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!
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Once the dough has risen, roll into a log and cut into 12 even size balls.
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.
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.
In a small bowl, whisk one egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water. Brush each pretzel with the egg wash and sprinkle with pretzel salt.
Bake the pretzels for 12-14 minutes until golden brown and puffy.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
What is a 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.
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.
What To Serve With Soft Pretzels
Get the Recipe: Homemade Soft Pretzels Recipe
- 1 1/4 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 package instant yeast
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 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
- baking sheet
- 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 a tea towel or plastic and allow to rest in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size. (I sometimes will warm the oven just for a few minutes, then turn off and proof the dough in the oven.)
- 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, twist 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 spatula and return to the half sheet pan.
- Brush the top of each pretzel with the egg wash and sprinkle with pretzel salt.
- Bake approximately 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown in color.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and rest for 5 minutes before serving.