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!
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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 on a white plate with cheese sauce in a white bowl

898 Comments

  1. Rick Chronister says:

    Made these and they were great. Baked directly on stone with little bit of cornmeal sprinkled on top of stone. No problem with sticking.

  2. I made these today and my family loved them. They are easy to make and pretty. Thanks for sharing this recipe!!

  3. Thanks for this recipe, the pretzels were delicious. Do you have any tips on rolling out the ropes? It took me forever and they were all different sizes. Maybe I just need more practice. Thanks again.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Meredith, did you have a chance to watch the video on the recipe page? We do a quick shaping tutorial in there that you might find helpful. We’re glad you enjoyed this recipe!

  4. these came out SO tasty! i didn’t have a yeast packet, so i used the measurement and they came out VERY puffy—could it be an issue of too much yeast? anyone have any insight on why they puffed up so much? i would’ve liked them a little slimmer, but they were still absolutely delicious and this recipe was so easy to follow.

    1. Maybe you under-proved the dough? If you don’t let it rise enough, it will raise quite a lot in the oven. The way to test is when the dough is rising, you poke it. If it bounces back, it needs to raise more, if it stays sunken, it’s ready to shape. I usually raise my bread in an oven. Simply pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes (while you’re mixing your dough) with a cup of water in a pan or bowl in the bottom. Once it’s pre-heated, turn the oven completely off and then put your prepared dough in the oven for 1-2 hours. Check it after about 1.5 hours with the “Poking method.” Hope this helps!

    2. Sheila Buenavista says:

      I have tested these pretzels and they are so YUMMY. 10 minutes were gorged n gone. My question is just how many grams if you were to divide it. Thanks for your utmost reply

  5. I cannot describe in words how delicious and fluffy these pretzels were. And they only took me around 1 hour to make. Thank you so much for the recipe.

  6. I’ve made this twice and both times delicious but the second time half the pretzels didn’t keep their shape. Any advice?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Abby, This is a special dough that doesn’t require a long rise if making pretzels. Most of the rising is in the baking process. I wonder if you let the dough rise for a long time? If so, the pretzels would considerably puff up in the oven, losing most of their shape.

      1. Thanks! I think I left it only for the ten minutes (possibly a few minute’s longer) but will pay attention next time. Maybe if I also make them smaller, they won’t puff out too much in the baking process

  7. These pretzels are fabulous and easy to make! My family always wants a double batch

  8. Made these with my daughter. Easy and delicious! We’ve made pretzels before but this is by far the best recipe!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Thank you so much for giving this recipe a try, Tiffany!

  9. Quick, delicious, and fun to make with the kiddos. Thanks so much for a great recipe!

  10. ADELE CAMPBELL says:

    Not sure what I did wrong. Wish I could post a photo. Golden brown but flat. I think Bath wasn’t hot enough first time. Second bat h not much better. Help

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Adele, is it possible that your yeast was expired? If your pretzels are coming out flat, it sounds like the yeast wasn’t activated. Happy to help troubleshoot further!

  11. These were amazing!!! I made the beer cheese too, minus the beer ( I followed the nacho cheese recipe but used the beer cheese seasoning). My only negative is that you need to eat them fresh. I let them cool completely and put them in a zip top bag and they were not nearly as good the next day. However, I doubt you’ll have many left anyway!

  12. Great recipe! Followed right along with the instructions and they turned out lovely! I brushed mine with a little butter auntie Anne’s style and they’re great!

  13. These were SOOO good! Very simple and they didn’t take much time at all. They were gone as soon as they came out of the oven! 100% recommend!

  14. Great I made these by myself and they were great my familly loved them —— Isaac

  15. OMG!!!!!!!!!! So good!

  16. Baldev Matharu says:

    Loved that they didn’t take that long from start to finish!! And tasted great, thank you for sharing 🙂

  17. Hi there! I was wondering if you know whether you can make these with whole wheat flour (or a mix of standard and whole wheat)? Thank you!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Karen, the pretzels may turn out more dense if using white whole wheat flour. Try replacing half the flour first to see how it goes. Hope you love them!

  18. I’ve made this a bunch of times in the last few weeks and the results are always perfect! I’m just wondering, if I double the recipe, do I double the water and baking soda amounts as well?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Abi, glad to hear you’re enjoying these soft pretzels! No need to double the baking soda bath if making a double batch.

  19. Only 2 people will be eating these. I’d like to make half of the recipe. Will they still turn out if I halve all of the ingredients?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      You can halve the recipe for a half batch, yes.

  20. These were so good and easy! Can you add cinnamon/sugar instead of salt after you paint the egg on?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Absolutely! See recipe notes for more details on a cinnamon sugar version.

  21. I made these pretzels and the whole family loved them! The recipe was very easy to follow. I left the dough to rise for about an hour (because I live in the tropics) and it was lovely. Thank you!

  22. Turned out delicious. Made them again the second day, but this time, I wrapped them around hot dogs instead of forming the pretzel shape. Boiled them that way and baked normally. They turned out so GOOD!

  23. My kids wanted soft pretzels tonight so I wiped these up so quickly. It’s the second time I’ve used this recipe and each time the pretzels have been fantastic. This time I made a second batch with the butter, cinnamon and sugar topping. So absolutely awesome tasting and easy too!

  24. Just made pretzel bites with my 10 year old–success! Highly recommend this recipe for baking with a child (except I did the boiling).

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