This Pull Apart Pretzel Skillet features soft pretzel bites served with Beer Cheese. It’s the perfect way to celebrate Oktoberfest and Autumn days in general!
This Pull Apart Pretzel Skillet with Beer Cheese post is sponsored by Cabot Creamery, but the recipe and opinions are entirely my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Spiced!
Ah, Oktoberfest. That awesome German holiday that is celebrated every September. Yup, despite the name, Oktoberfest dates mostly fall in September. (The celebration traditionally lasts 17-18 days, and it ends on the first Sunday of October.)
While the ‘official’ Oktoberfest is held in Munich, Germany, many cities around the world have gotten on board with this fun holiday. After all, a festival based around tasty food and beer is sure to be a good time no matter what city you’re in!
While Oktoberfest style beers typically take main stage, we can’t forget all of the yummy food! Soft pretzels are one of my all-time favorite German snacks – they originated in the southern region of Germany. (Several towns in southern Germany hold annual parades where they march through the streets carrying large pretzels mounted on colorful poles. Now that sounds like the kind of festival I need to see!! I’m adding it to the list along with the World Championship Cheese Contest.)
Pull Apart Pretzel Skillet
Speaking of pretzels, I decided to get into the Oktoberfest spirit this year by making some soft pretzels…pull-apart style! Think of monkey bread except with pretzels. Holy cow were these pretzels good. I’m pretty sure I could’ve stood in the kitchen and eaten the entire batch as they cooled!
As if the pretzels weren’t enough by themselves, I decided to serve ’em with beer cheese. Golden brown buttery pretzels served with warm beer cheese? Sign me up for that! This is a great snack or appetizer to make for fall football games or just hanging out with friends. The taste is perfect for the cooler days of Autumn!
For the beer cheese, I went with one of my favorite cheddar cheeses – Cabot’s Vermont Sharp cheddar cheese. We always keep several different Cabot cheeses in our fridge. Cabot knows their cheese, and Vermont Sharp is the perfect everyday cheddar. It’s got a bold cheddar flavor that makes it great for snacking or baking. I recommend grabbing a couple blocks and shredding your own cheese for this beer cheese.
Speaking of Cabot, did you see that they recently partnered with Dogfish Head Brewery to create a beer that pairs well with cheddar cheese? We all know about wine and cheese, but I’ve been saying for years that beer and cheese pair well together, too. Now there’s a beer designed specifically for cheddar cheese!
And get this – Dogfish Head’s Perfect Pairing Pale Ale uses some of Cabot’s whey permeate to add body and sweetness to this beer. (Whey permeate is a by-product of the cheese-making process. Talk about not wasting anything!)
“The fruitiness of the hops complement the saltiness of the cheddar and the bitterness cuts the fat, making [this beer] the idea companion for many dishes.” -Dogfish Head Brewery
The Perfect Pairing Pale Ale is a new release from Dogfish Head, and it isn’t available here in our town yet. Instead, I opted to go with Dogfish Head’s classic 60 Minute IPA for this beer cheese. It turned out quite well! (But you better believe I’ve got an eye out for that Perfect Pairing as soon as it shows up in Asheville.) The beer’s flavor will come through in the finished beer cheese, so if you’re not an IPA fan, then go with your favorite ale, lager or pilsner for this beer cheese.
If you’re looking for a fun fall baking recipe, then put this Pull Apart Pretzel Skillet on the list. Oh, and don’t forget the beer cheese! This recipe is further proof of what we know already – warm bread and cheese go together like pullovers and Autumn days. Happy baking!!
Pull Apart Pretzel Skillet with Beer Cheese
For the Pretzel Dough
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2¼ tsp active dry yeast i.e. 1 packet
- ½ Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ cup + 2 Tbsp warm water
- 4 cups boiling water
- ½ cup baking soda
- 1-2 tsp pretzel or kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
For the Beer Cheese Dip
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon diced
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 12- oz. ale I used Dogfish Head
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 4 oz. Cabot cream cheese
- 16 oz. Cabot Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese grated
- ¼ cup fresh chives chopped
For the Pretzel Dough
- Using a countertop mixer with a dough hook, add the flour, salt, brown sugar, yeast, and warm water; stir until well combined. Increase speed to medium and mix for 5-6 minutes.
- Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and place in a warm (85°F) location for 45 minutes. (Note: I typically put the bowl in the oven. I turn the oven light on, but do not turn actual oven on.)
- Meanwhile, combine the boiling water with the baking soda; mix until well combined. Set aside to cool.
- Note: While the dough is rising is a good time to make the beer cheese dip.
- Spray an 8” or 9” cast iron skillet with nonstick baking spray; set skillet aside.
- Once dough has risen, turn dough out onto a lightly-floured cutting board. Roll/stretch dough into a 12”x8” rectangle. Cut dough into ~1” pieces; roll each piece of dough into a ball.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place pieces of dough into the baking soda/water mixture and let soak for 2 minutes. (Note: If necessary, spoon water over the top of the dough if it is not fully covered by water.)
- Remove dough from water and let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
- Layer pieces of dough around edges of cast iron skillet, leaving center open. Brush tops of dough with melted butter and sprinkle with pretzel salt.
- Spoon beer cheese dip into the center of the skillet.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until tops of pretzels are golden brown and cheese dip is hot. (Note: Check pretzels after 15 minutes. If necessary, tent top of skillet with foil to prevent pretzels from burning.)
- Remove skillet from oven and top cheese dip with cooked bacon and chopped chives. Serve warm.
For the Beer Cheese Dip
- Using a medium saucepan, add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate; pat dry. Leave bacon fat in saucepan.
- Place saucepan over medium heat and add flour; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Whisk in the ale and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to simmer. Whisk in the mustard.
- Reduce heat to medium-low heat and add cream cheese; stir until cream cheese has completed melted.
- Add shredded cheddar a handful at a time, stirring until each handful melts. (Note: The beer cheese dip can be topped with bacon and served at this stage. However, for this recipe, remove dip from heat and set aside. It will be placed in the cast iron skillet and reheated there while the pretzels bake.)
Looking for more tasty cheese recipes? Check out these other favorite cheesy appetizers: