This copycat version of Dot’s Pretzels is pretty indistinguishable from the real thing and is utterly irresistible and savoury. One of the keys to success is your choice of pretzels, and I’ll clue you in on what type to use and where to find them in a moment.
When I was out in Iowa visiting my friends at the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, we spent quite a lot of time in a bus heading from meeting to meeting. I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, but I am completely incapable of riding in a car for longer than 15 minutes without needing a snack.
My friends Shannon and Natalie must have known this. In what might go down as the understatement of the year, they popped open a bag of something they simply described as being “really, really good” and passed it back along the line of bloggers sitting in the bus. A hush fell.
Guys. If you know any bloggers, you know hushes don’t fall easily. The silence was because we were all cramming Dot’s Pretzels in our mouth and marveling at how a SNACK FOOD could be THAT GOOD. And yes, all-caps yelling was in order there.
I’ve never in my life had a flavoured pretzel that good. The silence continued until that bag was empty and each of us had opened our phones and ordered two-packs from Amazon because the store locator indicated ZERO stores where I could buy it in driving distance from my home.
As soon as I ordered it, though, I realized -egads- I had just paid $17 for two one-pound bags of pretzels. It was going to be unrealistic to pony up $17 for a two-pack of pretzels as often as I was going to want those pretzels. Thank HEAVENS my husband doesn’t read my blog often.
They’re not JUST Ranch Pretzels
I admit I studied the ingredients list of the Dot’s Pretzels bag pretty carefully. The flavour of the pretzels had reminded me a lot of ranch dressing and the ingredients list seemed to bear it out. But there was more to it than just that as I found when I tried to make some with regular old pretzel sticks.
While the regular ranch pretzels were tasty, they lacked some of the magic of Dot’s Pretzels. I found that the key to the iconic Dot’s Pretzels flavour was to use a specific type of pretzel.
What kind of pretzels make Dot’s Pretzels?
Butter Braids are the very best pretzel to use if you’re making copycat Dot’s Pretzels, and you can nab those at Target or Walmart just about anywhere in the country. If you can’t find them, use butter snap pretzels.
If you want some seriously amazing Dot’s Pretzels, try using these butter braided pretzels from Nuts.com. They’re about $5 per one pound bag, so they’re still a pretty good price compared to $17 for two pounds of Dot’s Pretzels.
I do not advice trying to make your ranch pretzels with honey wheat pretzel twists, though. I think the flavours compete a bit and it tastes a little off.
As for which ranch dressing mix to use, I prefer to use my homemade buttermilk ranch dressing mix, but I’ve also made it with the big brand of ranch dressing mix and the recipe tasted perfect.
Cayenne pepper is optional in this recipe. If you use it, there’s just a little background heat and kick that some folks find to be a more accurate match to the original Dot’s pretzels. We like it both with or without.
- Preheat the oven to 250°F.
- Toss the pretzels with the melted butter to coat, then toss with the Ranch dressing mix and cayenne pepper if using to coat evenly.
- Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed half sheet pan.
- Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes; just until the coating is set.
If you love these Dot’s Pretzels, you should try these garlic butter soft pretzel bites, best sourdough soft pretzels, pretzels, pretzel bread, and perfect soft pretzel rolls. You will be a very happy camper if you serve them with Hot Corn Dip, Chili Con Queso Dip, or Dill Pickle Dip.
- 1 pound butter braid pretzels or butter snaps
- 4 tablespoons butter melted, preferably unsalted
- 3 tablespoons ranch dressing mix
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional, but delicious
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- In a bowl (or in the pretzel bag itself) toss the pretzels gently with the melted butter to coat evenly.
- Sprinkle the ranch dressing mix and cayenne if using over the pretzels and again toss to coat evenly.
- Arrange the pretzels in a single layer on a half sheet pan and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, or until the pretzels are dry to the touch and the seasoning is set on them.
- Eat warm, or let cool completely to room temperature before transferring to an airtight container or bag for storage.These are good for about a week at room temperature.
This post was originally published December 2, 2018 and republished January 13, 2021 with improved notes.