30 Minute Homemade Soft Pretzels

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.

30 Minute Homemade Soft Pretzels - soft, chewy, and EASY! Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 Kevin and I began our pretzel making journey at 8pm one evening… and ate them fresh from the oven by 8:30pm. They are much more bread-y and roll-like than standard pretzels, but I kinda like that.

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 is SO simple… you’ll wonder why pretzel making seems so hard.

There is NO mixer needed 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?!

30 Minute Homemade Soft Pretzels - soft, chewy, and EASY! Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

And for all of you looking to make a few healthier resolutions next week, I’m happy to share that these pretzels are whole wheat!  With a miniscule fat content as well. And I must speak from experience here, they will be the best running fuel to come out of your oven.

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! Trust me, I was too. But you are not waiting for any dough to rise in today’s recipe. It’s simply another ingredient, like adding salt or something.  Not so bad, right?

Give the water and yeast a nice mix around in the bowl. There will be some yeast lumps floating around. That’s ok, I promise. Next, add a bit of sugar and salt. Mix, mix, mix by hand. Easy easy easy.

No electric mixer required to make this pretzel dough! It’s a miracle recipe.

Baking with Yeast Guide

Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.

30 Minute Homemade Soft Pretzels - soft, chewy, and EASY! Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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* (read below for notes about the taste/texture of the whole wheat vs white flour pretzels).

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 4.25 cups of flour total.

How to Make Homemade Pretzels

Time to (rock &) 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 here is a helpful visual.

30 Minute Homemade Soft Pretzels - soft, chewy, and EASY! Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

At this point, you can go ahead and dunk your pretzels into a baking soda/boiling water bath. I did it for these 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, which is sold in specialty baking stores. Or cinnamon sugar.

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

Now it’s time to for the oven. Bake for 10 minutes at 425F degrees. 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 – you don’t want them to burn.

30 Minute Homemade Soft Pretzels - soft, chewy, and EASY! Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

*A preliminary note: Most of the photos in this post show a pretzel made with half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour. I must share with you that using all white flour will give you fluffier pretzels. Always a good thing! The whole wheat version is soft, but it is much chewier and heartier than the all-white flour version.

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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30 Minute Homemade Soft Pretzels

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 pretzels
  • Category: Snacks
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


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 (8g) granulated sugar
  • 3 and 3/4 – 4 and 1/2 cups (480-530g) all-purpose flour + more for work surface (or mix of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour) (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. 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. Read why this is a good option here. But again, it’s not necessary and I did not do it for these 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).

Notes

  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. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.

Keywords: homemade soft pretzels

Aren’t soft pretzels easy?

For the cinnamon-sugar version, bake the pretzels as directed without an egg wash. Remove them from the oven after 10 minutes. Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter and brush the tops of the pretzels with it. Mix together 1/3 cup granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Sprinkle over each pretzels. Return to the oven for 5 more minutes at 425F. (do not broil).

Cinnamon-Sugar Soft Pretzels - homemade pretzels are so much easier (and quicker) than you think! Use my easy dough recipe.

How has everyone’s holiday been so far? Lots of sweet treats, family, walks, champagne, and puppy time here!

Sarah and Sally

Learn how to make the EASIEST soft pretzels at home! Grab the recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com
Very easy soft pretzels made at home! This is a family favorite recipe.

539 Comments

  1. Oh my goodness!! I have been wanting to try pretzels forever!!! Yours are so pretty!! Thanks for the different tips with the flours!! Hope you had a super sweet day! 🙂

    1. Thanks Julie, these pretzels are easier than making cookies or cupcakes. it’s crazy! i hope you had a wonderful holiday as well. 😀

  2. I love love soft pretzels…and can not believe so easy to make…my boys will have lots of fun making these..pefect activity during our Christmas break!!!

  3. I don’t even know where to begin – I’m in sheer amazement about these pretzels!!

    First the fact that there’s no rising – not a first rise or a second rise?! Stunning. Yeast dough, that doesn’t need to rise. Wow.

    Okay the fact that you made them whole wheat and yes anything made w/ white flour will be fluffier and softer but sometimes I actually like really dense, chewy, and heavy dough. My Outback bread when I make it for myself, I make it dense on purpose b/c I love it like that and I’d love a WW pretzel of yours!

    Next there’s no boiling. Lots of people boil pretzels first, THEN bake them. And/or do a vinegar soak before baking so they get browned.

    Basically you avoided every single step that has prevented me from embarking on pretzels! I bow down to this family recipe of Kevin’s! (and to your baking skills!)

    1. Thanks Averie! Yep, bypass the boiling, waiting, etc with this recipe. that’s why I love it so much. When Kevin mentioned we’d make pretzels, I had NO clue it was this easy. You can spontaneously want a soft pretzel and with less effort than making a batch of cookies, you can have one. I don’t think I could choose between the white or whole wheat – I honestly loved them both!

  4. These look incredible, Sally! I feel a lot of blog traffic coming your way for this recipe. I’m pinning it myself!

  5. These sound amazing! I love any kind of yeasted bread but hate the time it takes. So happy that you solved that problem! And haha… “It’s a miracle recipe.” It IS! Pretzels in less time it takes to cool a cupcake is pretty impressive. 🙂

  6. Wow, I think you’ve relieved the chicken in me. Pretzels have always been so intimidating and I have never attempted them. This recipe, I must try. Thank you for demystifying one of the tastiest treats ever. Your step-by-step completely eliminates the fear factor and these will definitely be on our menu this week. Thanks Again.

    1. You are welcome Ruberta! Yes! These pretzels are easier than any muffin, cookie, or cupcake I’ve ever made before. I was astonished how quick the whole recipe is. I’m so so glad that I’ve unlocked the secretly EASY pretzel recipe for you. 🙂 Thanks so much and let me know how they turn out!

  7. Sally, these look absolutely perfect!! Pretty much every time I go to the mall, I ALWAYS want to stop for a soft pretzel, and 99% of the time I convince myself that I am better off without, but I have been dyyyyiiiing to make whole wheat ones that aren’t slathered in butter at home, and these look like the perfect place to start! I can hardly wait!!

    1. Ha! I am the same way. I love auntie anne’s pretzels but they are an indulgence for me – so buttery! But these are just an easier, much healthier alternative at home. let me know how they turn out if you make them Ari!

  8. So pretty too! I always end up making mini pretzel bites because the whole twist thing isn’t my best skill. 🙂

      1. I actually used this recipe, with the baking soda step but no egg wash step, used white flour and turned them into pretzel bites.  My wife says they taste just like the ones you pay way too much for at the mall! 

    1. I had trouble with the twisting part too, and I never thought about the idea of mini pretzel bites! That’s brilliant

  9. I have made pretzel rolls, pretzel bowls and pretzel bites but never pretzels…and these look so good! I love all of the salt flecks!

    1. =i must make your pretzel bowls next time Cassie! I’d love a huge bowl of broccoli cheddar soup inside one. 😀 Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

  10. Wow! These look fabulous, Sally! I made pretzels only once before and they were okay but yours look simply delicious! Can’t wait to try your recipe!

  11. Hi Sally’! I hope you had a merry Christmas! These pretzels look great and I really want to make them, but I was wondering where to find the active yeast? And could you tell me what brand you use? Thanks!

    1. I use red star yeast. But any brand of yeast will do – and it is available in the baking aisle of any grocery store. Thanks Brooke!

  12. Whole wheat has to make these healthy right? That has to be a reason to rationalize making these after a Christmas gorge festival lol

    1. Perfect for the kiddos indeed – you are so right Whitney! Thanks so much and let me know how they turn out if you make them!

  13. I’ve always been intimidated to make homemade pretzels but you’ve totally changed my mind about that! I must give these a try in the new year – pretzels have been on my bucket list for quite some time!

    Hope you had a great Christmas, Sally!

    1. Hi Kate! Thanks so much – a quick fix is right, I couldn’t believe how quickly they were ready and how easy they were to make!

  14. Yumm! Now make the salty pretzles, push a cardboard pointy sucker stick through them and dip them face down in a (I use a pie plate) dish full of HOT FUDGE. OMG, makes the best even better!

    1. I love that idea, Bill! Hot fudge… wow. Talk about a decadent sweet/salty treat. I LOVE chocolate covered pretzels. I need to try something like this! Thank you so much for the suggestion!

  15. These look fabulous! Definitely trying them for a Friday Night Movie-Fest! Any tips on how to make them honey whole-wheat? The hard twists are my favorite and I can only imagine how a warm soft one would taste!

    1. lindsey – honey whole wheat pretzels are my very favorite! I never thought to make these into soft honey whole wheat pretzels, but that is something I may try! Without testing it, I can’t tell you exactly how it would work. If I create them, I’ll definitely post them!

  16. These look awesome – I’m astounded at how easy they seem! I will definitely be making some pretzels weekend!!

  17. You have no idea how much I love pretzels. And I absolutely love to dip them in a cream cheese + mustard mix. So good!

    I’ve gotta make these, can’t believe they only take 30 minutes. They look perfect!!!

    Happy Holidays Sally!

    1. i love pretzels SO much too Kristy – I eat them all the time (soft pretzels or hard pretzels… or chocolate covered pretzels!). I’ve NEVER dipped them into a cream cheese + mustard mix before. Oh my goodness I LOVE that idea! I love cream cheese. Thanks so much and I hope you had a wonderful holiday!

  18. This is my pizza crust recipe! Even the no-rise part. All that’s missing is 1 tablespoon of oil. This recipe has been in my head for more years than I want to think about. Who knew we could be making pretzels instead!

    1. Hi KAthy – that is too funny! It’s a recipe I got from my boyfriends family. Try it out without the oil for a pretzel next time. 🙂

  19. These pretzels look so good and quick to make as well! I love that they’re so versatile, I’d probably make a half batch of cinnamon-sugar and then the other half traditional way. Which I would eat with mustard, yum, I love soft chewy pretzels with mustard.

    All I have is bread flour right now and WW pastry flour, think that would turn out ok?

    1. I made the cinnamon sugar version again this week – incredible. I need to try making a vanilla glaze to dip them in! I love soft pretzels with yellow mustard too! Yes, bread flour would definitely work here. Surprisingly enough, it’s a very forgiving recipe. Let me know how it turns out!

  20. I made these last night after seeing the recipe on Pinterest!! Well, I made half of a recipe b/c I knew I would eat them all if I didn’t. They came out so great!! Just curious about what the boiling step normally does for pretzels?? I did make bagels once and remembered boiling those before baking. Is it supposed to make a crunchy outside and chewy inside? No matter – not that I want to do additional steps, I was just curious! Thanks so much a for a fast, EASY recipe! We thoroughly enjoyed them!

    1. Boil the pretzels in water/baking soda solution gives their pretzels that glorious brown color as they are baking. Mine are a little lighter in color, but I truly do not care about the color at all! They still taste soft, chewy, and fluffy like a regular pretzel. But I feel the egg wash solution gives them a shiny, crusty appearance as well as allows the salt to stick. I am SO glad you made these and reported back Jessica! Thanks so much!

  21. Yum! We loooove soft pretzels! The kids always help me make them so they aren’t usually very pretty, but still so good 🙂 I really love how fast these are! Perfect for when we want to make pretzels, like now(which is how the kids always think it should be and then we have to wait, lol).

  22. I made these today and they turned out great! I brought them to a family function and needless to say even though there was enough food there to feed an army I only came back with one uneaten pretzel. They were yummy!

    1. That is so nice to hear Suzy!! Thanks so much for letting me know these were a hit. I just made them again last night to bring to a party later. 🙂 Happy new year Suzy!

  23. Can’t wait to try making them but my mind is filled with questions! How come we don’t have to wait for a while for the yeast to proof and what does the egg wash do?
    Sorry curious teenage fan here. 🙂

    1. Hi there Lydia. The yeast allows the dough to rise while it is in the oven. The pretzels considerably expand while they are baking at the high temperature. The egg wash gives the pretzels their sheen and allows the salt to stick. Hope you enjoy they!

  24. Sally, OMG!! I just made these with All Purpose Flour and those babies puffed up!! They were beautiful!!! I love how simple the recipe is and the taste is amazing! My Husband said I should spray butter on top and they would taste like Auntie Ann’s Pretzels but better!! Love this recipe!! This will be one I’ll be making regularly!!! Thank you!

    1. Thats so great to hear Jennifer! Thanks for letting me know how much you love them – I’ll have to try them with that butter one time!

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