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
I made these to sell at a fundraiser using the large Snyder’s Sourdough Pretzels. They were a huge hit. I drizzled some with white chocolate and others with sprinkles. I charged $4.00 each for them and totally sold out.
What a great idea! I’m glad to hear they were so well received, and for a good cause!
Love these pretzels! 🙂 If I end up with caramel left over after dipping them, can it be kept to use again later? If so, how long and how would you store it?
The leftover caramel can be kept, but I would suggest just pouring it into a pan and then cutting it into homemade caramels after it cools. You could reheat it again (be sure to use a low slow temperature) for dipping, but you just may risk overcooking it.
how long will these keep once made? i am making them tomorrow and want to give in gift bags for a mother’s day cookout on sat to all the ladies that come. thanks. take care
They should be fine for 3-4 days. Just be sure to let them cool completely before storing them. 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 thought I’d be slick and buy 50% off Russell Stover bunnies the day after Easter. They are certainly not melting smoothly. How much vegetable oil should I add to each 7 oz. bunny? Or do you recommend shortening specifically? Thanks so much!
I’m so sorry, but that’s not good chocolate for melting (it’s too waxy). Next time I’d stick with a good quality chocolate and it will melt much better. You can read my tips for melting chocolate in this post: https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/gourmet-chocolate-covered-strawberries/
I just made a batch for Easter, with pastel candy sprinkles and they turned out great! Used 2 x 240g Snyder’s pretzel rods and got exactly 40 pieces. Home-made caramel is excellent…I have about 1/2 cup leftover caramel. Will definitely make some again at Christmas time.
Thanks for sharing! What a fun idea for an Easter treat!
I just bought a bag of these from a Amish bake store yesterday and she had rolled hers in cashews after she put the caramel on.,then dip in choc….must try this.,Thank you so much 🙂
Hello, I will be attempting this recipe and wanted to know how many bags of the caramel bits do i need for the recipe? I wont have time to attempt the caramel this time and dont have a candy thermometer.
I’d grab melt two bags.
I was about half way through dipping in the carmel, when all of the sudden it started to seize and get a weird texture. Grainy, and almost like peanut butter. What happened? The first ones turned out great, then all of the sudden the carmel just “turned”. Any thoughts?
What kind of caramel did you use? It sounds like it got too hot!
Just a suggestion. I make these at Christmas time and so the chocolate sets up faster I put an ice pack under the cookie sheet. Works great!
Do you remove the salt from the pretzel rods?
My pretzel rods didn’t have big chunks of salt on them…I left them as they were. 🙂
can you pour the caramel in a glass to dip in the pretzel
How do you keep the pretzel from going soft? I made these and they were great the first day, the next day the dipped end of the pretzel was soft and the nondipped end was still crunchy. I kept them in the fridge.
I made your caramel recipe and loved it, but I found that my caramel is rock hard… like barely eatable. I’d it possible that I cooked it too long?
Yes, I’m sorry it sounds like it was overcooked! Hope you get to try it again. If using a candy thermometer, it was probably off/not calibrated. That’s why I always rely on the ice water test
Can I use milk chocolate chips rather than semi sweet pieces……….I’m a milk chocolate person.
I was worried that the milk chocolate might not solidify enough.
Yes, that should work great! 🙂
I did this recipe because as of late my cooking hasn’t been the best. The recipe was easy to follow and mine actually turned out good! Thanks for such a clear and easy to follow recipe to enjoy over the holidays or anytime!
I made these and they made great thank you gifts for teachers
These pretzels look fantastic – and sound so tasty! Thank you!
I’m using the caramel squares. The recipe I was going to use before I found yours says to use paramount crystals to thin the melted caramel. I can’t find them anywhere, do you think it is necessary?
Hi Lisa, I’m not super familiar with melting store-bought caramel squares, but as far as I know you don’t need anything special 🙂
Will it work to use agave syrup in place of the corn syrup? (corn allergies) Thank you!
Hi Gina, I don’t think agave would work–it doesn’t crystalize like corn syrup. I’d suggest buying or making your own invert syrup, to replace the corn syrup. Here’s a recipe I found : http://www.chefeddy.com/2009/11/invert-sugar/ Otherwise you could use storebought hard caramel candies and melt them to use in this recipe. Good luck!
Can you give me hints on how to get mini chocolate chips to stay on the coated pretzel rods?
I try to roll them in the mini chocolate chips while the chocolate on the rod is still warm. Then I lay them on parchment/wax paper and let them cool. I hope that helps!
I bought sweetend condensed milk instead..v would that work? Or does it need to be evaporated milk..
Thanks I am excited to try it?
Hi Becca, this recipe needs evaporated milk. There are other homemade caramel recipes out there that use sweetened condensed though, it you want to try one.
Hi These look great, I made them but the Carmel got rock hard. I used the Carmel bits. I’m thinking I over-cooked the Carmel. Your thoughts? Thank you so much.
HI Luann, Did you microwave the caramel bits, next time just microwave them until they barely melt–if you cook them too long, they will be too hard when cool.
Hi Laura! I am making these on short notice! Where can I find the caramel bits besides online? Safeway? Walmart?
Hi Alex, I know my Walmart has them. I’ve seen them in all of my local grocery stores, near the chocolate chips. Good luck!
Could I use a sugar substitute (likeStevia)?
Hi Linda, a sugar substitute wouldn’t work for the homemade caramels. Sorry!
Could you spread a little peanut butter on the pretzel, refrigerate, and then dip in chocolate? I think that sounds great.
Hi Donna, that could definitely work. Just make sure the peanut butter is cold so it doesn’t melt into the chocolate when you dip them. Another idea is to make a peanut butter sauce that would set a little better (like the peanut butter sauce from this recipe: https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/chocolate-peanut-butter-pretzel-bars/ )
Sounds amazing! Let me know how it turns out!
This is exactly what I needed! I’m looking for ideas for a bake sale that our boy scout troop is doing next month. These will be perfect – thank you!
Prefect–what a great idea! Hope you enjoy them!
I slipped the parchment paper with carmel pretzels onto a cookie sheet and into refrig to speed up carmel hardening .
Do you use 1 stick of butter (as indicated in the ingredients) or 2 sticks as described in the directions?
1 stick of butter! Thanks
In process of making these and the caramel did not really come together as described. My caramel looks thin after cooking for about 20-25 minutes as I stirred so wouldn’t bubble over pot. Only making a few with this thin layer of caramel. The rest will be chocolate covered.
Hi Georgia, next time be sure to cook the caramel longer, and test it with the ice water method. It’s ready when you can mold it with your fingers and it holds together well. You could also use a candy thermometer to help determine if it’s ready.
How many pretzels does this recipe make?
These were a very large pain in the butt to make. Time will tell if the chocolate sets up…the caramel, while delicious, remained so “soft but still pliable” that it wouldn’t keep its shape. Now, it is up to the chocolate to harden enough to keep it all together…..not looking good, as it is pooling pretty badly….of course I can always “shave” that part off…. so, three plus hours later, the end result is chilling in the fridge and I am cleaning my kitchen. Not exactly fast and easy. And, how I can pack and wrap these for gift giving is beyond me….messy.
My mom used to make these for me when I was a kid! They’re so delicious with the hint of caramel in them! Love love love this recipe!
need to make your caramel. i have dipped pretzels before with caramel and chocolate. they do get soft after a couple of days even though they are in their own pretzel bag. any thoughts please????
Hi Sue–I’ve had good success keeping them in the fridge. Even if they’re in their own bag, they seem to do better refrigerated. Good luck!
Second year making these!! Officially a Christmas tradition!
Awesome, I’m so happy to hear it! Thanks so much for coming back to comment 🙂
Hi are you using granulated sugar or brown sugar
Hi Kim, regular granulated sugar
These sound great! How would I store them if I wanted to keep them a couple weeks or so?
Hi Pat, I would store them in an air-tight container in the fridge. Happy Holidays!
i LOVE these – i love pretzels, caramel AND chocolate – i’m going to try them for a treat for our Oscar party! 🙂
Love the addition of caramel to these dipped pretzels! Looks so yummy! Pinned 😀
My first time making caramel — the instructions are very easy to understand and it turned out great!
I made these for a big crew of kids…I’m very popular with them now!
I made these and put them on wax paper and now I can’t get them off. Any ideas?
Parchment papers works much better than wax paper. I find that nothing sticks to it once it cools off.
Mine stuck to the waxed paper too. I set my oven to 200, put the cookie sheet with waxed paper in and after a few minutes they came right off.
Same here and the caramel turned rock hard!
These are a nice idea. Would the butter have to be salted to work?
You could use unsalted butter–then just add a little extra salt to it. 🙂