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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
And if you want to kick your soft pretzel status into major high gear, add some spicy nacho cheese sauce.Print
Easy Homemade Soft Pretzels
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 12 pretzels
- Category: Snacks
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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!
- 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 (7g) instant 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
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into 1/3 cup sections (about 75g each).
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and serve warm with spicy nacho cheese sauce.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
Keywords: soft pretzels
Reader Comments & Reviews
Can I omit the butter for my vegan friends? Should I add something else?
Hi Julia! Try melted coconut oil instead.
Made these with my kids (6 and 4), fun, easy and yummy! They liked making them into fun different shapes. Will make again!
Can I use whole wheat flour in this pretzel recipe?
Sure can! Same amount. The pretzels will be a little more dense.
I had a craving for pretzels and beer cheese dip. I made these and while the won’t win any awards for presentation or consistency in shape or size, they are delicious! I made pretzel sticks, rather than pretzel shape and they were nice and crispy. I overcrowded the pan so some got stuck together or unevenly baked, but delicious!
How do you think this would work with a high quality gluten free all purpose flour like King Arthur Measure for Measure or Bob’s Red Mill?
Hi Kris! I wish I could help, but I have very little experience baking with GF flours. Let me know if you try anything!
I discovered in my early 30’s that I had celiac disease… having to give up all of my favorite comfort foods like pretzels and bread in general was downright sinful! It was so difficult coming to terms with sharing this bloody disease with my granddad. He was a wheat farmer and I grew up on that farm. Not being able to eat the things we grew was hard. But, my grandma was able to create the most delicious breads and other gluten free foods for my grandpa. I was lucky to find her cookbook full of all of the gluten free recipes that she had created from her original family recipes. This pretzel recipe of yours is the exact same one that is in my grandma’s cookbook! Next to it are her handwritten instructions to make the pretzels gluten free! I made these for myself earlier today and I added two extra ingredients to the dough. I added finely ground garlic powder and onion powder. I can’t begin to explain how absolutely delightful these pretzels were! I kept them In stick form though… they are perfect! My gluten free flour is my own mixture of different grain free flours consisting of arrowroot, tapioca, coconut, potato and almond flours… for the pretzel recipe I did not use any of the almond flour. I was afraid it would be too sweet with the brown sugar in the recipe! I don’t like using Bob’s because of the rice flour in it. I do not like Iike the texture breads take on using Rice flour… having “discovered” this recipe again, I can assure you that it will be a staple in my favorite recipes once more! Grandma would be proud! Thank you for sharing yours as I might not have come across my grandma’s again!
I’m so happy to hear you found your grandmother’s recipes – what a treasure!!!
Hey, can you share the flour blend with us? I have a daughter with celiac and it’s extremely difficult finding any baking that would work for her. The GF flours all have a weird taste to them and I have yet to find a really good mixture. Yours sounds intriguing!
These came together so fast and so easy! The first time I made them with a baking soda bath and they were good… the next time I just used boiling water and they were outstanding! The dough is so flavorful and a perfect complement to the cheese sauce. They’ve become a staple in our house for entertaining!
My little girl asked me to make her pretzels and I’ve never made them before. This recipe was awesome and a non-baking dad just pulled it off to the delight of my daughters! Thank you!
Minor note: after 15 in the oven it still looked pale, but then I took it out, brushed it with butter and cinnamon sugar, threw it back in broiler mode for 1 minute. Magic!
Amazing recipe, thanks for this. I ended up proving my dough after it was formed into the pretzel shape and it worked really well. I was however wondering what you would recommend to use instead of butter if I were to try making these vegan, would vegetable oil or vegan butter work? Also my pretzels really stuck to the parchment paper after baking, was it something I did wrong or is this normal? Thanks so much 🙂
I haven’t tested these with vegan butter but I would recommend you trying a vegan buttery stick such as Earth Balance and not using vegetable oil. Let me know how they turn out! If they are sticking you can try a silicon baking mat instead of parchment paper.
Oh my goodness!!!! These were AMAZING!!! I am a new amateur baker, and I haven’t had amazing results in making bread before, but these were delicious!! Thank you!!
they were AMAZING!! I thought I over worked the dough but they turn out great!
My son recently discovered the pretzel dogs at the Amish Market in my hometown. We’re using this recipe today to make some for lunch. Instead of making the pretzel shape, cut a piece of dough about 1/4 cup size and roll into an ellipse shape with short end facing you. Lay a slice of good American cheese on the short end, add the hot dog, roll to cover the hot dog, tuck ends in, finish rolling. Continue with recipe as written. I can’t wait!
Ok soooo my daughter and I had the hardest time rolling these out..But I was talking to my mom and she said I needed a cold surface like marble.I was afraid of the baking soda bath as I didn’t want them to taste yucky but 100% success not picture perfect but my daughter was SHOCKED they tasted like the real deal YUMMY! OK so it took us a while but we had a great time and this is something I will definitely get faster at with time!! PS I was vigilant with the 15 seconds in the boiling water and definitely use parchment paper, they cooked perfectly and did not get soggy at all…..I totally would recommend this recipe to those of us that don’t cook much and it works great mixing and kneading by hand!!! Oh yeah THANK YOU for the PICTURES!
I’ve been doing some research before attempting to bake pretzels and since I LOVE your recipes, I’m happy to try yours first!
Question: most recipes call for 1 hour of rest in an oiled bowl in a warm area until the dough is doubled in size; will I see any change in size in 10 minutes?
Thanks in advance!
Hi Sarah! This is a special dough that doesn’t require a long rise if making pretzels. Most of the rising is in the baking process. You can, however, certainly let the dough rise, then punch it down to release the air and shape into pretzels. By doing so, the pretzels considerably puff up in the oven, losing most of their shape.
Made this recipe for a bourbon tasting party my husband had. Huge success. Everyone loved them. One issue I had was my dough stayed soooo sticky and I added over 4 cups of flour, almost 5 and it was still sticky. I’ll make these again and again though. So yummy and the baking soda bath is the way to go!
I just made these today!! They were reeally good and easy to make as compared to other recipes I’ve found. I do want to ask if it’s possible to use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour.
Hi Aimee! You can definitely use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour in this pretzel recipe. Same amount. Bread flour yields even chewier pretzels.
I am an amateur baker and was wondering if you could tell me where I went wrong. I made the dough following the recipe exactly and formed them into beautiful pretzels. When I put them in the baking soda water they immediately dissolved into a mess. I resorted to brushing the baking soda water onto the pretzels while they were on the cookie sheet but the results were far from desirable. I am guessing that somehow you have to harden the outer surface of the dough so that it does not absorb any of the baking soda water and break down the dough. Please give me your expert advice.
Hi Andy, How long you leave them in the baking soda bath? They should only be in for 20-30 seconds each.
The moment they entered the water they dissolved into a blob of dough. I couldn’t remove them fast enough. I would say they were only in the water 10-15 seconds.
We made some with coarse sea salt and some we brushed melted butter on out of the oven and sprinkled cinnamon and sugar. Excellent recipe!
So delicious! I made them vegan by subbing vegan butter and they turned out great! Just like the real thing. Thank you!! 😀
These pretzels are delicious. Mine aren’t the best shape but still really tasty. ⭐️
Thank you. I can now make pretzels!
Not sure where I went wrong, I followed the recipe exactly but the dough was still raw after 15 minutes of cooking. I placed foil over them as they were already dark brown, and continued to bake for a further 10 minutes but the dough was still not baked properly and they tasted awful!
I love your recipes but this one just didn’t work for me 🙁
Hi Rebecca! If the exterior is baking before the center, I recommend lowering your oven temperature. And make sure you’re rolling the dough thin enough too!
I made these this afternoon with my 5 year old granddaughter…she knew exactly how to twist, twist, flip from a cartoon that she watches! While ours weren’t magazine cover pretty, they were delicious! She is getting very proud of herself when she completes a “Sally” recipe! As always, thank you Sally!
Delicious! For anyone wanting to make it dairy free/vegan, just substitute olive oil for the butter.
You’re right, they are better than Auntie Anne’s!
Hello there, can I leave out the brown sugar?
Hi Monica! I don’t recommend it. In addition to flavor, the 1 Tbsp of sugar is necessary to help feed the yeast. You can replace with white granulated sugar if desired.
My little special needs gal does cooking once a week at school. They used this recipe with amazing success. We even had some friends ask if she could make some to sell…..they were so delicious!
My 7 year old daughter and I made these this afternoon and the family are loving them! Great, easy to follow recipe and tasty too:)
I consulted this video and photos while I followed your Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel recipe from SBA Book (and I added raisins to some pretzels and made a glaze – so delicious – sweet but with a bit of saltiness. It was helpful to have the video to figure out the Pretzel shaping. Though I did find this video went too fast and was a bit tricky to pause it while making pretzels haha…so maybe just a thought to slow down the video pace for some future videos – eg. if the recipe is has shaping steps. That said I also appreciate seeing your step-by step photos as well. Thanks!
thanks! these were a breeze to make and sooo tasty. the whole family loved them! i sprinkled some sesame seeds on half and poppy seeds on the other half. super yum! will definitely be making these again! x
Just the ticket!! So tasty!! Easy too. Will definitely make again! Now making pretzel dogs with the dough… hope they work out. Thanks for the recipe!!
We had been craving soft pretzels so bought one at the mall and one at the sports arena. Both were lacking so I went on the hunt for a good recipe. Yours looked quick and easy so I gave it a try. All I can say is – Nailed It! These absolutely hit the spot. They were really easy to make, they didn’t take long, and they were delicious. A true trifecta in the baking world. Craving crisis averted!!