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These fun and easy Patriotic Pretzel Rods are perfect for the 4th of July, Memorial Day, or any patriotic celebration or event! Colored chocolate candy melts and salty pretzels make a quick and delicious treat that are a great project to do with your kids in under 30 minutes without even heating up your kitchen!
Everybody loves a good red, white, and blue-themed dessert when it comes to the 4th of July! Some of our other favorites are this Red, White, and Blue Bundt Cake, my Old Glory American Flag Pie, and a Red, White, and Blueberry Cream Pie!
Stars and Stripes Dipped Pretzels
I love the 4th of July so much. It’s easily one of my favorite holidays. The food, the atmosphere, and the fireworks all combine to make one of the most fun events of the year!
I didn’t actually plan ahead on these 4th of July chocolate covered pretzels but found myself with some leftover red, white, and blue candy melts already melted and in piping bags for another project. So I pulled a bag of pretzel rods from the cupboard (we love them and usually have a bag on hand) and made these happen.
My kids are 7 and 10 and they LOVE projects like this. You can keep things simple with candy melts or add in some patriotic sprinkles or colored sugar for extra color, sparkle, and crunch.
The end result once the chocolate has set is a yummy combination of sweet and salty that gets me every time. Plus, if you are throwing a party, these make an impressive and delightful presentation on your table that will have everybody exclaiming about them.
What you’ll need
- Candy melts: You can find these at any craft store like Michaels, Joann’s, or Hobby Lobby. Look for royal or navy blue melts, along with a classic red and brilliant white.
- Pretzel rods: Not to be confused with pretzel sticks, which are shorter and thinner, pretzel rods are longer and thicker and perfect for dipping in melted chocolate. Plus, I love the chocolate to pretzel ratio with them.
- Baking sheets: Line them with parchment paper or wax paper so the chocolate doesn’t stick.
- Wire rack: I like using these for the decorating part especially so the excess chocolate drips through and doesn’t puddle around the pretzel rods for a more professional looking finish.
- Tall, narrow glasses: This shape is much better for dipping the long pretzel rods than a wider bowl.
- Piping bags, plastic ziploc bags, or squeeze bottles: These are just for drizzling and decorating, but you could even just use a spoon to drizzle the decoration on if that’s what you have on and.
How to Make Patriotic Pretzels
Melt the candy melts in separate bowls according to the package instructions. You can do this in a double boiler over simmering water or in the microwave, whichever is easiest for you. I tend to use the microwave method most often, which just involved heating the candy melts in 20-30 second bursts of heat and stirring well between each burst until they are completely melted.
Transfer the melted candy melts to your narrow, tall glasses and dip each pretzel rod, one at a time, in them. Shake off the excess chocolate back into the glass so it doesn’t puddle around the pretzel too much, then lay the pretzels onto the parchment paper lined baking sheets.
Once you have dipped your pretzels, transfer the remaining melted chocolate into piping bags and snip off the tips. Use this to drizzle contrasting stripes across the dipped pretzels.
If you want to make the American Flag versions, you have a couple of options. One is to dip the whole pretzel in melted white chocolate for a base, then dip just the tip in the melted blue chocolate and drizzle the rest of the pretzel with red stripes.
Or you can take the approach I did here when I was running low on colors and didn’t have enough to easily dip the remaining pretzels. Instead, I just drizzled stripes of each color onto the pretzels and it worked really well! The underside of the pretzels didn’t get completely coated in chocolate, but because of the thicker amount on the top it all worked out just fine.
You can always reheat the candy melts for a few seconds in the microwave if they start getting too firm or cool, although I recommend not waiting until they have completely resolidified as I don’t always have the best results getting them to melt again at that point. It’s best to do it when at least some of the melted chocolate is still, well, melted.
These store best at room temperature on the counter as long as your house isn’t too warm or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. I keep them in a ziploc bag or other airtight container so the pretzels don’t go stale. But for the most part, the chocolate coating keeps the pretzel protected so that they taste fresh for up to a couple of weeks even!
I don’t recommend this as they don’t melt very easily. Instead, look for the candy wafers or candy melts at the store. At least for the white color, you can also look for a product called Candyquik at the grocery store in the baking aisle and it works really well. White almond bark is another option, although personally I don’t love the taste of it as much as Candyquik or candy melts.
- Try different combinations: You could do a white base with blue stripes and red sprinkles. Or a blue base with white stripes and red sprinkles. Or get blue or white sprinkles and use those rather than candy melts for one of your colors. It’s honestly hard to go wrong with these.
- If it’s warm (because summer): It might take the melted candy coating longer to set up on the counter. If so, you can pop the baking sheet of coated pretzels into the fridge and they will set up in minutes.
- Other holidays: Change up the red, white, and blue colors for orange, black, and white (or maybe even green and purple) for a fun Halloween version! These are also great for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter!
- Add flavor: You can stir in a little extract to add flavor to your candy melts, if you like. Mint and lemon are my favorites, although there are lots of other options at craft stores in the same aisle that you usually find the candy melts.
- Leftover candy melts: If you find yourself with a bunch of melted chocolate leftover, my favorite way to use it up is to grab some roasted peanuts or cornflakes and toss them in the bowl with the rest of the melted candy. Drop them by spoonfuls onto parchment paper for easy, fun peanut clusters!
More Patriotic Recipes
- Red, White, and Blueberry Bacon Burger with Basil Aioli
- Red White and Blue Berry Trifle
- Easy Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Homemade Blueberry Pie
Patriotic Pretzel Rods
- 1 bag pretzel rods
- 1 bag white candy melts
- 1 bag red candy melts
- 1 bag blue candy melts
- Patriotic sprinkles optional
- Melt the candy melts in separate, microwave-safe containers by heating one color at time in the microwave in 20-30 second increments, stirring well between each burst of heat until melted. Alternatively, they can be melted in the top of a double boiler on the stove over simmering water.
- Transfer the melted chocolate into tall, narrow glasses and dip each pretzel rod about 3/4 of the way. Shake off excess melted candy back into the glass, then lay the pretzels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a wire rack. For the American Flag pretzels, dip the rods in the white candy melts first, then once that has set up, dip just the tip in the blue candy melts.
- Once the pretzel rods have been dipped, transfer the remaining melted candy melts to piping bags or other tools for drizzling and decorating (see post for more ideas). You might need to warm them for a few seconds (usually no more than 5-10) in the microwave if the colors are starting to cool down too much.
- Drizzle stripes over the dipped pretzel rods however you like. If doing the American Flag pretzels, drizzle red and white stripes with a blue tip.
- Let the candy set before serving the pretzels either arranged on a platter or standing up in mason jars or other cups.
- Storage: Keep any uneaten pretzels in a ziploc bag or other airtight container on the counter for 1-2 weeks.