Homemade soft pretzels are soft and chewy on the inside and shiny and golden brown on the outside. They are incredibly easy to make with simple ingredients you probably already have on hand.
There is nothing quite as irresistible as the smell of freshly baked soft pretzels. Homemade soft pretzels beat any mall pretzel stand version because they taste just as good, are less expensive, and are made without any artificial ingredients. This recipe could not be easier with no rise time and no stand mixer required.
How to Make Soft Pretzels:
Make the dough by adding 1 standard packet of active dry yeast to lukewarm water. Let it sit for a few minutes until it dissolves and gets a little foamy. Then, add in the rest of the ingredients until a dough is formed. Knead the dough for 2 minutes. You can do this using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment or you can knead the dough by hand. Because the pretzels will puff up during baking, there’s no need to let them rise before shaping.
How to Shape Pretzels:
Divide the dough into 8 even pieces. Then, roll each piece into a long and skinny rope that is about 20-22″ long. Take each rope and form into a ‘u’ shape, then twist the ends together and bring them back down.
Boiling soft pretzels before baking:
Boiling soft pretzels in water and baking soda is an important step that should not be skipped. The boiling water and baking soda are what create the golden brown, shiny and crackly exterior, along with the classic chewy and soft interior.
Add water and baking soda to a large pot and bring to a boil. Use a slotted spatula to boil pretzels in batches of 1 or 2 at a time and boil for 10 – 20 seconds.
Arrange the pretzels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
The egg wash: This is an easy and important step that helps the exterior become golden brown and crispy and also helps the salt to stick to the surface. Brush the tops with 1 beaten egg and then sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake pretzels at 425° for 15-20 minutes until they are nicely golden brown. Serve with mustard for dipping.
More ways to enjoy soft pretzels:
- Divide the dough into more portions for mini soft pretzels, or fewer portions for jumbo soft pretzels.
- Top with cinnamon and sugar instead of salt.
- Top with cheese and pizza toppings and serve with a side of marinara for dipping.
- Make pretzel dogs by wrapping the dough around hot dogs.
- Sprinkle the tops with fresh parmesan cheese.
- Wrap the dough around a piece of cheese for pretzel cheese bites.
Homemade Soft Pretzels
For the pretzel dough:
- 2 and ¼ tsp. active dry yeast (1 standard packet)
- 1 and ½ cups lukewarm water
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 2. tsp. salt
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 4 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
For boiling the pretzels:
- 8-10 cups water
- ½ cup baking soda
For topping the pretzels:
- 1 egg, beaten
- coarse salt
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- In a large bowl, heat water by microwaving for about 30 seconds until lukewarm. Stir in the active dry yeast and let sit for a few minutes until the yeast dissolves and is foamy.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients until a dough forms and knead the dough for 2 minutes. You can do this in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment or just knead the dough by hand.
- Add the baking soda and water to a large pot and bring to a boil.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a long, skinny rope, about 20-22" long.
- Shape into pretzels by taking each rope and turning upwards into a 'u' shape. Then take the two ends and wrap them around each other twice, then bring them back down to the curved part of the u.
- Once all of the pretzels are formed, add them to the boiling water, 1 at a time, and boil for 10-20 seconds. Don't leave them in the boiling water for too long or they will have a metallic taste.
- Remove the pretzels with a slotted spoon and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each with the beaten egg and sprinkle coarse sugar on top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until the tops are golden brown.