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

Comments are closed.

  1. Laura Bahrt says:

    I made these today because it’s National Soft Pretzel Day and they were delicious! Next time though, I won’t use parchment paper. Some pretzels stuck even though I greased the paper first.
    Thank you for the wonderful recipe! I will be making them again soon!

  2. Sandra Ortolano says:

    Hi! First time pretzel maker… the recipe was easy and delicious! My daughter husband & I , more or less, just had them hot for dinner. I placed out cheese dip, 3 different mustards, cinnamon sugar & apple butter, we dipped like fondue. Thanks for the awesome recipe.

    1. Carrie Leng says:

      First time making these very simple and excellent. Will make them again

  3. Maggie Johnson says:

    I love these!! It was an easy recipe to follow with excellent results. I struggled some to get the shape right…‍♀️ I can’t wait to share these with my jr high cooking class next year!

  4. James Moore says:

    Recommended by a friend and I am so happy she did! (Thanks Aimee)

    Simple to make. Great directions and very tasty!

    I made the pretzels within the hour, served to the kids with mustard and they loved it!

    Thanks again, looking forward to trying the Bagels!

  5. Wow! I never knew I could make such delicious pretzels at home with so little time and effort. Another great recipe from Sally.

  6. There were more steps than I thought there’d be and I felt overwhelmed when my yeast never bubbled. BUT, the recipe really was incredibly easy to make and the results… well, as the chef says in her description, these really are as good or better than any commercially prepared pretzels I or my family has ever had! Now that I’ve made them once, they will be super easy to make again. And again. And again. There’s no reason to ever buy a soft pretzel again!

  7. I didn’t have time to make the beer cheese sauce as well but for the first time, they came out delicious! I used whole wheat bread flour as finding pain white flour is rather tricky at the moment. Brilliant, I will be making again!

    1. Stephennie says:

      Hello, I made them today- never rolled out pretzels before. I somehow ended up with only- 8! My daughter wanted them with cinnamon. I need to work on shaping them. Thanks for the inspiration!
      Hello from Germany .

  8. I made these pretzels with my Mom and they were delicious! they were easy and fun to make. I had them with no sauce and they were very tasty! highly recommended. 🙂

  9. I’m a huge fan.
    I always have complete success when i try any of your recipes.
    I tried two batches, one of these and one of your bite size. The large ones came out very hard.im just wondering why the large pretzels don’t need the egg wash before baking?

  10. Love, love, love, love this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. I have made it twice and am going to make it again tomorrow.

  11. Allison Iserman says:

    Pure genius. I am SO amazed. Magical how the texture is completely different and totally fresh soft pretzel. More magic- they were fast!! I’ll make these a lot more. These were they very best pretzels I have tasted from anywhere including Germany, European Christmas markets, the US. So delicious. I was kitchen challenged and had to roll and form them in the air. HA. But that was fine. Next time I’ll do them in my own kitchen with space to roll them. I would give 10 stars if it were possible.

  12. Irene Neustaedter says:

    I’ve made the soft pretzels, artisan bread and cranberry nut bread all from your recipes and excellent instructions. Thanks for making me look good and feel talented in the kitchen. I’m looking forward to baking focaccia this weekend. What a perfect pairing for home made meatballs. I’ve shared your recipes with so many and everyone is so thankful to have bread making made easy enough for anyone to attempt. My husband swears the Artisan bread is the best bread he’s ever had. No argument here! Thank you Sally!

  13. I’d really like to make these but I only have instant yeast. Am I supposed to use the same amount as I would active dry? I thought it was supposed to be less, but in the ingredient list it has the same amount listed..
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Use the same amount of yeast no matter which dry yeast you are using. No changes to the recipe needed.

  14. April Lee says:

    Great recipe, but I have a quick question: Why do you not brush beaten egg on these soft pretzels when you do on the pretzel bites recipe since it’s the same dough?

    1. Hi April! No rhyme or reason– brushing these (or any shaped pretzels) with either melted butter or a beaten egg/egg wash helps the topping stick a little more. But if you add the salt/topping when the pretzels are still wet after the baking soda bath, it will stick pretty well anyway. Thanks for asking!

  15. Kat Collins says:

    I’ve made these a few times now, my family loves them. Still working on getting good shapes but they tasted amazing and my husband is obsessed with the beer cheese! Bravo!!!

  16. Amy Moreland says:

    These turned out awesome. It was a fun recipe to make with my 5 year old. They turned out perfect. I posted online and shared your link with recipe. 5 stars

  17. I had never made pretzels in my life before, so I was definitely anxious about my first ever attempt, but your recipe was indeed easy to follow as well as absolutely delicious. My grown up sons gave the pretzels a 10 out of 10 and they are not that easy to please! Thank you.

  18. Christine says:

    Quick and easy recipe! They came out perfect! Will definitely be making these again.

  19. Excellent recipe! I have tried making pretzels with two other recipes and this one takes the cake! Delicious. Thank you!

  20. Sean Safron says:

    The pretzels tasted great, had a good texture and were fun to make for our whole family. We all enjoyed rolling, shaping and eating the pretzels.

    Unfortunately we used a nonstick pot for the baking soda and water bath, and some of the coating eroded off and we will have to throw it away. We will use a stainless steel pot next time.

  21. Recently made these and they’re definitely a new favorite. I plan on making a larger batch to bring to friends and was wondering about doubling the recipe. Would I need to double the yeast as well?

    1. Hi Morgan, for best taste and texture, I highly recommend making the dough twice separately.

  22. I am going to make these but wondered how I can incorporate my sour dough starter? What would you suggest? Thanks so much !

    1. Hi Karen, I have not tested this recipe with a sour dough starter but let me know if you try!

  23. These were AMAZING!!! I added some cheese and pepperoni to them… may have eaten 3 once they came out of the oven and I don’t even feel a little bit guilty, because they were SO good. Sally, you’re recipes have really helped getting through iso!

  24. Curious why you put sugar and salt into the yeast at the same time. I would think that the sugar goes into the yeast and the salt goes into the flour.

    1. Hi Susan, for this simplified dough, everything goes into the bowl after the yeast and liquid. Simply how we’ve made the pretzels for years and it’s never been an issue. Hope you enjoy!

  25. First time making pretzels and had no clue they were this easy. Pictures and video helped with shaping. Kids loved them, we loved them, and it was a fun activity. Thanks so much for sharing!

  26. Great recipe! This was the first thing I baked with the [three-packet] yeast I bought during “the time of covid.” Glad I did! No ragrets!
    For those with Aldi’s around, I switched coarse salt for “Everything but the Bagel” seasoning. 🙂
    Also, I tried to convert this to a no-yeast discard recipe, and it worked well too!

  27. I love this recipe so much and have made it over 10 times! The pretzels come out perfectly every time and it’s so much easier than other recipes I’ve tried. Thank you so much for such a wonderful recipe, Sally.

  28. David Maughn says:

    Can I substitute regular sugar for the brown sugar?

    1. Definitely. Same amount.

  29. What if I’m using fresh yeast? Any modifications required?

    1. Hi Rebecca, I haven’t tested this dough with fresh yeast, but here is a very helpful conversion chart if you make the swap: https://redstaryeast.com/yeast-baking-lessons/yeast-conversion-table

  30. Isabella Brun says:

    Great recipe! Made them twice in the last week and I loved them. Second time around made about 16 and prefered the smaller crunchier outside of them. Quick, easy and yummy!

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