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!
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
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 and jalapeño cheddar soft pretzels, 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.
Overview: How to Make Soft Pretzel Rolls
- Make the dough. See my How to Knead Dough video tutorial if you need extra help with that step.
- Let the dough rise for an hour. Or until doubled in size, as pictured above.
- Punch down the dough. This helps get rid of any air bubbles.
- 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.
- Give the rolls a baking soda bath. See below for more details.
- 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.
- Score the tops of each roll & top with butter and salt.
- Bake until golden brown.
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.
3 Success Tips for Homemade Pretzel Rolls
- 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.
- Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt. This gives the rolls that delicious bakery-style flavor.
- 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 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
Making easy pretzel rolls from scratch is simpler than you think. Follow this easy and approachable way to baking them at home!
- 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)
- 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons; 56g) unsalted butter, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 3 and 3/4 – 4 cups (469-500g) all-purpose flour (spooned & 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
- 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.
- Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 5 full minutes, or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 5 full minutes. (If you’re new to bread-baking, my How to Knead Dough video tutorial can help here.) If the dough becomes too sticky during the kneading process, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of flour at a time on the dough or on the work surface/in the bowl to make a soft, slightly tacky dough. Do not add more flour than you need because you do not want a dry dough. After kneading, the dough should still feel a little soft. Poke it with your finger—if it slowly bounces back, your dough is ready to rise. You can also do a “windowpane test” to see if your dough has been kneaded long enough: tear off a small (roughly golfball-size) piece of dough and gently stretch it out until it’s thin enough for light to pass through it. Hold it up to a window or light. Does light pass through the stretched dough without the dough tearing first? If so, your dough has been kneaded long enough and is ready to rise. If not, keep kneading until it passes the windowpane test.
- Rise: 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Melt the remaining butter. Lightly brush each roll with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
- Bake for 22-26 minutes or until a deep golden brown on all sides.
- 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).
- 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.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Stand Mixer or Glass Mixing Bowl and Wooden Spoon | Baking Sheets | Silicone Baking Mats or Parchment Paper | Large Pot | Slotted Spatula | Pastry Brush
- Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
Keywords: soft pretzel rolls