Easy Homemade Soft Pretzels + Video

This is one of the easiest ways to prepare homemade soft pretzels and the results are extra delicious. The soft pretzel dough is a family recipe 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!

How to make easy homemade soft pretzels in less than 45 minutes. Don't forget the easy spicy cheese sauce! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Homemade soft pretzels are nothing new around here.

But listen up. We’ve never gone into making easy homemade soft pretzels in great detail. And we’ve certainly never watched it here before. Especially that tricky shaping step! Which, after you’ll learn today, isn’t difficult at all. If you have zero skill in the kitchen, you can make homemade soft pretzels. Soft pretzels that LEGIT taste better than the ball park and dare I say it? Auntie Anne’s.

Did I just go there? Oh yes, I did.

How to make easy homemade soft pretzels in less than 45 minutes. Don't forget the easy spicy cheese sauce! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This recipe, which first appeared on my blog in 2012, comes from my husband’s family. Kevin taught me how to make them 5 years ago. I was utterly clueless about where to begin with soft pretzels and yes, my husband taught me everything. I remember feeling pleasantly surprised at the ease and speed– it took us only 30 minutes to make 1 batch!

Over the years, I’ve added a smidge of melted butter and brown sugar to the dough– just to achieve that Auntie Anne’s flavor and texture. Furthermore, we’ve introduced the baking soda bath. While it sounds strange, this step is what gives pretzels that iconic flavor, golden brown texture, and 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 and soft pretzel rolls.

There’s no wrong way to shape a pretzel, but let’s stick with tradition today. I have a lot of photos of the process and right before the recipe, you can watch a quick video tutorial. I promise you’ll no longer feel intimidated working with yeast, shaping pretzels, or the baking soda bath. I gotchu!!

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.

How to make easy homemade soft pretzels in less than 45 minutes. Don't forget the easy spicy cheese sauce! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

STEP BY STEP PICS

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 sugar, salt, flour.

How to make homemade soft pretzels on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make homemade soft pretzels on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make homemade soft pretzels on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Let the yeast foam in the warm water for a sec, 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. Pretzel dough is no diva. Work with what you’ve got.

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

How to Shape Homemade Soft Pretzels

Now it’s time to shape.

How to make homemade soft pretzels on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make homemade soft pretzels on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make homemade soft pretzels on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

Twist the ends and fold over. That’s a pretzel!

How to make homemade soft pretzels on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make homemade soft pretzels on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

How to make easy homemade soft pretzels in less than 45 minutes. Don't forget the easy spicy cheese sauce! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make easy homemade soft pretzels in less than 45 minutes. Don't forget the easy spicy cheese sauce! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

Feeling hungry? Try my homemade bagels recipe next!
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Easy homemade soft pretzels

Easy Homemade Soft Pretzels

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 pretzels
  • 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

  • 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 brown sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cool
  • 3 and 3/4-4 cups (460-500g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for work surface
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Baking Soda Bath (Optional, 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. 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.
  6. (This step is optional, but promises a chewier pretzel and helps provide that traditional soft pretzel taste. See recipe note.) 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.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and serve warm with spicy nacho cheese sauce. Pretzels may be stored in an airtight container or zipped top bag for up to 3 days (they lose a little softness).

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Baked and cooled pretzels freeze well, up to 2 months. To reheat, bake frozen pretzels at 350°F (177°C) for 20 minutes or until warmed through or microwave 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 for the pretzels to puff up before the baking soda bath and baking.
  2. Baking Soda Bath (Step 6): The baking soda bath step is optional, but it helps create that chewy texture and distinctive pretzel flavor. I strongly recommend it. 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.
  4. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.

Keywords: soft pretzels

More Pretzel Recipes:

Soft Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheese Dip

How to make easy homemade soft pretzels in less than 45 minutes. Don't forget the easy spicy cheese sauce! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

733 Comments

  1. This was my first experience baking with yeast. While the bottoms tasted bitter because I was in a hurry and didn’t drain the pretzels as much as I should have, they were really good, especially warm and I just scraped the bottom off with a knife when I reheated them. Sssooooo good.

  2. Made it the other day, and it was so good! Thank you for sharing your fantastic recipe!
    Considering prepping it and baking it at a friend’s house. Can i do the baking soda bath and then bake it an hour plus later for hot out of the oven pretzels, or would you not recommend this?
    Thanks again!

    1. That should be just fine, Justin– I’ve had to extend that time before and it’s never been an issue.

  3. This recipe was super easy to follow, very quick and tasted like a restaurant quality soft pretzel. It was about an hour start to finish. We will be making these again.

  4. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! MY WHOLE FAMILY LOVED IT AND I AM DEFINITELY MAKING THIS AGAIN!

  5. We’ve made this several times, it’s not too difficult to make and it tastes really good! Thank you for making this recipe

  6. Loved the recipe!
    Easy, doable and not hard at all!

    And magical results!

  7. Easy pretzels with authentic taste! Thank you! Exactly what we were craving. Kids, fussy hubby and my in-laws loved them too!!!

  8. This recipe was so easy and the pretzels were so good.

  9. We were so happy with the way these turned out! My husband has been wanting to make pretzels for a while now and this recipe came together over one nap time! Thanks for the recipe! It’s delicious!

  10. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS RECIPE!!! 10/10!

  11. So awkward getting recipe. Would love a site to just put straightforward recipe at start and elucidation after for those who want to read more. Sick of reading indulgent discussion to get to actual point – please take on board as constructive criticism. Audience/demand is everything.

    1. Hi! Feel free to use the Jump to Recipe button. We added that so users can get straight to the recipe if they want to skip the step photos and explanations.

  12. The baking soda bath amount of 1/2 a cup was waaaaaay too much baking soda, my water boiled out and so my pretzels had a strong baking soda taste on the outside. How can people following this recipe avoid this! I was so mad that I used 1/2 a cup of baking soda. I was making pretzels as the water was boiling.

  13. These are insanely good! I followed the recipe exactly, did the baking soda bath, and they looked beautiful coming out of the oven after about 15 minutes. My only problem is that I popped them onto a rack to cool, went for a 30 minute walk, and when I came back, all but two of the pretzels had mysteriously disappeared! (Seriously, though, what the heck, family?!?) I’m going to make them again tomorrow and have the kids help with shaping them. One question – have you tried making these with barley malt syrup instead of the brown sugar? I like what that does for bagels, and I’m wondering if it would give the same rounded flavor to the pretzels.

  14. It seemed like the 1 1/2 cups of water with yeast was a lot for the amount of flour going in later, but I stayed with it. I ended up having to add probably 1 1/2 cups more flour than stated just so the mixture wasn’t watery. Anyone else have this problem?

    1. I have sometimes had to add more flour than other times; weather? Yeast? Room temp? I just keep add until not sticky, and turns out well every time. Love this easy recipe!

  15. Would the pretzels be bigger if i left the dough to rise before cutting it? Would this be a good idea?

    1. Hi Khadi, for a puffier pretzel, you can let the dough rest for longer than 10 minutes (perhaps up to 2 hours) or you can let the shaped pretzels rest (covered lightly) for up to 1 hour.

  16. When is a good time to add jalapeños, when rolling into a rope or in the kneading of the dough ball?

    1. Hi Linda, I would add them when you are mixing in the flour or when you are kneading the dough.

  17. Insanely good and surprisingly easy. Made the beer cheese dip recipe along with it which was perfect. Thank you so much for this recipe!

  18. Hello! What happens if you skip the baking soda bath? Will be making these gems today! Thank you!

    1. Hi Liv, the quick baking soda boil gives the pretzels their traditional flavor and lovely browned color. You can skip it, but they taste better with that extra step!

      1. OUTSTANDING!! I made them, and severed them with honey mustard!!! Love ittttttttt!!!!

  19. I am 16 years old and I love to bake. I have made these pretzels several times for family and friends and they are the best!!!! Thank you for this great recipe 🙂

  20. I’m looking forward to making these soon. Could this dough be used for pretzel dogs? I think my kids would love those too. Maybe instead of shaping the rope of dough into the pretzel shape, flatten it out and wrap the hot dog with it, then the baking soda bath and bake? I’m thinking it would work but I’d love to hear what you think. Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Terya, Yes! You can shape the dough around the hotdogs in the same way we do for these Cheesy Pretzel Twists.

  21. These are amazing! We ate the whole batch before it was completely cool.

  22. I love these pretzels!! Not only are these amazingly simple to make they taste great! This is a good way to get my boyfriend off of the couch ha ha! He loves to make them with me so we have time together making these wonderful pretzels! The house smells so good while they are baking. So darn easy and so stinking yummy!!

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