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This is one of the easiest ways to prepare homemade soft pretzels and the results are extra delicious. The soft pretzel dough only needs to rest for 10 minutes before shaping. The quick baking soda boil gives the pretzels their traditional flavor. Make sure you watch the video in the blog post for how to shape pretzels!

soft pretzels

Homemade soft pretzels are nothing new around here because this recipe has been a reader favorite for years. The dough requires just 6 ingredients and there’s hardly any rise time, so not only are these easy, they’re pretty quick too. In fact, I remember feeling pleasantly surprised at the ease and speed the first time I made them– it took us only 30 minutes to make 1 batch! Over the years, I’ve added a smidge of melted butter to the dough for improved flavor. Furthermore, we’ve introduced the baking soda bath. While it sounds strange, this step is what gives pretzels that iconic flavor, chewy texture, helps deepen their golden color in the oven, and locks in the 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 soft pretzel bites, soft pretzel knots (with various toppings), and soft pretzel rolls from this simple dough. There’s no wrong way to shape a pretzel, but let’s stick with tradition today. I promise you’ll no longer feel intimidated working with yeast, shaping pretzels, or the baking soda bath. Even if you have zero skill in the kitchen, you can make these homemade soft pretzels.

hand dipping piece of soft pretzel into bowl of cheese sauce
soft pretzels on a baking sheet

STEP BY STEP PHOTOS

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 or regular granulated sugar, salt, and flour.

ingredients for soft pretzels
2 images of activated yeast in a glass stand mixer bowl and soft pretzel dough in a glass stand mixer bowl
ball of soft pretzel dough

Let the yeast foam in the warm water for a few minutes, 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. Work with what you have in the kitchen.

Guess what? You don’t have to wait to let this dough rise. 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? They’re remarkable pretzels but I’m satisfied with this ultra quick dough!

How to Shape Homemade Soft Pretzels

Now it’s time to shape.

piece of soft pretzel dough rolled out into a long rope
soft pretzel dough twisted to form a pretzel
soft pretzel dough shaped into a pretzel

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

Twist the ends and bring the ends down. That’s a pretzel!

2 images of a soft pretzel in a pot for a baking soda bath on the stove and using a slotted spatula to remove soft pretzel from baking soda bath
soft pretzel dough shaped into pretzels on a baking sheet before baking

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.

soft pretzels on a baking sheet after baking
overhead image of soft pretzels on a white plate with a bowl of cheese sauce in the middle

And if you want to kick your soft pretzel status into major high gear, add some spicy nacho cheese sauce.

Print
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soft pretzels

Easy Homemade Soft Pretzels

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 pretzels 1x
  • Category: Snacks
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This is one of the easiest ways to prepare homemade soft pretzels and the results are extra delicious! The dough is a family recipe and only needs to rest for 10 minutes before shaping. The quick baking soda boil gives the pretzels their traditional flavor. Make sure you watch the video in the blog post for how to shape pretzels!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) warm water (lukewarm– no need to take temperature but around 100°F (38°C) is great)
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (7ginstant or active dry yeast (1 standard packet)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cool
  • 3 and 3/4-4 cups (469-500g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and work surface
  • coarse salt or coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Baking Soda Bath (See Recipe Note)

  • 1/2 cup (120g) baking soda
  • 9 cups (2,160ml) water

Instructions

  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. Silicone baking mats are highly recommended over parchment paper. If using parchment paper, lightly spray with nonstick spray or grease with butter. 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. Form a circle with the dough by bringing the two ends together at the top of the circle. Twist the ends together. Bring the twisted ends back down towards yourself and press them down to form 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. If desired, you can cover and refrigerate the boiled/unbaked pretzels for up to 24 hours before baking in step 7.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and serve warm with spicy nacho cheese sauce.
  9. Cover and store leftover pretzels at room temperature for up to 3 days. They lose a little softness over time. To reheat, microwave for a few seconds or bake in a 350°F (177°C) for 5 minutes.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Baked and cooled pretzels freeze well up to 2-3 months. To reheat, bake frozen pretzels at 350°F (177°C) for 20 minutes or until warmed through or microwave frozen pretzels 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, about 1 hour, for the pretzels to puff up before the baking soda bath and baking.
  2. Baking Soda Bath (Step 6): The baking soda bath is strongly recommended because it helps create that chewy texture and distinctive pretzel flavor. If skipping, brush the shaped and unbaked pretzels with a mixture of 1 beaten egg + 1 Tablespoon of dairy or nondairy milk. This is known as an egg wash. Sprinkle the brushed pretzels with salt. The egg wash will help the salt stick. If you don’t have an egg, simply brush with 2 Tablespoons of dairy or nondairy milk.
  3. Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels: Skip the coarse salt topping (and skip the egg wash, see note above, if you aren’t doing the baking soda bath step). Bake as directed in step 7. 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: soft pretzels

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi Sally,
    How much whole wheat flour could I substitute to make these a little healthier without ruining the consistency and/or taste?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Janet, The pretzels may turn out more dense if using whole wheat flour. Try replacing half the flour first to see how it goes. Hope you love them!

    2. The pretzels were amazing! The only thing I dont understand is how to make the pretzels golden brown on top??

      1. To get mine to golden up I put it under the broiler for about 3 min i watch cuz on high they will burn fast …
        Came out perfect

    3. Just finished making a batch using fresh ground hard red what berries and they turned out perfectly soft and yummy, pretzel flavor with a browned top, despite already being red because of the berries used.

      They are a little more dense, but next time will let the dough rise longer or do a 1/2 and 1/2 mixture with soft white wheat berries.

      Thanks for recipie, never thought to ever bake my own pretzels!

  2. Wow, first try at making soft pretzels and they are great!
    Will try this with grandchildren, and maybe GF flour.
    Thanks

  3. I’ve used this recipe a few times and they alway turn out delicious , it would be better if the salt doesn’t melt the next day lol

    1. Ive read that the reason the German pretzels are so good is that they add more gluten to them. Do these come out with the nice shine outside and chewy? Has anyone used more gluten so they’re more chewy and less “cakey”? thanks a ton.

      1. Can these be frozen after baking if so for how long are good for?

    2. Olivia, if you want my opinion on this as it’s not my recipe but I am a chef. Dont put salt on top of them until you want to eat them. Just melt a tiny bit of butter or use a paper towel with a dab on it n wipe the pretzels you want to eat n sprinkle with salt as you need them. I’m not positive but you could try doing the way you have been but store in between paper towel and that may help ? Just an idea. Also you can skip the salt n make yourself a dip with salt in it n dip away. Chocolate, mustard, or honey mustard mixed are also very good dips. You wont even notice the salt is missing on top. Hope this helped.

  4. this was awesomee!! they taste sooo good and they are soo easy to make! I recomemd 🙂

  5. Amazing. They came out great and had a lovely color. I’ve tried other recipes in the past and this one is the best!

  6. I have made this recipe soooo many times now and it never fails. So nostalgic and delicious!

  7. I made these a couple days ago, and they were absolutely delicious! Soft pretzels are my biggest weakness, and my favorite thing in the world. The only way I could get a fairly good one (not frozen but fresh) was to drive about an hour and a half a way. I like the really big pretzels, and was so happy when these turned out perfectly. I made them about as big as my hand. I’ll definitely be making these again. What a treat!

  8. Love this recipe! First try tonight and they turned out great. Golden and chewy. My kids love them too!

    1. Hi Kathi, We haven’t tested it, but you could try try melted coconut oil or other oil instead. The flavor will be different!

  9. I’d like to start by saying I’m not a baker, but I’ve been eyeing a few recipes on your site for a while now and I finally decided to jump in with both feet. I figured, of all the recipes I was considering, these pretzels seemed least likely to inspire brand new curse words.

    I have to say, after wrestling with the dough for a while and thinking I was making a mistake, it finally came together. When all was said and done, I pulled a tray of pretzels out of the oven that looked exactly like the photos in this recipe (color and texture, not perfectly formed pretzel twists. Turns out I’m not a pretzel twister either lol). And the taste? Delicious! I was so happy they turned out so well.

    Thank you for the recipe, and the clear, easy to follow instructions!

    1. We’re so glad these pretzels were a success for you, Matt! Thanks for giving them a go and reporting back.

      1. Im about to give this recipe a go after reading all the comments i am a failed pretzel maker about 15 times over I never get it right …..wish me luck!

  10. This recipe was excellent. I wasn’t sure about the Baking soda and I do recommend using silicone. I had added vegetable seasoning and salt in top of mine. I will definitely make them again but do the sweet version.

  11. I had such a craving for soft pretzels I decided to try these. They were so easy and delicious! I did leave mine in for the full time requirement and they were perfectly browned both on top and bottom. I had both types of yeast so decided to use the fast type. Mine did require the 3/4 cup reserved flour which I had anticipated. Will definitely make again! Thank you!

  12. GREAT recipe! Perfect directions, easy to follow! Came out yummy! This will be a favorite!

  13. Just made them tonight. They were amazing. Put some salt on some and some sesame seeds on some. Great flavor and easy. Thanks

    1. Hi Victoria, for best results, we recommend making two separate batches rather than doubling.

  14. Do you think this would work with gluten free flour? I have some from Trader Joe’s in my pantry.

    1. Hi Karen, We haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flours, but some readers have reported success using 1:1 flour substitutes (like Cup4Cup). If you try it, let us know how it goes!

  15. Hi Sally,
    I have followed your recipes for couple of times, it always turn out a good result. Thank you for your sharing, and look forward to your new recipes. It would be awesome if add a healthy options on those.

  16. My wife loves soft pretzels and we had to go to the mall to get fresh ones I tried this recipe and it was great….

  17. I cut the recipe in half because I don’t need so many pretzels hanging around tempting me. Wow, easy and delicious! Most other recipes call for a longer rise time for the dough (1 hour) so I wondered how your recipe would turn out with only a 10-minute rise. But they turned out great. Easy to mix with a whisk and a wooden spoon. I baked mine on parchment paper lightly greased with non-stick spray and had absolutely no problem with sticking. I also refrigerated half of the pretzels before baking to gauge the quality of make-ahead/bake later pretzels and they were just as good except don’t sprinkle with salt before refrigerating them as the salt melted, still tasty but I like the course salt look. With ingredients usually on hand in my pantry, I’m sure I will be making these quite often. Thanks!!

  18. Amazing recipe! We’ve made these twice and they came out amazing and perfectly chewy both times. Do you think this could be made into hamburger buns? And if so, have any cooking tips?

  19. If I made this recipe into the small bites, how long would I bake them for?

  20. I LOVED THIS RECIPE, I had Kinda messed up with the salt but they still came out so good omg

  21. When refrigerating the boiled pretzels, at the time of baking do they go directly from cold to oven or need to remove from refrigerator in advance and let them come to room temprature?

    1. Hi Vivianne! We would just let them sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.

  22. I haven’t made this yet and wonder how long would I bake them if I made them longer and thicker, like the laugenstangen we’d get in southern Germany (app. 7” x 2”)?

    1. Hi Barb, we’re unsure of the exact bake time but let us know if you give it a try!

  23. These pretzels are ahhhmazing. My family devoured them. Thank you!

  24. Baked these today. They turned out great and everybody loved them, inspite of my messing up the quantity of water. I think my kitchen scale was off….!!! Anyways I added a LOT more flour and will definitely make them again (with the correct measurements :-)) Hand’s up to all your recipes Sally. They are so well explained with great videos and pictures. Thanks so much for the hard work that goes into it.

  25. At first I was a little skeptical cause my dough turned out a little too sticky, but once I got them in the baking soda bath and popped them in the oven I could smell how good they were going to be. They tasted amazing. I made some cinnamon sugar ones along with the salt, and I forgot to butter my paper so the bottoms were literally glued down(although that’s my bad), however it didn’t stop me from cutting off the parchment and eating all of them! These are so good and the recipe is easy to follow, 10/10 recipe.

  26. Wow! Thanks for the recipe!! These turned out amazing! The bottoms were nice and crispy, the outsides were crisp and chewy and in the inside was soft. Easy recipe (very similar to my pizza dough recipe). I will never buy store bought pretzels ever again.

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