These easy homemade buttery soft pretzels are so simple to make at home. They're chewy, fluffy and better than any food chain!
I have a slight obsession with soft pretzels. Where ever I am, if they are being offered, there's a good chance I'm getting one.. or three. Call it a guilty pleasure but now that I can make the best homemade soft pretzels at home that are even better than any chain, my life is practically made! You guys are going to love these.
Why you'll love this recipe:
- They have an incredible slightly chewy exterior, while the inside is super soft and fluffy.
- The flavor is out of this world! I mean, they are bathed in butter as soon as they come out of the oven....
- No more standing in long lines and spending a crazy amount of money on one pretzel when you can spend that amount or less and make an entire batch!
- They're easier to make than you think!
Ingredients for Homemade Soft Pretzels
- Active dry yeast: It helps the dough to rise and makes the soft pretzels puff up as they bake.
- Water: Make sure your water is warm (not boiling), about 105°-115°F to best activate the yeast. You will also use boiling water for the baking soda bath later in the recipe.
- Baking soda: Used for the baking soda "bath" which is the most important steps in making homemade soft pretzels. This gives the pretzels their iconic golden, chewy outer exterior. It's the ingredient that basically makes a pretzel, taste like a pretzel! And not a buttery, salted bread stick.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter in the dough and salted butter brushed on top of the pretzels just after baking. To simplify, you can just use unsalted since they are getting sprinkled with salt anyway. I like mine salty!
- Sugar: I use a small amount of white granulated sugar in this recipe.
- Fine and coarse sea salt: Fine is used in the dough - you can also just use regular table salt - and coarse sea salt is sprinkled on top of the pretzels before baking.
- All-Purpose Flour: Measuring the flour correctly is crucial. Too much flour and your dough will be dry and crumbly creating tough pretzels. Too little, and it will be wet, sticky and unworkable.
How to make quick and easy soft pretzels
- Mix and knead the dough: Combine yeast with warm water and sugar. Once mixture becomes "frothy" your yeast is ready. Stir in salt and melted butter. Add flour 1 cup at a time until dough is no longer sticky. You may need more or less than the recipe calls for. If you press your finger into the dough and it bounces back, it's ready to knead! Knead dough for 5 more minutes until smooth and pliable.
- Let the dough rest: Shape dough into a large ball and place in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let it rest for 15 minutes. This is not to be confused with rising, it does not need to be doubled in size, the dough is just "resting."
- Preheat oven: To 475°F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Prepare the baking soda bath: Combine the water and baking soda in a large pot and bring mixture to a boil. Take off heat and allow it to come down to a lukewarm temperature.
- Shape the pretzels: Flatten rested dough slightly with the palm of your hand into a circle. Cut dough into 8 sections (like a pizza). Roll each triangle into a long ¾ inch rope, about 19-20 inches long. Shape dough into pretzel shape and place in baking soda bath for 2 minutes. Carefully pick pretzel up either by hand or spatula and transfer to prepared baking sheets.
- Add salt: Sprinkle the pretzels with coarse salt while still wet. Repeat these steps until all 8 pretzels are prepared and on the baking sheets.
- Bake: You want to bake the pretzels until golden brown, about 8-9 minutes.
- Brush with butter: Straight from the oven, brush the pretzels with melted butter. I like to use salted but you may use unsalted.
- Best served warm: Enjoy them fresh and hot out of the oven! These pair perfectly with my BEER CHEESE DIP!
Frequently asked questions
Once cooled completely, wrap them up individually and tight in plastic wrap for up to two days. To reheat, pop them in the microwave for about a minute or so. Good as new!
I recommend preparing the dough only one day in advance. Prep the dough the day before following the recipe through to step 3 and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. When you are ready to make the soft pretzels, continue on with the recipe starting with shaping the dough then the baking soda bath, etc.
Once baked and cooled completely, wrap each pretzel individually in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. Be sure to cover them completely! For extra protection and to ensure freshness, place them in a large ziplock bag before freezing.
Yes! Place raw dough into an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Yes, yes, yesssss. When you get to the shaping step of the recipe, when you roll the dough into long ropes, just cut them into 4 inch pieces instead of shaping into a pretzel shape to make homemade soft pretzel sticks. Cut them into 1 inch pieces for bites. Continue with the recipe as written. I also have this included in my recipe notes at the bottom of the recipe.
When you place the shaped pretzels into the baking soda bath, this causes the dough to puff slightly. This is what will help to create the chewy exterior that we associate with soft pretzels. Baking soda is an alkaline which will cause a browning reaction in the oven, creating perfectly browned pretzels. The baking soda bath also gives the soft pretzels their distinct flavor. Don't skip this step!
To use any of these variations, you will omit the coarse salt sprinkled on top after baking. Use your imagination! There are so, so many more variations you can come up with! ?
Cinnamon sugar: After baking, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Everything but the bagel seasoning: Brush with melted butter after baking and sprinkle with seasoning.
Cheese: Before baking and while pretzels are still wet from baking soda bath, sprinkle with your desired flavor of cheese. Parmesan, asiago would both be absolutely delicious!
Garlic & herb: Brush with melted butter after baking and sprinkle with garlic salt and italian seasoning.
Homemade Soft Pretzels
- 2 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast 1 standard packet
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tbs unsalted butter melted
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour + up to ¾ cup more if needed
- 2 cups water
- 4 tbs baking soda
- 1 tbs coarse salt for sprinkling on top
- 6 tbs salted butter melted
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees and line a large baking sheet or two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine yeast with warm water and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with hook attachment. Once mixture becomes "frothy" your yeast is ready. Stir in salt and 1 tbs of melted butter.
- Add flour 1 cup at a time and knead on lowest setting until a dough forms and is no longer very sticky. You may need more or less depending on temperature differences. If you press your finger into the dough and it bounces back, it's ready to knead. Knead dough for 5 minutes or until smooth and pliable.
- Form dough into a ball by hand. Lightly grease the bowl used previously and place the dough back in to rest for 15 minutes. Cover with a damp towel.
- In a medium sized pot, boil 2 cups of water with 4 tbs of baking soda. Once the baking soda is mostly dissolved, take mixture off heat and pour into a shallow dish.
- After 15 minutes, take dough out of the bowl and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Cut dough into 8 sections (like a pizza). Roll each triangle into a long rope, about 19-20 inches long. Shape dough into pretzel shape and place in baking soda bath for 2 minutes. If the whole pretzel isn't covered by the water, spoon it on top of the areas is doesn't reach. Once the 2 minutes is up, carefully pick pretzel up either by your hand or with the help of a fork or spatula and place on prepared baking sheet. You may have to re-shape slightly.
- Sprinkle the pretzels with coarse salt while still wet. Repeat these steps until all 8 pretzels are prepared and on the baking sheets.
- Bake pretzels for 8-9 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately from the oven, brush (heavily) with 6 tbs of melted butter.
- These homemade soft pretzels are best served hot and fresh out of the oven but will keep for about 2 days stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Pop them in the microwave and they're good as new!
- Make Ahead Instructions: Prepared dough can be made one day in advance. Shape the pretzels and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before popping them into the oven. Prepared dough can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen dough overnight in the refrigerator.
- Freezing Instructions: Freeze baked and cooled pretzels for up to 3 months. To reheat, bake (frozen) at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until center is warmed through. You can also microwave for a few minutes until heated through.
- Pretzel Bites: When rolling dough into a long rope in step 4, instead of shaping pieces into a large pretzel, cut the dough into 1-2 inch pieces. Follow the rest of the recipe instructions.
I have a couple of questions before I try this.
1. I have rapid rise yeast so can I just add everything together without waiting for the yeast to proof since it doesn't need to?
2. I want to make pretzel bites so I'm thinking I can make it the same up until you turn it into a pretzel. I could cut them to the size I want and then put in the water bath and then on to the baking sheet. Does that sound right?
3. Why do you salt them before they go into the oven? Wouldn't it be better to wait until you drench them in butter 🙂 when they come out and then salt them? Would the salt not stick?
I've made bread before but pretzels are a whole new ballgame.
Hi Barbara! For your first question, yes, you can use the rapid rise interchangeably with the active dry yeast. You are correct about the pretzel bites, just make the recipe the same right up until you shape the pretzels and cut them into bites instead. The salt will not stick as well if you add them after they are baked. Hope this helps!! Have a great day.
Omg I just made this and holy moly are they delicious!!! I only soaked in the baking soda mixture for a few seconds but they still turned out fabulous. My family scarfed them down and the neighbors even came over and stole a few. Amazing recipe and so not scary for a first time pretzel maker
Woo! Thanks for reporting back, Chelsea!
I'm wondering if I am doing something wrong? I made two batches and each time the dough was very crumbly and wouldn't form. The second time around I did add a little bit of oil and water once finding I was having the same problem again. It did come together, but it's very hard. I have it resting and will continue just to see what happens but I am not very optimistic ad the dough is pretty hard. What could I have done?
Just made these and they are TOTALLY AMAZING!! I followed the directions exactly as written. Need a little work on my pretzel twisting skills. My picky daughter said they taste very similar to Pretzel Maker but mine needs more butter. Well, I doubled everything except the butter. Next time I’ll probably just dunk them in butter like PM does. We had them with cream cheese (our favorite). Thank you!! I think I may have found my neighbor/friend Christmas gifts... Some pretzel bites in cute containers and a little diipping sauce on the side.
This recipe is amazing! Absolutely love it. I have a question though, have you tried to freeze the dough before? As in make the dough and let it rise then freeze and let thaw out completely before following the steps with soaking in baking soda bath? We are attempting to make a lot of dough ahead of time for a party and wondering what the best option is, either freezing or making a day ahead and keeping in fridge.
I have not tried freezing this dough. I would make it ahead the day before the party and keep it in the fridge until ready to use.
Awesome recipe!!!! Tried it this morning and they came out perfect . Kneading the dough in your KitchenAid for the 5 minutes makes it very easy .
Very quick delicious recipe
Sure, I don't see why not. Just thaw in the fridge overnight before using.
I made these tonight after the recipe sat on my Pinterest board for years. The recipe so easy to follow and I can't believe how delicious they are. Will definitely make them again!
No luck says
These look absolutely amazing but taste horrible... back to square one looking for a recipe
I tried this recipe just now, it turned out great!
For the soft pretzels can Canola oil be substituted as I am trying to make them dairy free?
So I saw this recipe and got super excited to try it! Thanks for sharing. I do have a couple questions. I'm new to making homemade doughs and working with yeast. When you combine the yeast, sugar and water, should you mix enough for everything to dissolve (this may be a silly question, especially if yeast doesn't dissolve)? I can get an idea of about what 'frothy' might look like, but I was wondering about how long it takes for this to occur. Thanks for the additional instructions for a complete newbie. I'm looking forward to trying to make your recipe!
I looked through the comments but could see if someone had asked this already so I am sorry if they have! But I don't have a mixer so how would I do this by hand? (sorry I am new to the baking world) Thanks!
As I was kneading the dough and waiting for my guests to arrive, I have to admit - I was feeling disappointed. It was the oddest feeling dough I've worked with (tough, almost...) I was afraid it was a botch recipe or I botched the recipe, but I kept kneading , hoping for a surprise ending.
And they were great, delicious! Everyone's favorite. Thank you for sharing. I'm glad I found this one.
Best Pretzel recipe ever!
Mindi B says
These turned out really good, mine cooked a little too long. Next time I will cut the time down by a minute or so. I can't wait to try the bites. Thanks!
This recipe is the closest to the mall pretzel that I have ever tried. It is delicious! Thank you!
Optional modifications that made my life easier based on observation and investigation:
- no need to boil the water for the baking soda solution. Combine hot water and baking soda.
- use 1 tablespoon baking soda per cup of water. 4 cups of water +4 tablespoons of baking soda. This should eliminate the baking soda taste and provide better coverage of the pretzels when you dip them.
- dip the pretzels quickly in the baking soda solution, then blot on a paper towel before you place them on the parchment paper.
- I accidentally let the dough rest 30 minutes and had great results.
- if they stick, use spray, grease or butter on the parchment or baking sheet.
- if you are going to butter the pretzels, add the salt after you butter them.
- since ovens vary, you might want to try a shortened cooking, like 6 to 8 minutes. You can always leave them in longer.
Made these with my kids, delicious, soft, salty and a great easy fun time!!
Oh. My. God....just made these pretzels and they are INCREDIBLE! You’re totally right, better than any chain. And super easy to make. Thanks so much!!!!
Hey, I'd really like to try making these! Can I use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast?
hi, how much water do you add with yeast? thankyou
There's too many ads on your blog - it makes it so that when I try to scroll to the recipe, I end up clicking like 5 ads and it takes me away from the recipe. Then when I finally got to the recipe, there were so many pop up ads that I only had about 2 inches of screen to read off of. That's the worst part about blogs nowadays.
Anyways, I made these and they're really good 🙂
It took me reloading the website 4 times to look at the recipe because of spam adds that I didn’t even click on loaded me to iPhone winner viruses.
Could I just freeze some of the dough itself for use later?
Lilly Newton says
Hey Jessica< I was just wondering if you have posted any cinnamon rolls.
Heidi Lynn says
I have made soft pretzels and they turned out good, but your recipe looks more like what I really want from my soft pretzels. Thank you so much for posting! I am going to make some tomorrow. God bless....
Lilly Newton says
How Long does it take for the yeast to become frothy?
About a minute or two.
Mmmm!!! I saved this pin ages ago, and finally got around to making this recipe! I wish I hadn’t waited so long!!! Simply delicious!! We had a homemade Oktoberfest at our place this weekend, and this was a huge hit! I need to work on my pretzel shaping, but the taste is spot on! Thank you, Jessica!!
Woo! Thank you for letting me know!
This recipe is amazing!! I wasn’t too sure if it was going to turn out right but they are soooo good. My dough was a little tough to roll into pretzel shapes, so I ended up cutting it in little bite sizes and doing some pretzel bites. (Mostly because I was too lazy to work with the dough) Thankyou so much for sharing this recipe. Will be using it again for Super Bowl appetizers 🙂
Bite size pretzels are great too! These would make the perfect Super Bowl appetizers - I will probably be making them for that too! 🙂
Hi! I’m a New Yorker who loves soft pretzels, but I love ve in New Zealand where they’re hard to come by. I have not made pretzels since I was a brownie and that was basically my mom making them and me sprinkling salt.
This recipe was easy (and I’m dough-fearing) and the pretzels are delicious. Thank you!!
Aw, such a cute memory! I'm glad you loved them, Betz! 🙂
Just made them. Amazing! I was skeptical of not letting them rise, just rest, but they turned out great. Nice and chewy with brown outside. The 6 TBSP of butter (melted) to brush with was about 2tbsp too much I had a lot leftover, and I even drowned them. But alas, my 13 y/o said, "Hey, butter dip!" And it all worked out well!! I also used 4TBSP soda and it was too much. It precipitated out when it cooled and I did have a slight taste of soda after they were done but it wasn't really that bad and I didn't find it strong enough to be objectionable.
One question, my dough was very elastic and difficult to roll out. I think I may have added too much flour (about 3C + 2 tbsp). Do they normally take a lot of work to roll out? They just kept springing back. I really had to work at it to get long, thin ropes.
Overall great recipe and my family thinks I'm a genius!! Thanks Jessica
Yes, it does sound like too much flour was added. Next time, try adding a little at a time until the dough is no longer super sticky but soft and elastic enough to roll out. Temperature does plays a large roll in dough making and so this may have played a factor when you added the flour - something to think about! 🙂
These pretzels were delicious! My roommate and I have followed a variety of soft pretzel recipes, as its a great way for us to destress after a long week, and we both agreed this was the best! The baking soda bath was extremely low stress, especially because the water was cool enough it wouldn't burn us if we got splashed, so we already knew this was a great recipe, but the butter coating at the end just made it perfect! Thank you so much for taking the time to share this recipe, I'm looking forward to trying out some of your others 🙂
Also, we used vegan butter for this recipe and had no issues, for others who are interested.
Brigid Carman says
I just made these and they are awesome!!! Thanks! I linked your website to my facebook post too. 🙂
That's so great to hear! And thank you!
Hi! These were delicious. My husbands co-workers would love me to send some in. However, I’d like them to be as fresh as possible. Would I be able to make them the night before and then do the baking soda bath and baking right before he leaves for work? If so, how would you suggest I store the pretzels overnight before the baking soda bath? Thanks!
REBECCA BUTTORFF says
So Delicious!!! Everyone LOVED them. We put a little cinnamon and sugar on one batch too!
YUM! Cinnamon sugar pretzels are so delicious!
Super delicious!! This recipe is a keeper.
I am so glad you enjoyed them, Amy!! ?
I have made many soft pretzels but this recipe is by far the best if you like a soft chewy pretzel.
I used to get these at out Main Exchange in Texas and they were the best, but very hard to find a recipe like that until yours. Most that I had tried were the really chewy crunchy kind, which I didn’t like. Thank you for your explanation about what to expect and that is the reason I tried the recipe. This is a true keeper if you like the soft center and just the right amount of chewy on the outside.
Alicia Pinto says
Hey do I need to let the dough rise like a usual bread dough?
Great tasting very soft pretzel. It is also a very quick recipe start to finish.
The only negative is in the directions. It said to prepare the baking sheet by putting parchment on it. I was helping my granddaughter make them and I tried to teach her to follow the recipe. But every pretzel stuck to the parchment. In getting them off everyone of them had the back tore off. The directions should have said the spray the parchment.
Interesting. Parhcment is not supposed to stick like that.
Just made these and they came out great! Have you made these before without butter? I’m going to try a batch with plant based butter to see how they come out (friend’s allergic) —fingers crossed!
I have not, I hope they came out delicious for you!
Susan M Baker says
These pretzels were absolutely delicious.
My family loves them.
Very easy to make
I made the classic pretzel shape the first time and the second time I made big bite size. Will keep this recipe!
We’ve tried so many recipes, and this is hands down the best soft pretzel recipe. It is delicious. We have been making it for a while now. Thank you!
Made these today and they lasted about 15 minutes! Will definitely make again 🙂
these were quick, easy and delicious. Will absolutely make them again. I did use instant yeast .