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
I want to make these ahead of time for a camping trip. Any storage suggestions? Low on fridge and freezer space. TIA!
Hi Ann! Cover and store leftover pretzels at room temperature for up to 3 days. Otherwise, see recipe notes for freezing instructions!
How do you have the water and baking soda not boil over
Why do you not let the dough rise for 1 to 2hrs before dunking it in the water? I know some people like the dough to rise for a second time after the water bath but I don’t like that.
Hi Dan, this recipe is developed to have a short rise time with great results – let us know if you give them a try!
We love this recipe and so easy to make. I am just wondering about storing them. I left them out once and put them in Tupperware another time and both became soggy.
Hi Karen, so glad you love them! The moisture from the pretzels can begin to condensate – storing in a Tupperware with a corner of the lid slightly ajar would help with this.
I have made this recipe countless times by myself and i am 12! this is a perfect recipe for a movie night or for hanging out with your friends.
My kids devoured these!!! So soft and chewy. Cooked to perfection. Wonderful recipe! Definitely going to be a new staple snack at our house.
Can whole wheat flour be used, or combined with all purpose flour? What adjustments are needed if using whole wheat flour please?
Hi Cheri, The pretzels may turn out more dense if using whole wheat flour. Try replacing half the flour first to see how it goes. Hope you love them!
Is instant or active dry yeast preferred or does it not matter which you use? Thank you!
We prefer instant for slightly quicker rising times!
Can I use bread flour??
Hi Maya, You can definitely use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour in this pretzel recipe. Same amount with no other changes to the recipe. Bread flour yields even chewier pretzels.
These were great, as always, thank you!
Can’t wait to give this recipe a try with my little ones today.
We hope they’re a hit, April!
Is it possible to use almond flour with this recipe?
Hi Michele! Almond flour would not be a 1:1 swap and we don’t recommend it for this recipe. Some readers have reported success using 1:1 flour substitutes (like Cup4Cup). If you try it, let us know how it goes!
really amazing it was great! i made mine into pretzel balls and they were so tasty!!!
Do you need instant/active dry yeast?or can you substitute with something else?
Hi Mary! Yeast is an essential ingredient for this recipe. If you don’t have any, you could try a quick search for a yeast-free soft pretzel recipe with good reviews.
This is such a great recipe! Would I be able to use self raising flour instead?
Hi Chiara, we don’t recommend using self rising flour in this recipe. It would take additional recipe testing to ensure accurate results.
So impressed by these! Ours didn’t seem to get much bigger in the oven, so our pretzels were a bit small but still delicious. I stored them in a container overnight and they seemed to be a little soggy in the morning (maybe I should have let them cool even longer). I’m planning to reheat them in the oven. Overall- great recipe!
I followed this step by step. Even re-read some steps to make sure. They came out good. Baked thru. But they came out pale. Like really pale. Idk what happened.
Omg! These are truly the easiest and most delicious pretzels you will ever have! We make them into bites and have started having to make a double batch every time! We freeze them (anticipating we won’t be able to eat all of them at once) however, somehow we always manage to devour all of them in less than a week. They taste just as yummy and fresh when freezing them. We just pop them in the microwave for about 30 seconds and tada gourmet goodness at your fingertips! They are nice and chewy on the inside and slightly crunchy on the outside!
Hi Billie, we haven’t tried it ourselves, but we strongly recommend the baking soda bath for a signature soft pretzel taste/look.
Comletely skeptical going into this bake. It sounded too easy but it worked just as written and they turned out amazing. Made mostly by my 13 year old son.
Delicious and went well with a beer cheese dip. They were all eaten but I wondered if we had a smaller group if I should bag them or put them in a tin.
These pretzels were outstanding! I will be making them again (and again). Thank you for sharing.
This is one of my go to recipes. I use lye (3% by weight, 10 seconds per pretzel) instead of baking soda to make it more pretzely and less bagely.
Loved it! I used canola oil in place of melted butter and only made 8 pretzels so they were a little fatter. Took about 16 min. Made some original with salt, a couple with pizza sauce and basil, and a couple plain and then added melted butter and dipped in cinnamon sugar. All of them were delicious! Super easy and quick recipe, I’ll be making these again and I’ll keep trying different things… like maybe everything bagel seasoning for one!
Such a crowd pleaser! And so simple. Looove this recipe. I am wondering what you would suggest for batch baking these. Do you boil them all at once or do you wait for the prior batch to come out of the oven before boiling the next. Just a home baker with limited work space. ♀️
Hi Anna! We’re so glad these pretzels were a success for you. We’d recommend waiting for the current batch to come out of the oven and then boiling + baking the next one.
Thanks, this tip is helpful
Thank you for the recipe. I tried it out without stand mixer but the dough wouldn’t form a shape . It was breaking off . I rolled into balls but it didn’t cook through even after I put it for 15-22 minutes. Please help
Hi Jessy! Was the dough quite dry? How did you measure the flour? Make sure to spoon and level (instead of scooping) to avoid packing in too much flour into your measuring cups – or use a kitchen scale. You can read more about properly measuring baking ingredients in this post.
This recipe was really good! How do we keep the pretzel from splitting?
I made these tonight and everyone loved them, they were fantastic. I did the baking soda boil and the egg wash both. Thanks!
I love this recipe and came out beautiful and so good
I made these today and am pleased with the results, even though it was a guess on temp and time for the size and shape I made (6 Laugenstangen ). I did 400 F. for 15 min. What I’d like to try next is freezing them after the lye water bath and then baking fresh once they’ve thawed.
Could this dough be made into pretzel buns?
Hi Sarah, We recommend our see our pretzel rolls for this. Enjoy!
I loved this recipe! The ingredients are simple and it is fun to make, especially with friends! The pretzels turned out amazing!
Sally has never disappointed. It’s my go-to for successful recipes and techniques, and for appealing normal Eats. And, the only food poster subscription I bother with.