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

776 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. Great recipe! Can I arrest the process after the baking soda bath then refrigerate the pretzels and bake the next day?

    1. Definitely! Cover lightly and refrigerate. No need to bring to room temperature before baking.

  2. Jessica Zerkle says:

    Sally! You are my favorite I have tried so many of your recipes and you have made cooking so non- intimidating and my husband has loved all the new things I’m making for dinners and desserts. So thankful for your website and your creativity!

    God bless you and your family!

  3. found myself very frustrated trying to get the salt to stick to the pretzels and am surprised no one had the same issue. what should I do about this?

    1. You have to sprinkle the salt while they are still wet from the water bath.

    2. Hi Camille – I made these on Friday and again today. On Friday I followed the recipe – I did the baking soda bath and then kind of smooshed some salt on. Her recipe says to only do the egg wash if you skip the bath. Today, I did the baking soda bath AND the egg wash as well. The salt stuck much better AND my pretzels got darker and looked like restaurant-quality! I will always do baking soda bath and egg wash from now on. (I also added a little time, maybe my oven doesn’t run as hot. 18 mins was PERFECT!)

  4. My baking soda bath started to bubble up when I added the pretzel, it almost came out the pot! Is this normal? Or did I mess up somewhere?

    1. Hi Cainhurst, it’s possible the pot was too small or the heat was too high. Reducing the stove heat helps bring the water back down.

  5. This was a fun afternoon project with a 6 and 8yr old. They loved the roll out process and shaping the pretzels. EVERYONE loved the finished product! We did cook them just a little longer than your range (17mins). We made these on Friday night and are making another batch for the Packer game today! Thanks for this easy recipe.

  6. Thank you Sally, they turned out perfect, my nephew loved them!

  7. Could I add a little chopped olives and cheese on top instead of salt before baking? Would this change the time or anything?

    1. Definitely! Lower the oven rack to prevent the cheese from burning OR bake the pretzels for a few minutes before adding the cheese & olives.

  8. Taking baking requests for the weekend after an early snowfall – my husband requested pretzels. I immediately went to your website to search for a recipe. I made these with your beer cheese recipe – both were so good. Had to sprinkle with kosher salt, otherwise I followed the recipe (including baking soda bath). They came together quickly. My husband said they were “the real deal”. Luckily, I only baked half a batch (he would have eaten them all) and making the other half for game day tomorrow! Thanks, Sally.

  9. I was amazing. I am 11 and we had a big group of family coming over so I made a big Bach of these and everyone loved them ❤️❤️

  10. followed the steps to the tea and came out perfect. couldn’t believe how easy this recipe was!

  11. Can we add garlic and herbs to the same recipe to give it more taste or is it not possible ?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes you can definitely add herbs to the dough. Enjoy!

  12. Did this couple weeks ago and made pretzel bits…came out really good the grandkids ate them up up like popcorn. Question…have you ever used bread flour to make these?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi John, You can definitely use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour in this pretzel recipe. Same amount. Bread flour yields even chewier pretzels.

  13. Can these be made gluten free by subbing out the flour? I’m looking at a couple of GF flour mixtures from Bob’s Red Mill and wondering if they will come out ok. I’ve never done GF anything before…so I am a novice!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kristy, We haven’t personally tested these with gluten free flour but let us know if you give it a try!

  14. Absolutely delicious and easy to make. Highly recommend this recipe.

  15. So excited to try this recipe!

  16. Good morning, can I make/ bake these and store them in the freezer? If so how long? I’m very excited to make this recipe. I’ve made a few of your recipes turned out amazing, I love how they are easy and simple enough for everyone to make. Thank you.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tiffany, Baked and cooled pretzels freeze well, up to 2 months. See the recipe notes for details.

  17. I made this recipe exactly as listed and it turned out PERFECT! It was my first time attempting to make pretzels and my whole family loved them. Another win for Sally’s Baking Addiction!

  18. I made these tonight and they came out wonderfully! Thank you for this awesome recipe–I felt so fancy making homemade pretzels!

  19. I did this with my almost 5 year old! It was fun and we loved the finished project! They didn’t turn out perfect but I’m attributing that to user error and they were definitely delicious. Thank you for another great recipe!

  20. First time ever making pretzels. Wow! These were so delicious with the cheese sauce. Thanks

  21. This was amazing!!!
    We made them from your cookbook, they were honestly the best pretzels ever! Even our mom who usually buys them from the box admitted that they tasted so much better!

  22. I tried this recipe and the look was on, but it was so salty! I only used the teaspoon recommended in the recipe, but is it possible the baking soda is what I tasted?

  23. Absolutely wonderful recipe! They pretzels were easy to make an so delicious. They also stayed fresh for a few days in a plastic bag on the counter. Love them!

  24. Hi Sally! I’m new to your site and have made a few things so far and love it all. Question: I had a hard time creating the pretzel shapes. The dough would shrink on me soon as I was working with it. Any suggestions?

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