, if you want them to still look and taste fresh.
I like to gift these by filling cellophane bags with a few, and tie them with fun ribbon. You could also place them in tins, like the photo above. I found that Christmas tin at Walmart.
CONSIDER MAKING THESE CHRISTMAS SWEETS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON:
- Homemade Caramels
- Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies
- Vanilla Creme Balls
- Christmas Cornflake Wreaths
- Caramel Cashew Clusters
Pretzel rods dipped in homemade caramel and melted chocolate. These make the best holiday treat, neighbor gift, and gift for teachers!
- 1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light karo syrup
- 12 ounce can evaporated milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 40 Pretzel Rods
- 16 ounces Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate baking bars , (I buy four 4 oz bars)
- Prepare two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Add butter, sugar, and karo syrup to a large heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Stir over medium heat until mixture begins to boil, about 5-10 minutes.
VERY slowly add the evaporated milk, taking about 12-15 minutes to slowly add it, while stirring constantly. You want to make sure the mixture maintains a constant boil, otherwise your caramel can curdle.
Stir the mixture constantly, scraping the sides occasionally until it reaches the soft ball stage (about 235 degrees, if using a candy thermometer). It takes patience and time, but it's sooo worth it!
I don't always trust or rely on a candy thermometer--I like to test it the old fashioned way. Drop a spoonful of hot caramel sauce into a cup of ice water and mold it with your fingers into a ball. When ready it will feel pliable and should be sturdy enough to mold in your hands, in the ice water. If you're not sure if it's too soft, err on the side of cooking a few extra minutes.
Once you reach 235 degrees F / or the soft ball stage, remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.
Dip Pretzel Rods in caramel. I use a spoon to scoop the sauce onto the pretzels and turn them as I go. Allow excess sauce to drip off and place the dipped pretzels on a parchment lined baking sheet.
After the caramel sets and cools some of it may pool at the base of the pretzel, causing the bottom to be flat. Use your hands to mold the caramel back around the rod (or just roll the rod gently on the parchment paper to smooth it around).
Melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, on half power, stirring every 30 second, until smooth.
Pour the chocolate into a tall glass. Dip the caramel-coated pretzels in melted chocolate. You can use a spoon or spatula to help smooth the chocolate up and around if you need it.
Lay the dipped pretzels on a parchment lined sheet. At this point you could add other toppings like mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, crushed heath bar etc.
If any chocolate pools at the base of the pretzels as they set you could easily cut it off with a knife, if you want it to look prettier..
You can store the pretzels in the fridge in a covered container, if you want. Let the pretzels sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before eating.
Tips for making, storing, and gifting these pretzel rods are listed in the post above!
*If you don't want to make the caramel from scratch you could use Kraft Caramel Bits or hard wrapped candy caramels.
I like the Kraft Caramel Bits because you just pour the entire bag in a microwave safe bowl with a little water and heat on high for 2 minutes. Allow the caramel to cool off a little/thicken slightly, before dipping your pretzels in it.
*Ghirardelli chocolate baking bars can be found in the baking asile, by the chocolate chips. I prefer this brand because it melts, sets and tastes the best, in my opinion.
Have you tried this recipe?!
RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.
I originally shared this recipe in December 2014. I’ve updated it Nov. 2017 with clearer instructions and photos.