Homemade Soft Pretzels

The BEST Homemade Soft Pretzels are easier to make than you think. Soft, chewy inside with a salty, crispy outside. They’re made with just a few ingredients you already have in your kitchen. Kids LOVE to help make them, too!

Soft Pretzels in a white baking dish with mustard in the background.

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One of my favorite things to make lately are Homemade Soft Pretzels. There’s something almost therapeutic about working with a soft yeast dough in the way that it takes time to coax into something tasty to eat.

I’ve always been a bit obsessed working with yeast and baking up loaves of fluffy bread. The same way I’m obsessed with cultivating wild yeast like I so with a homemade sourdough starter.

This Soft Pretzel recipe is really simple and yields the most tender pretzels imaginable. A little more love goes into them than does my Sourdough Pretzel recipe but they’re simply fantastic and your patience is rewarded every single time.

Overhead shot of homemade pretzels on a baking rack.

THE BEST HOMEMADE SOFT PRETZELS

Soft pretzels, if you’re not familiar with them, are actually a treat made of dough and twisted into a knot. They’re usually very heavily salted but you can make your pretzels without salt, if you want. They’re a German pastry that’s now dubbed as one of America’s most iconic snacks and are commonly found in Pennsylvania Dutch communities.

When I first set out to make soft pretzels from scratch at home, I originally wanted them to be like the same Philly Soft Pretzels you get on the city street corners. But the more I played with the recipe, the more I felt an Annie Anne’s style pretzel would be better.

Philly soft Pretzels are VERY thick and super chewy but in the best way possible. More like bread-like than what most people think of when they see or taste a pretzel.

So, a Pennsylvania Dutch twist was added for the BEST soft pretzels we’ve ever made here. 

Soft Pretzel being dipped into mustard.

HOW TO MAKE SOFT PRETZELS FROM SCRATCH

I think once you try this easy soft pretzel recipe you’ll be stunned at how easy they are to make. We’ve been craving carbs and these pretzels are so simple to make we whip them up once a week to satisfy that craving.

To get started, make the pretzel dough. You can do this with a stand mixer and the dough attachment or by hand. Either way, it’s super simple. 

Whisk together the dry ingredients. I like to use an instant yeast because you don’t have to get it started in water. But if you only have dry active yeast, simply proof it before adding to the dry ingredients. 

Next, add the water and butter to the dry ingredients and mix until the dough becomes a ball. This will take about 4-5 minutes in the stand mixer, an additional 5 minutes if you’re doing the work by hand.

Transfer the dough to a clean bowl coated with cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 1 hour or until double in size.

soft pretzel dough in a stainless steel bowl.

Once the dough has risen, roll into a log and cut into 12 even size balls. 

Dough balls for soft pretzels.

 

Bring a pot of water with baking soda to a boil while you’re shaping your pretzels and preheat the oven to 450˚F. Line two baking sheets (These are my favorite!) with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Roll each dough ball into a long thin log and shape into a pretzel by looping the two ends up and over each other. Press down on each “cross” to help them stick.

boy rolling out soft pretzels.

Transfer one pretzel to the boiling water and boil for 30 seconds. Using a wide spatula, transfer the pretzel to the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.

Soft pretzels being boiled in baking soda water.

In a small bowl, whisk one egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water. Brush each pretzel with the egg wash and sprinkle with pretzel salt. 

soft pretzel dough being brushed with egg wash on a baking sheet.

Bake the pretzels for 12-14 minutes until golden brown and puffy. 

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Overhead shot of soft pretzels cooling on a rack.

WHY THE BAKING SODA BATH

You don’t want to skip the baking soda bath if you want a true soft pretzel. The baking soda in the water adds the signature “pretzel” flavor, as well as, gelatinizes the outside of the pretzel preventing it from puffing up in the oven the way bread does. 

It also adds that unique chewiness that’s so common in German soft pretzel recipes.

Soft pretzels in a white baking dish on a blue background.

HOW TO GET THE SALT TO STICK

Getting the salt to stick to your pretzel is really simple. Be sure not to skip the egg wash step before baking. The egg wash not only gives the pretzel it’s golden, glossy exterior but it also acts as the “glue” for your salt.

The best salt to use for soft pretzels is “Pretzel Salt”, I found mine online but if you can’t get your hands on pretzel salt you can use a course sea salt or kosher salt. Pretzel Salt doesn’t bake into or melt into your pretzels when they bake and actually holds up for a couple days before it melts.

Soft pretzels on a blue background with yellow mustard in a white dish.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH SOFT PRETZELS

We love to serve our pretzels with a spicy mustard usually but sometimes we like to dip them in Blue Cheese Dressing or a spicy Buffalo Sauce!  Or you can dip them in an easy homemade cheese sauce.

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Soft Pretzels in a white baking dish with mustard in the background.

Homemade Soft Pretzels Recipe

Kellie
The BEST Soft Pretzel recipe is made with pantry staples for a chewy, salty snack you can make at home in about an hour.
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 14 mins
Rise Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 29 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine American, german
Servings 12
Calories 228 kcal

Equipment

  • baking sheet

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/4 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package instant yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour approximately 4 1/2 cups
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water approximately 110˚F
  • 1/4 cup salted butter melted
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt

Instructions
 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, yeast and flour.
  • Stir in the water and butter.
  • Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined.
  • Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 5 minutes.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and wipe clean with a paper towel.
  • Coat the bowl with oil or cooking spray. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 450˚ F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Coat with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Bring the 8 cups of water and the baking soda to a boil in a large stock pot or dutch oven.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface (we use butter) and divide into 12 equal balls.
  • Roll out each piece of dough into a 16-18 inch rope.
  • Make a U-shape with the dough, holding each end of the rope, cross each side over each other and press onto the bottom of the dough to form the shape of a pretzel.
  • Place on the baking sheet pan.
  • Place the pretzels into the boiling water, one at a time, for 30 seconds.
  • Remove the pretzel from the water using a large flat spatula and return to the half sheet pan.
  • Brush the top of each pretzel with the egg wash and sprinkle with the pretzel salt.
  • Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes.
  • Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

To reheat pretzels, arrange on a baking sheet and reheat in a 350˚F oven for 2-3 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 228kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 5gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 1800mgPotassium: 56mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 118IUCalcium: 15mgIron: 2mg
Keyword pretzel, soft pretzel
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