Not sure if making homemade soft pretzels is doable? It absolutely is! This soft pretzel recipe calls for a handful of basic ingredients, and I walk you through the process of shaping them step by step.
I’m a total sucker for those soft pretzels you get at the mall. You know, the ones they keep warm under a heat lamp? No shame here!
But as with most good things in life, homemade soft pretzels are so much better than the ones you get at the mall. And believe it or not, making soft pretzels at home isn’t difficult whatsoever!
The only “hard” part about making homemade pretzels is shaping the dough, but once you’ve practiced it a few times you’ll get the hang of it. Lucky for you, I’ve shared step-by-step photos in this post to show you how to shape the pretzel dough so your pretzels turn out perfectly every time.
These pretzels make a great snack or appetizer and would be delicious dunked into your favorite game day dips as well, just saying!
Ingredients Needed for This Recipe
This soft pretzel recipe calls for simple ingredients you may have on hand already. This is a yeast pretzel recipe, but that’s the only special ingredient you’ll need.
Let’s take a quick look at the ingredients list so you know what to expect from this recipe.
- Water: Should be between 105°F to 115°F. You don’t want it to be too hot or it can kill the yeast.
- Granulated sugar: You need just 1 tablespoon of sugar so the yeast has something to “eat” while it proofs (i.e. sits in the warm water and becomes foamy).
- Active dry yeast: The yeast will need to sit in a mixture of warm water and sugar until it becomes foamy. If your yeast doesn’t become foamy, it’s not good and you’ll need to start over.
- Salt: Table salt flavors the pretzel dough, and coarse sea salt is sprinkled on top just before baking.
- Butter: I recommend using unsalted butter since there’s already salt incorporated into the dough and sprinkled on top.
- All-purpose flour: Spoon and level the flour when measuring it. This prevents you from accidentally measuring out too much.
- Baking soda: The baking soda is combined with water to create a baking soda bath. This is what gives them their classic pretzel taste!
How to Make Homemade Soft Pretzels
First, you’ll need to proof the yeast. To do so, combine the water and sugar in a large bowl, then add the yeast. Set it aside for 5 minutes until the mixture is foamy. If the mixture doesn’t become foamy, it might mean your yeast is not good and you will need to start again.
Add the melted butter and salt to the foamy yeast mixture. Then, add 2 cups of flour, then mix in 1 more. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour as needed until it’s no longer sticky to the touch.
Knead the dough for 3 to 5 minutes by hand on a floured surface, or with a dough hook on low speed. Once it’s been kneaded, cover it, and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, set the water and baking soda on the stove to boil while the dough rests and you shape the pretzels.
Once the dough has rested for 10 minutes, shape the pretzels. Divide the dough into eight equal-sized pieces, then roll into 20- to 22-inch ropes. Create a U-shape, twist the ends around each other, then press them onto the bottom of the U in order to form a pretzel shape.
After the dough has been shaped, use a slotted spoon to dip each pretzel into the baking soda-boiling water mixture. Don’t leave the pretzels in the baking soda bath for too long, otherwise they can have a very strong metallic taste. 20 seconds (10 seconds each side) is all they need!
Transfer the pretzels to a baking sheet, brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake for about 10 minutes, then broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the tops are brown. Be sure to keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn!
Ways to Eat Soft Pretzels
This easy soft pretzel recipe is delicious as is, but you can also pair it with so many sauces, dips, and toppings. A few ways to serve soft baked pretzels are with:
- Jalapeño dip
- Nacho cheese
- Dulce de leche
- Chocolate sauce
- Olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- Salted caramel sauce
- Let the dough rest before you shape it. If you don’t let the dough rest, you run the risk of over working it, which would result in tough, dense pretzels.
- Don’t omit the sugar from the recipe. This gives the yeast something to feed on so you can tell if it’s good.
- Keep a close eye on the pretzels when they’re under the broiler. They can go from golden brown to burnt in a matter of seconds.
Soft Pretzel Recipe
- 1 cup (240 ml) warm water
- 1 tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted butter , melted and slightly cooled
- 3 to 3 ½ cups (375 to 440 grams) all-purpose flour spooned & leveled
- 9 cups water
- 1/2 cup (125 grams) baking soda
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) unsalted butter , melted
- Coarse sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the warm water and sugar together. Gently stir in the yeast and allow to stand for 5 minutes until foamy.
- Add the melted butter and salt to the mixture and stir until fully combined.
- Mix in 2 cups (250 grams) of flour until just combined, then mix in 1 more cup (125 grams) of flour until just combined. Add more flour if needed until the dough is thick and no longer sticky.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 3 to 5 minutes, then shape the dough into a ball.
- Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
- Pour 9 cups of water into a large pot over high heat, add the baking soda, whisk until well combined, and bring to a boil.
- Using a knife, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece into a rope about 20-inches in length.
- Take the ends of each rope and create a U-shape. Twist the ends over each other then press them onto the bottom of the U to form the pretzel shape.
- Using a slotted spoon or spatula, gently dip each pretzel into the boiling water for 20 seconds (10 seconds on each side). Gently lift the pretzel out of the water and allow any excess water to drip off.
- Transfer the pretzels to the prepared baking sheet. Brush with the melted butter and top with coarse sea salt.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until baked through then turn the oven to broil and bake for 2 to 3 more minutes or until the tops are brown (be sure to keep a close eye on them so that they don't burn).
- Remove the pretzels from the oven and brush with any remaining butter.
- Allow to cool slightly and serve warm.