Easy Homemade Soft Pretzels

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 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

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 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.

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 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

640 Comments

  1. I just took these out of the oven and they turned out great!! Oh, that chewy inside–REAL soft pretzels. They were easy to make (and eat :). I’m making the cheddar sauce to go with them. And thanks for the video–I watched it a few times before trying these, and it was really helpful. It convinced me that making pretzels at home was totally doable-lol.

  2. Hi Sally,
    I made these and followed the recipe as written, however the pretzels were really dense and hard to chew when warm and after cooling they became even more dense. 🙁 Any idea what went wrong?

    1. My guess would be overworking the dough OR using a little too much flour. You want a nice soft dough and always be gentle with it 🙂

  3. Hi Sally,

    Thanks so much for the recipe- they were so easy and delicious! Just one question which is purely for presentation- my pretzels ended up quite cracked with lots of the white part showing. It didn’t affect the flavour or texture but do you know why this might happen?

    Thanks!

  4. These pretzels are so yummy! They taste like the kind you get at a brewery. My family loved them. My daughters and I made them together, so that made them even more tasty!

  5. Well, my 5 year old said she likes them better than any other she has had….and she is picky. It was a really fun mom/daughter activity.

  6. I made these pretzels and wow cant believe how easy it was. Plus, they’re so delicious and truly are soft. My kids loved them!!

  7. Brianne Griggs says:

    Whoa! Just made these. So easy! Used the baking time to clean up the tiny mess. Dipped them in butter after baking and used cinnamon and sugar on half of them, salt on the other half. Thank you Sally!

  8. Hi Sally,

    Just wondering what does the step of boiling the dough in water and baking soda do?

    Thanks,

    Jo

    1. Helps them retain a chewy and soft texture as well as promotes even browning 🙂 I wouldn’t skip it!

  9. Made these pretzels today and they are so good! First time making anything with yeast. Your instructions were easy to follow and after seeing your video, I knew this was something I wanted to try to make. Well they came out great and I already have requests to make them again. We love soft pretzels! Thanks for another great recipe Sally!

  10. Susan Ruggiero says:

    These pretzels were AMAZING! From start to finish it took me about an hour. I wondered about the “no rise time”. But anything that saves me an hour is worth trying. So glad I tried…and succeeded! Thank you for a great new recipe to try with my grandchildren.

  11. Katherine Dunn says:

    This recipe is FANTASTIC! I searched a few recipes online, and found this quick recipe. Looked at reviews and knew I had to try it! My sister, nephew and I, loved making and eating them. It was very hard not eating the whole batch. Ha ha! We will definitely make these again! Thank you for sharing!

  12. Made these for the first time yesterday and they were a big hit with my family and friends! I plan to make these for my son’s 4th grade class… a unit on State Cooking. As a Philly girl in California I thought this would be a fun thing for the kids! Now the trick will be tripling the recipe as I will need about 30 pretzels total! That’s a lot of rope rolling … thanks you, Sally!

  13. These are so easy to make and so good!! I’m not so good at making the pretzel shape, but I will keep practicing. I had a bit of trouble rolling them.

  14. My first time making pretzels! I made these start to finish (including cleanup) in under an hour! Going to make a caramel dip next to dip them in! They are SO yummy will for sure be making again!!!

  15. These are great but I used parchment paper and they stuck to the paper . I peeled them off but it wasn’t easy and lost a bit of the bottom layer. Next time should spray the parchment paper with a non stick spray or give in and buy the silicone baking sheets?

    1. Hi Maryann! Spraying parchment with nonstick spray should work, but I can’t recommend silicone baking mats enough. I use them for everything!

  16. Thanks so much for this recipe Sally! I have only started venturing into bread making recently, first your pizza dough and now this & the pretzels look and taste so good 😀 You make the recipe easy to follow and even for a first time bread-baker they look pro!

  17. This recipe works at high altitude! They turned out great!

  18. Marlene Fritzler says:

    This is a fantastic recipe ! My grandson and I have made them a couple times now. We haven’t tried the dip yet – they get eaten too fast!!!

  19. I made these today! Delicious with your spicy cheese sauce! We ate half of them right out of the baking sheet! Perfect for a blistery fall day like today in WA 🙂

  20. I made these, followed every step exactly, and now when I try to take them off the baking sheet they are literally super glued to it and won’t come off… I don’t know what to do now

    1. Mine did that the first time too haha I suggest putting parchment paper on your cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. I haven’t had an issue since 🙂

  21. My first attempt at soft pretzels two years ago was a complete disaster. These were so easy and turned out great: golden brown, soft and the right amount and chewy. Thank you! The proportions of your recipes are always on point and turn out amazing!

  22. Amazing recipe! My family loved it and couldn’t stop eating them, so I had to make another batch. The cheese was a hit as well! The only problem I had was the pretzels sticking to the parchment paper; I tried butter and other non-stick alternatives many times. Butter seemed to work well enough, though. Will definitely make these again!

  23. Linda Heimbuck says:

    Sally, I have used a lot of your recipes and love them all; in fact I have never had one that wasn’t absolutely perfect. I’m ready to venture out and try something with yeast. I have never used yeast and I’m a little afraid to try it. Which of your recipes is a good first recipe using yeast?

    1. Hi Linda! So glad you are ready to begin a yeast baking adventure. I think these pretzels are a great way to begin because there isn’t much rise time involved. However, you do need to shape the dough. You can also try this no knead bread. Leave out the cheese and jalapeño, if desired. The rise time is long but you don’t need to knead or shape the bread.

  24. Great recipe! Huge hit with the family! My youngest requested cinnamon sugar so I’m going to try that tomorrow. Thanks for sharing such an awesome recipe.

  25. I made these pretzels yesterday and they are AMAZING! I can’t believe how easy they were to prepare. The color, chewiness, taste – all perfect. Of course they were incredible straight out of the oven, but reheating the leftovers the next day in a toaster made them just as good. Thank you so much for a stellar recipe, Sally!

  26. These were the best ever. Thank you!! My kids loved them and we did with no sauce too 🙂

  27. I’ve never made soft pretzels before, and with the polar vortex over me in Chicago, I decided I wanted to try making soft pretzels for the first time. I’m so glad I found your recipe and decided I wasn’t afraid to find out for myself why you cut out the hour or so rise on the dough before forming the shapes. These pretzels are absolutely perfect, and your recipe is, as well. And if someone WANTS puffier pretzels, they can just add that rise in themselves. I bet they’d still turn out perfect!

  28. these are perfect and so easy my 9 year old basically made them herself. You are a genius!

  29. Michele Sharp says:

    Made these for the football game. I was amazed how easy they were. My husband said he was shocked that they tasted as if he just got one from his favorite street vendor. Turned out perfect

  30. Suzanne Ferenczy says:

    Dear Sally,
    Thank you so much for providing a great recipe, from your husband, no less! I have seen these made in the Amish country of Pennsylvania and those are scrumptious. I am happy to say the batch I made turned out just as well and maybe a bit better! I tasted the dough and decided to double the butter and brown sugar. At the very end, I did what I saw the Amish do: dip them heavily in melted butter. Heavenly!! Such fun making these beautiful, soft, brown warm and cozy treats.

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