Homemade Soft Pretzels
These are the absolute best Homemade Soft Pretzels! They’re fluffy and buttery, baked up just like the ones you get at the mall, but made from scratch with no preservatives. The dough is very easy to make, and even kids can easily work with this recipe. Make this whole recipe in one hour!
Once you try these homemade soft pretzels, you will never bother with those mall pretzels ever again.
I used to love Auntie Anne’s and Wetzel’s Pretzels, and waited in some pretty long lines upon smelling that darned cinnamon sugar and butter wafting over from like 100 feet away, but these are SO much better.
Plus, it only costs a buck or two to make a WHOLE TRAY instead of just getting one kind of pretzel. Not to mention there aren’t any artificial ingredients or preservatives when you make them yourself. And all the ingredients are the simple ones that you’d expect, like flour, yeast, water, and salt.
Tips for Best Results
Use instant rise yeast – At the grocery store you can buy “active dry yeast” or “instant rise yeast” (sometimes also called “quick rise yeast”). They are the same price, and I always recommend the instant rise, which is what we’ll use here.
Make sure the yeast is fresh – Yeast does expire, so make sure those packets haven’t been hanging out in your pantry for too long. Check the date, and try to use newer yeast.
Be patient – This entire recipe, even with rise time, should generally take an hour, which is really fast for bread. However, if your kitchen is cold and the dough has not doubled in size during the 30 minute rise, give it another 15 minutes.
More Flavor Options
The default here is to simply brush with butter, and enjoy these soft pretzels “plain” with butter and salt. However, here are a few more flavor ideas.
Cinnamon Sugar – In my 100% Whole Wheat Version of these pretzels, I share a cinnamon sugar coating that is wonderful.
Garlic Parmesan – Use the sauce from my Garlic Parmesan Wings for brushing the outside, for an extra flavorful garlic parmesan butter.
Orange Honey Butter – When hot out of the oven, brush the pretzels with Homemade Orange Honey Butter.
Step by Step Overview:
I have a full video on how to make the pretzels, as well as a quick visual photo overview.
Start by making a simple yeasted dough, made with flour, water, instant yeast, salt, and sugar, then shape it into a ball.
You can make the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the dough hook attachment, or you can make it by hand!
Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes in a warm place, to let the dough rise and double in size.
The yeast will work its magic and create these gorgeous bubbles that will give us the rise and fluffy texture we want.
If you wish, you may keep the risen dough in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Make sure to cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.
When ready to bake, simply proceed with the recipe as usual, cutting and rolling the pretzels.
Divide up the dough into 8 equal pieces, then roll each one into a long rope.
Shape the thin ropes into pretzels by looping the rope through the hole above.
The ends of the rope should end up on the bottom. See the video as needed.
Dip each pretzel into a baking soda bath, which is simply warm water with baking soda. This provides flavor, and will also brown the baked pretzels, much like an egg wash makes baked goods golden brown on the outside.
Then finally, sprinkle each pretzel with coarse sea salt or pretzel salt, and send them into the oven on a prepared baking sheet that’s either greased, covered with parchment paper, or covered with a silicone mat.
Let the Excess Water Drip Off
Let the excess water drip off the pretzels before putting each piece of dough on to a large baking sheet. You don’t want the pretzels to be too wet, or they may stick to the tray, even if it’s greased.
You may also place the pretzels on parchment paper or a silicone mat to ensure this isn’t an issue whatsoever.
Bake the pretzels until golden and puffed, then brush with melted butter while hot, or any other sauces or coatings you’d like.
See the box toward the beginning of the post for flavor ideas, but I think the best soft pretzels simply have butter and a good coarse salt, with cinnamon sugar being a close second. I love getting to appreciate their flavor and chewy texture.
How to Serve
These are great hot out of the oven, either with plain butter and salt or one of the flavor options I suggested above.
Tips and FAQ
Let cool completely, then keep at room temperature for 1 day, in the fridge for 1 week, or in the freezer for 2 months.
Yes, in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Let them cool first before freezing.
Warm in a 300F oven for 5 minutes. Add an extra 3 minutes if reheating straight from frozen.
Yes, keep the risen dough in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
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Homemade Soft Pretzels
For the Dough:
- 2.25 tsp instant or "quick rise" yeast
- 1 cup warm water 110 degrees F
- 1 tsp sugar
- 12.5 oz all purpose flour, by weight (2.5 cups, if measuring)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
For the Topping:
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- oil for greasing the sheet pan
- coarse sea salt for sprinkling
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- Combine the yeast, warm water, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer*, and let sit for 10 minutes until foamy. This indicates the yeast is alive and working. Add the flour and salt. Mix with the dough hook by hand for a few seconds to roughly combine, then fit the hook and bowl on the mixer and knead on medium low for 5 minutes. The dough should feel soft and smooth, not sticky to the touch.
- Cover the dough and let rise for 30 minutes, until doubled in size. If your kitchen is cool, you made need closer to 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450F, and lightly grease a baking sheet with oil. You may also use parchment paper or a silicone mat to prevent sticking.
- Place the dough onto a lightly oiled countertop. Divide the dough into 8 pieces (just cut it with a knife or bench scraper).
- Whisk to combine the warm water and baking soda and heat in the microwave for 1 minute. FYI it’s not going to dissolve completely, and that’s okay.
- Roll each of the eight pieces into a long rope, and shape each one into a pretzel (see the step-by-step photos on the blog post to see how to do this). Dip each pretzel into the soda wash and place onto the greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, then let them rest for 10 minutes.
- Bake for 10 minutes until the pretzels are golden brown. Brush the pretzels with the melted butter while they are hot out of the oven. Enjoy while they are hot, and keep in mind these don’t taste as amazing the next day. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in December 2017. Originally published 2011.