Homemade soft pretzels are satisfying to make and an absolute treat to eat! This is a no-lye recipe, which means you don’t need any special equipment to make it. Soft pretzels for everyone!

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: Soft, warm homemade pretzels are so much better than store-bought. Many homemade soft pretzel recipes require boiling in a lye bath but I use baking soda which is much easier to handle.

How long it takes: just under 2 hours, including an hour of resting time

Equipment you’ll need: baking sheet, large saucepan, mixing bowl, brush

Servings: makes 8 large pretzels

Homemade soft pretzels on a sheet pan.
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

If you’ve ever made homemade yeasted bread before, like my no-knead whole wheat bread or Dutch oven bread, you know how satisfying it is. The process is soothing in a zen kind of way, and the feeling of biting into bread that you made with your own hands is hard to beat. These soft pretzels produce that same feeling of pride and satisfaction. 

Reasons to Love Homemade Soft Pretzels

  • The best soft pretzels you’ll ever eat. Hands down, nothing can top a freshly made pretzel. Maybe if you go on a trip to Bavaria, you’ll prove me wrong, but comparing these pretzels to store-bought American varieties, there’s just no question that homemade is the way to go.
  • Fun to make. Yes, they require a little more work than those microwavable frozen pretzels, but that work is (dare I say) FUN! Working with the dough, twisting the pretzels into shape, and dropping them in the water is oddly satisfying.
  • A good recipe for beginning yeast bakers. If you’re just getting started on your bread baking journey, soft pretzels are a great recipe to try as you test the waters. Think of no-knead bread recipes as the foundation, and then pretzels as the next step up.
  • Approachable. Everything you need for this recipe is a kitchen staple ingredient and there’s no fancy equipment needed either. And—this is important!—you’ll boil the pretzels in a baking soda bath instead of lye. While using a lye bath is more authentic, it also requires safety goggles and a whole lot of precautions. The quick dip in baking soda and water forms that signature chewy “skin” on the outside of the pretzel. Don’t skip it, because it’s what makes pretzels pretzels!
Pretzel, slightly pulled apart to show soft interior.

Ingredient List

  • All Purpose White Flour: No need for anything fancy, just your standard all-purpose flour.
  • Instant Yeast: Also known as rapid rise or quick rise yeast. This yeast is milled into smaller particles so it doesn’t need to be dissolved in water. In addition, enzymes and other additives are included to make the dough rise faster.
  • Salt: Without salt, the yeast would go crazy. Salt added to dough acts as an inhibitor. In addition, the pretzels would taste really bland without salt.
  • Brown Sugar: To add a touch of sweetness to the dough.
  • Warm Water: The temperature should be between 120°F and 130°F. It’s important that it’s neither too hot nor too cold; too cold and the yeast won’t activate, and too hot and it will kill the yeast.
  • Unsalted Butter: You can melt the butter in a small pan on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  • Baking Soda and Water: This mixture is used for the baking soda bath (instead of lye) which gives pretzels their color and that unique outer layer; without the alkaline bath, they’d be like a dinner roll in the shape of a pretzel.
  • Egg: A beaten egg wash on the exterior of the pretzels gives them a shiny finish and helps the salt stick.
  • Pretzel Salt or Sea Salt: The perfect finishing touch for soft pretzels! If you eat a lot of store-bought soft pretzels, you might even have a leftover salt packet that you can use for this recipe.
Ingredients needed for recipe.

Equipment Note

You can also make soft pretzels by hand. Mix the dough ingredients together in a mixing bowl, then once they form a shaggy ball, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 to 15 minutes until it is soft and pliable.

How to Make Soft Pretzels

Attach the dough hook to your stand mixer. Whisk the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar in the stand mixer bowl. 

Pour the water and melted butter into the mixing bowl, then turn on the stand mixer to the lowest setting. Mix for 8 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed, until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. It should feel dry to the touch and when you press a finger into the dough, it should spring back slowly. 

Pretzel Making Tip

If the dough feels sticky when you touch it with a clean dry finger, add more flour a tablespoon at a time while the mixer runs. The ratio of flour to water can vary depending on the humidity in your home.

Lightly oil a bowl and turn the dough out into it, flipping the dough so that it’s coated in the oil. Cover it with a clean, dry towel and set the bowl in a warm place away from drafts for 1 hour to allow the dough to rise until it’s doubled.

Oil a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.

Gently punch down the dough and transfer it to a clean surface. Use a large knife or bench scraper to cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. If the dough seems too elastic, let it rest 10 minutes.

Roll each piece of dough into a rope about 20 inches long.

Form the rope into an upside down U shape, then take the loose ends of the dough and wrap them around each other twice. Fold the ends up to meet the top of the upside down U and press down lightly. Set onto the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. 

Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan—large enough to fit a pretzel. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then slowly add the baking soda; it will fizz and bubble.

Working one at a time, use a large slotted spatula, spider, or skimmer to put a pretzel into the simmering baking soda bath. Let it boil for 15 seconds on each side, then use the slotted spatula to lift the pretzel out of the water and allow the water to drain off. Set the pretzel back onto the baking sheet and repeat for each pretzel.

Brush the pretzels with the beaten egg, then sprinkle lightly with pretzel salt.

Bake for 14 to 17 minutes, or until the pretzels are golden brown.

Homemade soft pretzel sitting on a pile of others.

FAQs

What makes a soft pretzel taste like a pretzel?

What sets pretzels apart from other yeasted baked goods is the alkaline bath—either lye or baking soda with water. This gelatinizes the pretzels’ exterior, making the crust chewy and browned when they’re done baking.

What is the best salt for homemade soft pretzels?

You can buy pretzel salt for your soft pretzels, which is naturally the best choice! Of course, if you don’t want to go out and buy salt just for homemade soft pretzels, you can use a flaky sea salt or another coarse salt.

What To Serve With Homemade Soft Pretzels

The two classic options are fancy mustard (or even this creamy Dijon sauce!) or beer cheese dip. You can definitely get creative, though! Easy cheese sauce, queso blanco, and poblano queso dip are also delicious, or try Nutella for a sweet-and-salty contrast.

Pretzel being dipped into cheese sauce.

Soft Pretzel Variations

Using the same dough recipe, make soft pretzel bites or cinnamon sugar pretzel bites. The recipe makes about 60 pretzel bites (and they’re pretty amazing!). You can even divide the dough and make both kinds.

Storage & Reheating Tips

Store completely cooled pretzels in a sealed container, and keep at room temperature for up to 4 days. If you want warm pretzels, reheat them briefly in a warm oven or air fryer.

More Game Day Snacks

Recipe

Homemade Soft Pretzels

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Homemade soft pretzels are satisfying to make and an absolute treat to eat! This is a no-lye recipe, which means you don’t need any special equipment to make it. Soft pretzels for everyone!
Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Ingredients 

  • 4 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant (rapid rise or quick rise) yeast (1 packet)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups warm water, 120°F-130°F
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 large egg, beaten (for glazing)
  • pretzel salt or sea salt, for sprinkling

Instructions 

  • Fit the dough hook to a stand mixer (see note) and put the flour, yeast, salt and sugar into the mixing bowl. Whisk together by hand until fully combined.
  • Pour the water and melted butter into the mixing bowl. Turn on the stand mixer to the lowest setting. Mix with the dough hook for 8 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
  • After 8 minutes the dough will have formed a ball and should come away from the sides of the mixing bowl. It will feel dry to the touch and when you press a finger into the dough it should spring back slowly. If the dough feels sticky when you touch it with a clean dry finger, add more flour a tablespoon at a time with the mixer running until the flour is incorporated.
  • Lightly oil a bowl and turn the dough out into it, flipping the dough so that it’s coated in the oil. Cover with a clean dry towel. Set the bowl aside for 1 hour to allow the dough to rise.
  • Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper OR lightly oil it (either drizzle a little oil on it and rub it in with your hands, or spray it with a light coating of oil).
  • After 1 hour, the dough will have approximately doubled in size. Punch the air out and transfer it to a clean surface. Using a large knife or dough cutter, cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. If dough seems too elastic, let it rest 10 minutes.
  • With your hands, roll each piece of dough into a rope about 20 inches long. To make the pretzel shape, form the rope into an upside down U shape. Take the loose ends of the dough and wrap them around each other twice, then fold the ends up to meet the top of the upside down U, and press down lightly. Set aside on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat for each piece of dough.
  • When you have shaped all the dough into pretzels, set them aside. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and prepare the baking soda water bath.
  • Fill a large saucepan halfway with 8 cups water; bring it to a boil. When it’s boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer, then slowly add the baking soda. The baking soda will fizz and might bubble over if the pan has too much water in it.
  • By now the pretzels will have puffed up slightly. Working one at a time, using a large slotted spatula, spider, or skimmer, put a pretzel into the simmering baking soda water bath. Let it soak for 15 seconds on each side. Note: Do not allow the pretzels to soak for longer than 30 seconds total. Use the slotted spatula to lift the pretzel out of the water and allow the water to drain off. Put the pretzel back onto the baking sheet. Repeat for each pretzel.
  • Brush the pretzels with the beaten egg; then sprinkle lightly with pretzel salt. Bake in the preheated oven for 14 to 17 minutes, or until the pretzels are golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Notes

  • You do not have to use a stand mixer to make pretzel dough. If making by hand, mix the dough ingredients then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for 10 to 15 minutes until it is soft and pliable.
  • It’s important to note that the pretzels shouldn’t be dipped any longer than 30 seconds in the baking soda water bath; otherwise it can affect the flavor and you might be able to taste the bitterness from the baking soda.
  • Keep an eye on the dough as it might double in size faster than an hour depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
  • Storage: Store completely cooled pretzels in a sealed container, and keep at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pretzel, Calories: 296kcal, Carbohydrates: 52g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 35mg, Sodium: 1344mg, Potassium: 113mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 166IU, Vitamin C: 0.01mg, Calcium: 26mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did You Make This?Share a comment and rating below! I love hearing what you think!
Holiday Quick-Start Guide

Get my Holiday

Quick-Start Guide!

Free email series of my best tips!

FREE BONUS!

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




The maximum upload file size: 1 MB. You can upload: image. Drop files here