Are you sick and tired of Christmas candy and cookies? I’m sorry, but I couldn’t resist posting about these delectable pretzels. Just in case you haven’t made up your mind about what to take your neighbors OR you simply want to ingest yet another chocolate-laden treat, these are for you. I’ve wanted to make chocolate and caramel dipped pretzel rods for a while but knew they would be a real labor of love and never had the heart to attempt it. That is, until my Aunt Marilyn (who has her own label on my sidebar due to her excellent recipes), sent me a caramel recipe for just this purpose. I couldn’t resist. After my perfectionist nature rolled aside and allowed me to accept the fact that these pretzels WOULD have a flat side, no matter the creative methods I employed to get them to stay circular all the way around, it was a fun project. And the result? Wow. The caramel is heavenly (and I really loaded it on each pretzel, let me tell you) and combined with the saltiness of the pretzel and other layers of chocolate sweetness? Well, I’ll be surprised if any of these make it to the intended recipients.

Chocolate and Caramel Dipped Pretzel Rods

Yield: Makes about 40 dipped pretzel rods

Chocolate and Caramel Dipped Pretzel Rods

Here's a quick video tip on tempering/melting chocolate and another on dipping things in chocolate like a pro.

FYI: My preferred brand of chocolate is Ghirardelli.


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 14 0z. can sweetened condensed milk
  • dash of salt
  • pretzel rods
  • chocolate for dipping and drizzling (I used about 10 ounces of semi-sweet to cover the pretzels and for additional drizzling and 6 ounces of white chocolate for drizzling)


  1. Mix ingredients in order over medium heat. Come to a rolling boil to soft ball stage (use a candy thermometer or test in a bowl of cold water – a drop of caramel in the cold water should roll into a soft ball in your fingers). Take caramel off heat and use a spatula to smooth caramel over pretzels. I laid the pretzels on parchment paper after coating them in caramel and after they had set for about 10 minutes, I rolled each one along the parchment paper to eliminate the pool of caramel on the side they were laying on.
  2. After caramel has set on pretzels (about 20 minutes), melt desired chocolate in microwave or in a bowl over simmering water. I poured my melted chocolate into a tall glass and dipped each caramel pretzel into the glass to coat the caramel pretzel in chocolate. Again, lay the pretzel to dry on a tray covered in parchment paper. I put them in the refrigerator to set fully before drizzling with white chocolate and more semi-sweet chocolate. For drizzling, use remaining melted chocolate and pour into a ziploc bag. Cut a tiny tip off one corner and drizzle across pretzels. The lady who gave my aunt this recipe had a great idea for Christmas and drizzled the chocolate and caramel covered pretzels in red and green colored chocolate (I believe she used the Wilton candy pieces for the red and green). They were adorable (if you can call pretzels adorable).
  3. Don’t worry (like I did) that there is a flat side to the pretzel or that the chocolate may pool underneath the pretzel. Once the chocolate has set, you can easily shave off any unwanted pooling or excess chocolate for a prettier pretzel using a sharp knife.

Recipe Source: adapted from A. Marilyn

72 Responses to Chocolate and Caramel Dipped Pretzel Rods

  1. Maggie says:

    I make a regular batch of caramels and after they harden I cut them up into 1/2″ x 1-1/2″ pieces and starting at the top of the pretzel I just wind the caramel around the pretzel rod, stretching it as I turn it. One pan will do 70 to 80 petzels. I make about that amount during the holiday season and I have done them for shower treats. They are a labor of love and everybody looks forward to them.

  2. Katrina says:

    Our favorite trick for avoiding the flat edge is to prop them inside of criss crossed cooling racks. I have a set of 3 cooling racks that have just enough room for a pretzel between the slats and are stackable, so they raise up a couple inches off the counter. I put a second one the opposite direction (and upside down, so the “legs” are up) creating a raised grid. I have to space the pretzels out enough to not touch, because they slant a little in the hole. I usually have the plain part of the pretzel at the bottom and the dipped part sticking out of the grid.

  3. Marcie says:

    Hi Mel, I just want to say I love your blog and have tried several recipes all with great success! Thanks for always sharing your delicious recipes and helpful tips!

    I have a few questions for you on the caramel recipe. I just tried making it and it ended up being hard as a rock! Obviously I must have gone well beyond the soft ball stage so I am guessing my candy thermometer is off or something? Could you offer some tips on my questions below please?

    Should I have melted the butter first and then added the other ingredients?
    Am I supposed the stir the mixture constantly or not at all?
    Do I leave the thermometer in constantly?

    I want to try your recipe again but am afraid to waste the ingredients and time! Any tips you can offer would be so appreciated! Thanks again for sharing your time and talents! πŸ™‚


    • Mel says:

      Hi Marcie – sorry the caramel didn’t work out! Have you seen my post on calibrating a candy thermometer? Thermometers can be off like crazy so I always do this before I make candy or caramel. As for your other questions, I don’t melt the butter first, I put those first ingredients in the pan together. Stirring during caramel making is widely debated mostly because caramel can crystallize if bits of sugar that are higher up on the pan sides are reintroduced to the boiling caramel mixture so if you do stir, do it gently or even just swirl the pan. If you keep your heat on medium-low or medium so the caramel doesn’t burn, you can get away with not stirring. Yes, leave the thermometer in the entire time. Let me know if you have other questions!

  4. Jenn says:

    Thanks for the great recipe! My mom and I attempted caramel dipped pretzels a while ago and it was not a pretty sight! We used waxed paper instead of parchment paper…which was very, very bad! It took me a few days to build up the courage to try these and the parchment paper…so glad I did! πŸ™‚

  5. Vikki says:

    Melanie, I was given dipped pretzels recently and loved them..stumbled upon your site and love what you offer! I already made your Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge last night, and am going to make your Chocolate and Caramel Dipped Pretzel Rods today. All your recipes sound incredible; I’m excited to try more of them. Thank you for your site!! I can tell these will become my new holiday favorites and you will make me look like a rockstar πŸ˜€ Happy Holidays!!

  6. Mary Sorensen says:

    Awesome. Thanks for the link. I want to make some candy apples for date night, so that will be perfect. Love all your recipes by the way. Thanks for blogging!

  7. Mary Sorensen says:

    Hi Mel-

    Do you think you could use this recipe to make caramel apples?

  8. […] However. Today I was making some birthday treats for a sweet girl at Church and I succumbed to the siren call of pretzel rods dipped in homemade caramel and chocolate. To the tune of 4 caramel-covered pretzel rods and a finished rod that had chocolate coating, peanuts & more chocolate drizzled over. I seriously do NOT want to know how many calories that equals. I’m guessing probably 2000. But I’m moving on.Β  (If you want the recipe you can get it here.) […]

  9. Valerie says:

    Hi Melanie,
    I’m just putting the final touches on my first batch. I’m not sure what the caramel was supposed to look like – mine might have been too runny. I had a thermometer – maybe it wasn’t accurate?

    They look very ‘homemade” (not professional – like yours) – but I’m hoping that my kids’ teachers/coaches – etc will enjoy. I have to make a 2nd batch – so any help on the caramel part would be appreciated.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Valerie – I’m glad you made these! I bet they look wonderful. The caramel should have a thick, yet still pliable, consistency. I was able to dip my pretzels in the caramel but had to use a spatula/knife to get all the caramel around the pretzel because it was pretty thick. I hope that helps!

  10. Valerie says:

    What temperature should the carmel be – if I use a thermometer?

  11. Melanie says:

    chantarelle – thanks for your comment! Your pretzels sound so festive and lovely – I love the idea of drizzling with the red and pink and I’m definitely using that same tip next time I make them. I’m glad they turned out for you!

  12. chantarelle says:

    I made these last night to give out as early V-Day gifts at work to get us all loved up – I took inspiration from one of your earlier commenters about using the crushed almonds to keep them round – I too have nut-free people in the office, so instead used a pack on the tiny stick pretzels and smashed them up into pieces that looked like crushed nuts and used those – they turned out great! (I drizzled them with white chocolate tinted red and pink, so pretty!) I wish I’d taken photos but they ate them too fast today! Thanks for the recipe!

  13. Shelly says:

    Hi Melanie – wish me luck in adding carmel to my pretzels this year. I am very challenged when it comes to making candy-LOL

    I incorporated drizzling melted green Andies mints on my pretzels in the past and they were a big hit with friends and family. now, not sure if the carmel and mint go together but I guess I just make two different kinds πŸ™‚

    Happy Holidays!

  14. paulynn says:

    Melanie, Hi I found your blog a couple of days ago and I haven’t been this excited for a long time! I have made these pretzels for a few years now, but every year I get on the internet and try to find some great tips and this year I found YOU! I have one problem and it is driving me crazy. When I do the milk chocolate they get those white spots on them. I have tried barely melting the chocolate so its not to hot and I try to keep the house cool and it still does it! I made some a few days ago and I am going to make more in the next day or two. Do you have any other suggestions or know what it is I am doing wrong? Every year I tell myself I am not going to do it again because I get so frustrated with the SPOTS but then my neighbors and my children start saying, “We can’t wait to get your pretzels for Christmas” so I try again. I would really appreciate any hints or help you could offer! Thank you for providing us with this wonderful blog. I have alerted all of my friends about it and they love it too! Thank you for sharing! Paulynn

  15. Melanie says:

    paulynn – sorry it has taken me a day or so to respond to your comment. The white spots you see on your dried chocolate is called “bloom.” It doesn’t affect the taste but it means the chocolate wasn’t tempered just right. This is kind of tricky because tempering chocolate is really hard and most home cooks (like myself) don’t usually mess with it – usually what I do is I chop my chocolate really fine and melt it in the microwave until nearly melted – then I stir until completely melted and then add about 2 ounces of finely chopped chocolate to the melted chocolate to bring it up to a cooler temperature. It helps to prevent the blooming…but I’m not an expert so there may be other issues contributing. I wish I could be of more help! Let me know how they turn out the next time you try them. It sounds like despite the blooming, your friends and family want the pretzels anyway! You must have a pretty good reputation to keep up!

  16. Karen says:

    What did I do wrong? I melted the butter, added the brown sugar, the corn syryp and then the condensed milk. It started cooking but then had dark pieces so I started stirring afraid it was burning on the bottom of the pan. Something tells me I shouldn’t have stirred and just let it cook till it reached the right temperature. It smells wonderful and I did put it on the pretzel rods but it’s grainy and not quite right. I’m going to put the chocolate on next but please help.

  17. Melanie says:

    Karen – caramel can be tricky but I think the trick to not getting the burned pieces on the bottom is to cook the caramel at a low heat. It takes longer to cook to the right temperature but usually it helps the butter not to separate and the caramel to burn. I’m guessing next time you might try a lower temperature and either stir constantly from the beginning over low heat or don’t stir at all. Good luck!

  18. Karen says:

    Thanks for the tip. They definitely tasted great and people loved them. I’ll make them again.

  19. paulynn says:

    Melanie, hi, I wanted to let you know how my pretzels turned out. I did the chocolate the way you told me to and guess what? NO SPOTS!!!! (or blooming, as it is called.) It was close to the happiest day of my life! I felt like I finally, after years of trying, succeeded! Thank you for your help and for being so kind as to answer everyones questions. I know you are very busy with 4 little ones and I don’t know where you find the time to help all of us! I hope your Christmas was Merry!

  20. Melanie says:

    paulynn – ok, I was almost jumping up and down when I read your comment! I’m so happy for you! Thanks for letting me know. Who knew I could get so excited about chocolate without spots???

  21. Shelly says:

    My name IS Shelly Lyn and I’m a Chocolate & Caramel Dipped Pretzel Addict! The caramel was a dream to make, especially for this non-candy making gal. I also used the Guittard dipping chocolate which was simply and so yummy! I made three batches and other than two broken pieces I didn’t save any for myself and family. The next batch I make (which will be very soon)I plan on hiding it and saving it all for myself – :-))

    Looking forward to new yummy recipes in 2010!!

  22. Melanie says:

    Shelly – what a great comment! I’m so glad that these pretzels were a success for you and I hope you DO find the time to make a batch just for yourself!!

  23. Shelly says:

    My pleasure, Melanie! Your blog is wonderful and I wanted you to know how happy I am to have come accross it. Not sure if you saw my post about using mint – Be sure to try drizzling mint on the pretzels dipped in chocolate sometime – it is a definate crowd pleaser!

  24. Melanie says:

    Hi Laura, yes, I use salted pretzels – those really big pretzel rods usually found by the chips. I actually think the reason my pretzels got soft was due more to living in a humid climate than anything. I would say you could make these with caramel and chocolate and they would store well for up to 4 days. If you want them to last longer, you could try omitting the caramel, although I bet whatever way you make them, if you keep the completely covered and somewhat chilled, they will be just fine. Good luck!

  25. Laura says:

    Hi Melanie,

    These pretzels look amazing. I was wondering if you use salted pretzels or unsalted? Also, you mentioned the pretzels get soft after 3 days. I want to make these as gifts and take them cross-country for Christmas, and they may not get eaten right away. Do you think if you Just used chocolate and not the carmel, those would get soft after 3 days as well? Thanks!

  26. Melanie says:

    Hey Deb – I’m making these this week, too! Great minds think alike. I’m so glad that you liked them. Thanks for letting me know.

  27. Deb says:

    Ok Melanie…these are just about the best treats I’ve ever made. Tried a “test” batch tonight to see if I liked them…OH YEAH!!!! I’ll be giving these out as gifts this year. Thanks so much for this recipe!!

  28. Melanie says:

    Kristine – yum, those sound awesome. I’m definitely going to have to try it that way!

  29. Kristine says:

    Hi Melanie. I considered the small, skinny sticks but that would have taken forever! I used the classic “knot-shaped” pretzels. They each had a corner with nothing on it (because that’s where I held them while I brushed the caramel and then the chocolate on) but that’s fine. They were very much enjoyed by everyone…thanks again!

  30. Melanie says:

    Hi Kristine – by regular pretzels do you mean the small pretzel sticks or the small pretzel shapes? Great idea. I hope they turn out for you!

  31. Kristine says:

    I just found your blog today…looks great! I want to try the broccoli cheddar soup next, but right now I’m already making these chocolate & caramel dipped pretzels. Couldn’t find pretzel rods, so I’m just using regular pretzels and that works fine too (although not as pretty). I haven’t even gotten to the chocolate-covered stage yet, but just had to try one (and then another) as soon as the caramel set. YUM!!! I’m sure it’ll be even better once the chocolate is on it. Thanks so much for the recipe(s)!

  32. Melanie says:

    Kristen – ok, I LOVE good tips and the potato peeler idea ranks right up there with a total “Aha!” moment for me. Why haven’t I thought of that? You are a genius. Thanks for sharing.

  33. Kristen says:

    I just made these tonight – DELICIOUS!!! My friends and I could not get enough of them.

    One cool trick is to use a potato peeler to scrape off the excess chocolate. It’s a lot more efficient than a knife and leaves you with pretty shavings you can sprinkle on the rods!!

    Thanks for the recipe!

  34. Nicole says:

    Okay, so I’ve already made enough comments about these, but they really are divine and I made them again for my sister’s birthday. I forgot to mention though that I used milk chocolate instead of semi-sweet. Its really the only chocolate I use for anything. Just thought I’d mention it incase someone else is a milk chocolate fan- they really are heaven with milk chocolate!

  35. jaesi says:

    did you read my mind….? Im making these on Sunday to give to my YW but I needed a good easy caramel recipe…gracias!

  36. Nicole says:

    Oh yeah- I forgot! That was a great tip on putting the chocolate into a glass. At first I tried just putting it on with a spatula, but it was really uneven. The glass was awesome because you can tip it to roll the pretzel in. Also, for the white chocolate, I put my chocolate pieces into the ziplock and then set the ziplock in the bowl ontop of the bowling water. Saved a step and a mess!

  37. PheMom says:

    I love these pretzel rods! I have been looking for a great recipe that didn’t just involve melting pre-made caramels. Thanks for sharing!!

  38. grace says:

    awesome! i think chocolate-dipped pretzel rods is brilliant–it wouldn’t get messy at all! and throwing in some caramel too can never be a bad thing. never. πŸ™‚

  39. Sara says:

    These look amazing! I love chocolate covered pretzels…but adding caramel to them? YUM!

  40. Melanie says:

    The Favelos – great tip, thanks! I’m going to have to experiment with these more to help with the flattening. I like the nuts idea but some of my family is allergic so I’ll have to play around with other methods, too. Thanks for sharing your tip!

  41. Nicole says:

    I made these today! (not for Christmas like planned, but for my dad’s birthday). I was a little scared because I am HORRIBLE at candy making and Scott broke my thermometer. I used the cold water test, and everything turned out wonderful. The only bad part was that I ended up eating all of the carmel that rolled off the rods (which I’m not really complaining about). The carmel is delicious! I did have a few questions for you though- since I’ve never seen these done before I wasn’t sure if you were suppose to cover the entire pretzel with carmel and chocolate or leave an edge to hold the pretzel with? Thanks Mel!

  42. Jane says:

    I visit your blog often and I don’t think I have ever left a comment. Every recipe I have tried from your blog has been a total winner. I made these today for Valentine treats and they really are to die for. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes.

  43. Melanie says:

    Merilee – so, so glad these worked out! I’ve been wondering if you ended up trying them. Thanks for the comment. You are really sweet and I’m glad you liked this recipe!

  44. Frieda says:

    These are my ultimate weakness…sweet and salty rolled into one! Thank you for your caramel recipe and for sharing your ‘rolling’ tips. I have tried in vain to located the smaller 3″ rods to make ‘bite sized’ pretzel rods. These are soooooo addictive!

  45. Melanie says:

    Britta – I agree with you, I could have eaten the entire batch of caramel. It was so good – and much better than melted store-bought caramels. I’m so glad these were a hit for you – I bet yours were lovely, especially with the compliments you were getting!

  46. Melanie says:

    Jane – I’m thrilled you liked this recipe. I bet they looked gorgeous all wrapped up with a ribbon. I agree that it is quite the investment of time to make these little beauties, but I’m glad they worked out for you.

  47. Melanie says:

    Leishman’s – that was a nice comment, thank you! I’m glad you like the blog. Let me know if you try any of the recipes – I’d love to hear from you.

  48. Melanie says:

    Jane – thank you for your comment. It made my day! Thanks for taking the time to comment – I’m so glad you liked these pretzels!

  49. Melanie says:

    Leishman’s – I bought my long pretzel rods at Walmart (the Snyders brand) but I’ve also seen them at my local grocery store, too.

  50. Melanie says:

    Ilissa – I’m sure the recipe would work just fine halving all the ingredients. The only reason I would say to go ahead with the full batch is they are a labor of love so if you are going to make them, you might as well make the full batch because it takes just as much work to cook the caramel and melt chocolate as it would to halve it. Let me know if you try them!

  51. Kylie Walker says:

    we make these too (except not w/ homemade caramel) and i eat them all before i get chance to give them all away πŸ™‚ yours are way cute

  52. The Favelos says:

    Thank you for the caramel recipe! I make similar dipped pretzel rods, but I wrap them in rolled caramel first. I wanted to share a tip for getting them not to flatten – if you roll them in chopped almonds before placing on the wax paper, they will keep their round shape much better and not be flat on one side.

  53. Laura says:

    I’ve been wanting to make these and wanted to find a recipe that works. I’m be keeping this one.

  54. Nicole says:

    Yum Mel! These look so good! I might cut that recipe in half and put some in Kevin’s stocking for Christmas!

  55. Darrin and Britta says:

    I made these for my family this week. Wow! They’re all gone! They tasted better after setting up for about 24hrs – the flavors blended and they were intensely perfect. I think the homemade caramel was the kicker. I could’ve eaten it all up plain! People said they looked like something from a nice coffee shop. Thanks so much for another winner of a recipe!

  56. Mrs.Kiwi says:

    Oh My Word. These look so amazing Im thinking about making them as little wedding favors at each place setting for my wedding this fall! Such a cute idea, thanks for the recipe! πŸ™‚

  57. The Leishman's says:

    Thanks Melanie! By the way.. Im a huge fan of your blog!! Everything looks so yummy! I looked at your blog seriously all day yesterday! i love that all your recipes are so easy! Just what every Mom needs! Thanks πŸ˜‰

  58. The Leishman's says:

    So I tried them, and may I say… Their AMAZING!!! Yum! Yum! Yum! The carmel is the best! I tried having just one bite.. Nope! This is a new winner in my fav dessert recipes! I can’t wait to try all your other recipes! Melanie, you rock! Keep them coming πŸ™‚
    Sincerely, Merilee

  59. The Leishman's says:

    Where do you buy the long pretzel rods?

  60. Leigh Anne says:

    Yum, yum, yum!!!! I have a neighbor that brings us a bunch of these yummy things each holiday – it is my favorite holiday treat that we get. Thanks for the recipe, I’ll have to make a batch too!

  61. jane says:

    Just wanted you to know that I made six batches of these – half dipped in white chocolate and half dipped in milk chocolate and wrapped them individually in cello to put one of each together with ribbon for my son’s wedding as favours. They look (and taste!) fantastic. Our wedding planner said they were so professional that she could get me orders.
    Not likely as they were a labour of love, but I am so happy with the results.
    Thank you for such a great recipe!!

  62. Ilissa says:

    i was wondering whether or not this recipe would work as well if i used half of everything? They look so delicious!

  63. Stacie Aho says:

    These were really really good. Messy to make, but SO worth it. Thanks for a keeper.

  64. Melanie says:

    Stacie – yes, these are messy, but I’m glad you thought they were worth it. I’m working on a method to help them be round instead of flat on one side. Hope it works out – I’ll let you know if it does!

  65. Anonymous says:

    Hi Melanie,

    My BFF and I are planning to make these for her sister’s baby shower. How long in advance can we make them and how do we store them?


  66. Melanie says:

    Lorie – When I made these, I made them the day before and stored them lightly covered at room temperature. But there were some leftovers that stayed at room temperature for 2-3 days and after 3 days they tasted fine. I wouldn’t make them more in advance than 3 days because the pretzels can start to get soft (especially if you live in a humid climate), but 3 days before should be ok and I would store them in a lightly covered tupperware container or on a baking sheet covered with wax paper. Good luck!

  67. celine says:

    So cute!! I love how you wrap them in a kind of bouquet. They would make great wedding favors and they look really simple. I saw some photos of bakeries on that have similar pretzel bouquets going with some other fancy accents… if I can’t figure out how to make mine look like yours, I’ll probably end up going with one of those. Yours look fantatsic! Thanks for the idea.

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