Soft Pretzel Knots (With Various Toppings)

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. They’re also excellent for dipping and soaking up sauce like tomato sauce, bacon spinach dip, spicy cheese sauce, or your favorite mustard. 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: Have you ever made my recipe for regular homemade soft pretzels? It was one of the first recipes I ever published, only to be republished with step-by-step photos a few years later. It’s 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:

  • Tomato Sauce (great with the garlic parmesan pretzels)
  • Bacon Spinach Dip (tasty with the salted pretzels)
  • Spicy Nacho Cheese Sauce (pictured above and delicious with the jalapeño cheddar or salted pretzels)
  • Salsa (try with jalapeño cheddar pretzels)
  • Pepperoni Pizza Dip (wonderful with the garlic parmesan or salted pretzels)
  • Stone Ground Mustard (always great with salted pretzels)
  • Homemade Pesto (try with the garlic parmesan or salted pretzels)
  • Maryland Crab Dip (love this with salted pretzels)

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!

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
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: 14-15 knots
  • 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

  • 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

How to Join the September Sally's Baking Challenge

Make the soft pretzel knots with your desired toppings. If you aren’t into this recipe, here is the alternate baking challenge recipe:

  1. any previous challenge recipe you haven’t made yet OR
  2. Apple Cinnamon Spice Whoopie Pies

After you make the pretzel knots or the alternate recipe, email us your recipe photo. For a bonus entry, leave a review on the recipe below.

By emailing your recipe photo to us, you are automatically entered in the baking challenge. 1 winner receives a $250 Amazon Gift Card. The challenge is open to the whole world. Challenge ends on September 30th at 5pm eastern. The winner will be selected at random, emailed their prize, and posted in the October Baking Challenge blog post on October 1st 2021.

Visit the Sally’s Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions about Sally’s Baking Challenge. Sign up for Sally’s Baking Challenge emails so you’re alerted as soon as new challenge post is published!

147 Comments

  1. Just made these for the September Baking Challenge and they turned out amazing!! So much easier than I expected too. I made 4 variations- salt, cinnamon sugar, garlic parmesan, & jalapeño cheese w/ pepperoni.

  2. Made them with salt and they are so delicious! I kneaded it all by hand and it was easy and fun to do. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

  3. Soft, flavourful and so easy to make!! I made these for a family party and they were such a hit! I ended up using the extra 1/4 cup of flour as my dough was still very sticky; however, they turned out perfect! The colour on these pretzel knots turned out exactly like the pictures on the website. I will definitely be making these again!

  4. I love baking but I’m generally terrified of yeast recipes. This one was easy though! My first batch came out a bit dark at 24 minutes so I reduced the time to 21 minutes for the second batch and they were perfect! Definitely going to try this one again in the near future!

  5. Absolutely loved this recipe! I enjoy working with yeast, and any pretzel recipe challenges me to sharpen my skills in shaping dough. When they came out of the oven (perfectly golden), I used one as a bun to make a delicious sandwich using Cajun turkey, havarti cheese, lettuce, and a little Dijon mustard *chef’s kiss* I usually freeze them and take one out when I’m craving something salty and chewy. Make these – they are soft, fluffy, salty perfection!

  6. Mary Beth Trocheck says:

    These turned out incredibly good! I doubled the batch for a neighborhood get together and they were a hit. Did some salt, some cinnamon sugar, and some garlic parm. Yummm!!!

  7. What a fun, easy recipe! They came out so good,!

  8. These were delicious and pretty easy to make! I tried the garlic parmesan, jalapeno cheddar, and plain salt. The plain ones actually ended up being the favorite, I guess I just enjoy that classic pretzel flavor!

  9. I came on your site last night to make some funfetti slice cookies and saw September’s challenge. It was funny because the kids and I had just been talking about making pretzels. So I made the knots. It was an easy and super tasty recipe!! I did some sweet, but most traditionally salty. We ate most of them and shared some with the neighbors. As always, your recipes ROCK!!! Thank you!!!

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kathie, We are so glad you loved them!

  10. These pretzel knots were so delicious! This was my first time making any kind of pretzel dough and it turned out perfectly! I never would have thought to make pretzel dough into knots – such a great idea! We made the garlic parm version and these will be a new staple in our house. Thank you Sally for another great recipe!

  11. Christi Hebeler says:

    Tried these despite my limited experience working with yeast, and not having a dough mixing attachment. To my surprise and delight, they came out just right! Soft and flavorful. A little work intense with rolling and shaping, but fun. Finished half with salt, added everything bagel seasoning the the rest. Served with stone ground mustard. Froze half for next week. A treat for college football season! Next batch will serve with Sally’s Spicy Nacho Cheese Sauce. Wah-Hoo-Wah, UVA! And Let’s Go, VT Hokies!

  12. They were great! Very nice texture and real pretzel flavour. My fam ate most of them as mini sandwiches.

  13. I made the pepper and cheese and oh it was so hard not to eat them all before sharing. It’s green chile season where I live, so I replaced the jalapeño with hatch and it was a flavor explosion.

  14. Thank you so much for the recipe Sally! I’m obsessed with soft pretzels, and these were so easy and fun to make – highly recommend to anyone!

  15. Amazing! I have never attempted anything pretzel so I was a bit nervous about this challenge, but it was so easy to follow and understand!

  16. I’ve always been a bit intimidated by making pretzels, but have wanted to try them and this recipe was not only easy but the pretzels are delicious! Thank you for another great recipe!

  17. OMG, deeeeeeeelicious! These knots were disappearing from my kitchen so quickly! Will definitely make these again soon. Thanks for this easy, quick and delectable recipe!

  18. So delicious! The process is so fun and you get pretty instant gratification once they’re done! I tried it with both coarse salt topping and cinnamon sugar topping, both were great.

  19. So good and so easy! I just used the salt on top but I will make them again with the brown sugar and cinnamon!

  20. This was such a fun recipe to do! I loved and appreciated the ease and simplicity of each step! The pictures of the knots were great and helped me get a better handle on doing mine! I did half of mine with just salt and the other half with the cinnamon sugar mix! I’m looking forward to making these again as we jump into football season!!

  21. I was so excited to make these! I had a little trouble figuring out the knot, even after I watched the video. I think I figured out near the end of my batch that one end needed to tuck to the front and one needed to tuck to the back. Is that right?

    I ended up with 17 pretzels: 5 plain, 4 cinnamon sugar, 4 jalapeño cheese, and 4 garlic Parmesan. I think I would have preferred to use powdered Parmesan for those last four, as the grated had trouble sticking to the butter. If possible, it could help if the toppings had amounts or proportions, as I ended up with way too much topping (probably because I made so many different varieties from one batch.)

    We look forward to eating these pretzel knots with an array of sauces and some meat and veggies for dinner tonight!

  22. Dani Crittendon says:

    These pretzel knots turned out AMAZING!! Seriously, my husband said these are the best things I’ve made to date, and I’ve made many baked goods! I am generally super nervous to use yeast in my baking, and the video and photos made the whole process so much more approachable. I had a hard time getting the shredded cheddar cheese to sit well on my knots, so next time I plan to skip the cheddar knots altogether. The garlic parm topping was delicious! Thanks Sally for another great recipe and challenge!

    1. Abigail Vasher says:

      We loved these pretzels! So yummy, and they were a hit with my family. Can’t wait to make them again!

  23. These were easy and delicious! I kept them simple this time and made them all salted, but I will definitely make them again to try different flavors!

  24. Delicious! So fun to make and they turned out great! I love the versatility- tried all 4 varieties. Soft inside, traditional pretzel skin outside, will 100% make again. Thank you!

  25. Delicious! And thanks for the freezer info. I put 2/3 away for later. I checked mine at 22 min and they were already dark. Made a note for next time. The 1/4 cup tip for each knot is a handy way to measure the dough.

  26. Samudrika Siriwardhana says:

    Yummy recipe.very soft and can experience with various toppings.Thank you for sharing this yummy recipe with us .

  27. I made these for my family of 7, and they were gone so fast I had to make another batch the same day.

    Made another batch two days later, and I just finished using the dough to make pretzel dogs for back to school lunches (rolled a knot sized rope around a hot dog, baked for 14 minutes) and they’re just…amazing. My kids have affectionately dubbed them “Hogs in a Log” and they’re likely going to become a staple around here!

  28. Made these over the weekend and OMG – AMAZING!!!!! I also made the roasted garlic, bacon and spinach dip and the spicy cheddar sauce. My husband couldn’t stop eating them, neither could I.
    The recipes for all three were easy to follow and turned out exactly like the recipes said they would. This is my first attempt at a savory item from your website. I have made many of the sweet items multiple times and will be adding these to my go to recipes!!!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Thank you so much for your positive feedback, Lynn. We’re thrilled you enjoyed all of the recipes!

  29. I just made these pretzel knots( parmesan garlic version) for the September baking challenge and was amazed at how simple they were to make, not to mention absolutely delicious! These will definitely be made regularly at my house from now on. Thanks for the great recipe!

  30. Made these today (the plain version topped with coarse salt) using a mix of all-purpose flour, King Arthur’s bread flour, and a little whole wheat flour. They are delicious, especially when they are still warm from the oven!

1 2 3 4 5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe. Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×