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Soft pretzels are fresh and hot and you won’t believe how easy they are to make. This soft pretzel recipe is soft and chewy on the inside with a tender, buttery crust.
Dip them in your favorite sauce, like our beer cheese dip, and have a real treat!
I love soft pretzels. They remind me of my mom. We could get them as special treats when I was a kid. We never made them from scratch, but I still loved them the same.
The chewy outside, and the tender, doughy inside. I’ve never made them at home because I thought they were too hard and too much work.
Every summer our community swimming pool sells hot pretzels and it’s my kid’s favorite pool-time treat. You can have it with salt, or cinnamon sugar. Never in my wildest dreams did I even consider making them at home — until one day, I did. Now I’m convinced these are going to be a family staple for decades.
This recipe is going to get passed down in my family for generations – it’s that good!
All said and done, it only takes about 30 minutes to make this soft pretzel recipe.
Soft Pretzel Ingredients
water – luke warm to froth the yeast. Make sure it’s not too hot or it could kill the yeast. Water should be lukewarm to the touch. You can get this temperature from the tap without heating on a stove.
flour – all-purpose flour
baking soda – this causes the dough to rise when baking
salt – adds flavor to the pretzel dough
yeast – you need to use yeast, but it’s so easy. I keep a jar in my refrigerator so I never run out. But you can also buy the small packets of yeast.
sugar – just a tough to add flavor
coarse sea salt – this is a must for regular pretzels! How much you use, is really up to you. But, a traditional soft pretzel is topped with big chunks of coarse sea salt.
How to Make Soft Pretzels
- Start with making the dough by putting the water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Use lukewarm water. If the water is too hot, it can kill the yeast. If the water is cold, the yeast won’t activate. I just turn the tap water on until it’s warm to the touch.
- Add the yeast to the water and let sit for
- Add flour, one cup at a time and mix with the the dough hook until the dough is silky and smooth.
- If the dough is too sticky, add 1/4 cup flour at a time until it’s smooth.
- If the dough is too dry, add 1 tablespoon water at a time until it smooths out.
- Let mixer knead dough for about 5 minutes then take out of bowl and form into a ball. Place back into bowl and cover with a tea towel and set in warm place to rise for 15 minutes.
- While dough is rising, make the baking soda water bath. Place baking soda into water and heat until baking soda is dissolved. Reduce heat so water temperature is lukewarm.
- After 15 minutes, go back to the dough. The dough won’t rise a ton so don’t be surprised if it looks similar to the way you left it.
- Remove dough and flatten into a circle on the counter. Cut into 8 wedges.
- Roll each wedge into a long rope, about 24 inches long. Try to make the rope width consistent, but it doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Hold edges of the rope and twist together, then move toward yourself and form into pretzel shape.
- Place pretzels onto baking sheet and take to the water bath.
- Place each pretzel in the water bath and leave for 2 minutes. You may get one or 2 pretzels in at a time, depending on the size of your pan. After 2 minutes, place pretzel on baking sheet. Repeat until all are done.
- Sprinkle pretzels with coarse sea salt. Be generous.
- Bake pretzels for 8-9 minutes, until golden brown. Brush with melted butter and serve!
Tips on Making Soft Pretzels
- It’s best to use a stand mixer with a dough hook, but you can do all of the mixing and kneading with a wooden spoon and your hands.
- Don’t skip the water bath. This is what hardens the outside of the pretzels.
- Some people put an egg wash on the pretzels just before you bake them, but I found that step unnecessary as the outside of the pretzel crusts and browns perfectly without the egg wash.
You don’t have to make the traditional pretzel shape. You can make a simple twist. Cut strips into small “bites,” or even roll small parts of dough for pretzel holes.
You can also use different seasonings. We love cinnamon sugar on ours to make it a sweet treat.
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- 2 1/4 tsp yeast active dry
- 1 cup water warm
- 1 Tbsp sugar granulated
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups flour all-purpose
- 2 cups water
- 4 Tbsp baking soda
- 3 Tbsp butter unsalted, melted
- 2 Tbsp sea salt
- Preheat oven to 475 F.
- Prepare baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper or Silpat liner and set aside.
- In large mixing bowl of stand mixer, combing lukewarm water (not hot, this may kill the yeast), sugar, and yeast. Stir with mixer attachment. Wait until water becomes frothy.
- Add in salt and 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Mix to combine.
- Add flour, one cup at a time, and mix with dough hook. Once all flour is incorporated, continue stirring until dough is not sticky. If the dough is still sticky after a few minutes, add a 1/4 cup of flour at a time and stir. If the dough is too dry, add water a few tablespoons at a time.
- Once the dough is firm, yet soft, to the touch and bounces back, it's time to knead the dough. Keep dough in mixer with dough hook attachment and stir for 5 minutes until the dough is completely smooth and somewhat elastic.
- Remove dough from bowl and shape into round form. Place back in bowl and cover with a tea towel and set in warm place to rise for 15 minutes.
- While dough is rising, place a medium-large sauce pan on oven with 2 cups of water. Add in baking soda and heat over medium temperature until the baking soda is dissolved. Do not let boil.
- Once baking soda bath is ready, turn heat off and let rest until lukewarm.
- After the 15 minute time has elapsed for the dough rising, take dough ball out and put on floured surface. Flatten the dough to form a flat circle.
- Using a bench scraper, pizza cutter, or knife, cut dough into 8 pie shapes.
- Roll each pie piece into a long, thin rope about 24 inches long (think, two rulers long). How the ends of the rop up and twist them, bringing the ends toward you and placing down to form a pretzel shape. Pinch the ends on the top of the pretzel. Place pretzels on baking sheet and move to stove.
- Using a flat spatula, pick up each pretzel, one at a time, and place in the lukewarm baking soda bath. Depending on the size of your pan, you may fit two or more at a time in the bath. Let pretzel sit in water bath for 2 minutes. Remove pretzel with spatula, let water drip, and place back on baking sheet. Readjust pretzel shape if needed. Repeat until all 8 pretzels are done.
- Sprinkle pretzels with coarse sea salt. Be generous as a lot of salt falls off the pretzels after they are baked.
- Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 8-9 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove pretzels from oven and brush with melted butter.
- Serve warm.
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