Thursday, February 9, 2023

Buffalo ranch mini pretzel dogs

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible! 

Pretzel dogs make for a delicious Super Bowl snack, and you won’t believe how easy they are to make. I use store-bough refrigerated pizza dough in this recipe because it is almost identical to pretzel dough. The only difference is the hydration levels. You probably wouldn’t be able to tell a difference if they were side-by-side. 

But the real key to making homemade pretzels is a lye bath. Lye is what makes a pretzel a pretzel and not just a baked piece of dough.

What is lye?

Lye, which is also known as sodium hydroxide is an alkaline compound that boosts flavorful browning by accelerating the Maillard reaction and caramelizing sugars on the outside of the dough as it bakes. The stronger the alkali, the better the results. Lye is a very strong alkali with a pH of 14. 

Some people use baking soda if they’re uncomfortable using lye. Baking soda has a pH around 8.3. That’s a big difference. That’s why it doesn’t work nearly as well as lye. Baking soda pretzels are lighter in color and flavor.

Where can I find lye?

You can find lye online. Here is the lye I use.

What are safety tips for working with lye?

Lye is poisonous and must be handled with extreme caution. The lye solution we’re working with is very diluted, but it can still cause skin irritation. That’s why you should always wear gloves and long sleeves when working with lye, and don’t touch anything that has been in contact with the solution.

Add lye to the water, don’t add water to the lye.

Keep the solution away from pets and children. 

How do you give the pretzel dogs buffalo ranch flavor?

Brushing the pretzel dogs with Challenge Buffalo Snack Spread right after they come out of the oven is the key to delicious buffalo flavor. If you can find the snack spread, you can mix a little buffalo sauce with softened butter. Then I rolled the pretzel dogs around in ranch seasoning. It's that easy! One thing I learned is to add the butter and seasoning after it's done baking because otherwise the seasoning may burn in the oven. 

Buffalo ranch mini pretzel dogs

Yield: Makes 42 mini pretzels

Time: About 90 minutes


  • 1 pound pizza dough, room temperature
  • 1 (14 oz) package mini smoked sausages (or 10 hot dogs or sausages, cut in fourths)
  • 1 quart cold water
  • 1 ounce food-grade lye* (see notes for how to substitute baking soda)
  • 4 Tablespoons Challenge Buffalo Snack Spread, melted (can substitute 3 Tablespoons softened butter plus 1 Tablespoon buffalo sauce)
  • 2 Tablespoons ranch seasoning
  • Also helpful: Spray bottle filled with water**


  1. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and grab large slotted spoon. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Divide dough into 8 pieces so it’s easier to work with.
  4. Roll one of the pieces into a long rope and tightly wrap it around mini smoke sausage. Once the sausage is covered, cut the dough from the rest of the rope and press down the end so the seam is smooth. Place sausage on one baking sheet.
  5. Continue to wrap dough around sausages until you run out of dough. Place all wrapped sausages onto same baking sheet.
  6. Put on clean food safe gloves, grab large slotted spoon, and clear work surface.
  7. Pour water into large glass or stainless steel bowl. Add lye to water and stir until lye is dissolved.
  8. Use slotted spoon to carefully lower several pretzel dogs into lye bath. Push down pretzel dogs with back of spoon so they’re fully submerged. 
  9. Remove with slotted spoon after 10 seconds. Allow excess lye solution to drip off before sliding onto baking sheet.
  10. Continue process until all of the pretzel dogs have been dipped in lye bath.
  11. Rearrange the pretzel dogs so they’re about 1 inch apart using both baking sheets if necessary.
  12. Remove gloves and sprinkle each pretzel dog with flaky sea salt.
  13. Bake for about 10 minutes or until pretzel dogs are dark, glossy brown.
  14. Immediately after removing pretzel dogs from oven, brush with Challenge Buffalo Snack Spread and cover in ranch seasoning.


*Use extreme caution when handling lye solution. Always wear gloves. It can cause skin irritation if not handled correctly. Keep the solution away from pets and children. Dispose of the lye bath immediately after you’ve finished using it. You can pour it down the drain. If you cannot find lye here is how you substitute with baking soda: Bring 6 cups water and 2 Tablespoons baking soda to a boil. Submerge pretzels into baking soda bath for 1 minute. Remove with slotted spoon and place on baking sheet.

**I like to use a spray bottle with water to wet the dough a bit before rolling it into a rope. I also spritz the parchment paper so the dough doesn’t stick to it.

Beer cheese dip

Yield: Makes about 2 cups

Time: About 15 minutes


  • 8 ounces Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 ounces IPA beer


  1. Heat Velveeta in small saucepan. 
  2. Once cheese is mostly melted, add mustard and Worcestershire sauce and stir until combine.
  3. Slowly pour in beer and continue to stir until cheese is completely melted.
  4. Serve warm.


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