This homemade soft pretzel recipe yields chewy golden brown pretzels with a soft interior perfect for dipping into all the sweet, salty, savory, and cheesy dips!
Once you try your hand at any kind of homemade bread using yeast, you’ll notice a confidence boost in the kitchen! This classic pretzel recipe is perfect for everyone, regardless of skill level. Next up try my quick sourdough bread, another family favorite!
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Better Than Auntie Anne’s Pretzels
If you’ve ever wanted to recreate those famous Auntie Anne’s pretzels that make you drool as soon as you enter the mall, this is the recipe for you. With just 15 minutes of prep time and 15 minutes of bake time, it’s the waiting for the dough to rise that’s the hardest part.
Soft pretzels are delicious and so easy to make using this foolproof recipe which is great for beginners and those who don’t work with yeast often. The results are a golden chewy exterior and soft fluffy interior with the option of coarse salt sprinkled on top. I have to say, dipping warm pretzels into a tasty dip at the end might just be the best part!
Why we love this recipe
- Soft pretzels are such a great snack whether you eat them plain, drizzle them in a glaze or dunk them in your favorite dips!
- This recipe uses a baking soda bath which is a handy trick to learn how to get that outer sheen and a thin layer of chewy bread.
- It’s a flexible recipe you can use to make pretzel knots and pretzel bites!
- The savory pretzel pairs well with both sweet and salty toppings.
- An easy recipe with simple to follow instructions on working with yeast.
For the dough
- Warm water – Yeast needs warm water and sugar to become active and do its job.
- Sugar – The sugar is what feeds the yeast but also gives the dough a bit of sweetness as with most other bread recipes.
- Yeast – One package of instant dry yeast is all you’ll need.
- Butter – Once you measure out your butter, melt it in the microwave or stovetop, whichever you prefer.
- Salt – Brings out the flavors in the pretzel.
- Flour – Can’t make a soft pretzel without all-purpose flour!
For cooking the pretzels
- Water & Baking soda – The pretzels will quickly be dunked in a baking soda bath before being placed in the oven to bake. If you’ve ever made homemade bagels, you’ll recognize this step.
- Egg & cold water– A layer of the egg mixture is needed to give the pretzels that beautiful dark golden brown color.
- Coarse salt – Sprinkling coarse salt on top is the perfect finishing touch!
How to Make this Recipe
Follow these simple step-by-step instructions! The results are worth it.
Step 1: Dissolve sugar into warm water in the large bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle instant yeast over top for 5 minutes. The yeast will start to foam.
Step 2: Add in melted butter, salt, and 2 1/2 cups of flour. Using the dough hook attachment of a stand mixer at low speed, mix for 3 minutes until thoroughly combined.
Step 3: Gradually add more flour until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl and becomes less sticky.
Step 4: Increase the mixer to medium speed and knead for 5 minutes. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover loosely with a kitchen towel, and let the dough rise for an hour until doubled in size (preferably in a warm place).
Step 5: Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each piece into a long rope about 20-24 inch long. Create a U shape, then pick up both ends of the rope and crisscross them and turn the ends down to create the basic shape of a pretzel. Gently press the ends to secure it. Repeat with remaining ropes.
Step 6: Bring a large pot of water and baking soda to a rolling boil Working in batches, place each pretzel into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Then, using a slotted spoon, gently transferring them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Step 7: Brush pretzels with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sea salt or kosher salt if desired. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown.
1: Garlic Parmesan Pretzels: Melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Add a tablespoon of minced garlic and brush the mixture over baked pretzels. Then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese
2: Cinnamon sugar Pretzels: Mix 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of white or brown sugar and use in place of salt.
3. Rosemary Garlic Pretzels: sprinkle with dry rosemary and fresh garlic or garlic powder before baking.
4. Everything Bagel Pretzels: sprinkle the top of each bagel with the infamous Everything bagel seasoning. (one of my favorite things from Trader Joe’s)
- Test your yeast. Once you’ve let it sit for the 5 minutes and it doesn’t foam, it’s no longer active. This tends to happen with yeast that’s been sitting around for a long while. Discard and try again with fresh yeast.
- The reason for baking soda bath is to get that signature chewy outer layer (again, like a bagel!) that we all love about pretzels.
- Measure the flour using the spoon and level method.
- The overall amount of flour used to get it to a point where it’s no longer sticky will depend on how moist your flour is and the moisture level in your home.
- If you don’t have a mixing bowl, knead by hand on a floured work surface.
- When allowing the dough to double in bulk, place in a warm draft-free area.
- To make soft pretzel bites, cut the ropes into 1 1/2″ sections instead of a knot.
Soft pretzels can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Mustard, honey mustard, cheese dip, marinara sauce, melted butter, chocolate sauce, or vanilla icing sugar are all just a few of the possibilities!
Once pretzels have completely cooled, wrap each one in plastic wrap then a layer of foil, and place in a freezer-friendly zip-top bag. Keep frozen for up to 3 months.
To thaw, sprinkle the pretzel lightly with water and sprinkle with salt. Wrap it in a damp paper towel and microwave for about 30 seconds.
For the Dough:
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 ¼ teaspoon yeast one packet
- 4 tablespoon butter melted
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- 10 cups water
- ½ cup baking soda
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon cold water
- 1-2 tablespoon coarse salt
- Add warm water and sugar the bowl of a stand mixer and stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let it sit for 5 minutes. The yeast will begin to foam.
- Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer.
- Add in the melted butter, salt and 2 1/2 cups of the flour.
- Blend for 3 minutes on low speed until the flour is thoroughly combined.
- Gradually add more flour until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl and becoming less sticky. (The exact amount of flour needed may vary depending on how much moisture is in your flour or in your home. I used 4½ cups but up to 5 cups may be necessary)
- Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and knead for 5 minutes. If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a large bowl and mixing spoons then when adding flour, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it by hand until smooth.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover loosely with a kitchen towel, and let rise for an hour until doubled in size.
To Make the Pretzels
- Preheat oven to 425° F.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.
- Roll each piece into a long rope shape that is approximately about 20-22 inches long.
- Next, create a U shape with the dough
- With the dough on a floured surface, pick up each end with each hand and and crisscross them and turn the ends down toward the bottom of the U to create a basic pretzel shape.
- Take the ends and crisscross them again to create the swirl in the middle.
- Gently press the ends into place to secure the pretzel shape.
- Repeat with the rest of the dough
- Place approx. 10 cups of water and ½ cup baking soda in a large pot and bring it to a boil.
- Place the lined baking sheets next to the stove.
- Working in batches, gently place one pretzel into the boiling water and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Then gently lift the pretzel out of the water with a slotted spatula and place it on the baking sheet.
- Repeat with the remainder of the pretzels arranging them about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 tsp water.
- Brush the pretzels evenly with the egg mixture with a thin layer.
- Sprinkle with coarse salt if desired.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown.