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. Laura Mederos says:

    I made the pretzels for the first time today, real easy and quick to make. They turned out really great!! My husband loved them. Thanks for the recipe!!

  2. Hi,

    I wanted to make these for a friends birthday, but I would have to make them ahead of time and deliver them. Do you have any suggestions for traveling/reheating Or any other ways this could work? Thank

    1. Hi Christina, it’s best to bake and cool these completely. Place in your travel container/on a plate between sheets of parchment paper. Cover them tightly. I usually reheat in the microwave for a few seconds, but a few minutes in a 350°F (177°C) oven works too.

  3. I’ve made these many times now and they always turn out incredibly! I exclusively use fresh yeast and have found for most recipes I need to increase the amount I use (nearly double) for best results. I also brush mine with a little melted butter before sprinkling salt and baking to get an extra bronzed top!

  4. Made these today. Fast and easy. Family loves them. I used parchment paper, sprayed it and also silicone baking mat. They both worked fine. No sticking.
    Only tip…add baking soda to boiling water a little at a time and it won’t boil over.

  5. Do you need to proof activate your yeast first, if your using active dry yeast? Also can you substitute brown sugar for regular sugar if you dont have brown sugar on hand?

    1. Hi Stacey, no– the instructions are the same if you are using active dry or instant yeast. I swap between the two all the time in this recipe. You can use granulated sugar instead of brown sugar.

      1. I want to make this tonight, but was curious if I could halve the recipe? Would it still turn out as good?

  6. Melody Wood says:

    Ok I’m very curious I’ve made this recipe several times and they are amazing! As I was making them today I couldn’t find the step of dipping them into egg before baking. Did you remove that step?

    1. By using the baking soda bath, there’s no need for an egg wash prior to baking. If you skip the baking soda step, using an egg wash will help the salt stick. See my recipe note if you’d like!

    2. Made these today. But cut the recipe in half and they turned out perfectly. I also used half bread flour as I didn’t have enough all purpose and they are still great. Happy with this recipe!

  7. First time doing pretzels, so easy and delicious!!! I made 3 flavor salt, sugar and cinnamon and parmesan cheese! all flavors are amazing!!
    Thanks for the recipe!!

  8. Excited to attempt these tomorrow as a quarantine homeschool lesson for pretzel-obsessed tots! Is there an issue if we let the dough rise for 2-3 hours, and don’t use it right away? Too much of a good time? trying to work around the Zoom school meetings. Thanks!

    1. You can let the dough rise for 2-3 hours. After letting it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes, I recommend placing it in the refrigerator for the 2-3 hours. Continue with the recipe using the cold dough.

  9. Easy to make for a beginner and tastes great!

  10. Made these for the first time today for an online mentoring session with Big Brothers and Sisters. My little baked cookies . They turned out great!
    Question…. its hard to find yeast during covid shortages… anything that will substitute?

  11. Awesome pretzel recipe! My son and I made it tonight with the beer cheese – highly recommend. Thanks so much!

  12. These pretzels were fantastic. I followed the instructions and was filled with glee when I pulled golden pretzels out of the oven. They tasted fantastic. My only issue is that despite greasing the parchment paper, some of the pretzels were glued to the paper after baking. A couple of them retained bits of paper on the pretzels. I don’t have a silicone baking mat, but next time I may just forego the parchment and just try it directly on the baking sheet.

  13. Can I make with whole wheat flour or gluten free flour? Would the proportions be the same?

  14. Is it okay to halve all the ingredients to bake just half batch?

    1. You can halve the recipe for a half batch, yes.

  15. Heike Savoy says:

    These are soooo good… and really very easy to make. So good, I made them twice this weekend. One thing learned from batch one to batch two – when you roll them out, do not use a floured surface. I know the recipe didn’t say to flour for this step, I guess I just assumed, but the slip and slide when on the floured surface and do not roll well.
    And the beer cheese recipe link… goes perfect with these pretzels. I have no need to search for another pretzel recipe – found a perfect one right here!

  16. Made these exactly as directed and they are delicious! I would like to experiment with making larger/jumbo pretzels next time as well as pretzel rolls someday. I was able to get 11 pretzels from the recipe, but I wasn’t measuring exactly by any means. One thing I’m wondering is if there’s anything I can do to make the dough less stretchy when I’m rolling out the logs for the pretzels. Each time, I’d get one really long, but by the time I folded into pretzel shape, it would shrink way back down.

    1. Hi Erica! When you notice the dough shrinking as you are shaping the pretzels, stop what you’re doing, lightly cover the rope/dough with a clean towel, then let it rest for 10-15 minutes. This gives the gluten a chance to relax. When you return to shaping, it will be much easier to work with.

  17. Sherine Akl says:

    This recipe was very easy to follow, my kids and husband loved the pretzels and asked for more!!
    Thank you

  18. Hi Sally! What would I need to do to alter this to make pepperoni pretzels (like the ones from Auntie Anne’s!)? Should I simply skip the coarse salt topping, do the baking soda bath, then add the pepperoni slices before baking? Thanks!

    1. I haven’t tried it, but that’s what I would do!

  19. OMG! These are amazing. My family LOVES soft pretzels and we would always go get like 40 of them at a time from philly pretzel factory and freeze them. But no more! These are literally also much better, they taste like auntie Anne’s! My dad loves soft pretzels so this was a great early Father’s Day gift!

  20. I’ve made these a few times and use them for pretzel dogs. They always turn out amazing! Thank you.

  21. So excited to try these today! I’m wondering if it’s okay to reduce or replace the butter and sugar so the pretzels taste less like Auntie Anne’s and more like traditional Philly ones?

    1. You can definitely try it! They won’t be identical to Philly pretzels, but closer for sure.

  22. should i use unsalted or salted butter? read some issues in the comments that they were too salty because of salted butter.

    1. I always use and prefer unsalted butter.

  23. Made this with my 7 yr old daughter and we loved it!!!! After I brushed it with butter and salted it, we added Parmesan to some and brown sugar to some. Between her and I we are 6 of those pretzels for lunch.
    Will definitely keep it in our baking rotation! Thank you!

  24. Che Francisco says:

    Hi Sally, I’ve made pretzel for the first time and thanks to your recipe, it turned it fantastic! If I were to change anything, I’ll keep half cup of water set aside to see if the amount of water/flour needs adjusting. Thanks again for your amazing recipes!

  25. You need to remove the part about the bicarbonate bath being an option because that step made all the difference! I almost skipped it because I was a little intimidated and really didn’t think it was a big deal. I ended up doing it and I was SO glad I did. They were so awesome. I made 8 with that step and 4 just straight to the oven and they were just OK that way. It’s also important to highlight where it says don’t overwork the dough. Love this recipe. My kids were crazy about it too! Thank you!

  26. My family kept coming back for more. The lip smacking sounds could be heard down the street. Excellent recipe. First time I made pretzels .

  27. Amazing! After experimenting a bit I found out if you use half milk half water solution, they turn out extra smooth!!! Cheers

  28. The recipe was great as written and the pretzels turned out fine yesterday. My only problem was storage. When I checked my ziplock bag this morning, the salt on the pretzels had dissolved and I had droplets of water inside the bag. It is warm and a little humid here and I’m sure that is what caused this, but be cautious about storing your uneaten pretzels.

    1. I had this exact same issue and it’s not that warm where I am…..they also tasted staler than I’d expected after only 24 hours.

  29. made these today and they came out absolutely incredible! My family were all blown away, genuinely saying that they are the best they’ve ever had.

  30. Dangerously easy and delicious! Made these this morning and only one remains. I’ve already been asked to make these again this coming holiday weekend. Thank you!

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