Homemade Soft Pretzels. Every parent needs a good soft pretzel recipe. Kids love them, and they make a fun (albeit slightly messy!) rainy day baking project.
These soft pretzels are my kids’ favorite. A touch sweet and ultra-buttery, they taste just like Auntie Anne’s famous mall pretzels. It’s fun to roll and twist the dough into pretzel shapes, but you can make them in “bite” form as well. I use a stand mixer to mix and knead the dough, but if you don’t have one, it’s fine to do by hand.
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
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!
Homemade soft pretzels Tips
- 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!
- 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.
A pretzel (German: Brezel) is a type of baked bread product made from dough most commonly found in a unique knot-like shape, often claimed to represent hands in prayer. Pretzels originated in Europe, most likely among monasteries in the Early Middle Ages.
The traditional pretzel shape is a distinctive symmetrical looped form, with the ends of a long strip of dough intertwined and then twisted back into itself in a certain way (“a pretzel loop”). Now, pretzels of various shapes are available around the world.
Salt is the most common seasoning for pretzels, complementing the baking soda that gives pretzels their traditional “skin” and flavor through the Maillard reaction; other seasonings include sugars, glazes, seeds, and/or nuts.
Questions & Answers
- What makes soft pretzel different from bread?
Soft pretzels are just a yeast bread that is formed into a pretzel shape. The one big difference in pretzel making, as opposed to a regular bread, is that pretzels are boiled and then baked. It is the boiling that gives the outside of the pretzel its beautiful golden brown color and uniquely crisp and chewy texture.
- Why do soft pretzels taste so good?
Lye. The dough is simple; take a basic yeast-risen dough that can be readied in an afternoon. But the trick to great pretzels is dipping the pretzels in a liquid wash before baking — and not just any wash, but a combination of water and lye. That’s what gives pretzels their terrific color, texture and flavor
- Is pretzel healthier than bread?
- Is pizza dough and pretzel dough the same?
Are pretzel dough and pizza dough the same? Though pizza dough and pretzel dough aren’t identical—the former is a bit wetter—they are made from the same basic ingredients and, when boiled in water & baking soda bath before baking, pizza dough will get you very close.
You May Also Like:
- Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Soft Pretzels
- Traditional Soft Pretzels
- Pizza Pretzels
- Auntie Anne’s Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites
- Pretzel Crusted Chicken
- Strawberry Pretzel Salad
- Reindeer Cupcakes
- Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites
Homemade Soft 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.