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Soft pretzels are so much easier than you think. This recipe will take you little time and effort. Top them with salt, cinnamon-sugar, and dunk in your favorite pretzel dips.

soft pretzels on a silpat baking mat

I always thought homemade pretzels were time consuming, an arduous task, an impossible recipe to master, and quite honestly… a headache to make. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when my husband and I began our pretzel making journey at 8pm one evening… and ate them fresh from the oven by 8:30pm.

Today I’m sharing a homemade pretzel recipe taking you less time than it takes to get a fancy manicure. Less time to cool a cupcake. I make a lot of cookies and it’s safe to say that these pretzels are SO much easier than any cookie I’ve ever made. A homemade pretzel recipe that very simple… you’ll wonder why pretzel making seems so hard.

There’s no mixer required and all of the 5 (yes, 5!!) ingredients are probably sitting in your pantry right now. Except for the water, which shouldn’t really count as an ingredient, right?!

soft pretzels on a baking sheet

Let’s begin our quick little pretzel making journey, shall we? First, you’re going to stir a packet of yeast into a bowl of warm water – 1.5 cups of water to be exact. Do not be afraid of yeast! You are not waiting for any dough to rise in today’s recipe. It’s simply another ingredient, like adding salt or sugar. Not so bad, right?

Give the water and yeast a nice mix around in the bowl. There will be some yeast lumps floating around. Next, add a bit of sugar and salt. Mix by hand. No electric mixer required to make this pretzel dough.

soft pretzels on a baking sheet

Next, stir in your flour. If you’ve been counting, that’s the fifth and final ingredient. Use 3 cups of flour at first. I used 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 2 cups of all-purpose flour.

As I mixed the dough, I added about 3/4 -1 cup more of all-purpose flour. Keep adding flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Poke the dough with your finger – if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes and shape into a ball. With the floured surface, I ended up using about 4.25 cups of flour total.

3 images of soft pretzel dough including images of shaped pretzel dough

Time to roll. No rolling pin required! Just your hands and a sharp knife. Cut ball of dough into 1/3 cup sections. Honestly, this measurement does not have to be exact. Use as much or little dough for each pretzel as you wish – the size of the pretzel is completely up to you. My pretzels were standard size, like the frozen soft pretzels you buy from the store, and I used 1/3 cup of dough for each pretzel.

Roll the dough into a rope. As even in diameter as you can get it. My ropes were twenty inches long. Again, this measurement will depend on how large you want the pretzels. Shape the pretzel. Once you have your long 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. You all know what pretzels look like, but see my video on how to shape soft pretzels. (That post is a little more detailed than this one and the dough includes a little butter for that Auntie Anne’s style taste!)

soft pretzels with honey mustard

At this point, you can go ahead and dunk your pretzels into a baking soda/boiling water bath. I did it for these soft pretzels. This step takes a bit more time and I didn’t use it for the pretzels you see here. Doing that step will create that iconic golden brown exterior and pretzel taste. But again, you can skip it because you’ll be broiling the pretzels for a quick 5 minutes.

Time for an egg wash. I hardly count this as an ingredient. Simply beat an egg, pour it into a shallow bowl or pie dish, give the shaped pretzel a nice bath (both sides) and sprinkle with salt. I used coarse sea salt – the kind you fill your grinder with. You could also use pretzel salt or cinnamon sugar.

(See below for a cinnamon-sugar soft pretzel photo and how-to!)

As the pretzels bake, watch the pretzels rise, expand, and get all puffy in the oven! Turn the oven to broil for the last 5 minutes to get the tops nice and brown. Only do this step if you did not do the baking soda bath I mentioned a few paragraphs above. Be sure to watch them closely in this step because you don’t want them to burn.

soft pretzels on a baking sheet

*A preliminary note: Most of the photos in this post show a pretzel made with half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour. The picture above show the pretzels made with strictly white flour (no whole wheat flour). They are lighter in color and a bit fluffier. We like them both ways though!

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soft pretzels on a baking sheet

30 Minute Homemade Soft Pretzels

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 810 pretzels 1x
  • Category: Snacks
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Soft pretzels are so much easier than you think! This recipe will take you little time and effort. Top them with salt, cinnamon-sugar, and dunk in your favorite pretzel dips.


  • 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 (8g) granulated sugar
  • 3 and 3/4 – 4 cups (469-500g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for work surface
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • coarse sea salt, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Line baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. The pretzels can stick to parchment, so give it a light spray with nonstick spray or lightly grease with butter. Set aside.
  2. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir with a spoon until fairly mixed, about 1 minute. Some clusters of yeast will remain. Add salt and sugar; stir until fairly combined. Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon until dough is thick. Add 3/4 cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, add up to 1/2 cup more. Poke the dough with your finger – if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes and shape into a ball. With a sharp knife, cut ball of dough into 1/3 cup sections. This measurement does not have to be exact – use as much or little dough for each pretzel as you wish – the size of the pretzel is completely up to you.
  4. Roll the dough into a rope with an even diameter. My ropes were twenty inches long. This measurement will depend how large you want the pretzels. Once you have your long 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. See above for link to visual instructions.
  5. This fifth step is optional: Whisk 9 cups of water and 1/2 cup baking soda together in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Place a pretzel onto a large slotted spatula and dip into the boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Any more than that and your pretzels will have a metallic taste. The pretzel will float. Lift the pretzel out of the water and allow as much of the excess water to drip off. Place pretzel onto prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the pretzels.
  6. In a small bowl, beat the egg and pour into a shallow bowl or pie dish. Dunk the shaped pretzel into the egg wash (both sides). Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes at 425°F (218°C). Turn the oven to broil and bake for 5 more minutes to brown the tops. Watch closely to avoid burning. I do the 5 minute broil no matter if I do step 5 or not.
  8. Allow to cool and enjoy. Serve warm or at room temperature. Pretzels may be stored in an airtight container or zipped top bag for up to 3 days (will lose softness).


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Pretzels freeze well, up to 2 months. To reheat, bake frozen pretzels at 350°F (177°C) for 20 minutes or until warmed through. 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.
  2. Using Some Whole Wheat Flour: You can replace up to 1 cup (about 125g) of all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.
  3. Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels: Skip the coarse salt topping. Bake as directed. Meanwhile, melt 4 Tablespoons (60g) of unsalted or salted butter (your choice). Brush the baked and warm pretzels with melted butter then dip the tops into a mix of cinnamon and sugar. I usually use 3/4 cup (150g) of granulated sugar and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Cinnamon sugar pretzels are best served that day because due to the melted butter topping, they become soggy after a few hours.
  4. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.

Keywords: homemade soft pretzels

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Made these today and they came out wonderful!! Definitely making these again. Thank you, Sally!

    1. I made these for Oktoberfest night with our friends and 1 batch of 8 pretzels was not enough!! They were the first thing gone! I made a beer cheese sauce to go with them and it was a hit! My only question is how to get a little harder outer crust? I used white flour, did the baking soda bath (20-25 seconds each), egg wash and baked for 10 minutes. Should I just bake them a little longer? A bit longer in the baking soda bath?
      I highly recommend these…they are easy, fun and yummy!!

      1. Hi Meredith, so glad these pretzels were a hit with your friends! You can try baking them for just a minute or two longer for a slightly chewier crust — just be sure not to over bake which can dry out the pretzels.

  2. My 17 year old son and I made the basic pretzel recipe together and they were delicious! We used the Pampered Chef pretzel mold to help form the shape and dip into the soda bath. The broil aspect was clever. This will be our go to pretzel recipe from now on.

    1. The dough was beautiful to work with. I used my kitchen aid mixer with the dough hook for stirring and kneading. I skipped the boiling water step and used convection bake which browned each one perfectly. Easy and delicious!

  3. Made these today after a friend suggested them. Put garlic butter on a couple and sea salt on the rest. About 12 hours after I made them we needed a snack so took the last 2, topped them with gouda, roasted red pepper and prosciutto and broiled for about 3 minutes. Holy wow amazing.

  4. These came out terrific, however they stuck to my parchment paper, which made the bottoms inedible. What did I do wrong?

    1. Sally mentioned using butter or spray on the parchment as the pretzels will stick to parchment. I’ll use a silicone baking mat when I try this.

  5. Made a batch of these today, first-time pretzel maker here. Wow, every bit as good as the $$$ ones you buy in the kiosks. So easy to make too. Now I want to try making bagels.

  6. My pretzels just came out of the oven! They are beautiful and delicious!

  7. Just made these as instructed with the boiling (which was easier than I thought). They were great. I made them with the one cup of whole wheat flour as you show in the pictures. They’re already all gone! Thanks for posting such an easy recipe for a yeast newbie like me.

  8. So a friend gave me some pretzels (used this recipe) and we LOVED them ! Light and airy and delish. But when my teen son and I made them ….they were not light and airy. They were more doughy, and nearly as good. 🙁 I really dont know what we did wrong or different. Any suggestions for me ? I really want to make them right. (Oh and the friend who shared her pretzels with me was only in high school! I am 56. I have always struggled in the kitchen. *sigh*).

    1. Hi Grace! I’m glad to help. If the dough was over-worked at all, the pretzels will taste dense. Make sure you are spooning and leveling the flour (don’t pack it into the measuring cup) or use more flour than you need. They also may have been under-baked which is why they would taste doughy. I hope all this helps! So glad you loved them when you first tried them.

  9. Have now made these several times! So easy and the whole family loves them – such a treat for weekend brunch. I don’t bother with the boiling – they are just delicious without it and super quick! Cheers, Ali

  10. First time ever making anything like this and this recipe was perfect! Easy to understand and makes even a novice look good! Thanks so much!!!!

  11. I made these and my kids loved them I’m afraid they didn’t last 3 days not even one lol

  12. Hi Sally! My first attempt was a great success…I added shredded cheddar to the tops before baking …they turned out beautifully and so tasty!
    Now I am going to try with gluten free flour…let’s hope they are just as good. I’ll let you know how that turned out.

  13. I made a half recipe (should’ve made the full recipe)! They turned out perfect, I even eyeballed the ingredient measurements! I made them into fat sticks rather than the traditional shape. Next time I’ll make a double and freeze them. May even experiment with wheat flour (it should require a little less). Thanks!

  14. Help! I followed the recipe exactly, but my pretzels came out burnt and rock solid. Did this happen to anyone else and/or are there any tips on what I could do so this doesn’t happen again? Thank you!

    1. Hi Rylie, it sounds like the pretzels were over-baked. Less time in the oven should help if you decide to try them again.

  15. Omg!!!! This recipe was super easy to make and they were absolutely delicious!!! Definitely going to try the cinnamon sugar variation next time I make these! I was looking for something savory to bake and this just hit the spot! Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe!! (like always) I love your website!

  16. There were amazing. Both my son and husband each had one before I could cool them down. I was curious about what the baking/broil time would be if I made them half the size. Thank you again.
    PS I am originally a Philly girl so appreciate a good soft pretzel.

  17. I made these over a video call with coworkers all following along with the printable instructions and all of us struggled so much! None of us are experts, but we’re all decent bakers and it still took forever. Some of us did the boil, some didn’t. I don’t know if at some point ALL of us went wrong, but the dough needed WAY more flour than the recipe called for. Like probably more than a cup extra. It never seemed to stop being sticky so it was difficult to roll it out and shape it. Then we all did the cinnamon sugar ones wrong because the process for those isn’t written on the printable recipe version. So we assumed it was just like the salt version and did an egg wash and then dipped it in cinnamon sugar, which was quite a bubbly mess when it came out of the oven. I would maybe add the cinnamon sugar instructions on the printable. In the end, the ugly pretzels we all managed to make did at least taste really good! Some gave up on shaping them and opted to go with pretzel nuggets, which worked out well too. I honestly don’t know how it went so wrong for all of us unless the printable version misses something written in the longer version above it. So basically, tastes good, not as easy as expected at all.

  18. The pretzels turned out really well, soft and moist. I have not run into very many recipes that call for yeast but don’t need to proof the dough. I just had to try and it paid off. For the flour, I used equal amount of whole wheat and all-purpose flour, roughly 3 cups total. Very happy that the pretzels were not dense like whole wheat bread. The only change I will make for the next batch is more salt.
    Thank you for this recipt.

  19. These things were so gross. I’m not sure if there was a missing step not mentioned but I followed it exactly and I got gross dense crappy pretzels that had that metallic taste even though I only did 20 seconds in the baking soda water.

    No idea how this recipe has gotten 4.9 stars. Ridiculous.

  20. Love these pretzels! Have made them with the baking soda bath and without the bath. They are amazing either way! Definitely recommend!
    They brung back all the memories of my childhood in Germany for sure!

  21. It came ok for a first try but not letting the dough rise made them very dense ie heavy. Was more like a bagel.

    I’ll try the same recipe but let dough rise for a more light and fluffy inside.

  22. This is a great recipe to make with the kids. I held “Home Economics” class during the quarantine and made these. For 30 minutes and no rise time, these are really good. We’ve made them a few times now. Even my lil two year old was able to help in rolling them out, etc. The kids love them! Thank you.

  23. I used to make a recipe that takes a few hours but I will probably just use this from now on. As far as I can tell they were basically the same with 1/10th of the work.

  24. I just made these and they are sooo good! Went with the ‘5th Step’ – I will admit I was being lazy so did half the batch as pretzels and the other half as pretzel bites (aka just tore it into pieces)…10/10, do recommend – thank you, Sally!

  25. I just made these and omitted the water bath. OMG – these turned out beautiful. I made nine with the following toppings: butter and salt, cinnamon and sugar, and everything but the bagel. Excellent recipe, thanks Sally!!

  26. What is the purpose of the soda bath? I tried to see if someone asked that question already. Wondering if it makes them chewy?

    1. Hi Dee! The baking soda bath gives the pretzels their golden brown exterior and pretzel taste – see blog post above for more details!

  27. This was a great recipe to do with my 6 year old son who wanted to make bread! The pretzels turned out delicious. We used half white half wheat flour, no issues.

  28. These pretzels were the bomb! My 5-year-old granddaughter wanted to make some, so we tried this recipe since they don’t have a stand mixer at her house, plus it’s just more fun to use your hands when you’re 5 (or 61). We did the soda bath on ours. They turned out delicious and she had fun shaping them.

  29. This recipe is AWESOME!!!!!! To enhance the flavor, I used brown sugar instead of white sugar, which most recipes call for. I will use this recipe every time from now on.

  30. This pretzel is fantastic! I made it yesterday, and they were PERFECT! I may have put a little too much flour in though. Tschüss!

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