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

666 Comments

  1. So easy, so tasteful, so quick! I shaped them into 12 bread rolls instead of pretzels and cooked them for almost 20 min. We loved them, and I’ll be doing another batch pretty soon. Thanks

  2. Making these for the second time this week with my daughter. Such a fun, easy recipe and perfect for our quarantine cooking class! Going to try your spicy nacho sauce next!
    ~ we did try the boiling vs. non- boiling method, and boiling was definitely our favorite ~

  3. Amélie Chambon says:

    Really good and fairly easy recipe to make.
    We definitely found it too salty and had to take off the coarse salt we had put on top (and I just realize now that it’s probably because of the salted butter we used…).
    It was also a bit hard to make the ropes long enough as the dough was elastic and it kept coming back like it was before.
    After making 8 pretzels, we decided it was easier to make balls for the rest of the dough (25 balls in total).
    Thank you for this simple recipe and a must during quarantine!

  4. This recipe is awesome! My kids loved making the “snakes” and forming them into pretzels. I had never made soft pretzels before, but this made it super easy, and the end result was delicious. I sprinkled half with coarse sea salt before baking, and when the other half came out I brushed them with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Can’t wait to make it again soon.

    1. Made these but I made them into pretzel bites! My kids love them! It made about 30 to 40 bites with half the dough! Saving the other half to do cinnamon/ sugar pretzels for dessert tonight with an icing glaze dip sauce 🙂

      1. So fun! Thrilled these were a hit, Rebecca 🙂

  5. Made these using bob’s red mill gluten free 1:1 flour, they were very hard to shape, ended up just making pretzel twists, but they taste amazing!

    1. Did you follow the recipe exactly or did you have to change it up when using the gluten free flour?

  6. These were very tasty and easy. Will definitely make again!

  7. I made this yesterday with Easter dinner – OMG!! So amazing!! I even used yeast that expired 8 months ago because I can’t find any in the stores (went to three!!) Thank God these turned out perfectly.

  8. Thank you for this recipe! It was easy to follow and the pictures were super helpful for our family fun. We worked together while under quarantine to do this as a fun afternoon activity! Huge success and delicious treat! We were all new to using yeast and pretzels.

  9. Hi Sally, may I know can I substitute the all purpose flour with almond flour? Thank you 🙂

    1. Hi Jane! I don’t recommend it for this dough.

  10. I’m planning on making these today. Can I use raw sugar instead of brown? Thanks! Rose

    1. I used normal sugar as well last time i did them, worked for me 🙂

  11. Hello! What adjustments do I need to make if using instant yeast? I’m new to baking, but the grocery stores are out of the kind in many recipes. Thanks!

    1. Made them today and used instant yeast as well, same amount (2 1/4 teaspoons), turned out perfectly

      1. Amazing! Thanks so much. Attempting them today 🙂

  12. Who knew pretzels were so simple! I’m proud this was my first time making a recipe with yeast and I can’t wait to try more of yours. Great recipe, thank you to you and your family for sharing it!

  13. First time making pretzel. I was skeptical when the recipe request for rest time of about 10min, because i saw other recipe ask for at least an hour. But it turns out great. I made the dough and get the kids to shape it. It was fun time. And the pretzel is soft and yummy.

  14. These were so much fun to make. Like others I struggled a bit to get the pretzels stretched enough to make them big but the shape was easy to achieve. They were just a bit puffed together in the end. Couldn’t believe how quickly they came together.

  15. These are so good! Unsure of my baking skills and not wanting to waste ingredients if these didn’t turn out good, I made only half a batch. That was a big mistake because these are so easy to do and so so good!

  16. Hi, I’ve made this a couple times now and live them! I have recommended it to a few friends who have made it as well. My question is can use my starter instead if active and let it sit longer? Shall I just use a cup and a half of starter?

    1. I’m thrilled you enjoy the recipe so much, Jacqueline. I haven’t tested this dough with a yeast starter so I can’t give a confident answer. Let me know if you test anything!

  17. Has anyone ever tried shaping them, bathing them in the soda bath and then freeze and bake at a later time? Or that wouldn’t work? Just curious as i’m thinking of the ready-to-bake packages you can get in Germany, those ones you don’t have to bathe in a soda bath, so i’m wondering… 😉
    Love this recipe Sally! It’s amazing and so easy and fast!

    1. I’m wondering this too, has anyone tried this?

  18. I made this recipe over the weekend with my kids. They came out so tasty. We will definitely be making more in the future.

  19. I only have plain flour or self raising its hard to find any other with the virus going on could i use either of these ? Thanks

    1. Good news! Plain and all purpose flour are the same thing!

  20. Ashley Dawson says:

    Can we use salted butter instead of unsalted?

    1. Yes! No other changes necessary.

      1. Ashley Dawson says:

        Awesome!!! I’ll try it now!

  21. Kayle Matthews says:

    WOW this was my first time making pretzels and they came out so great. Looked just like the picture and my family went nuts over them. Anyone want pretzels use this recipe

    1. I’m so happy you and your family enjoyed them, Kayle!

  22. Meagan McTeer says:

    First time making pretzels… had a little quarantine craving.. and man.. these did not disappoint! My husband and daughter went wild for them. Will be making again for sure. Such an easy recipe.

  23. I substituted the regular flour for gluten free Cup4Cup all purpose flour and these turned out perfect!

    1. Oh good! I was hoping someone had tried that!

  24. Omg so so good!!!! I’ve been wanting to make pretzels for so long and these are perfect!!!

  25. 19 shut down has me in the kitchen baking a LOT and these were the bomb. I’m seriously floored by how quick, easy sand incredible they came out. Kids and I agree this is one of the best things we’ve made yet. The other best thing? Your lemon bars!!! Gah! Dreamy.

  26. This is simply THE BEST soft pretzel recipe! I actually use 4 Tbs (half a stick) of unsalted butter though! Makes it soooooooo buttery and delicious!

    I’ve baked these so many times over the past few months, to rave reviews each time!

  27. LYnne Green says:

    This recipe was everything you promised it would be! I have never used the dough blade on my miser or worked with yeast, but they are very yummy! My husband heats them in the toaster . Thanks

  28. Hi Sally. Can I use bread flour instead? I ran out of all purpose flour and I want to bake something right now. What do you suggest?

    1. Sure can! Same amount, 1:1 swap.

  29. Sarah Hughes says:

    These were amazing! First time I ever make pretzels and they came out great! Making our second batch now. I did brush them with melted butter after they came out and it made them taste just like that place we all love. Hehe

  30. Great recipe! Made them for the first time and they’re super yum. However, I had 2 issues- the dough was very soft and pliable after shaping them so it was hard to get them in the water bath and get them to stay in their shape. They became a ball instead.

    Also, the baking soda water bath boiled over and made a huge mess.

    How can I keep them the shape when I boil them?

    Thanks—they were super yum and will make them again ❤️

    1. Hi Valeska! So glad you enjoyed these soft pretzels. Try using a little more flour when shaping the pretzels so they aren’t quite as soft and sticky. A larger pot will help prevent the water from spilling over the edges next time. Or you can turn down the heat a bit.

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