These homemade soft pretzels are easy to make in one bowl and ready in under an hour! You don’t have to wait a long time for the dough to rise, and there’s no need for a thermometer. The results are warm, golden twists of buttery, salty goodness! Serve with my easy beer cheese dip and add them both to your list of Super Bowl snacks.
Coming from German lineage means I have a super soft spot for soft pretzels. I can legitimately make a meal out of a single pretzel, an assortment of mustards and cheese dips, and a tall glass of beer.
When I lived in Vermont, there was a bierhaus that I spent… well, let’s just say I basically lived there. I lived off of bratwursts, spaetzle, and gigantic pretzels. Once I moved away (and it closed shortly after – sniffle sniffle), I knew I needed to perfect my own recipe to make them at home.
Lucky for you, it’s not that hard!
Making homemade soft pretzels
Yes, we’re working with yeast – but there’s no thermometer needed!
Don’t freak out – it’s going to be less complicated than you might think.
Just mix the yeast with warm water, let it sit for a minute, and then add your sugar, melted butter and salt and whisk to combine.
For the rest, you’ll want a dough hook (pictured above). If you are looking to buy one, make sure that you check the size of it so that you’re getting one that is compatible with your stand mixer.
You can make this recipe with the help of a wooden spoon, but for the sake of your arm muscles I recommend using a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.
How do I know when the dough is ready?
For this pretzel recipe, you’ll know the dough is ready to be taken out of the bowl and kneaded when it is no longer sticky to the touch and it’s pulling away from the sides of the bowl as the dough hook turns the dough.
Once you’ve turned the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (I always use a large silicone baking mat), knead it for 2-3 minutes. You want the dough to be fully incorporated and elastic.
It will be sort of light a heavy, elastic pillow. It makes sense, I swear.
How to shape your pretzels
I promise, this isn’t as hard as you might think:
- Cut the dough into 8 evenly sized portions – or 10, or 12. It all depends on how many you want. 8 will give you nice big pretzels, but you can also make up to 12 smaller ones.
- Roll each portion out into a ~24″ strip (shorter for smaller pretzels, around 18-20″).
- Pull each end up and around to draw them together into a circle shape. Now twist the ends around each other once, towards yourself, and press each end firmly into the bottom of the circle (see above).
Next up is the baking soda bath. All you need to do is carefully drop each pretzel into a boiling mixture of water and baking soda, let it boil for 30 seconds, then carefully remove with a large slotted spatula.
After you’ve removed each one from the bath, place them on your prepared baking sheets, coat with a beaten egg yolk/water mixture, and sprinkle with salt.
Now you’ll pop them in the oven until they’re golden brown and smell amazing.
Just look at that color! You’ll find that various areas on the dough will split and stretch as they bake, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It just adds to the rustic beauty that is a homemade soft pretzel.
What goes well with soft pretzels?
Okay fine, not everything – but some of my personal favorites are to dip them in cheese dips, mustards, vanilla icing, chocolate, caramel, and Nutella.
Can you freeze homemade soft pretzels?
The problem with delicious, freshly baked soft pretzels is that they don’t age well. This is the kind of thing you want to make when you know they’ll be consumed the same day – after that, they start to loose their texture and become less appealing.
With that said, you can freeze them – as long as you do it right. Let the pretzels cool completely, and then wrap each one in plastic wrap (individually) and place them in a large freezer-friendly plastic bag for up to 1 month.
How to reheat homemade soft pretzels
To reheat them, bake for 10 minutes or so at 350°F. They won’t be exactly the same, but it’s better than starting over, right?
After you’ve made this recipe, please consider coming back to share your experience with others by leaving a comment below with a star rating!
Homemade Soft Pretzels
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry or instant yeast, 1 packet
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup baking soda
- 10 cups water
- 1 egg yolk + 1 Tablespoon water, lightly beaten
- Sea salt, for garnish
- In a large bowl, combine water and yeast and whisk to combine. Allow to sit for 1 minute.
- Add sugar, butter and salt, and whisk to combine.
- Combine using either a dough hook on low speed or a wooden spoon, add flour 1 cup at a time until the dough is thick and no longer sticky, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You might not need all 4 cups, or you may find you need a bit more.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface (I always use a large silicon baking mat) and knead the dough for 2 minutes, then shape into a ball. Place dough back in the bowl and cover with a clean dishtowel. Let rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425°F and prepare baking sheets (you'll need 2) with nonstick silicon mats or parchment paper. Set aside.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and place back on your prepared work surface. Use a knife or bench scraper to cut the dough into 8 equal sized pieces (can also be cut into 10 or 12 if you want to have more, smaller pretzels). Roll each piece into a long rope, about 24" long.
- Pull each end up and around to draw them together into a circle shape. Now twist the ends around each other once, towards yourself, and press each end firmly into the bottom of the circle (see the body of the post above for photos).
- In a large pot, combine the 10 cups water and ½ cup baking soda and bring to a boil.
- In a small bowl, combine egg yolk and water and lightly beat with a whisk. Set aside.
- Carefully drop each pretzel into the water, one at a time, and let boil for 30 seconds. Use a large flat slotted spatula to carefully remove from the water and place on the prepared baking sheets (4 to each).
- Brush the tops of each pretzel with the egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt (to taste).
- Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Move to a wire rack to cool, or serve immediately. Enjoy!