Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Easy Homemade Soft Pretzels + Video

How to make easy homemade soft pretzels in less than 45 minutes. Don't forget the easy spicy cheese sauce! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Happy Monday!

I know we’ve done this before. Soft pretzels are nothing new around here.

But listen up. We’ve never gone into making easy homemade soft pretzels in great detail. And we’ve certainly never watched it here before. Especially that tricky shaping step! Which, after you’ll learn today, isn’t difficult at all. If you have zero skill in the kitchen, you can make homemade soft pretzels. Soft pretzels that LEGIT taste better than the ball park and dare I say it? Auntie Anne’s.

Did I just go there? Oh yes, I did. #boldstatement #sorryauntie

How to make easy homemade soft pretzels in less than 45 minutes. Don't forget the easy spicy cheese sauce! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This recipe, which first appeared on my blog in 2012, comes from Kevin’s side of the family. Kevin taught me how to make them 5 years ago. I was utterly clueless about where to begin with soft pretzels and yes, my husband taught me everything. I remember feeling pleasantly surprised at the ease and speed– it took us only 30 minutes to make 1 batch!

Over the years, I’ve added a smidge of melted butter and brown sugar to the dough– just to achieve that Auntie Anne’s flavor and texture. Furthermore, we’ve introduced the baking soda bath. While it sounds strange, this step is what gives pretzels that iconic flavor, golden brown texture, and super soft interior. If you get the water boiling ahead of time, it really only adds 5 minutes to the entire process. We do it every time now. It’s worth it!

We’ve also made them bite-sized and stuffed ’em with cheese.

There’s no wrong way to shape a pretzel, but let’s stick with tradition today. I have a lot of photos of the process and right before the recipe, you can watch a quick video tutorial. I promise you’ll no longer feel intimidated working with yeast, shaping pretzels, or the baking soda bath. I gotchu!!

How to make easy homemade soft pretzels in less than 45 minutes. Don't forget the easy spicy cheese sauce! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

STEP BY STEP PICS

Let’s chat about the dough. You need the simplest, most basic ingredients possible and I guarantee each one is in your kitchen right now. Warm water, 1 packet yeast, melted butter, brown sugar, salt, flour.

How to make homemade soft pretzels on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make homemade soft pretzels on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make homemade soft pretzels on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Let the yeast foam in the warm water for a sec, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix. You can use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, a hand mixer, or– like you’ll notice in the video– no mixer at all. Pretzel dough is no diva. Work with what you’ve got.

Guess what? You don’t have to wait to let this dough rise. YES YES YES!! Well, we’ll let it rest for 10 minutes while you get the baking soda + water boiling on the stove but that’s it. Don’t have any patience? This is the recipe for you. By the way, did you know that some pretzel recipes call for rising overnight? I bet they’re remarkable pretzels but I’m majorly satisfied with this ultra quick dough!

Now it’s time to shape.

How to make homemade soft pretzels on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make homemade soft pretzels on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make homemade soft pretzels on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Roll 1/3 cup of dough into a long 20-22 inch rope.

Twist the ends and fold over. That’s a pretzel!

How to make homemade soft pretzels on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make homemade soft pretzels on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Now drop the pretzels into the boiling water + baking soda. Let them boil for 20-30 seconds each, then place onto a baking sheet. This pretzel dough makes 12 regular size soft pretzels, so I use 2 baking sheets. 6 on each.

Sprinkle with salt and bake in a hot oven.

That’s it, you’re done.

How to make easy homemade soft pretzels in less than 45 minutes. Don't forget the easy spicy cheese sauce! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This is a weird sentence to type, but: I love the really fat ones! ↑

And if you want to kick your soft pretzel status into major high gear, add some kicked up cheddar cheese sauce. I mean, is cheese sauce ever just an option? DUH. I updated the recipe so now it’s a new and improved method with the same irresistible melty, spicy, cheesy magic. Check it out!

EASY CARBS AND MELTY CHEESE SAUCE ♥ ♥

How to make easy homemade soft pretzels in less than 45 minutes. Don't forget the easy spicy cheese sauce! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Monday, you’re beautiful!

Easy Homemade Soft Pretzels

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) warm water (lukewarm-- no need to take temperature)
  • 1 packet active dry or instant yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cool
  • 3 and ¾  - 4 cups (460-500g) all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Baking Soda Bath

  • ½ cup (120g) baking soda
  • 9 cups (2,160ml) water

Directions:

  1. Whisk the yeast into warm water. Allow to sit for 1 minute. Whisk in salt, brown sugar, and melted butter. Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon (or dough hook attached to stand mixer) until dough is thick. Add 3/4 cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, add 1/4 - 1/2 cup more, as needed. Poke the dough with your finger - if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 3 minutes and shape into a ball. Cover lightly with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. (Meanwhile, I like to get the water + baking soda boiling as instructed in step 6.)
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  4. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into 1/3 cup sections.
  5. Roll the dough into a 20-22 inch rope. Take the ends and draw them together so the dough forms a circle. Twist the ends, then bring them towards yourself and press them down into a pretzel shape.
  6. Bring baking soda and 9 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Drop 1-2 pretzels into the boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Any more than that and your pretzels will have a metallic taste. Using a slotted spatula, lift the pretzel out of the water and allow as much of the excess water to drip off. Place pretzel onto prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle each with coarse sea salt. Repeat with remaining pretzels.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and serve warm with cheese sauce. Pretzels may be stored in an airtight container or zipped top bag for up to 3 days (they lose a little softness).

Make ahead tip: Pretzels freeze well, up to 2 months. To reheat, bake frozen pretzels at 350°F (177°C) for 20 minutes or until warmed through or microwave until warm. The prepared pretzel dough can be refrigerated for up to one day or frozen in an airtight container for 2-3 months. Thaw frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight. Refrigerated dough can be shaped into pretzels while still cold, but allow some extra time for the pretzels to puff up before the baking soda bath and baking.

Did you make a recipe?

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

More pretzel recipes:

Soft Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheese Dip

How to make easy homemade soft pretzels in less than 45 minutes. Don't forget the easy spicy cheese sauce! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

125 comments

  1. I love getting pretzels when eating out, thanks for teaching me how to make them at home!

  2. Amazing recipe. Especially the part where you mix baking soda in boiling water. I never tried this but definitely going to try soon. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hey there can you tell me whst the difference is between this recipe and the pretzel bite recipe? Couldn’t I just nake thid one into a pretzel bite ?

  4. Forgive me if this is a stupid question — but isn’t there a big difference between instant yeast and active yeast? I’m a novice when it comes to making any dough or anything with yeast. Do you follow the same exact process even if you use either type? How is that possible? Thanks, Sally.

    • I sure do! Active dry yeast will require a slightly longer rise time, but we really don’t have to worry about that with these pretzels as the dough doesn’t need to rise much.

  5. Sally, 
    I have a friend who is not sighted and loves your blog.   She does have a program that turns the print into sound on her computer.   She commented that she would love to hear your voice.   She just received the music on a post.  Is there a particular post where you might be actually talking?   This special lady’s name is Deborah DeDord.   She loves to write and cook.   And she is outstanding at both!   Thanks for any information that you might share.      Cici Hall

  6. Hi Sally,

    Just wondering what does the step of boiling the dough in water and baking soda do?

    Thanks,

    Jo

  7.  Just made these tonight, and I was surprised that they came out decent! Anytime I make something with yeast it tastes horrible and like I’m chewing flour.. Even with stopping in between to take care of my baby, and cooking two other meals, they were good 😀  will definitely make again. I have a small, crappy kitchen and no fancy cookware or appliances. I only have foil and used a toaster oven. They were a bit too cooked with the original time and temp, so next time I will set to 350 for ~12 minutes. They had to cool before attempting to remove from the foil; the 2nd time I greased it. Made plain, salted, cinnamon sugar, and everyone’s favorite, parmesan garlic!

  8. Made these pretzels today and they are so good! First time making anything with yeast. Your instructions were easy to follow and after seeing your video, I knew this was something I wanted to try to make. Well they came out great and I already have requests to make them again. We love soft pretzels! Thanks for another great recipe Sally!

  9. Would it be ok to brush ’em with a bit o’ butter before baking or would it make them too dark? I feel like they need a bit of shiny……LOL

  10. These pretzels were AMAZING! From start to finish it took me about an hour. I wondered about the “no rise time”. But anything that saves me an hour is worth trying. So glad I tried…and succeeded! Thank you for a great new recipe to try with my grandchildren.

  11. hi, i was qwondering, can i make this recipe with another kind of flour, like whole wheat or oat flour??

  12. Are the proportions the same to double the recipe?

  13. Great results, brushed with butter during last few minutes. 

  14. I live and work at an international school and we don’t have any stores that sell pretzels which my kids love! I tried this recipe to give my kids their favorite snack. They came out amazingly perfect! I posted my first batch on facebook and my friends and neighbors went crazy. I have made them so many times since and a lot of people who have missed their pretzel snacks have enjoyed your recipe. Thank you so much! I just finished teaching a friend how to make them!

  15. Did anyone else need a lot more floir to get the dough right? It kept sticking and sticking to my dough hook. I havent baked them yet but im guessing they wont turn out if they have soo much flour. Hmn

  16. I made these this morning. It was my first attempt at homemade pretzels. They were so easy and turned out amazing. I baked exactly 12 minutes and basted them with butter when they came out of the oven. Delicious!

  17. Hi – I would like to know the measurements for the ingredients.. My 12 year old son found this recipe and is very excited to make these soft pretzels.
    Flour
    Melted Butter
    Yeast & Water

    Baking Soda amt to be added to how much boiling water

    Salt 
    Many thanks,
    Katie

  18. I only want to make four, can the recipe be scaled down? 

  19. This was an easy recipe. Although they were not bad tasting, I felt they tasted pretty much the same as the frozen ones I have been buying. Will make them again definitely not a throw away recipe.

  20. All purpose gluten free flour should work the same correct? I followed the recipe all the way but my dough has just to much flour.

  21. Sally, thank you so much for this.  On a whim, I decided to make these with my almost-six-year-old.  I mean, I have an instant yeast packet and 30 minutes, right? We filmed it like a baking show, and she loved it.  Not only did this make the most amazing pretzels I have had in a long time, but it also made an invaluable memory for me.  (For anyone who was wondering, we needed all the flour listed.  Also, if my kindergartener can do it — every step by herself but the boiling water  — you can, too! Great for beginners!)

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