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These soft pretzel knots are exactly like regular homemade soft pretzels, but shaped and tied like garlic knots. There’s more compacted surface area, which means there’s more room for toppings such as cinnamon sugar, garlic parmesan, or jalapeño cheddar. The dough requires just 6 ingredients and there’s hardly any rise time, so this is a wonderful recipe for yeast beginners. Have fun shaping the knots (they don’t need to be perfect!) and enjoy warm flavorful homemade pretzels within an hour.

soft pretzel knots with different toppings including garlic parmesan, cinnamon sugar, and jalapeño cheddar

Warm pretzels! Toppings! Dips! All the good stuff in life is right here today!

Soft Pretzel Knots Details

  • Flavor: If you enjoy soft pretzels, you’ll love today’s soft pretzel knots. They’re completely homemade, so unlike store-bought frozen soft pretzels, each has that soft, warm, and fresh-from-the-oven taste and texture. You can keep the pretzels traditional with a sprinkling of coarse salt or try various toppings. There’s a detailed list of options below.
  • Texture: The difference between pretzel-shaped (or knot-shaped) bread and soft pretzels/soft pretzel knots is an alkaline bath. This is when shaped soft pretzel dough takes a dip in boiling water and baking soda, a surprisingly easy step that provides the iconic chewy pretzel texture and adds a deeper, richer color to the baked pretzels. The boiling water also locks in the shape so they don’t over-puff in the oven. (Without the baking soda bath, you lose texture, that deep brown color, and flavor. So, basically, you will have bread instead of a pretzel.) We do this key step when making regular soft pretzels, pretzel rolls, and soft pretzel bites, too.
  • Ease: My recipe for soft pretzels has become one of the most reader-loved recipes on this website because the pretzels are relatively quick, extremely easy, and deliver great taste. Same story with these pretzel knots! Though the recipe requires yeast, I always say that this pretzel dough is a terrific starting point for yeast beginners because there’s very little rise time. Shaping takes a little practice, but the knots do NOT need to be perfect. No matter the shape, they’ll still taste like pretzels. Still, if you’re a perfectionist, this recipe yields 14-15 knots so you have opportunity to get the shape right.
soft pretzel knots on white plate served with mustard

Soft Pretzels with a Slightly Different Shape

The goal for today’s soft pretzel knots recipe was to make a soft pretzel with more compacted surface area for toppings and for holding onto dips and sauces. I never stray from the original soft pretzel dough, so that’s what you’ll use as the base for these pretzel knots. You need just 6 basic ingredients to get started including warm water, yeast, a little sugar to feed the yeast, melted butter, salt, and all-purpose flour. (If you have it, the same amount of bread flour works too!)

The dough doesn’t require extended rise time and the baking soda bath is pretty quick, so besides the baking step, the longest stretch of time this recipe requires is shaping.

  • Divide the dough into 14-15 pieces, which is about 1/4 cup (about 2 ounces) of dough each. Roll each into 14-inch ropes. Tie the ropes into a knot like you do when making garlic knots, then tuck the ends underneath. The ends are quite long so rather than tucking the ends straight underneath, I curve them around the pretzel before tucking under. You can see me do that in the video below.

Here are photos so you can visualize the process:

Whisk the warm water, yeast, and sugar together. Cover and let the mixture sit for a few minutes until foamy on top. Waiting for it to foam isn’t totally necessary, but it helps us see that the yeast is ready and active. The right photo below shows the dough before kneading.

dough in glass bowl

Knead the dough, cut into 14-15 sections, roll into ropes, and then shape into knots. The video tutorial located in the recipe shows these steps as well.

dough on marble cutting board
dough shaped into 14 inch rope
3 process photos showing shaping the dough into knots
dough knots on baking sheet before baking soda bath

The following photo shows the knots after the baking soda bath. At this point, they are ready to bake.

soft pretzel knots on baking sheet before baking
soft pretzel knots on baking sheet after baking

Topping Options

Immediately after the baking soda bath while the pretzel knots are still wet, sprinkle with coarse salt. Or if you’d like a different topping, skip the coarse salt and try:

  1. Cinnamon Sugar: Bake the pretzels completely plain without salt. Once done and still warm out of the oven, brush with melted butter then dip into a mix of cinnamon and granulated sugar.
  2. Garlic Parmesan: Bake the pretzels completely plain without salt. Once done and still warm out of the oven, brush with melted butter then dip into a mix of grated parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and Italian Seasoning. Italian Seasoning is a store-bought item, but you can make your own homemade Italian seasoning. You need 1 and 1/2 teaspoons.
  3. Jalapeño Cheddar: When the pretzels are still wet from the baking soda bath, sprinkle with coarse salt as if you were making plain salted pretzels. Arrange 2-3 thin slices of jalapeño on top. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with cheddar cheese, then return the oven to finish baking.

Detailed instructions for these toppings are available in the recipe notes below. I bet you could have fun with even more toppings such as everything bagels seasoning instead of coarse salt. Heavily sprinkle on the pretzels while they’re still wet from the baking soda bath before baking.

soft pretzel knots with different toppings including garlic parmesan, cinnamon sugar, and jalapeño cheddar
pretzel knots with spicy cheese dipping sauce

Great for Dipping & Soaking Up Sauce

The knot shape yields a doughier pretzel than the traditional soft pretzel shape, so they require longer in the oven. And because they have more interior, pretzel knots are perfect for dipping and soaking up sauce. Serve with:

I always serve cinnamon sugar pretzels plain, but you could try vanilla icing if you wanted to serve them with a dip. Lots of options here, so have fun!

See Your Soft Pretzel Knots!

Many readers tried this recipe as part of a baking challenge! Feel free to email or share your recipe photos with us on social media. 🙂

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soft pretzel knots with different toppings including garlic parmesan, cinnamon sugar, and jalapeño cheddar

Soft Pretzel Knots

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1415 knots 1x
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These soft pretzel knots are exactly like regular homemade soft pretzels, but shaped and tied like garlic knots. There’s more compact surface area, which means there’s more room for toppings such as cinnamon sugar, garlic parmesan, or jalapeño cheddar. Review recipe notes and watch the video tutorial before starting.


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 Tablespoon brown sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cool
  • 3 and 3/4 – 4 cups (469-500gall-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and work surface
  • toppings: coarse salt/coarse sea salt or toppings described in notes

Baking Soda Bath

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

Instructions

  1. Make the dough: Whisk warm water, yeast, and sugar together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle or dough hook attachment. (If you do not have a stand mixer, just use a regular large mixing bowl.) Cover yeast mixture and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until foamy on top. Add salt, melted butter, and 3 cups (375g) of flour. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if needed, then add 3/4 cup (95g) of flour. Beat on low speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. If dough is extremely sticky after 1 minute of mixing, add remaining 1/4 cup of flour and continue to beat for 1 more minute. (You can see in the video that I add the remaining flour.)
  2. Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat on low speed for an additional 2 minutes or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes. Cover lightly with a towel and allow to rest for 10-30 minutes. (Meanwhile, I like to get the water + baking soda boiling as instructed in step 5.)
  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. Shape: With a sharp knife, pizza cutter, or bench scraper, cut dough into 14-15 pieces, which is about 1/4 cup (2 ounces) of dough each. Sprinkle work surface very lightly with flour. (Tip: The heavier you flour the work surface, the harder it is to roll the dough. A little stickiness actually helps. You only need *a very light* dusting of flour.) Roll each piece of dough into a 14-inch rope. Tie the ropes into a knot, then tuck the ends underneath. The ends are quite long so rather than tucking the ends straight underneath, I curve them around the pretzel before tucking under. You can see that in the video below.
  5. Baking Soda Bath: Mix water and baking soda together in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Place 2-3 pretzels into the boiling water for 20-30 seconds, flipping halfway through. (Any longer than 30 seconds and your pretzels could take on a metallic taste.) The knot shape makes the dough heavy, so if the pretzel knots are sinking, use a spatula to get them off the bottom of the pot. Using a slotted spatula or spoon, lift the pretzel knots out of the water and allow as much of the excess water to drip off. Place pretzel knots onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle each with coarse sea salt while each are still wet or leave plain if using other toppings detailed in the notes below (you still need to salt them if doing the jalapeño cheddar pretzels). Repeat baking soda bath with remaining pretzel knots. If needed, you can cover and refrigerate the boiled/unbaked pretzels for up to 24 hours before baking.
  6. Bake for 20-24 minutes or until golden brown. I usually bake mine for the full 24 minutes to obtain a very deep color as pictured.
  7. Remove from the oven and serve warm.
  8. 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 pretzel knots freeze well up to 2-3 months. To reheat, bake frozen knots at 350°F (177°C) for 20 minutes or until warmed through or microwave frozen knots 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 knots 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. Flour: If you have it, the same amount of bread flour works instead of all-purpose flour. Do not use whole wheat flour.
  3. Cinnamon Sugar: Bake the pretzels completely plain without salt in step 6. As the pretzel knots bake, melt 4 Tablespoons (60g) unsalted butter. Set aside. Combine 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Set aside. Once the pretzels are done and still warm out of the oven, brush each with melted butter then generously dip into cinnamon sugar. Pretzels are best served that day because due to the melted butter topping, they become soggy after a few hours.
  4. Garlic Parmesan: Bake the pretzels completely plain without salt in step 6. As the pretzel knots bake, melt 4 Tablespoons (60g) unsalted butter. Set aside. Combine 3/4 cup (about 68g) grated parmesan cheese, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons store-bought or homemade Italian Seasoning. Set aside. Once the pretzels are done and still warm out of the oven, brush each with melted butter then generously dip into parmesan garlic mixture. Pretzels are best served that day because due to the melted butter topping, they become soggy after a few hours.
  5. Jalapeño Cheddar: When the pretzels are still wet from the baking soda bath, sprinkle with coarse salt as if you were making plain salted pretzels. Place 2-3 very thin slices of jalapeño on top of each, pressing them down to adhere as best they can. Bake for 15 minutes in step 6. Remove from the oven, use 1 cup (112g) shredded cheddar cheese and sprinkle each partially baked knot evenly with cheese, then return the knots to the oven to finish baking for the remaining time in step 6.

Keywords: soft pretzel knots

Reader Questions and Reviews

    1. Hi Lisa, for best taste and texture, we recommend making two separate batches.

  1. The full time on the bake really sets that color in and the inside is still soft. I did these for my kid’s breakfast sandwiches in the morning and topped them with Everything But the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joes. This replaced their everything bagel they usually like. Big hit!

  2. These pretzel knots are delicious. They are big enough to use as sandwich buns. I would make them smaller next time. I did proof them twice, based on Paul Hollywood’s recipe. I also punched a hole in the middle with a knife while baking. This seemed to help during the baking process (Also a PH tip). I will definitely make these again.

  3. Made these pretzel knots as part of the baking challenge. I ended up having to put 4 3/4 cups of flour to get the consistency shown in the videos. Wished the recipe stated that. I had to look up other recipes to see what I did wrong. After that, things went well. The video was extremely helpful in shaping the dough.

  4. I am a little new to bead making, and wondering if it would be recommended to use bread flour in this recipe, or if there is a reason all-purpose flour was chosen. Is that just so people who only have all purpose are still encouraged to make this? Just checking before I waste my flour and want to make the best tasting knots :0).

    1. Hi Jackie, If you have it, the same amount of bread flour works instead of all-purpose flour.

  5. These came out well, and were delicious with the Nacho Cheese Sauce mentioned. My friends thought they could have been even crunchier on the outside, so I may need to bake them longer, but I liked them just as they were. The only problem I had was that the salt did not stick to the pretzels, even though I sprinkled them with sea salt immediately after removing from the boiling water/soda. Next time, I may have to brush with butter and sprinkle the salt prior to baking.

    1. I have made this recipe several times now and it is always a huge hit! My family loved them so much they even requested I make it for Thanksgiving last year. Yet another wonderful recipe from Sally!

  6. These are delicious and really easy to make! They were a hit here and I will be making many more!

    1. Hi Katharina, we haven’t tested that but it shouldn’t be an issue in this recipe.

  7. I loved the recipe and it turned out great, but during the baking soda bath some of my pretzels began to lose their shape. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Hadley! The dough should be sticky enough to hold together once shaped. Make sure not to use too much flour when handling the dough and seal the ends under the knot. So glad you enjoyed them!

  8. I made 2 batches, both times my dough was extremely sticky, i couldnt knead it because it stuck to my hands and surface. What did i do wrong?

    1. Hi Corinna, There are a lot of variables that go into the consistency of dough, even down to the weather and humidity in the air. There’s nothing wrong with adding just a little more flour to bring the dough into a less sticky and knead-able consistency. Try adding additional flour a tablespoon at a time until it starts to come together. Thank you for giving this recipe a try!

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