Everyone goes crazy for these Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods dipped in melted caramel and chocolate and sprinkled with your favorite toppings. Wrap them in little cellophane bags for the perfect holiday gift for teachers, neighbors and friends!
My warm kitchen filled with the aroma from sweet and spicy holiday treats makes our home all the more cozy and alluring! Some of our easy favorites include Christmas Crack (Graham Cracker Toffee Bars), Salted Chocolate and Caramel Pretzel Bars, and Christmas Cornflake Wreaths. The salty crunch of a pretzel, paired with chocolate and caramel is a match that can’t be beat! What we love the MOST about chocolate covered pretzel rods in particular is that they’re easy and fun to make with family and friends. Renewing bonds with people we love is, after all, what the holidays are really about.
The process for making chocolate covered pretzel rods is pretty straightforward, however, a strategic approach and some tried and true tips make for less of a mess and much better tasting and looking results.
- The right pretzels. You want good, sturdy pretzel rods. I love Snyder’s. Clancy’s from Aldi work well too. Avoid Walmart and Rold Gold; they break too easily.
- The right chocolate. It’s important to use high quality chocolate as not all chocolate melts well. I prefer Ghirardelli baking chocolate bars from the baking aisle. They melt perfectly and taste great! Avoid chocolate chips, they do not melt in the way you want. For white chocolate, use Ghirardelli melting wafers. If you want to make pretzel rods in bulk, for a large group or many gifts, use chocolate melting wafers or chocolate almond bark, which is inexpensive and melts really well (the taste is good, just not as good as pure chocolate).
- The right Caramel. From scratch, homemade caramel will taste amazing; it’s easy to make but it does take about an hour. Melted Kraft caramel bits or wrapped caramel candy squares work well too.
- The toppings. In small bowls set out crushed heath bars, coconut, mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, crushed oreos, white chocolate to drizzle, or any other toppings you’d like.
How to Make Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods:
- Prepare two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Prepare the caramel: Make your own or melt store-bought in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Coat Pretzel Rods in caramel by using a spoon to scoop the caramel onto the pretzels and turn as you go. Place on baking sheet.
- Set up your toppings in little bowls with tablespoons for quick and easy access.
- Melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and pour into a tall glass.
- Dip the caramel-coated pretzels in melted chocolate and lay on baking sheet.
- Immediately sprinkle with other toppings such as mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, etc.
- Allow chocolate to set before eating, storing or gift-wrapping. Briefly putting them in the fridge, freezer or garage (if you live up North) will free up your trays faster.
- Pooled Caramel: Warm caramel will likely pool at the base of the pretzel bars. Once cool, just roll the pretzels (or use your fingers) to smooth it back onto the pretzel rod. This will help you produce beautiful round pretzels!
- Dipping Tips: Use a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth the warm caramel and chocolate into a thin layer around the pretzel. This will prevent excessive puddling when you set them on the tray and your chocolate will go farther. A rubber spatula is also very useful to gather the chocolate in a little mound in your dipping glass so you can continue to dip and roll as it begins to run low.
- Gifting: Chocolate covered pretzel rods look beautiful displayed in cellophane bags, a few in each, tied with a fun ribbon. You could also place them in decorative Christmas tin. Walmart carries them, among others.
Make Ahead And Storage Instructions:
Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods can be made up to one week ahead of being gifted or consumed. After that they tend to lose their freshness. Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dry area.
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Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods
For the Caramel: *see Notes for a faster caramel method
- 40 Pretzel Rods
- 16 ounces chocolate*
- 1/2 batch homemade caramel* , or 1 bag store-bought caramels
- Prepare two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Prepare homemade caramel (or melt store-bought caramels). Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Allow homemade caramel to cool for about 15 minutes before dipping.
- 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 seconds, 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 to.
- Lay the dipped pretzels on a parchment lined sheet. While the chocolate is warm, you can sprinkle on a few light weight toppings or sprinkles, if desired.
- Allow the chocolate to set up before eating or removing from parchment.
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Have you tried this recipe?!
RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience. I originally shared this recipe in December 2014. Updated December 2020. This post contains affiliate links. I love sharing my favorite products with you.
I have made your chocolate pretzels, and we eat them all year long!!!
For hard caramel, melt it down in pot and add some cream to it. It might just soften it and make it useable.
I also jave been making them for years. I use the caramel candy apple wraps. Each wrap yields 3 pretzels. Cut, wrap, dip. Eazy peasy.
Thanks, I love this idea.
I have been making these for years at Christmas. It’s everybody’s favorite. Some are plain and some have crushed peanuts on them.
I put my caramel rods on silpat mats. No need to pre-treat. They come right off and also after dipping in chocolate. Super Easy to cleanup.
I have covers for my cookie sheets so usually I let them sit for night ( after dipping them in chocolate and decorating ) to make sure they are completely solid before putting in cello bags.
I have made these a couple of times, using the caramel squares (with a little heavy cream added, so it’s not quite as chewy), my bf loves them, but both times the caramel-dipped pretzels stuck to the parchment paper, I had to put them into the freezer for a couple of hours to get it to pop off the paper. it made them take me a lot longer cause I would keep having to refreeze them cause they warmed and restuck and have to reheat the chocolate cause the cold caramel pretzels chilled it faster.
I am making him some now for valentines day, got the first 3rd of them in the freezer now, tho this time around instead of dipping pretzel sticks, I got the small twisty ones, and just poured enough caramel into the 2 curved openings to fill them, leaving the 3rd hold empty to hold them by for the chocolate dipping. They are taking longer this time to let go of the paper.
Any ideas why they are sticking and how to fix it?
Try using a silicone baking sheet instead of parchment paper! Won’t stick at all!
I just finished making these. Overall it took about 2 hours in the kitchen. And the caramel is so hard it hurts teeth. It’s not soft at all, super hard. I don’t know if that’s something I did wrong, or just how it’s supposed to be. But it’s way too hard to enjoy. There was never a cook time labeled for the caramel. I would go with store bought and save yourself the trouble. My pot will have to soak for 2 days to get the glued on caramel off. Also, the chocolate she uses tastes similar to dark chocolate, which I don’t like. So beware for that. I’ll never do this again! Not to mention it’s worth noting you’ll spend a good $30 on ingredients. Did these for a Christmas party, they turned out pretty but I’ll have to put a warning label to watch out for your teeth! Lol
I’m sorry you were not happy with them. Your caramel was definitely overcooked–it should not be hard like that (it should be chewy). There isn’t a cook time for the caramel because it will vary for everyone depending on your location, altitude, humidity and what kind of stove and pot you are using.That’s why it’s important to use the ice-water test and a candy thermometer, as suggested.
My caramel is super hard too 😕wanted to give girl gifts. I’ll try again though a look for more caramel recipes. I love making it from scratch so much tastier than using store bought caramels.
I followed the cooking instructions exactly snd even did the ice water thing. And used my Candy thermometer.
I think I’ve tried something like this before and every time it is a fail. The caramel is fine dipping it in chocolate is fine, but then when I go to put on the mini M&Ms or chocolate chips it’s too heavy for the chocolate and it just slides right off so if anybody has any tips there I would greatly appreciate it
Last year I tried a shortcut to caramelizing the rods. I bought the bag of square caramels, unwrapped each one. While watching a good christmas movie I warmed a few at a time in my plastic gloved hands. I then rolled them into ‘snakes’.
Then I twisted the soften caramel snakes in a spiral around the pretzel rods. Easy – peasy. I then proceeded to dipped them in melted chocolate and decorated them.
I love this idea! Thank you.
Perfect solution. Thank you. Now to find a good movie. Lol
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