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Published March 4, 2020. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
These delicious homemade soft pretzels are so easy to make at home that you’ll never buy them at the store again.
We oftentimes get caught buying stuff from the grocery store that is incredibly easy to make at home and taste far better when made homemade. These soft pretzels are no different. Just like homemade dinner rolls or homemade white bread, there’s nothing like it.
What Are They
Soft pretzels are essentially a bread dough that has been formed, parboiled in an alkaline water solution and is then baked until browned. They are indigenous to Germany as you may have heard them called German soft pretzels.
What Makes Soft Pretzels Brown
A few things make soft pretzels brown, they are:
- Boiling them in Alkaline water
- Brushing them with egg wash before baking, which is what you do in a beef wellington recipe as well.
Why Do You Boil Pretzels
When you parboil soft pretzels in the alkaline water, which is water boiled with baking soda, it gelatinizes the dough which helps to give it it’s harder brown outer crust with its tender soft insides.
Most of the ingredients for this recipe you likely already have at home, which include:
- Brown Sugar
- Unsalted Butter
- Sea Salt
- Baking Soda
How to Make Soft Pretzels
Add the water, brown sugar and yeast to a stand mixer and whisk until combined.
Let the mixture sit for 5 to 7 minutes or until a raft forms on top.
Add the hook attachment and turn the stand mixer onto low speed and add in the salt and melted unsalted butter.
Add 1 cup of flour at a time and then turn the speed to medium-low.
Knead for 5 minutes and then transfer to a bowl or container with a lid and let rest for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Remove the dough and evenly form into individual 24” long ropes and fold to make a pretzel shape.
Parboil the pretzels 1 or 2 at a time for 30 seconds into a large pot of boiling water with baking soda.
Remove from alkaline water solution and place on a cookie sheet tray lined with parchment paper or better yet a Silpat and brush with egg wash.
Sprinkle with coarse sea or Kosher salt and bake in the oven at 450° for 12-15 minutes.
What Goes Well With Soft Pretzels
Since these are more or less appetizer type foods, they go well when dipped into some of these recipes and alongside them.
Make-Ahead and Storage
How To Reheat: Place on a tray and wrap in foil and bake in the oven at 350° for 5-6 minutes or until hot. Likewise, you can also heat in the microwave until hot.
Make-Ahead: You can make pretzels up to 1 day ahead of time and reheat before serving.
How To Store: Keep wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
chef notes + tips
- Feel free to make the pretzels as thick or as thin as you’d like and also consider making pretzel bites or rods.
- When adding the water to the stand mixer I usually like to go a little hotter like 118° because the bowl is usually a little chilly and drops the temperature of it by a few degrees making it perfect for the yeast.
- You may need more flour when kneading the dough in the stand mixer. The goal is that the dough is very soft but not sticky.
Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, and Pinterest and if you’ve had a chance to make this then definitely drop me a comment and a rating below!
Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
- 2 cups of warm water between 110° and 115°
- 1 ½ tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 packet active yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
- 3 ounces melted unsalted butter
- 5 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ¾ cup baking soda and 1 gallon of water
- 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tablespoon cold water
- coarse kosher or sea salt for topping
- Preheat the oven to 450°.
- In a standing mixer bowl, add in the water, brown sugar, and sprinkle on the yeast, whisk together and let it sit for 5 to 7 minutes or until it forms a foamy raft on top.
- Add the hook attachment and turn the speed to low and pour in the salt and butter.
- Add in the flour 1 cup at a time until combined and knead the dough on low to medium speed for 5 minutes.
- Add oil into a large bowl or container and place in the dough. Cover with a towel or lid and rest until it doubles in size, about an hour
- Before it is time to form the dough, bring the baking soda and 1 gallon of water to a boil in a large pot.
- To form the dough, take a small piece and roll it out until it is a 24” long rope. Form the dough into a U shape and holding each end cross over each other and pull down to make a pretzel with the ends slightly over the other part of the dough.
- Turn down the boiling water to a simmer and cook each pretzel dough 1 to 2 at a time for 30 seconds each and then place back on a cookie sheet tray lined with parchment paper or with a Silpat.
- Once all of the pretzels have been cooked in the baking soda solution, brush the tops with the egg wash and season heavily with coarse kosher or sea salt.
- Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Thanks to the step by step instructions and the video, I was able to make homemade pretzels! Next time will double the recipe!
Thank you so much for this recipe. I’ve always wanted to make home made soft pretzels but have always been intimidated by it, thinking OMG that’s way too hard. Then today I saw your video pop up in my Facebook feed and thought WOW, I can do that (or at least try). Well I did and they are delicious, can’t wait to make more and try different toppings on them.
These pretzels qwrw outstanding and easy to make. Made a cheese sauce to dip pretzel in.
More than a decade ago I made some pretzels at home *without* using lye because of the safety and I was very disappointed with them. Their flavor was too mild, too bland, not like pro pretzel vendors make. I decided it was mandatory to use lye and take all the needed precautions and until then would just not be making pretzels at all because without lye they are not right; they were too fake to bother eating.
So a certain day came when I saw your video about these, and maybe your talk about them being tasty did it, but I broke my own rule and decided to try them. Well maybe I’ve been away from real pretzel vendors for TOO long and don’t remember what the real ones are supposed to be like — because these tasted really good to me and I couldn’t complain about them missing much of anything. Nice soft texture inside, the browned exterior, and they had flavor. I actually wanted to eat these because they came out as a good tasting product. I am wondering what happened to me?
Maybe next time I’m traveling I’ll go especially out of my way to get some of the pushcart vendor pretzels again, just so I can re-educate on them, because today I am really liking these.
I thought making pretzels would be so difficult, but Chef’s instructions made it easy. I couldn’t believe how impressed everyone was. Now I make them for most gatherings and for the family – movie night has become movie/pretzel night.
Can the uncooked pretzel be frozen ?
Have you made the dough ahead of time and refrigerated it until you needed to make the pretzels? If so, how long would you let the dough rise before refrigerating?
You can make it ahead of time, but I wouldn’t keep it in the refrigerator longer than overnight.
I made these for my son’s first birthday party and they were delicious! Everyone keeps asking for the recipe! The crust was nice and crunchy with a doughy center!
Oh my goodness, I have to make these! My grandsons would love the
cinnamon/sugar coated pretzels. Your videos are each fantastic cooking lessons that help your viewers improve their cooking abilities. The instructions are clear and simple enough even for the inexperience to produce a success in the kitchen. Always looking forward to all your videos and recipes.
Can bread flour be used for all purpose?
yes, but you would need to increase hydration by 3-5%.
Do you have this in grams?
I do not sorry.
Can instant yeast be used instead?
Thank you for sharing this recipe.My family is addicted to it.Best pretzel recipe I found!!! It’s a keeper:)