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!

soft pretzels

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.

hand dipping piece of soft pretzel into bowl of cheese sauce

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.

soft pretzels on a baking sheet

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.

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 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.

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 fold over. 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 or beer cheese dip. Cheers!

Feeling hungry? Try my homemade bagels recipe next!
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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
  • 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. 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. (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. 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. 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 on a white plate with cheese sauce in a white bowl

941 Comments

  1. Is it possible to double this recipe? I’ve made them a few times now and 12 just isn’t enough for my family!

    1. Absolutely! Simply double all of the ingredients. I would let the dough rest for closer to 20-25 minutes in step 2 since there’s more volume.

      1. Do you double the yeast as well?

      2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Yes!

  2. Love these pretzels! All your tips and pictured helped a novice like me jump in to make my first pretzels and they won’t be my last!

  3. When I double the recipe do I double the yeast?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Zoe! Yes, simply double all of the ingredients. We would let the dough rest for closer to 20-25 minutes in step 2 since there’s more volume.

  4. Super easy to make and delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  5. Byron Weber Becker says:

    Delicious. A couple of tweaks to consider:
    — I used 1 cup whole wheat flour to make it a bit healthier. Still delicious.
    — I didn’t have the patience to roll out each “rope”. So I rolled out the dough with a rolling pin to be 18″ by whatever so that it was about 1cm thick. Then cut 1cm wide strips. Much faster, in my experience.
    — The ½ cup of baking soda sounded really generous to me — and I didn’t have that much. So I cut it in half.

  6. Viola Kupper says:

    Hi Sally,
    I love your website and I use it as an inspiration for all of my bakes.
    This morning i decided to give the pretzels a go and unfortunately they didn’t turn out great.. They looked and tasted fantastic, all golden brown and just the right amount salty, however they were very dense and doughy inside.. I didn’t change anything in the recipe and I wonder what I might have done wrong ??
    Many Thanks,
    V

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Viola, If they were doughy inside they were likely underbaked. An easy fix for next time is to keep them in the oven a few minutes longer.

  7. Hi Sally,

    I made these tonight around 9PM lol and they came out amazing!! So chewy and soft. I was nervous about the baking soda + warm water bath as I didn’t want to have it come out tasting metallic and I left the pretzels in for 25 seconds. I can’t wait to try making the cheesy pretzel twists as well as the pretzel bites. Yummmy! Thank you so much.

  8. Absolutely delicious! I can’t believe these take less than an hour yet they’re so good! It was a great activity for (impatient) kids. I didn’t have the special salt for the top. Hopefully the reduced salt will offset the carbs?! Ha ha I’ll be making this again and again. Such a great recipe. Thank you, Sally!

  9. I made this recipe and my family gobbled half of them up in the first hour of their existence! we gave the other half to our friends, but we didn’t have any more, so, I made them again!
    I cut most of them into pretzel-bites, with turned out AMAZING!
    thanks soooo much for posting this recipe!
    ps: also loved Grandma’s Irish soda bread!

  10. I just made these and WOW!
    Super soft and yet chewy and crispy, so so good.

    The dough was surprisingly so easy to make and really lovely to work with. I just added sesame seeds and everything bagel seasoning to some and they were fantastic. Also brushed some butter after they were done baking to make them extra lovely.

  11. Made them loved them wondering since we have flour left is it OK to use wholemeal plain flour?
    Pls i am a student who loves baking

    1. I ment we have no flour left not we have flour left that just makes no sense
      Ps i am a student……agian

    2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Chloe! Using whole grain flour would result in dense pretzels. Try replacing half the flour first to see how it goes. Hope you love them!

  12. Hilary Jorgensen says:

    Delicious!

  13. Your recipes never fail me! If I search and your blog comes up, I always choose it.

    I’m currently nursing a 2 week old around the clock and needed a new midnight snack to keep me motivated for those wake ups! (my veggies and dip were getting boring.) These pretzels were perfect. A warm pretzel to munch on while I wait for baby to fall back asleep is literally the highlight of my night.
    Thanks for another great (and easy) recipe!

  14. I am 9 and I (my mom helped just a bit) made these and they were really good to eat.

  15. These were so incredibly amazing and delicious!!!! I had to add more flour to make it feel right, maybe another 2-3 tablespoons on top of the recipes max but am in NZ so maybe the flour types etc are different? But so incredibly amazing, definitely do the baking soda boil!

  16. Hey Sally,

    Had used 1.5 cups of warm water but it seemed quite alot more than 360ml. My dough became really sticky and was quite difficult to manage despite adding more flour. Also, the yeast seemed to work its way through by the time i put them in the soda bath after shaping, which caused the shape to become distorted. Any to advice what went wrong?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ruth, If you were using more than 360 ml of water then that could be why your dough was too sticky. This is a special dough that doesn’t require a long rise if making pretzels. Most of the rising is in the baking process. I wonder if you let the dough rise for a long time? If so, the pretzels would considerably puff up in the oven, losing most of their shape.

      1. Hi Stephanie,
        I think I must have left it out for about 30mins since i was taking some time to shape the remaining. Thanks for advice, will try it again!

  17. Hey this is a great, fast recipe to make for the whole family! Do you think it would turn out ok if I buttered it at the end and added cinnamon and sugar?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Absolutely! See recipe notes for more details on a cinnamon sugar version.

    2. Update-

      I tried out the cinnamon sugar version and it turned out amazing!

  18. sophie ehrhart says:

    I just made the pretzels and I was silly enough to cut the quantities in half not knowing how they would turn out! They are amaaazing and my family were like “are there only 6??”! I will definitely make them again and again. Oh and by the way I also tried you bagel recipe and they were also fantastic!

  19. Can you tell me the carb calories in the basic pretzels and bagel recipes. They are wonderful and so was it ty o m as mk e

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sheena! We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

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