Homemade Soft Pretzels

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Soft pretzels are always made with yeast dough and are in fact very similar to bagels in both composition and construction.

Although there is such a thing as salt-less pretzels, called “baldies,” I would suggest that they’re really not pretzels at all, but rather cruel jokes perpetrated by bitter bakers.

If you don’t have pretzel salt, coarse sea salt will do.


  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115 degrees F)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter (melted)
  • Vegetable oil (for the bowl and pan)
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk (beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
  • Pretzel salt
  1. Combine the 1 1/2 cups warm water, the sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside for 5 minutes, or until the mixture foams.
  2. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl, then oil it well. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with oil. Set aside.
  5. Bring the 10 cups water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in a 12-inch straight-sided saute pan or a roasting pan (something wide and shallow is best).
  6. Meanwhile, turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, and, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place on a half sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
  7. One by one, place the pretzels in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return them to the sheet pans, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture, and sprinkle with pretzel salt.
  8. Bake until dark golden brown in color, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

If you don’t have pretzel salt, coarse sea salt will do.


Add yours
  1. 1

    Fantastic! We tried this thanks to Jennifer Garners IG post. A fun math, chemistry & home economics activity while in shelter in place here in California. We will make this again. Tasty & easy for kids to make.

  2. 2

    Could NOT have turned out any more delicious! I had never made these before, but have certainly bought our fair share at the mall. Simple ingredients, minimal time (the majority of which is spent waiting for the dough to rise), and outstanding results! The dough was a little much for my stand mixer, as even in the “lock” position, I had to hold down the top. I maybe mixed with the dough hook for 2 mins (not the suggested 4-5 mins.) and it was perfectly fine. Will make again, and again!

  3. 4
    Theresa Aufiero

    I followed recipe to the T. Mine didn’t turn out that great. They were tough and I didn’t get that Pretzel taste I was looking for. Maybe I left them in the water too Long? I will try them again because when my brother visited me years ago, his came out fine. Was disappointed:(

  4. 6

    To Keith, who asked about the lye: On the show, Itchy and Twitchy stopped him from using the lye, since there could be legal ramifications if someone used it improperly. I’m sure you could still use it for this recipe, he just can’t instruct you to, legally.

  5. 10
    Casey Galloway

    Any suggestions for getting a more bagel like crust on the outside? From my time in Germany, it’s the most distinctly lacking trait for these pretzels. They’re delicious, but looking for the crust.

  6. 11
    Leslie Stahl

    I like pink Himalayan salt for the flavor. I have it in a salt mill and can adjust the coarseness of the grind from fine to very coarse. For pretzels, I like it very coarse. The flavor of the salt really enhances the flavor of the pretzels. It brings out the sweetness. Otherwise, coarse kosher salt that comes in the box works very well.

  7. 12

    I want to make these for my g rands, but I don’t have food scales. Therefore, in regards to cups, how many cups of flour equals 22 ounces. I’m going to try and purchase scales soon, but not sure of the best kind to buy. Any suggestions on either?

  8. 13
    Roger Collins

    Great recipe, turned out perfect. I baked at 375 instead of recommended temp for a little longer, came out a nice dark brown. Will repeat.

  9. 14
    Uncle Ryan

    Made these yesterday and they were so good! Super easy recipe. We added about 1/4 cup more flour after the 22 ounces because it was not all off the sides of our mixer bowl after a few minutes. Used kosher sea salt and it was the perfect salt for us. Course enough but much better tasting than cheap pretzel salt. Lastly, we had to pour our water-for-boiling into our largest deep skillet (about 3/4 of the water/baking soda mixture) as the roasting pan on the stove just never would come to a boil, it was too dispersed. Did 4 at a time for 30 sec and it was perfect. If you use 2 sheet pans, be sure to rotate them half way through cooking or they will brown differently. There’s no reason for 2 cookie sheets either. Just use your largest one as they do not grow very much during baking. We made a quick cheese sauce for dipping. Just google “pretzel cheese sauce” there’s tons of varieties. So yummy!

  10. 18
    Robina Williams

    I wanted to double this recipe, so I doubled the amount of the first ingredients: flour, salt, sugar, yeast, etc. I doubled the 1-1/2 cups of water to 3 cups and the dough was way too wet. I added more flour & tried to blend it in, not sure how they’re going to turn out. Can anybody help with specifics on doubling the recipe?
    Also, I used my dough hook to blend the dough as directed; this is supposed to totally take the place of kneading by hand? Please help and thanks!

  11. 19

    Something I learned from a German pretzel baker: you CAN freeze par-baked pretzels. Don’t salt or egg them; bake for about half time time (5-6 minutes), then pull them and move them to the freezer still on the baking sheet (I have a chest freezer), or at least keep them flat. Freeze solid, then bag them up. When you’re ready, apply eggwash & salt, then bake for 12 minutes or so as instructed (you’re looking for the preztel brown color, as normal).

    The German pretzel baker only froze them for later use the same day; I’ve frozen batches for up to 2 months and they’re still great.

  12. 20
    Thomas Kottke

    @Laurie (Q: “Is it possible to do this without a stand mixer? Maybe with a food processor?”). Laurie it is totally possible to do this without a stand mixer – it just requires a little more physical effort. The stand mixer’s job is to combine the ingredients and then to knead the dough. The process of kneading creates the gluten fibers.

    I don’t own a stand mixer so I start by combining the ingredients as described into a bowl with a wooden spoon until that becomes too difficult. Then I switch to using my hands. Once the mixture has combined into a dough ball, I dump the ball onto my counter and start kneading by hand (stretching and folding the dough). This will take a little bit longer to get that “smooth” constancy. The dough is ready when you can stretch it but it does not tear. You might want to look on youtube for videos on kneading dough.

    From there continue as usual.

  13. 21

    These turned out wonderful! Had to add a little flour as the dough was mixing, and pull it off the hook a few times, but they turned out great! Will be saving this recipe and making again. Yum!

  14. 25

    To Don:
    I bought one of those salt grinders that have large bits of salt in them, like a peppermill it. I’m keeping it on hand and I’ll just use what’s in it for my pretzels, without grinding.

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