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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

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

Scale
  • 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

Instructions

  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).

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. 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. Amazing! Absolutely amazing! My son and I made these last night and I couldn’t believe it was so easy. Not to mention how good they were. Omg, I’m in love! I want to make these pretzels every day now, so good fresh out of the oven. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

  2. Greetings from California! My daughter and I made this recipe last night. It’s a good recipe and the pretzels turned out so delicious! Thank you!

  3. I hate to be the person who wants to venture away from the recipe but can you use bread flour? Only because I have some I need to use!

    1. Sure can! Your pretzels will be nice and chewy – bread flour is a great sub. I use it all the time in this pretzel recipe!

  4. Awsome Pretzels made for a nice cooking lesson for my son !
    Thanks

  5. Haven’t had soft pretzels in over 3 years, and tonight I had a craving for them. With the craze going on, there was no way I was going out and getting them, so I google a recipe. Yours looked simple, so I gave it a go. I used Einkorn wheat all purpose flour and because I don’t eat sugar, I used an equal amount of honey, but other than that, I followed your recipe to a “T”. I don’t normally follow recipes, but yours was easy, quick, and came out PERFECT even tho I live at an elevation over 5000’ above sea level! These are definitely my go-to recipe for pretzels from now on! Also, someone said they were gonna used this recipe to make pretzel bagels… I will be trying that for sure! YUM!! Thanks sooo much!

  6. These are very easy and taste great! I’ve been wanting to make homemade pretzels but was always scared. These are easy, even for a beginner. We choice the baking soda bath too, fyi. 🙂

  7. Is there something I could use in place of the egg? Just use some water to moisten the dough and then add the salt? My son has an egg allergy.

    1. Hi Marie, I haven’t tested this recipe with an egg substitute (such as flax “eggs”) but let me know if you try it.

  8. I made this today and everyone LOVED them! since it made 8, I made four sweet and the other four savoury. Believe it or not, it was sold out within an hour!

  9. Had not attempted wheat soft pretzels before, and they turned out great. The egg wash was a new addition for me. A bit messy, but the end result was delicious!! Love that I found another use for my packets of “pizza dough” yeast 🙂

  10. I can’t find rapid rise or instant yeast. Is it okay to use regular yeast?

    1. Yes, you can use active dry OR instant yeast in this recipe. Enjoy!

  11. The recipe was super easy and delicious! I made the cinnamon and sugar pretzels, and they were a hit with whole family.

  12. This recipe was great! The entire family loved the pretzels.

  13. These pretzels are awesome! I’ve been experimenting with different flours: used whole wheat pastry flour today– with the baking soda bath–and they turned out delicious. So quick and easy, I cannot believe that I didn’t even let them rise. This is such a treat during lockdown!!

  14. We made these for dinner tonight with all 5 kids helping to roll and twist. They were so excited to try them. We have never before made pretzels, but they love them at school.
    We had savory with cheese and hot dogs and cinnamon/sugar for dessert!!
    They are the BEST!! The kids asked for more and hubby said the Best bread dough flavor.

  15. These pretzels are so DELICIOUS! I am a novice baker, and was able to make these without a hitch! We put some everything bagel seasoning on ours, SO GOOD! So happy with how these turned out, thanks Sally!

  16. These were soooo easy to make! My family fav moving forward! I’m one of the “fearful of yeast” bakers …. thank you for all the excellent info you’ve provided on this site! I’ll never buy a kiosk in the mall pretzel again – nothing in comparison to these – thanks Sally!

  17. Just made my first “shelter in place“ pretzels. Wow. I did not skip the baking soda bath even though I am a lazy old man. I don’t know if I have rolled out dough ever, but it was fun!

    Stay safe everyone!

  18. We made These today and served them with homemade turkey soup. Omg this recipe is wow so good! The recipe is well explained and easy to follow ty ty ty.

  19. Just made these with my 14 year old daughter for the first time and they are perfect! We did not do the baking soda boil and brushed them lightly with melted butter when they came out of the oven. Thank you!!! Quarantine fun!

  20. Just made these with my kids. So easy and good, too! Thank you!

  21. What an awesome recipe! Delicious and the instructions were easy to follow for my 11 year old daughter! Thank you for this

  22. I am about to make my 2nd batch in 3 days!! My family LOVES these!

  23. I attempted to make these. Sadly it was a failure and I wasted 4 cups of precious flour. The dough came together and was not sticky but separated once I tried to roll the pretzel ropes. I’m guessing the yeast didn’t activate. I did try to bake one. It was awful! Oh well.

  24. I just made a batch for my family and we LOVED them! I taught my kids how to shape them as well! Great recipe! THANK YOU XO
    Gina

  25. My daughter and I just made these during the COVID-19 quarantine. They are DELICIOUS! This recipe is super easy to follow and the video is great! Fortunately, the ingredients are minimum and we had all of them in our home. We will definitely make these again! Thank you!!!!!

  26. After all the effort I almost burnt them. 2 minutes under the broiler is sufficient or say, broiler on low. Taste wonderful. I did use bread flour and texture was perfect.

  27. I have made these pretzels twice now and both times they turned out perfect.
    thank you for such an easy recipe. My family loves them!
    Sandy

  28. First time making pretzels! They turned out awesomely! Going to make again!

  29. Thank you so much for this delicious and super easy to make recipe- I am obsessed! I used white all-purpose flour only, and they came out great. Also a tip for all savoury pretzel lovers: sprinkle some garlic powder on them right before baking. YUM