Move over store-bought pretzels, these Homemade Soft Pretzels are the best! They're soft and chewy on the inside with a golden brown outside and a sprinkling of pretzel salt to boot. Serve them alongside your favorite mustard or cheese sauce for the perfect savory snack!
Table of Contents
Homemade Soft Pretzels Recipe - A Brief Overview
Taking a little detour from the sweets, today I'm introducing a new recipe—homemade soft pretzels! I found this recipe in an old cookbook from the '70s that belonged to my late Grammy.
They require very few ingredients, come together quickly, and taste better than any store-bought pretzel.
The key player in this soft pretzel recipe, which gives it that soft and chewy texture is the bread flour. And lending a hand to the texture and signature golden brown color is the baking soda bath. It takes less than 30 seconds (per pretzel) and has your soft pretzels coming out tasting incredible.
Brush on a little egg wash to enhance the color and don't forget the pretzel salt!
Besides enjoying them as a snack, these pretzels make great sandwich bread. I made some grilled ham and cheese sandwiches using them and a little spicy mustard and wow—so good!
You can find this recipe in my savory treats and bread categories!
Besides being really easy to make (I promise), this homemade soft pretzel recipe requires only the following ingredients.
- Bread Flour. You will need 4 cups total. The King Arthur brand is what I recommend, but use whatever brand you prefer! It has a higher protein percentage than all-purpose flour giving these pretzels a fluffier inside and crustier outside.
- Water. This is needed for the pretzel dough and also for the baking soda bath.
- Instant Quick Rise Yeast. I bought some of the Red Star brand recently at Walmart and really like it.
- Salt. 1 teaspoon is used to help enhance the flavor and tighten the gluten structure of the dough.
- Granulated Sugar. Just 1 tablespoon is needed. It's role in this soft pretzel recipe is just to add a tiny bit of sweetness to the dough.
- Baking Soda. Used only for the baking soda bath. Do not add this to the pretzel dough.
- Egg Yolk. You'll use this along with 1 tablespoon of water for the egg wash that's applied to the tops of the soft pretzels (after the baking soda bath).
- Pretzel Salt. Just as I am a sweets girl, I do love my salt too and pretzel salt is the way to go here. Do not use table salt.
All-Purpose Flour. My preference is to use bread flour when making these soft pretzels because it has a higher protein count, but the same amount of all-purpose can be used in its place. Just note that the texture and taste may be different than using bread flour.
Active Dry Yeast. While I did not test this recipe using active dry yeast, you can use it as a substitute for the instant quick rise yeast. Note that the rise time will be doubled.
Granulated Sugar. Because we're using the granulated sugar to just subtly sweeten the dough, you can choose to leave it out.
Everything Bagel Seasoning. In place of salt, you can use everything bagel seasoning. My seasoning came from ALDI, but any grocery store should carry it.
The Best Baking Tools
Below are the tools you'll need to make these easy homemade soft pretzels.
- Stand mixer with dough hook. Or you can use a large mixing bowl and dough whisk.
- Silicone baking mats. You can also use parchment paper, but you will need to lightly spray the tops with either a flour-based baking spray or non-stick oil cooking spray to make sure the pretzels do not stick. Silicone mats are also nice because it's less waste.
- Baking sheets. You'll need two large-size baking sheets.
- Bench Scraper. You can use either a bench scraper or sharp knife to the the dough into sections.
- Large Pot. This is for the baking soda bath.
- Fine Mesh Strainer or Flat Slotted Spatula. You'll need this to remove the pretzels from the boiling baking soda bath. They'll also help remove any excess liquid that will drip off the pretzels.
- Wire Cooling Rack. A wire cooling rack is needed so you can let the pretzels cool a bit before enjoying!
- Oven Thermometer. I recommend getting an oven thermometer for all my recipes. They're inexpensive and help to ensure your oven is accurately heating to the correct temperature!
Here's How to Make It!
This is only a brief overview of how to make these homemade soft pretzels. For the full detailed recipe, scroll down to the recipe card.
Make the Pretzel Dough. You can use your stand mixer or mixing bowl and dough whisk for this recipe. Mix the lukewarm water, yeast, salt, and sugar together.
Let it sit for a minute or two, then add in the bread flour. After the ingredients are fully combined, you can choose to either knead the dough with the mixer and dough hook on medium speed or knead it by hand for 4-5 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth.
Prepare the Baking Soda Bath. You will need a large pot along with 8 cups of water and ¼ cup of baking soda (yes, that amount is correct). Stir it together and bring it to a boil.
Shape Your Pretzels. Cut the dough into 8 equally sized sections. If they're not 100% equal in size that's fine. If you're very particular though, you can cut and weigh each section.
Roll each section out to 24 inches (like a long rope), then shape into the pretzel. See the images above or the video below on how to shape them.
It's easy, I promise!
Give the Pretzels a Bath. Because of their size, I only added one pretzel at a time, but you can add up to 2 pretzels. Use a timer and leave them in for no more than 30 seconds. They will puff up a little during this process. You also won't be able to reshape the pretzels at this point.
It's best to use either a fine mesh strainer or flat slotted spatula to remove the pretzels. I don't recommend using tongs as the pretzels will still be soft. Remove any excess water and put it back onto the baking sheet.
Time to Bake. Brush on the egg wash mixture, sprinkle with pretzel salt, then bake!
Yes, but due to the lower protein percentage of all-purpose flour, you won't get that same chewy texture.
While it may seem like a pain to do this step, it is an important one! It's a quick alkaline bath that gives the soft pretzels that signature medium golden brown color and soft, chewy texture. Without it, your soft pretzels will come out pale and not as tasty!
I highly recommend using silicone mats. Parchment paper is fine to use, but you will need to spray the tops with either a flour-based baking spray or a non-stick vegetable oil cooking spray. Another bonus to using silicone mats is less waste.
Yes, and it's easy too! Simply wrap each cooled soft pretzel in plastic wrap, place in a tightly sealed container or Ziploc bag, then keep stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.
More Delicious Treats to Try!
Homemade Soft PretzelsAuthor:
Homemade Soft Pretzels
- 1 ½ cups Lukewarm Water
- 2 ¼ teaspoon Instant Quick Rise Yeast, 1 packet
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 tablespoon Granulated Sugar
- 4 cups Bread Flour
Baking Soda Bath
- 8 cups Water
- 4 tablespoon Baking Soda
- 1 Large Egg Yolk
- 1 tablespoon Water
- In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the lukewarm water, instant yeast, salt, and granulated sugar. Let it sit for 1-2 minutes.
- Add in the bread flour and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until the dough forms. Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue to mix the dough for another 4-5 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth and easily pulls away from the sides. If the dough still sticky, you can add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of bread flour.Alternatively, you can mix the dough together until its just combined, then transfer to a clean, lightly floured work surface to knead by hand for 5-7 minutes until it's smooth and soft in texture.
- Shape into a ball then cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
- While your dough rests, adjust your oven to the 2nd level rack (just above center) and preheat your oven to 450ºF. Prep 2 baking sheets lined with silicone baking mats (highly recommended) or parchment paper lightly sprayed with a flour-based baking spray or non-stick oil cooking spray (without it the pretzels will stick).
- Before shaping your pretzels, prepare your baking soda bath by adding the water and baking soda to a large pot, stir together, then bring to a boil. I also mix together the egg wash mixture at this time then set it aside.
- Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the pretzel dough into 8 equally sized pieces. I cut mine as if I were making triangular scones. Alternatively, you can cut and weigh each piece to ensure they are all the same size.
- On a clean work surface, roll one piece of dough out to 24 inches in length. Overlap the two ends forming a teardrop shape. Twist together once, then fold over bringing the ends just past the bottom of the pretzel (see images and/or video for guidance). Press down gently where they meet to form the pretzel. Place onto the prepared baking sheet, then repeat until all pretzels are shaped.
- Place 1 soft pretzel into the boiling baking soda bath and leave in for no more than 30 seconds (use a timer). Remove each pretzel with a fine mesh strainer or flat slotted spatula, carefully letting any excess liquid drip off, then place back onto the baking sheet. The pretzels will puff up slightly during the bath and can't be reshaped. Repeat until all 8 pretzels have been bathed in the baking soda bath.
- Brush on the egg wash mixture and sprinkle with pretzel salt.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes at 450ºF or until your soft pretzels have a nice shiny, medium golden brown color.
- Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool slightly before serving with your favorite mustard and/or cheese sauce.
- Homemade soft pretzels can be kept in a well-sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days (reheating in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to bring them back to life). They also freeze wonderfully too! Let the pretzels cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and place in a sealed container or Ziploc bag. Reheat by baking them in a 350ºF preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Frozen pretzels keep for 1 month.