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.
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?!
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.
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.
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!)
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.
*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!Print
30 Minute Homemade Soft Pretzels
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 8-10 pretzels
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Using Some Whole Wheat Flour: You can replace up to 1 cup (about 125g) of all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.
- 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.
- Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
Keywords: homemade soft pretzels
Reader Comments & Reviews
I made these tonight, they were amazing! I did the baking soda boil for 25 seconds each. I divided the dough into 8 pretzels and they just barely fit on one tray. I let the dough sit about 20 minutes after kneading while the water came to a boil. The time to dip the pretzels in the water and the egg bath was just enough to preheat my oven.
My husband was craving soft chewy pretzels but not the pub’s high prices. I found this recipe and gave it a go. It’s great! I used a stand mixer to mix and knead the dough. I only needed about half cup extra flour when it was done kneading and was still a bit wet. I did the boiling step on 7 of 8 pretzels and judging from how pale the 8th “test” pretzel looked it’s a must-do step. I had to use bread flour and it worked out fine. Lastly, I sprinkled chook chicken salt on a couple of the pretzels and it was divine!
Omg amazing!!! Pretzels in less than an hour? I didn’t believe it as my pregnant cravings almost convinced me to drive 10 miles to the mall to buy a pretzel. I found this recipe at 7.30pm. By 8.45 I’ve eaten 2 of them dipped in butter and had to call my husband to tell him I just discovered the most amazing recipe for pretzels ever! Super happy woman right here.
Turned out as expected. I made it with a 4 year old two 5 year olds my 13 yr old and myself. We did dip our dough into the boiling water as suggested and everything turned out great. After removing from the oven I did baste with butter and salt again. The kids loved them!!
Remember that time I made soft pretzels and didn’t eat 3 immediately? Me neither. These are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and I blame Sally that my husband gave me judgy-pretzel-bingeing looks (#noregrets).
No rise time? Heck yessss. Used bread flour (because I randomly had some, not because I am fancy/organized). Added water to double the volume of the egg wash and got a nice finish with no eggy flavor. Baking soda bath = easy and worth it. I did have to bake them longer (both initial bake and final broil). They were soft, chewy, salty perfection. Sliced and toasted the next day with cream cheese YUM. I actually bought (!!!) more bread flour to make pretzel bagels using this exact recipe and I’m pretty sure it will make everyone want to be friends with me.
Love this recipe!!! My boyfriend asks for these to be made for dinner once a month. We’re not big fans of cheese sauce, so we cut a block of sharp or mild cheddar into small cubes and sprinkle them on top of the pretzels. Put them back into the oven and bake just until the cheese is melted. Serve with yellow mustard or ranch. An easy recipe to make and tastes great, thanks for sharing!
I like to try new recipes and this one was one of the best for pretzels i made a double batch and my family of 5 devoured them almost instantly and know there asking for more. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.
Best pretzels ever!! Just made them with half whole wheat flour and half all purpose flour. Once out of the oven braised them with melted butter and topped with sesame seeds just like how they serve them at the mall. Delish! Thank you, they were such a success!!!
I make this recipe all the time, thank you!
My kids and I loved these! And I just wanted to say your recipes ALWAYS turn out perfectly! I don’t know why I even browse Pinterest first when I’m looking for something – I need to just go straight here! If you don’t have a recipe for it, I probably don’t need to bake it! 😉 Thanks so much!
Hi Sally. I have made the cinnamon sugar pretzels a few times and every time it sticks to the parchment paper and I have to cut off the bottom of the pretzel. I have even buttered the parchment paper and I get the same result. Is there any way to avoid the pretzels sticking? I absolutely love this recipe and am always disappointed when I have to cut the bottoms off.
Try a silicone baking mat– no sticking at all.
Can I use this recipe for pretzel pizza crust?
I can’t see why not!
Made these today and they were a total hit!! Next time, we are going to drizzle icing on them!
I made these yesterday, but I found the dough too hard to work with to make the actual pretzel shape. It was very elastic-like; everytime I’d stretch it out it shrunk back together. Do you know why this is? I just settled for pretzel sticks (and they were delicious, by the way!) I also wondered, because you said the yeast is not for rising the pretzels, do I need to proof it? I did, and I wonder if this affected the dough’s texture.
Hi Maria. I find that the key is to be very gentle and do not stretch your dough too fast. If you do, it will spring back like elastic. You do not need to proof the yeast here.
I love this recipe. I would like to make some in advance for a party. What do you recommend for freezing? Baking first and then freezing? Or preparing and baking off later? Thanks so much!
For freezing – I would bake and then freeze up to 3 months. Enjoy!
I made these last night, I boiled them before putting them in the oven and they turned out so good!
It took about 30 minutes, thank you so much for posting this. Can’t wait to try some other recipes on here!
This recipe is fantastic! I made this on a rainy afternoon and they were delicious! I will definitely be making these again soon!
My pretzel dough is very soft and will not roll. How do I fix this???
Add more flour as directed – enjoy, Nicole!
Wow! These pretzels are DELICIOUS!!!!
I made them for my daughter’s preschool class, and those picky eaters ate ALL OF THEM! Every last bite. I’m going to make them for my son’s preschool class in the next day or so, and have a question. I’d love to try a cheesy version, and am wondering if you’ve tried adding shredded cheese to the dough. If so, how much did you add? Thanks – and thanks for this wonderful & simple recipe!
Hey Jennifer! I have never tried adding cheese directly to the dough. I have, however, melted cheese on top of them. I simply bake the pretzels as directed, then sprinkle melted cheese on top and bake for about 2 more minutes.
My son and I just finished making these, and they are so easy and delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe!
I made these today with my 3 and 2 year old – we had so much fun and they came out perfect! They are soo delicous we have been snacking on them all day. My 3 year old who hardly eats already had 3! Thanks so much!!
I can’t believe how easy this recipe was! My niece tried them and couldn’t believe I made them. I coated them with cinnamon sugar and they were delicious! I’m going to make another batch except this time I’m going to try it with the whole wheat flour. Thank you!!!
Hi Sally! I’m getting ready to make these and I’m going to boil them with baking soda for the more authentic texture. I have one question though, do I boil the water and then add the baking soda while it’s boiling or do I bring the water and baking soda to a boil all at once? Thank you for your help!
Hey Kelsey! Bring the baking soda and water together to a boil at once. Enjoy!!
These look amazing Sally!! I’ve been looking for an easy pretzel recipe and I can’t wait to try them 🙂 Just wanted to check, what proportions do you recommend to use a mixture of whole-wheat and all-purpose flour? Half and half?
Hi Gayatri! I like to do half and half. That seems to work best. Enjoy!
These pretzels were seriously the best I have ever eaten, and my 8-year-old son and I cranked out these amazing morsels in no time. They were chewy on the outside and soft on the inside, and that was the FIRST time we have made them. I am never buying store pretzels again! Thank you for sharing!
One of my kids have an allergy to eggs and I want her to be able to enjoy this yummy snack. Will the pretzels still turn out good?
You may brush them with melted butter before adding the salt instead of an egg wash.
We made these this morning, and they were delicious! Super simple, completely non-threatening. We ate the whole tray in record time. Love the chewy texture of the whole wheat flour. Thanks for another great recipe!!
I just made both the salt and cinnamon sugar versions, and they were delicious! It took me a little longer than 30 minutes, mostly because of the rolling, but otherwise I definitely agree with other commenters that they are amazing and so easy/fast to make. Love it!
The rolling takes a few tries to get down just right. But I’m glad you tried and loved them Jacinda!
We made these tonight looking for a fun and fairly quick snack and they are AMAZING. Thank you for a fantastic quick recipe, we’re ready to make them again tomorrow, but with garlic powder as an alternative to breadsticks. Soooo good!