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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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. 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).

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

778 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. Leila Remak says:

    Very, very, very delicious! Would make them again maybe sweet ones! Only tiny issue is there is a little bit of a yeasty taste.

  2. Phxmockingkay says:

    I was so intimidated by this recipe but wow is it good. I followed it exactly as written including the baking soda bath and they came out awesome. Mine didn’t look at pretty but still so good

  3. Kay G. ,11 says:

    Sally, I have made this recipe multiple times and love it. I recently made them to bring to a party and they were gone within minutes!!! I love your recipes!

  4. So good and easy, too. I m made half a batch and mixed by hand without any trouble. I didn’t change a thing. Everything Bagel is a good topping, too.

  5. Hello! Dying to try this recipe but I don’t have parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Can I use a bake sheet lined with aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray?

    1. Hi Yvette, a lightly greased baking sheet or greased sheet of foil on top of a baking sheet works in a pinch.

      1. Came out exactly as you said. My family loved them!!

  6. Thank you for this fabulous recipe. I did half salt half cinnamon sugar and they are delicious. I’m left with several questions, which may be related:
    My dough was very wet and sticky so I used extra flour. I had to add more after resting and a bit more as I shaped the pretzels. Each time it sat for a few minutes it got sticky again.
    I shaped 6 pretzels before putting each into the bicarbonate bath. By the time I was done shaping the 6th, it was really hard to pick up the first one I’d formed. Any advice for this step? The bath helps restore a better shape but I had to dump them in because they were tough to manipulate.
    Finally, should the outsides have been crunchy? They are delicious but uniformly soft.
    I’ve tried a handful of your other recipes and am a big fan! Thank you.

    1. Hi Lori! Thank you so much for trying this soft pretzel recipe. Is your kitchen particularly warm? Or was this a humid day? I only ask because you mention the dough became sticky the longer it sat at room temperature. Regardless, a little extra flour always helps. The dough can be a little soft, but use enough flour so you can shape the pretzels. And finally, the pretzels may have been over-baked if they taste particularly crunchy. That’s an easy fix for next time if you try the recipe again!

  7. Brian A McKissick says:

    This was the first attempt at making pretzels, that said the dough was a little difficult to work with was a lot sticky even after adding more flour then called for. because the dough was sticky it was difficult to lift from working surface to pot of water and many came out very misshapen, and looking more like a crumpled snake then a pretzel. Even after my best attempt to ruin them they still came out tasting very good, my wife loved them in spite of all my gripping while making them!

  8. Loved these! Made them with my 12-year old son, and we had tons of fun! they’re absolutely perfect!

  9. This recipe is absolutely delicious!!! Thank you so much!! Question- any suggestions on how to make the crust just a little crispier (does that sound weird for a soft pretzel)? Thanks again for this wonderful recipe!

    1. Hey girl! Try an egg wash right before baking, might do the trick!

      1. Thanks so much for the tip- will definitely try this!

  10. My daughter was really craving soft pretzels but she has asthma so going out is really restricted. I found this recipe and made it for her. She loved it! Thank you so much. I did brush a bit of butter on it before I sprinkled it with salt. They were delicious. Thank you!

  11. Simple. Tasty. Perfect.

  12. Crazy Good Recipe. This is the fourth time in 6 weeks I made them.. Freeze great. Thanks. No more frozen box pretzels.

  13. Forgot 5 Stars Plus. Tommy

  14. Made these for the first time last week they turned out great. Easy as well!

    Quick question, is there any harm in making the dough ball in the morning and then let it sit for a few hours if I were to run errands and come back later in the day to portion it out? Or is it best to always just let it sit around the 10 minute mark and boil/bake right away?

    Thanks!
    Matt

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Matt, The prepared pretzel dough can be refrigerated for up to one day. 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.

  15. I LOVE this recipe! I have made it twice now, with the same delicious result! They’re so good that I don’t want to share! They are super quick to make, an hour tops. Nice crust on the outside and perfectly soft on the inside. I will be adding this to my recipe book and you should too!

  16. Hi! I have a couple questions, I understand if you don’t have an answer…. BUT… I want to wrap some bratwurst in a pretzel dough. Would I be able to grill the brats, wrap in the pretzel and then do the baking soda bath?

    Also, if that is easy enough to do, what would be the best method for reheating with pretzel wrapped bratwurst? I can taste the yummy just thinking about it, so it might be something we’d like to take (or rather drop off) at a friends house on game day, but it would need to be warmed with little effort on their part.

    Thank you so very much! I can’t wait to try this!

    1. Hi Lara! Thank you so much for asking and I’m happy to help as much as I can. I’ve never used this dough to wrap around bratwurst or any meat, but I would wrap it around the brats then do the baking soda bath step. For reheating, a few minutes in a 350 degrees F oven would do the trick!

  17. Hi! Excelent pretzels the taste is really good! But one problem i had was that they turned out really pale even though i followed the recipe, i did the baking soda bath so i skipped the egg wash as it says up there. Then I put the second half in the oven for longer and i had brushed it with butter to see if it added a little bit more color but they just came out yellow and didnt come out as soft as the first ones:( any tips to get that golden brown color and soft texture?

  18. These look amazing. I’m gonna give this a try. Do you have a recommendation for the cheese dipping sauce?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jan, I recommend our spicy nacho cheese sauce or beer cheese dip. Happy baking!

      1. Super. Thanks for the recipe. Now I can’t wait to get started…

  19. Great recipe! Just need more practice shaping them into pretzels and will use a bigger pot for the baking soda wash. Mine boiled over!

  20. Delicious!

  21. Kids and I made them this afternoon. Followed the recipe perfectly except that we could not roll them out to 20″ due to the limited working area we have. Still, they came out great tasting if a bit funny looking. 🙂 Going to try the pretzel bites version next as a way to still have the yum factor without the worry over length. A pro tip that may be obvious to others is to shape all your pretzels *before* starting the water bath step. We were able to bang them out in a production line, but the haste definitely contributed to the ugly factor.

  22. Delicious! I thought my dough was a little sticky. As it sat and I worked one pretzel at a time it became the perfect pliable dough. My 6 year old granddaughter helped measure out ingredients and rolled out a pretzel. Great time, and she gave it 2 thumbs up! Recipe that everyone approved!!!

  23. So great! I was pleasantly surprised. They taste like the real thing!

  24. Sabrinna De Sanchez says:

    I loved this recipe! I do recommend the baking soda portion!! I didn’t add the egg wash since I’m not a fan of egg and it still came out amazing! Definitely recommend

  25. Hi Sally! Dumb question: If I use a silicone baking mat, should I also spray it with nonstick spray? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Caitlin, No need to spray a silicone mat. Enjoy!

      1. Thank you so much, Sally! Can’t wait to make yet another A+ recipe thanks to you!

    2. Top notch recipe and i absolutely adore them. Even my very fussy with food father loved them which is an even bigger bonus.
      My question is though as I’m on a calorie controlled diet and these are moreish as heck. What’s the calorie count per pretzle??? as im pretty sure i could eat every single one if i wasn’t careful! The baking soda bath really made them taste like they where from a mall

  26. I just got my Kitchen Aide mixer today and this is the first thing I tried. So yummy! You’ve given me confidence! Can’t wait to try more variations on these.

  27. I’m at the worst baker in the world. Attempted these today. Amazing! Easy and fun to do. Thanks!

  28. Seriously THE BEST I’ve ever tried and made! So easy, soft and delicious! ❤️!

  29. Delicious and easy! I’m so proud of myself. First time using yeast to make something AND first time using the dough hook on my stand mixer, which I’ve owned for 10 years. For me, the hardest part was rolling the dough into ropes. In addition to cinnamon sugar, I sprinkled some ranch packet seasoning on a few. Very tasty! Reminded me of the sour cream and onion Auntie Anne’s pretzel. Thank you so much for this recipe!

  30. This was a fantastic recipe! Super easy and tasted so genuine. I was wondering though if anyone had tried making pretzel bites? If so how long did you cook them and put them in the bath? Thanks!

    1. Hi Maya! Here’s my pretzel bites recipe. Pretty much the same dough recipe. Super quick baking soda bath, too.

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