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!

soft pretzels

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.

hand dipping piece of soft pretzel into bowl of cheese sauce

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.

soft pretzels on a baking sheet

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.

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 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.

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 fold over. 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 or beer cheese dip. Cheers!

Feeling hungry? Try my homemade bagels recipe next!
Print
clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon
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 on a white plate with cheese sauce in a white bowl

895 Comments

  1. Excellent!! My kids love these pretzels. And I love that I can boil them all and then save half to bake fresh the next day. Great recipe !

  2. I come from Bavaria, now over in the uk and can’t get any proper “Brezen” over here but your recipe comes very close, thank you so much… a taste of home xx

  3. suhaima kawsary says:

    Excellent!! My kids love these pretzels. And I love that I can boil them all and then save half to bake fresh the next day. Great recipe !

  4. So these look fan-tacular!!! Love your recipes and totally going to make these this weekend.
    Can I freeze these after baked? I was also thinking this and your nacho cheese dip would be an enthused welcome at my daughter’s wedding as part of the late nite snacks. Thank you!

  5. Followed the recipe exactly and these came out perfectly! The recipe was fun to make and my kids and husband devoured them!! So good!!!! Thank you for a great recipe!

  6. I used parchment paper and sprayed it with cooking spray and they all stuck to the paper so bad I couldnt take them off. I had to cut the bottom of the pretzels off to even try them, they weren’t the best but I think I’ll add more salt to the batter when I try again without parchment paper I would rather they stick to the pan at least I can still eat them.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lisa! Thank you so much for trying these soft pretzels. For next time– spraying parchment with nonstick spray should work, but we can’t recommend silicone baking mats enough. We use them for everything!

  7. Diane Giangeruso says:

    Can I use Bread flour instead of all purpose flour?

    1. Hi Diane! Yes, you can. No other changes to the recipe needed.

  8. I made this as I was curious about the fast turnaround compared to other pretzel recipes. It was easy peasy until I had to figure out how to form them. I’m getting better, but the first few… hmmm. And one was kind of scrunched before hitting the water, so it ended up being a roll. Now I LOVE pretzel roll bread for sandwiches, so I can play with the recipe. Really delicious and now I have something else to try. I also froze a couple of pretzels after the water bath, so I’m interested in seeing how it will bake after being defrosted. Game changer!

    1. So I defrosted the frozen, unbaked pretzels and just baked them. The looked great, but the only negative was that the bottom middle section was soggy. I baked my pretzels on a pan. Next time I will preheat the pan or bake directly on parchment paper. Still good though…

  9. Can I use salted butter instead? I want to make these but I don’t have unsalted butter on-hand!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nicholas, If you use salted butter you can try cutting the added salt in half. Enjoy!

  10. Hi Sally! I was hoping to make these – but a half hatch to make 6 pretzels. Do I cut the yeast amount in half as well?

    Thank you!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sneha, correct. Simply halve all the ingredients including the yeast. Enjoy!

  11. Mine came out delicious, but here’s a warning: Don’t add the baking soda to the boiling water! Bring them to boiling together. I learned that the hard way (giant overflowing soda fountain all over my stove!).

    1. So glad you added this comment! I was scrolling through (with water heating) wondering if I should wait or not – it seemed in the video she waited?
      Thanks for the help!!

  12. This recipe was so easy to follow! My youngest sister had been begging me to make pretzels, and I finally got around to it! She and my parents really enjoyed them. Me too!

    Is there any way to substitute for the butter? My other sister has a dairy allergy, and I’d love to be able to make them for her as well.

  13. These were easy to make and very good!

  14. I made these for the first time yesterday.
    Everything went well until it was time to try them and they tasted kinda bitter.
    Not sure what happened or what I did wrong.
    I threw them all out.
    I will try again.

    1. Something was off with your baking soda bath most likely. Maybe you let them boil too long. I never boil over 30 sec. I pull them out at about 25 sec. Delicious every time.

      1. I timed them for 25 seconds. Something I did do was I had the bath boiling for quite a bit of time before I actually put them in the baking Soda bath. Maybe that affects the bath quality.
        Something else I noticed yesterday when I took the lid off the container all the salt was gone.
        It must have all leached into the pretzels. Good news was they tasted better than the day before.

      2. Hi Sally,
        Can i use olive oil instead of melted butter for this recipe? Thx.

  15. This recipe was perfect and so easy, even for a very novice baker! I definitely noticed that I needed more than 3 1/2 cups of flour. The pretzels came out so delicious!

  16. My husband thinks these are the best pretzels he’s ever had, but definitely plan for an hour and a half to make these… not 30 mins like the blog says.

  17. These are a family game-day favorite. I make them vegan (substitute vegan butter). I also use this dough for pretzel dogs and pretzel hamburger buns. Very tasty and easy. If there’s any leftover pretzels, they freeze well and warm up easily.

  18. Nathan D Hannibal says:

    Very good . I still like to let the dou sit for few hours before I use to allow to rise .
    Idk if it actually helps or not .
    Enjoyable recipe making it for my third time today

  19. Made these and loved them!! They taste just like real German pretzels. Can the recipe be doubled, or would it mess up the rise?

  20. So easy! I’ve followed other pretzel recipes – but these come out just as good without the same hassle. Delicious. Thank you!

  21. Perfect. I made my dough about 5 hours ahead of time and put it in the fridge. It rose up and popped the lid off so I just deflated it back down. Let it come to room temp for just a bit and it’s easier to roll.
    I did half without the baking soda bath and doused with butter, cinnamon and sugar.
    I did the bath on the other half and the texture is spot on.
    I’ve tried a few other pretzel recipes and this one is the winner hands down. Even better than king Arthur’s.

  22. I had a hard time rolling it out so any advice on that because I switched to bites and so darn good

  23. These pretzels plus queso equals angels singing!!! These are so good and so easy to make! A new family favorite!

  24. made these for the super bowl and they turned out AMAZING!! my family and i all loved them! i used bread flour instead of all purpose and let them rest for an hour instead of 10 minutes and they were perfect! thanks for another wonderful recipe!!

  25. My 16 year old and I made these tonight. We did the baking soda water bath and baked on nonstick cooking spray covered parchment. The flavor was great…but they did not brown well. Any suggestions on getting that pretty deep brown color? I will definitely make again…whether they brown or not!

  26. These were easy to make and delicious! A good beginner recipe for a yeasted dough with some kneading.

    I would use the silicone baking sheets or not make them at all. I’d imagine that parchment paper, even greased, would be a nightmare. I baked them straight on a cookie sheet and they were really difficult to get off, but they didn’t get ruined. If I were making for guests I would make sure I had the mats so that they’d come out perfectly.

  27. I made these for Superbowl Sunday with Sally’s nacho cheese recipe and they were delicious with the perfect amount of chew. Who knew pretzels could be this easy?

  28. These were easy and delicious!

  29. These are great and easy, thank you! Some of the pretzels didn’t hold their shape in the water though – any tips?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sam! Try to seal the joints of the pretzel a bit tighter next time – that should do the trick.

  30. Made these for a super bowl snack and they were delicious! The taste and texture was spot on. Mine definitely did not look as pretty as yours, and I didn’t have a slotted spatula, only a slotted spoon, so getting them out of the water was a challenge, but they were totally delicious!

1 17 18 19 20

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe.Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×