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

637 Comments

  1. Leah Robinson says:

    Love this recipe. Better/easier than the one I tried before. Taking them to a get together we attend weekly.

  2. Bill Jackson says:

    Have ya ever had a Philly Soft Pretzel?
    I’m from the North, above ‘Philly’/ Philadelphia. These are very very close to it and as close to heaven in a pretzel I have had in a long time. Love these a bunch. Thank you!

  3. Made them with my wife , we had an amazing experience

  4. Hi Sally, thank you for this easy recipe. What’s the best way to keep them fresh if I need to bake a lot of these for an event? Thank you.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ann, the best way to store made pretzels is in an air tight container or ziplock bag. They should stay fresh for up to three days, although they do lose some of their softness. Or, you can make them ahead and freeze them for two months — see recipe notes for more details. Hope they’re a hit at your event!

  5. Cathy Stanis says:

    I love this recipe but I am terrible when it comes to rolling them out. The dough
    springs back and I never can get to a long enough rope. They end up looking
    like pretzel knots and they taste great, just wonder why I am so unskilled in
    the end appearance result of a pretzel that has open spaces inbetween the
    knotted dough. Can anyone give me a clue as to why I can’t roll these out like
    they are supposed to be into long ropes? Thanks in advance!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Cathy! Have you watched the video in the post above? That may help. It’s definitely something that takes practice, but make sure you’re spoon and leveling your flour when measuring as too much flour in your dough could make it tough.

  6. Cathy Stanis says:

    Thanks Trina. I have watched the video and I do always spoon and level the flour. I was careful to add only enough to be pliable. It looks easy in the video to roll out to 20″-22″ length. Next time I wondered if chilling the divided dough would help or any other suggestions? Thank you.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Cathy, one other tip that should help is covering the ropes with a clean towel for a few minutes. Then, when you go back to roll them again, they should be much easier to roll out. Let us know if you give this a try!

  7. Thanks for sharing your recipe. Wondering why the pretzels are hard and chewy. Maybe I overcooked it?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Dee, it sounds like your pretzels may be slightly over baked. Also, be sure to spoon and level (or measure by weight) your flour — adding too much can make the final pretzels a bit tougher than intended. Both easy fixes for next time! Thanks so much for giving these pretzels a try.

  8. Hi! If I use my kitchenaid mixer, do I still need to knead the dough before shaping? Thank you!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sam, yes, we do still recommend kneading by hand (step 2) before shaping. Hope you enjoy the pretzels!

  9. Mike Jacobsen says:

    I fallowed the resipe exactly. But I forgot to spray the parchment. (Don’t make that mistake.) But these are absolutely delightful. Thank you

  10. Alex Beasley says:

    Just made these! They are delicious. Great job on this recipe! 🙂

  11. Manny Vanoss says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe, oh my! they bring back memories. They are wonderful. If you don’t make these for your family, grandkids, friends your missing out . Try some with fresh garlic.

  12. These are so good!

    Me and a group of friends have been meeting up over Zoom to bake something every other week since last April and every new food idea we come up with for the next session, we end up finding one of your recipes for it. Your recipes have never let us down! These pretzels in particular, are, amazing.

  13. These are the best soft pretzels ever! Thanks for the great recipes!

  14. Been my go to recipe and love it. What about adding pepperoni? My kid wants to add it. Would you lay on top before baking and maybe add garlic butter.

  15. I was wondering if using wholemeal flour to substitute some of the plain flour would wreck the pretzel’s taste. Sadly, I do not have enough of the ordinary.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi John, Using all whole grain flour will result in dense pretzels. But using just a portion (half or less) may go OK. Hope you love them!

  16. Can this recipe be doubled or increased easily or will the ingredients need adjusted? Thank you. I love these pretzels!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sam! Yes, simply double all of the ingredients. We would let the dough rest for closer to 20-25 minutes in step 2 since there’s more volume.

  17. I made these last night and oh my goodness. Delicious!! I sliced one down the middle and put in the toaster and had plain with butter. Extremely more-ish. I plan on filling my freezer!!

  18. Hey Sally, do you have any recommendations on a vegan substitute for the melted butter?
    Could I just use vegetable oil, or should I get something that’s solid at room temperature? Could shortening work or would it taste funny

    that said, these are delicious, I’ve made them twice. The baking soda bath is a must.
    One time, I did the baking soda bath and put them in the fridge overnight. it seems to negate the bath, as they didn’t come out as nicely browned. Next time I’d either refrigerate the dough in a ball, or just bake them and freeze them.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi D L, we’re not trained in baking with vegan substitutes so unfortunately we can’t give you a confident answer on a good vegan substitute here. If you decide to give anything a try, we’d love to know how it goes. Glad to hear you enjoy these pretzels!

      1. I used vegan butter and they came out beautifully!

        My friend has also made them and omitted the butter entirely and they were fine.

        Next time I might try substituting with vegetable oil since it’s a small amount, so perhaps it being liquid and not solid won’t be too much of an issue.

  19. These did not come out at all. I’m so disappointed after spending 2 hours in the kitchen making these pretzels and your nacho cheese dip. The pretzels came out doughy and undercooked even after doubling the time in the oven. The taste was just terrible even though I followed all the Instructions (including step 6). The cheese sauce was also sought tasting. I don’t consider myself a bad cook/baker, but if I had made these for friends, they would have thought I’d never been in a kitchen before. Exhausted and frustrated 🙁

  20. Lorraine Scott-Behrends says:

    I just made these. It was my first time making any pretzels. I had originally planned to do sourdough pretzels, but I didn’t have milk ( dry or regular). So, I decided to try these. So easy and SO delicious! I will definitely be making them again. Ao perfect.

  21. These were so great. I made them with my five year old. We did half salted and half cinnamon sugar and we were very impressed with ourselves!

    Thank you!

  22. Hilary Jorgensen says:

    So good, fast and easy to make! Delicious!

  23. Delicious and so easy to make! Thank you, Sally and Team, for this amazing recipe!

  24. my pretzels aren’t browning like the ones in the picture

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lauren! Did you do the optional baking soda step? The quick baking soda boil gives the pretzels their traditional flavor and lovely browned color. Otherwise they may just need a few minutes in the oven. Thanks for giving these a try!

  25. These were amazing! I honestly was shocked and impressed with how they turned out for our first ever pretzel making attempt – the process was lots of fun with my little sous chef. Excited to try more and happy to find this treasure trove of recipes.

  26. I accidentally glossed over the part about spraying the parchment (even though it’s non-stick parchment) — my goodness. That is not a good step to skip. I’ve never had anything stick so angrily to baking parchment before. LOL. Apart from that, though, a pretty solid recipe!

  27. Your recipes are always so easy to follow and taste wonderful, and these pretzels are no exception! My little cousin has been begging to make these for days and was not disappointed ☺️

  28. DiBenedetto says:

    Excellent recipe Sally! BTW- try using “00” flour. Beyond soft!!

  29. I’ve made these 3 times and all times the batch doesn’t last more than 48 hours! They are so quick to make but taste like the pretzels from the mall. If you want the signature “Auntie Annes” taste brush some melted butter on top when the pretzels come out of the oven. If your family goes as crazy as mine did over these pretzels I highly recommend making a double batch and freezing half. A great snack that. an be heated up when you want it 🙂

  30. S. Reynolds says:

    Very very good!

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