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This is one of the easiest ways to prepare homemade soft pretzels and the results are extra delicious. The soft pretzel dough 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 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. We’ve also jazzed them up as crab pretzels. 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
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 below the recipe– 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.

Print
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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 1x
  • 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 for how to shape pretzels!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Texture was spot on. Crumb was perfect for a pretzel. My husband didn’t like the baking soda flavor. I was mindful to only do 10-20 seconds and measured 9 cups of water to 1/2 cup baking soda. I think the dough might need more salt. They were missing something in the flavor department. Will try again with tweaks.

  2. Great recipe!! I used some leftover brown butter that I had in the fridge in the dough and I also used it on top of the pretzels before baking. I would highly recommend doing that. I think next time I’ll add some cinnamon to the butter as well.

  3. Sort of surprised at how these turned out. They tasted fine but something was totally missing something. Not sure if it was me or the recipe. I will try the recipe again.

  4. I am an experienced baker and this recipe was not simple and easy to follow. It took over an hour to complete this recipe, not 30 minutes. The pretzels turned out good, but I was riding the struggle bus the entire time.

  5. Love this recipe! I’ve made it several times and always a hit. I made pretzel bites with everything bagel seasoning and a Cream Cheese Honey dip…delicious!

  6. I love these pretzels and my family likes them too they are great for game nights and good with dips.

  7. This was so fast and the result was fantastic. I have made pretzels before and it took forever. These were great-tasting and super easy.

  8. Made these with my three-year-old son this afternoon. Followed the recipe exactly and had great results! Topped with some Maldon big flake sea salt before going into the oven. These will be a regular snack (meal…?) in our home!

  9. These are so garbage I did everything perfect but they had salt which I am allergic to it.

    1. Did you not use salt and feel it didn’t do well, or were you upset that you made pretzels with an ingredient you are allergic to – pretzels are always salty?

  10. Pretzels fall apart while boiling, and baking soda bubbles out of pot. More trouble than it’s worth.

  11. Tasted great and looked amazing. I did some without the BS barn and they weren’t the same. Don’t skip that part! The cheese recipe went perfect with it!

  12. Always read the notes at the bottom of the page when making anything off a recipe web page, I see a lot of not so nice comments on these pages, mine always turn out great Thank you Sally

  13. These are good pretzels. However, I disagree about the length of the baking soda bath. To achieve a nutty brown color, you’ll need to leave them in for about a minute. The pretzels won’t taste “metallic” in my opinion, they’ll just taste like authentic pretzels!

  14. Used Everything bagel seasoning, such a hit was asked to make another batch for football game tomorrow, just did (since kitchen was already dirty). It’s in the rotation, thanks!

    1. Hi Jane, we haven’t tried this in a bread machine but let us know if you do. Enjoy!

  15. These were incredible!!! I definitely recommend!!! So EASY and So DELICIOUS!!! Even tried making them once as cheese pretzels. You flatten the the rope, put cut up string cheese and cover it. Then do the twisting into the pretzel shape. I had GREAT results!!! Thank you so so much Sally for this great go to recipe!

  16. My 12 yo daughter made these today and they turned out delicious! I had to help her with the soda bath, but it was her first time doing a yeast recipe and they turned out so good! We were very generous with kosher salt before baking.

  17. This is the absolute best recipe!!! The first time my girlfriend and I did it we didn’t use the bath due to not having baking soda. They were good but the second we did OMG!! The best pretzles ever. Literally tastes like the ones at the mall that are extremely soft but has that pretzle crust. If I could rate higher I would!! We do these every few weeks!:)

  18. I can’t bake, but i followed the recipe and they turned out perfectly. I needed way more flour but I just kept adding a little bit at a time til the dough wasn’t sticky as noted. I really appreciate the detailed directions. Super easy, love the lesser rise time than most. I wrapped chicken jalapeño sausages with the dough too to make piggies in a comforter. 😀

  19. I tried this with 1:1 gluten free all purpose flour and I couldn’t believe that it tasted like the real thing! Thanks for this recipe so I can have soft pretzels again – they didn’t last more than a few hours 🙂

  20. These were really good everyone in my house loved them including my mom. They were super easy to make definitely make these again

  21. Great recipe, I have made this half a dozen times in the last few weeks because they are so delicious! I make 6 big (Auntie Aunt-esque) pretzels with this recipe, and have also made delicious pretzel buns with this recipe! Very versatile, scrumptious and boyfriend approved!

  22. I made these tonight along with the nacho cheese dip and they were wonderful! I might try leaving them in the BS bath a little longer and bake them an extra minute or so to brown them a little more, but they were very delicious!

  23. Wow, I have made pretzels before, but these are byfar the best!! Fairly easy to make and the taste is amazing!

  24. I did 1/3 cup for baking soda instead an these are PERFECT!! 10/10 I will make these again

  25. Made these few times already,they always turn out great! My go to pretzel recipe

  26. Absolutely delicious and easy! I followed the directions exactly with great results, especially with the “everything bagel” sprinkled on before baking. I am no longer afraid of using yeast! 🙂

  27. I got a Kitchenaid stand mixer for Christmas and am new to baking. Not doing well with the breads but killed it with these pretzels. I did need quite a bit more flour than the recipe called for.

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