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


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


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!


  • 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


  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. 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).


  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


  1. Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower says:

    i love soft pretzels and always want to make a stop at Auntie Anne’s for one when I’m at the mall. Thank you so much for this recipe! I love how simple this recipe is with step by step instructions. Can’t wait to try these so that I no longer have to make stops at the mall!

    1. Let me know when you try them!

  2. The cheddar stuffed pretzels are so good, I can’t wait to try these with the cheddar dip! 

    1. Gahhhh the cheesy pretzel twists are the best!

      1. They are so good! Those and the ham and cheese pockets are my weak spot. 

  3. I’ve made the ones in your cookbook so many times and they are always amazing! They’re so easy and tasty 🙂

    1. These are similar!

  4. i really like all your bread recipes, you should definitely do more different kinds of bread, once i made your honey butter rols no other roll is coming close and the rest are too good too. 

  5. These look so good!  My little girl loves soft pretzel bites so she will be excited to learn to make them at home!

  6. I had tried pretzel, from the recipe you had posted earlier, and they turned out amazing. So good that i ate 2 of them as soon as they were out. Something so good about the just out-of-the-oven treats. 

  7. Rainy day here, perfect day for baking pretzels. I got the everything bagels spice from Trader Joe’s and think it would be good on a few of the pretzels.

  8. I’ve made that soft pretzel recipe a few times before and they always get eaten up so fast over here! I usually make them 1/2 whole wheat and sprinkle parmesan cheese as well as sea salt overtop before they go in the oven. Love the new tricks and tips you introduced today (never done a baking soda bath before) & I love the idea of serving them with cheddar cheese sauce. It’s been a while since I’ve made homemade soft pretzels, I think it’s time for me to again 🙂

  9. Can you freeze the leftovers after they are baked?

    1. Yep, see my make ahead tip. 🙂

  10. Oh my – soft pretzels in only 30 minutes? I could easily do that . . . instead of buying the frozen ones that are not good (no Auntie Anne’s near us). WOWEE! Thank you Sally!!! I love soft pretzels.

  11. Charlene McConnell says:

    My group found that baking the baking soda for an hour at 250 degrees on an aluminum covered baking sheet reduced the metallic taste and really brought out the traditional pretzel flavor.

  12. Shawnna Griffin says:

    hey girl- this looks so tasty!

  13. Leslie Haasch says:

    I’m so German that I literally stopped everything I was doing to read this immediately! 🙂

  14. Jenny from jennyisbaking.com says:

    Pretzels are a big thing here in Germany. I will definitely give it a try. No rise sounds crazy, but the pictures do look amazing! Will let you know how my fellow countrymen react!

  15. Melissa Howell says:

    I have always wanted to make pretzels! I had no idea how easy they were! And I bet they taste AMAZING warm just from the oven! By the way, I can’t wait to meet you at EFC in just over a week!

    1. I CAN’T WAIT!

  16. I love that you made this look so easy.  The first time I tried a pretzel recipe (YEARS ago!) was so difficult and time consuming that I never tried again.  They tasted amazing but took forever.  Thank you for showing me it doesn’t have to take all day!

    1. Let me know if you give these a try!

  17. Thank you for the video! Do you bake both baking sheets at once or one at a time? If it’s one at a time, do you do the baking soda bath for the second batch at the same time as the first?

    1. Both at a time and I rotate them because my oven has hot spots 🙂

  18. Juliet|biscuitsandladles says:

    Awesome showing the step by step folding and yaay to the video. You make it so easy.

  19. Sally, I know you have shared sweet versions of pretzels before. But do you yourself ever make them for yourselves? Or do you just eat the plain version?

    1. We usually just enjoy them with salt 🙂 And I like them with honey mustard. On special occasions, cinnamon-sugar is my favorite! I have that recipe in my first cookbook.

  20. Recently I culled a lot of my subscription emails, so so glad I kept yours, tomorrow I’m going to be making these for my family (or just me). Love the video!

    I can’t wait I love soft pretzels don’t get them in the UK.

  21. Blogtastic Food says:

    Still yet to have a soft pretzel. But this inspires me to try (:

  22. Hi! These look delicious! I’ve had soft pretzels sprinkled with reddish flake salt and they were really yummy. I love that this recipe is quick and easy. That bit of brown sugar in the dough sounds SO GOOD and is a great idea. I might make these gluten-free with some gluten-free mix that is a 1-1 sub with regular flour.

    1. Let me know how they are with a GF flour.

      1. Will do! Maybe I’ll make them this weekend :)….

  23. Laura | Tutti Dolci says:

    Be still my heart – these pretzels are everything!

  24. Sara @ Last Night's Feast says:

    Yum! These look awesome

  25. Laura (Untwisted Vintage) says:

    These make me wish for Oktoberfest season 🙂 They look super delicious.

  26. I saw your recipe this morning, dreamt about these babies all day, and made them immediately when I got home from work today. They are AMAZING!!! Absolutely the perfect texture, just the right bit of chewy crunchyness on the bottom. I’m think I will make them again this weekend with some different dipping sauces for some family I have coming in from Ireland. Thanks for an amazing and simple recipe!!

    1. what a compliment, thank you Emily!

  27. Kelly @ Kelly Lynns Sweets and Treats says:

    I totally need to make these!!! The last time I made homemade pretzels, I was a kid. Loving this easy recipe Sally! Xoxo

    1. let me know if you try them!

  28. My grandchildren love pretzels at the mall. Definitely will be giving these a try. Hope they turn out as great as yours. Thank you.

    1. Let me know how they go!

  29. Patricia @Sweet and Strong says:

    Love and have made your pretzel recipe several times.  And FYI once I used leftovers of your cheese sauce in a mac n’ cheese and it was delicious!!!

    1. no there’s an idea!!

  30. Dear Sally, now, I’ve noticed this recipe and it’s variations on your blog before but never tried them. Finally made these today and – ok, I understand now why you keep pointing us in the direction of this recipe 🙂 It’s absolutely wonderful, easy and so delicious! <3
    Living in Germany pretzels are a common thing in the bakeries here, but the quality varies a lot… I've always wanted to make my own, but shyed away from actually doing so because every promising recipe I found had a lot of steps and included
    several extensive rises, most recipes also required a lye bath which I didn't really want to try in my kitchen… So thank you (and Kevin's family!) for such a great recipe!!

    1. I’m so glad you love them!!!

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