Easy Homemade Soft Pretzels

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 because this recipe has been a reader favorite for years. The dough requires just 6 ingredients and there’s hardly any rise time, so not only are these easy, they’re pretty quick too. In fact, I remember feeling pleasantly surprised at the ease and speed the first time I made them– it took us only 30 minutes to make 1 batch! Over the years, I’ve added a smidge of melted butter to the dough for improved flavor. Furthermore, we’ve introduced the baking soda bath. While it sounds strange, this step is what gives pretzels that iconic flavor, chewy texture, helps deepen their golden color in the oven, and locks in the 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, soft pretzel knots (with various toppings), and soft pretzel rolls from this simple dough. There’s no wrong way to shape a pretzel, but let’s stick with tradition today. I promise you’ll no longer feel intimidated working with yeast, shaping pretzels, or the baking soda bath. Even if you have zero skill in the kitchen, you can make these homemade soft pretzels.

hand dipping piece of soft pretzel into bowl of cheese sauce

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

STEP BY STEP PHOTOS

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 or regular granulated sugar, salt, and 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 few minutes, 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. Work with what you have in the kitchen.

Guess what? You don’t have to wait to let this dough rise. 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? They’re remarkable pretzels but I’m 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 bring the ends down. 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.

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 but around 100°F (38°C) is great)
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (7ginstant or active dry yeast (1 standard packet)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cool
  • 3 and 3/4-4 cups (469-500g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and work surface
  • coarse salt or coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Baking Soda Bath (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. Form a circle with the dough by bringing the two ends together at the top of the circle. Twist the ends together. Bring the twisted ends back down towards yourself and press them down to form a pretzel shape.
  6. 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.
  9. Cover and store leftover pretzels at room temperature for up to 3 days. They lose a little softness over time. To reheat, microwave for a few seconds or bake in a 350°F (177°C) for 5 minutes.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Baked and cooled pretzels freeze well up to 2-3 months. To reheat, bake frozen pretzels at 350°F (177°C) for 20 minutes or until warmed through or microwave frozen pretzels 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, about 1 hour, for the pretzels to puff up before the baking soda bath and baking.
  2. Baking Soda Bath (Step 6): The baking soda bath is strongly recommended because it helps create that chewy texture and distinctive pretzel flavor. 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. Cinnamon sugar pretzels are best served that day because due to the melted butter topping, they become soggy after a few hours.
  4. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.

Keywords: soft pretzels

640 Comments

  1. Your recipes never fail me! If I search and your blog comes up, I always choose it.

    I’m currently nursing a 2 week old around the clock and needed a new midnight snack to keep me motivated for those wake ups! (my veggies and dip were getting boring.) These pretzels were perfect. A warm pretzel to munch on while I wait for baby to fall back asleep is literally the highlight of my night.
    Thanks for another great (and easy) recipe!

  2. I am 9 and I (my mom helped just a bit) made these and they were really good to eat.

  3. These were so incredibly amazing and delicious!!!! I had to add more flour to make it feel right, maybe another 2-3 tablespoons on top of the recipes max but am in NZ so maybe the flour types etc are different? But so incredibly amazing, definitely do the baking soda boil!

  4. Hey Sally,

    Had used 1.5 cups of warm water but it seemed quite alot more than 360ml. My dough became really sticky and was quite difficult to manage despite adding more flour. Also, the yeast seemed to work its way through by the time i put them in the soda bath after shaping, which caused the shape to become distorted. Any to advice what went wrong?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ruth, If you were using more than 360 ml of water then that could be why your dough was too sticky. This is a special dough that doesn’t require a long rise if making pretzels. Most of the rising is in the baking process. I wonder if you let the dough rise for a long time? If so, the pretzels would considerably puff up in the oven, losing most of their shape.

      1. Hi Stephanie,
        I think I must have left it out for about 30mins since i was taking some time to shape the remaining. Thanks for advice, will try it again!

  5. Hey this is a great, fast recipe to make for the whole family! Do you think it would turn out ok if I buttered it at the end and added cinnamon and sugar?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Absolutely! See recipe notes for more details on a cinnamon sugar version.

    2. Update-

      I tried out the cinnamon sugar version and it turned out amazing!

  6. sophie ehrhart says:

    I just made the pretzels and I was silly enough to cut the quantities in half not knowing how they would turn out! They are amaaazing and my family were like “are there only 6??”! I will definitely make them again and again. Oh and by the way I also tried you bagel recipe and they were also fantastic!

  7. I’ve been using this recipe a few times and I love it! Way easier than lots of others, and they come out so good! I made them with a batch of buffalo cheese dipping sauce and it was amazing.

  8. The texture came out so good we have left in the boiling baking soda water before. Keeping it to 20 seconds was great.
    We sprayed non-stick spray on parchment paper and it was easy to take off.
    We put melted butter on them right after we take out of oven.
    If we let proof for hours is that bad? They were a little hard to roll and shape (but taste good). Could the extra proof be why?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Shannon, We are so happy you enjoyed these pretzels! This is a special dough that doesn’t require a long rise if making pretzels. Most of the rising is in the baking process. If you let the dough rise for a long time they will be difficult to shape and the pretzels would considerably puff up in the oven, losing most of their shape.

  9. Hey, I tried it and they were delicious!! I had a cup of discard and decided to give it a whirl. I use 50:50 flour to water, so I figured my discard was roughly half a cup of water and half a cup of flour. I followed your recipe, but only used 1 cup of water for the yeast, then added 3 cups of flour and went VERY slowly with the remaining flour until I reached the right consistency.

  10. These are the best pretzels I’ve ever tasted. I made mine a bit too big and only had 6, so I just put some foil over them at the end of the first 15 minutes then let them cook for about an extra 5. They turned out wonderful!

  11. Thank you so much Sally for this delicious and easy recipe. Turned out amazing with the cinnamon sugar. Instead of butter to make the sugar stick, I used cooking spray. Turned out golden brown and tasted delicious. Pretzels were gone by the end of the week!

  12. Rainy Sunday afternoon, craving a salty snack… Found this recipe and very pleased. Half the pretzels are already gone. Thanks for the recipe!

  13. Samantha Rittenberg says:

    Hi Sally! I’ve made these pretzels two times now and they’ve come out completely different! The first time, I used did the recipe exactly as it said. When I did the baking soda bath, they began to fall apart so I only did that for about half. They didn’t spread much in the oven nor did they turn brown, but they were still pretty good. The ones in the baking soda bath got much browner and tasted more like normal soft pretzels.
    This time I still did the exact recipe except I skipped the baking soda bath and did an egg wash instead. They did brown a bit and got huge. They’re super fluffy and soft and are kinda like rolls. I think I’ve figured out they’re gonna come out different every time!

  14. This is my GO TO recipe forever now!! I’ve made these so many times and they taste so much better and are easier to make than any boxed pretzels I’ve tried to bake before! These are so DELISH, so EASY & THE BEST!

  15. Jimmy in Alaska says:

    I made both the pretzels and the rolls last night, AMAZING!! My intention was just to make the rolls for hamburger buns but when I had made enough rolls I used my excess dough to make 3 pretzels. The pretzels were perfect the rolls I feel like I needed to knead more because they were split and cracked when I pulled them out. My question is why do I let the dough sit and expand for an hour with the rolls but it doesn’t say to do that in the normal pretzel recipe? I had let the dough sit for an hour and I loved the way the pretzels turned out but now I’m afraid to not let it set that long because of how well they turned out but if I could be eating pretzels an hour sooner that you work too. Thank you so much for this recipe it was easy and delicious!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jimmy! These pretzel rolls are much fluffier than traditional soft pretzels. If you prefer your pretzels to be fluffy like these rolls you can certainly play around with letting the dough rise more. We’re so glad you love these!

  16. These pretzels were delicious! Super soft!

  17. I made these with my Granddaughter, they were so easy and fun to make and delicious as well!

  18. These are easy to make and taste amazing. My teenager ate just about the whole batch before they could cool. I’m marking my second batch for a get together as I type this.

  19. This recipe has become a family favourite!
    Thank you for sharing.

  20. Thank you very much! My son and I just made these pretzels for Mother’s Day. They are so soft and delicious!

  21. fabulous easy to follow recipe, no waiting around for the dough to rise. First time making pretzels and the results were amazing. Thank you!

  22. I’m making these for the second time today, they are so good!! I want to eat them ALL! I will share though. Lol

  23. Can these be made with whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Leslie, We’ve actually never tested it! Regular whole wheat flour will produce dense pretzels but pastry flour is lighter so it may be worth trying. Let us know how it goes!

  24. Estela Schnelle says:

    These pretzels are so good much better than my last recipe

  25. One of my favorite recipes!!! Comes out perfect every time. I use it to make pretzel wrapped hot dogs. You just have to increase the cook time.

  26. Melanie Pearson says:

    Hi, do you have a recipe for a caramel pretzel or a suggestion on how to make these into caramel swirl pretzel

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Melanie, We haven’t tried incorporating caramel into the pretzel dough, but you could certainly pair the baked pretzels (perhaps using the cinnamon sugar topping from the recipe notes) with our homemade salted caramel as a dipping sauce. Let us know if you give anything a try!

  27. Wow!! I tried these today. They were soooo good. Thankfully I had lots of help eating them. Otherwise, I would have eaten them all. Love this site. Never have had a recipe not turn out great.

    Thanks so much!

  28. Yes! These are the real deal. I worked at Auntie Anne’s after high school for 8 months and flavor wise, it’s spot on. I dipped in them in butter and sat on wire rack to mimic the AA method. And one tray I did the cinnamon sugar variety. I used brown sugar and cinnamon.. (that’s what we used back then). Perfection. Thanks for developing this recipe!

  29. Made these and braided them for Shabbat ! They came out perfect and delicious; it’s now my go-to every week

  30. Easy and delicious!! I braided them!! If you’re not doing the baking soda bath you might as well make bread, it’s what makes a pretzel taste like a pretzel.

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