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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. This was my first time making pretzels and these turned out great! Simple recipe to follow with ingredients most of us have on hand. After boiling, i sprinkled everything bagel seasoning and salt. I served the pretzels with a jalepeno cheese dip. Will be saving this recipe for sure

    1. Great recipe! I made it last night and the whole family loved them. Made them again tonight but doubled the recipe. Absolutely a family fave.

  2. We (my 10yo granddaughter and I) made these this evening. In the time it takes my daughter to walk out her court house office to the moment she gets to my kitchen..tahdah!!! Soft, delicious, yummy pretzels!! I couldn’t believe how easy they were…my lil sassy gal and I even perfected our pretzel twirl/air twist!!!
    Thank you for great clear instructions!

  3. So glad I found this recipe! One evening my 6yr old son whom is on the autistic spectrum was bugging me for a soft pretzel which we were out of and of course he wouldn’t let it go so he said “mom make your own”… and I thought yeah why not! So long story short I came across this recipe and made them step by step and as picky as he is he ended up loving them so I was very happy!.. so thank you very much for this wonderful recipe.

  4. My pretzels didn’t float in the baking soda bath =(
    This will be a me issue because the recipe was super easy to follow BUT any suggestions as to why this might have happened?

    1. Hi Morghann, Assuming your yeast is good it’s very possible that the water simply was not hot enough. We sometimes have that problem if it’s not fully boiling.

  5. Have been making pretzels with your recipe for the last two months ! Great tasting pretzels. Today my daughter and 2 1/2 year grandson made them we are At their house . Had to add more flour then normal. Was wondering if fast acting yeast had something to do with it?

    1. I would guess it has more to do with your flour. Your elevation and your house humidity really effects flour.

  6. Incredible! So easy and delicious! I’m definitely going to impress guests with these. Thank you so much!

  7. Loved it! I made pretzel bites / balls instead and was able to get almost exactly 4 dozen. Easy to just keep eating!

  8. It’s great! I added egg wash (which affected the flavor, but I still chose to do it) even though it wasn’t in the recipe, because I wanted a very brown color.

  9. Wow. These are spectacular. I have been a baker for many years but never made pretzels. These are super simple, super delicious
    You never disappoint

  10. My family of 7, loved it so much that this will be a go too, when we are craving pretzels. They were all gone within 10 mins.

    1. Hi Becky, we haven’t tested margarine in these pretzels but let us know if you do!

      1. We haven’t tested it, but you could try try melted coconut oil or other instead. The flavor will be different.

    2. Loved the final outcome, however…..
      I boiled the water and then added the baking soda!!! Not good. Boiling water erupted everywhere. This would be a very good warning to include.

  11. Hello just made mine amazing … love them . Question could I use gluten free flower?or do you have a easy recipe for them ? Thank you so much

    1. Hi Angela, I wish we could help, but we have very little experience baking with GF flours. Let me know if you try anything!

  12. I’ve tried a lot of soft pretzel recipes, but this one is by far the best! They turn out perfect everytime and I get a lot of compliments when I make them!

  13. I’ve tried a lot of soft pretzel recipes, but this one is by far the best! They turn out perfect everytime and I get a lot of compliments when I make them! Thank you for sharing

  14. If I want to double or triple the recipe do I need to adjust the baking soda bath as well? Or for how many batches does the baking soda bath stay good for?

    1. Hi Alison, If you are doubling the recipe you you can use the same amount of baking powder – there is plenty! If you triple the recipe you might want to increase the water and baking soda 1.5 times. Hope this helps!

      1. I also had some difficulty keeping the water and baking soda boiling strongly but -not- boiling over.. even though I put in the baking soda with the water from before turning the heat on. would love thoughts on this!

      2. Hi Ana! Using a larger pot will definitely help for next time.

  15. Hi
    I made the recipe it’s easy, but it stick in the tray or the papers?
    I made it twice but it got stuck.
    Any help.

    1. Hi Eman, 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!

    1. We haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flours, but some readers have reported success using 1:1 flour substitutes (like Cup4Cup). If you try it, let us know how it goes!

  16. These pretzels are DELICIOUS!! I’ll be taking them to a Super Bowl party tomorrow! Finally, a delicious alternative to fried jalapeno poppers!

  17. Hi Sally!!! Love this recipe! Thank you!! Quick question – I elected to cover and refrigerate after the baking soda bath – should they get to room temperature before baking off??? Thank you!

  18. terrifically simple, delicious pretzels! Just made with my two grandsons and we all loved them. Its hard not going back for more! You can’t go wrong here.

    I used 1/3 ww flour in the mix and will go with some pumpernickel and rye next time to make slightly heartier. Dusted with ‘everything” mix for the outside coating and added savory herbs to the batter. Will also experiment next time with a little cayenne to spice things up. It’s such a basic fool-proof recipe that it really lends itself to experimenting.

    These are a perfect treat over potato chips or other quick snacks. Bringing kids into the rolling and twisting makes this a wonderful activity for restless bored kiddos. Served with a warm cheese dip adds so much to a unique snack for parties, holidays and even movie night.

    My grandson just returned to the kitchen and said “I can’t stop eating the pretzels!” How good is that ?!

  19. These were delicious! I couldn’t find the nutrition info anywhere. I notice on other recipes the sodium content can vary greatly. And I am very sodium sensitive. Do you have the nutritional info on this recipe?

    1. Hi Tatiana, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076

    1. Hi Grace, we haven’t tested using a sourdough starter in this recipe but let us know if you do!

      1. These were amazing. You’ve been my go to for cake recipes for quite a while now (I’m about to make your incredible coconut cake for my Mom’s birthday- it’s her fave!), but now we have another one of your recipes on our family favorites list! We are all obsessed. These turned out perfectly and my 8 year old asked if I would make them every day. The whole batch will be gone this evening, that’s for sure. My family thanks you! (But my waistline may not, haha!)

    2. I did this a while back and it was delicious! My Sourdough starter is a 50/50 flour to water, so I used half a cup of starter and just reduced the flour and water in the recipe by 1/4 of a cup each. They turned out delicious!!

  20. I’ve had my homeschool baking class make these a couple times and they always taste great but stick to the parchment, even when greased. Two of of kids today suggested a greased baking sheet only. I went home, did a test batch, and voila! No sticking at all. I did bake them on the top rack to prevent the bottoms from overcooking.

    These are the best quick pretzels! Always a hit.

  21. I have made these twice and everyone I shared with loves them as do I. Can the recipe be doubled?

    1. Hi Carole, Absolutely! Simply double all of the ingredients. We would let the dough rest for closer to 20-25 minutes in step 2 since there’s more volume.

  22. Thank you so much for the recipe! My daughter and I made your pretzels this afternoon. I’ve been putting off getting silicone mats, but won’t put it off any longer. We used butter on parchment, and still had a lot of sticking. Now I need to see if we have the ingredients we need for your Spicy Nacho Cheese Sauce!

  23. These are fantastic! The first few I had a little issue rolling the rope, but then I got the hang of it. I ate three immediately! I did wait for the Nacho Cheese Sauce for the second and third. I only used half the hot sauce and pepper, since I don’t like very spicy.

    So good I am going to make a second batch this afternoon! I did share half the first batch with a good friend.

    1. Hi Mary Jo, Look for the pink button that says “print this recipe” in the light gray recipe box above this comment section. Hope you loved the pretzels!

  24. First time making pretzels and wow, my whole household love them. Because I am the inpatient one who wants everytbkng done yesterday, this recipe was perfect. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Hi Lucy, We haven’t tested it, but you could try try melted coconut oil or other oil instead. The flavor will be different!

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