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Homemade soft pretzel rolls come together quickly with a few basic kitchen ingredients. For the best results, follow my step photos and detailed instructions. You’ll love this dinner version of soft pretzels!

soft pretzel rolls after baking

Meet soft pretzel rolls, the mealtime-appropriate version of soft pretzels. Instead of shaping the dough into traditional pretzels, we simply craft the dough into balls. Like soft pretzel bites, but bigger! I know we all like the sounds of that. There’s a lot to cover today so let’s dive right in.


These Soft Pretzel Rolls Are:

  • Made with 7 basic ingredients
  • Extra chewy
  • Soft and fluffy in the centers
  • Easier than you think
  • Loaded with real pretzel flavor
  • Topped with crunchy coarse salt
  • Baked to golden brown perfection
soft pretzel rolls in a baking dish after baking

pretzel roll dough in a glass bowl before rising

Behind the Recipe

Are you familiar with my soft pretzels recipe? It’s a completely un-intimidating approach to making pretzels from scratch. If you have zero skill in the kitchen, you can make homemade soft pretzels. I even turned this recipe into soft pretzel knots, too. But for soft pretzel rolls, we skip the twisting/shaping and form the dough into balls. Much easier.

To make soft pretzel rolls, we use the exact same dough that we use to make soft pretzels. This simple dough comes together with incredibly basic ingredients like water, yeast, butter, brown sugar, salt, and flour. Separate, they’re awesome. Together? Soft pretzels!

The primary difference between the two is that today’s rolls require a little extra rise time. We want the rolls to be fluffier than regular soft pretzels, so we give the dough a few extra minutes to rest– it’ll nearly double in size. See the photo of dough above and the one right below? There’s about 1 hour between the two photos– some great rise there.

pretzel roll dough in a glass bowl after rising

Overview: How to Make Soft Pretzel Rolls

  1. Make the dough.
  2. Let the dough rise for an hour. Or until doubled in size, as pictured above.
  3. Punch down the dough. This helps get rid of any air bubbles.
  4. Divide the dough to form the rolls. Aim for roughly 1/3 cup of dough each, which will yield about 12 rolls. Shape into balls.
  5. Give the rolls a baking soda bath. See below for more details.
  6. Place rolls into prepared baking pan. I like to bake the rolls squished together in a baking pan because they hold their shape much better. You can, however, separate them on a large baking sheet.
  7. Score the tops of each roll & top with butter and salt.
  8. Bake until golden brown.
pretzel roll dough cut into dough chunks for rolls

pretzel roll dough shaped into rolls on a baking sheet
2 images of pretzel rolls in a baking soda bath in a pot on the stove and pretzel rolls with slits before baking

Baking Soda Bath

Each step is important but the baking soda bath is imperative. Why? It’s what gives pretzels that iconic flavor and chewy exterior, plus it locks in the super soft center and helps deepen the golden brown color on the exterior. Save time and get the water boiling as you’re shaping the dough into balls. Then drop each dough ball into the boiling water + baking soda for a quick soak. Worth it!

The rolls look wrinkly after boiling but if foods like sloppy joes + baked beans + messy casseroles teach us anything about life, it’s this: appearances can be pretty deceiving. Soon enough, those pale wrinkly buns will transform into buttery + salty + golden brown carbs.

soft pretzel rolls

3 Success Tips for Homemade Pretzel Rolls

  1. Score the tops of the rolls. Use a sharp knife to do this once the rolls come out of the baking soda bath. Scoring the tops allows the rolls to expand and the centers to cook all the way through since they’re thicker rolls.
  2. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt. This gives the rolls that delicious bakery-style flavor.
  3. Bake until golden brown. The deeper the color, the better the flavor.

The most delicious ways to eat these pretzel rolls? Enjoy them with beer cheese dip or bacon spinach dip, as buns for ham & swiss sandwiches, with soup (like minestrone soup or light creamy chicken noodle soup), as a side with walnut crusted chicken, with the topping from crab pretzels, or straight from the pan. They’re big, soft, fluffy, and pretzel-y!

Print
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soft pretzel rolls after baking

Easy Pretzel Rolls

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 12 rolls 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Making easy pretzel rolls from scratch is simpler than you think. Follow this easy and approachable way to baking them at home!


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)
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons; 60g) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 and 3/4  – 4 cups (469-500g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for work surface
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Baking Soda Bath

  • 1/2 cup (120g) baking soda
  • 9 cups (2,160ml) water

Instructions

  1. Whisk yeast and warm water together. Allow to sit for 1 minute. Meanwhile, melt 1 Tablespoon of butter (reserve the rest for step 6). 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. (At this point, it dough can be frozen. See freezing instructions below.) Place in a large greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm environment for 1 hour or until nearly doubled in size. (Tip: I preheat my oven to 200°F (93°C), turn it off, place the dough inside and shut the oven. This is the warm environment.)
  3. Once risen, punch dough down to release any air bubbles. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and, with a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into 1/3 cup sections. You should have about 12. Shape into balls.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats OR line a 9×13 baking pan (I use a baking pan.) Set aside.
  5. Bring baking soda and 9 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Drop 1-2 pretzel rolls 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 roll out of the water and allow as much of the excess water to drip off. Place pretzel rolls onto prepared baking sheet or close together in the baking pan. Using a sharp knife, score a couple slits into the top of each.
  6. Melt the remaining butter. Lightly brush each roll with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  7. Bake for 22-26 minutes or until a deep golden brown on all sides.
  8. Remove from the oven and serve warm. Pretzel rolls 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 Instructions: Pretzel rolls freeze well, up to 2 months. To reheat, bake frozen pretzel rolls 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. Bring to room temperature, then allow to rise and continue with step 3.
  2. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.

Keywords: soft pretzel rolls

overhead image of soft pretzel rolls

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. These were fun to make. The dough was so lovely and smooth. I was a bit shocked at how they looked after being in the baking soda bath but saw your warning, and they were fine once baked. They are so good! I love pretzels and these taste just like them. Thanks again for your recipes — I really appreciate all the notes and details you add. It makes trying new recipes less scary. I have a long list of bread and roll recipes from your site on my to-try list! Next week — bagels! Thanks Sally 🙂

  2. Ok I love this recipe site. I read a lot of recipes everyday. Just being curious what other take on a food other people have. However, I keep coming back here. Easy instructions. Ingredients you might actually have at home !! And excellent alternatives. These come out every time. As do every recipe I’ve used from this site. Nice job.

  3. These are soooo so good!!! I will double the recipe next time b/c this batch did not even last long enough to fully cool!

  4. Hello! First, I absolutely LOVE these. I made them for family christmas and they disappeared! I’m curious about freezing them baked and a little confused by the instructions. So, once they are baked, I let them chill to room temp, then freeze them. Then, to thaw them, I bake the already cooked rolls for 20 mins?

    1. Freeze dough before the rise for up to 2 months. When you want to make the frozen rolls, remove from the freezer, put in the refrigerator over night. Thawed dough now needs to go to step 3 let dough rise, punch down then bake 20 minutes.

  5. Quick question: A family recipe calls for using a can of beer instead of water. I haven’t made these yet, do you think the swap would work? Or is it an entirely different entity then? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sunny, we haven’t tested that swap so we can’t say for sure. Let us know if you try it.

  6. Absolutely amazilicious.
    I’ve been stuck in the sourdough rut for several months (gotta feed the starter, time to feed the starter…)
    and started questioning my bread addiction.
    Well no more. I’m hooked. Again.

  7. Is there no second rise? My rolls looked more like pucks after coming out of the water bath- I hope they rise more in the oven!!

    1. Hi Kristen, there is no 2nd rise for these rolls. They’re supposed to be on the denser side, closer to pretzels, but will rise a bit in the oven. Also, be sure not to let the dough over-proof (rise), or shaped rolls/breads can easily deflate at any point in the recipe process. If this was the case, try to cut the rise time if you decide to try the recipe again. Thanks for giving this one a try!

  8. Mine did not look like the ones at the grocery store; but they tasted great! Thanks for the recipe!

  9. Hi Sally ! Can I use oil instead of butter to make it vegan ? Let me know ! Thanks !

    1. Hi Sharvani, For the dough, 1 TBS of oil could work in a pinch, or you can simply leave it out. You could also try using a vegan butter like the Earth Balance brand. Let us know if you try them!

      1. Can I shape the pretzel and refrigerate overnight before baking if I allow to come to room temperature and rise before baking?

      2. Hi Ethel, we fear the rolls may rise and puff up too much if shaped the night before. It’s best to refrigerate the prepared dough after step 2 and then continue with the recipe from there. Hope this helps!

  10. Easy to follow recipe which I followed to a T and so delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  11. This is a great recipe! a little time intensive but not as long as making twisted pretzel, and these rolls are CRUNCHY and DELICIOUS! I used Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, which worked perfectly

  12. Hi! Just wondering how I would go about shaping these rolls like subs for sandwiches. Thanks!

    1. Hi Ria, You can simply shape each roll skinnier and longer for more of a sub shape. Enjoy!

  13. Excited to make these! A couple weeks ago I made your pretzel knots and they were SO good! Since you noted in that recipe that bread flour could be used in place of all-purpose, I’m wondering if that is also the case with these rolls? I have both on hand, I just haven’t been making as much bread lately so I’d like to use some of it up if possible! Thanks!

    1. Hi Jenna, Yes you can use the same amount of bread flour here for chewier rolls. Enjoy!

  14. Hi, how much melted butter gets mixed with the salt and brown sugar? Prior to this step, the recipe says melt 1T of butter and save the rest for step 6, but it doesn’t say how much melted butter gets mixed with the salt and brown sugar to eventually become the dough.

    1. Hi Megan! 1 Tbs gets mixed into the dough in step 1 and the rest is brushed on top of the rolls in step 6. Hope this helps!

  15. Love all your recipes.So easy to follow and the tastes are amazing.This pretzel roll recipe I’m Addicted too.THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING!!Winner!

  16. My first time to make these and I chose your recipe because I’ve come to trust your site. I used 3 C freshly milled, whole grain hard white winter wheat and it was exactly enough. I add a couple TB of vital wheat gluten and a little extra yeast to help the whole grain. I used 2 TB sweetener. I didn’t really knead it but used some “stretch & folds”. This recipe is easy to work with and the family says it is perfect!

  17. I have a regular go-to roll recipe but I didn’t have time for it today and I had promised to bring some yeasty goodness to my friend’s house for Christmas Dinner. I made these instead and they are SO GOOD. Everyone loved them so much that my friend told me she was keeping the few that were left over. I’m retiring that other recipe – these will be my go-to rolls now.

  18. Sally — this is a love letter to you. I learned baking from my mother, who baked everything you can think of for our family of seven for four decades.

    Unfortunately, I never kept her recipes except for her English Toasting Bread. Then, I discovered your Pretzel Rolls, made them many times and they came out perfectly every time. Because of your endless testing your recipes work out every single time. What a relief for a home cook!

    I realized your pretzel rolls are similar to making bagels (boil dough, then bake). I’ve missed authentic bagels after living in New York City for decades. Today I craved pumpernickel bread and “everything bagels.” So I modified your recipe to be:

    Pumpernickel “Everything” Pretzel Rolls*
    2 cups of rye flour
    5 ½ cups white flour
    3 Tablespoons of molasses + 1 teaspoon brown sugar (to mix in with yeast and water)
    2 teaspoons salt (sea or Kosher)
    2 packets of yeast (or 4 ½ teaspoons of bulk)
    3 cups lukewarm water
    2 Tablespoons of butter, melted, for dough
    6 Tablespoons of butter, melted, to brush on risen dough
    Optional: White from 1 egg
    *I didn’t add this the first time around, but next time I would add 2 teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder

    For “Everything Seasoning”:
    1 ½ Tablespoons sesame seeds
    1 ½ Tablespoons poppy seeds
    1 ½ Tablespoons flaked onion
    1 ½ Tablespoons flaked garlic
    1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
    2 teaspoons sea or coarse Kosher salt (no more; otherwise, the rolls are super salty!)

    Mix all together and set aside.

    Baking Soda Bath
    • 1 cup of baking soda, divided in half
    • 2 pots filled with 9 cups of water each, and add ½ cup of baking soda to each pot
    ________________________________________

    Instructions:
    Follow Sally’s instructions for making dough, rising it, shaping it into balls and boiling it. Then, after boiling, cut a “cross” on the top of the balls and brush with the remaining 6 Tablespoons of melted butter. (I also brushed the rolls with an egg wash.) Sprinkle (and press in gently) the “everything” seasoning mix into dough surface. Bake as Sally directed.

    While the dough with rye flour was sticker than with white flour, I sprinkled tiny amounts of flour when shaping the dough into balls.

    1. Your pumpernickel “everything” pretzel rolls sound incredible, Margaret! Thank you so much for your sweet comment and for sharing your experience. Happy baking!

  19. Can I use a 9×13 glass baking dish for these? Or does it have to be metal? Planning to make tomorrow.

  20. Hi Sally! The rolls are delicious. However, I cant seem to get the brown crust right- it seems to split into a billion cracks once i put them in the oven. Advice?

    1. Hi Liz, The baking soda bath is responsible for the brown crust, so don’t skip that part! Also make sure you are scoring the tops of each roll before baking (or try scoring them a bit deeper next time if you already are). This should help with the cracks on the tops.

  21. Hi! These look amazing! It’s hard to tell the size from the pictures- are these big enough for sandwiches or are they more like dinner rolls?

    1. Hi Staci! They’re big enough for a small sandwich (so good with ham and cheese!) but you can certainly adjust them as needed.

  22. This was such a simple recipe and they turned out so good! I will be using them to make hot honey grilled chicken sandwiches

  23. Ommmmmgggg these are the best things ever. Great recipe…followed to a T and they came out perfectly. I had to stop myself from shoving 3 in my mouth.

  24. These are perfecto! I would like to make two batches. Are there any adjustments needed to double the recipe? Thank you!

    1. Hi Kimberly, we’re so glad you enjoyed these! For best results, we recommend making two separate batches rather than doubling.

  25. We use this recipe for pretzels, pretzel rolls, and pizza dough. Easiest ever dough to work.

  26. We love these as burger buns. We make it into 8 rolls to get the right size for burger buns. They are my sons favorite!

  27. So delicious! My husband literally danced with joy at the excitement of having homemade pretzel rolls, and ate one the second they came out of the oven. Will definitely make again!

  28. I wanted to try making these for hamburger buns and was wondering if it would work to increase the amount of dough to about a half cup. Do you think that would be large enough? And is this recipe still to dense for that? I don’t want them to be a chore to eat. Thanks!

    1. Hi Raegan! You can definitely use this roll to make hamburger buns. You can shape them to your desired size.

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