Pillowy-soft on the inside and chewy on the outside, these traditional Homemade Soft Pretzels are a crave-worthy snack the whole family will love! Easy to make, using basic pantry staples, they are a classic treat.
An Easy Homemade Soft Pretzels Recipe
Pretzels are one of my very favorite carb-y comfort foods. Who could resist a big, soft, bakery pretzel, warm from the oven? Not to mention the dipping possibilities – from honey mustard to chocolate hummus, a soft pretzel is the perfect base for your very favorite dips and drizzles. And you don’t have to wait until the next time you’re at the mall to have one! Making your own soft pretzels is totally doable.
And this recipe tells you exactly how to do it. From making the dough, to shaping the pretzels, to boiling and baking, I’m going to guide you step-by-step on your journey to legendary soft pretzels! They’re healthy, too, made without processed ingredients or unnecessary preservatives. But be prepared – these pretzels disappear fast!
What You’ll Need
This soft pretzel recipe is as simple as can be. While it does take a little time, the end result is so worth it. Here’s what you’ll need to start:
- Water: You’ll want some warm water (around 110°F) as well as some at room temperature.
- Sugar: Sugar lends the pretzels a slight sweetness that helps balance the saltiness of the finished pretzels.
- Salt: Kosher salt and pretzel salt make these pretzels just perfect.
- Active Dry Yeast: Make sure it isn’t expired. Expired yeast won’t work, and the pretzel dough will not rise.
- Flour: I use all-purpose flour. Bread flour can also be used, but you may have to add a little extra liquid.
- Butter: This recipe calls for melted, unsalted butter, but you could also use salted butter. You will need to cut down on the kosher salt in the recipe if you use salted butter.
- Vegetable Oil: Vegetable oil is my go-to for this recipe, but you can substitute your preferred oil. It’s for greasing the bowl that the dough rises in.
- Baking Soda: Baking soda goes into the boiling water, and helps create that classic chewy exterior to the pretzels.
- Egg Yolk: Beat the egg yolk with water to make an egg wash for the pretzels.
Let’s Make Soft Pretzels!
Okay, so those are the pretzel ingredients – what about the process for making them? Let’s take a closer look at those steps in order.
- Proof the Yeast. To begin, combine the water, sugar, and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast on top, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. It should start to foam a bit.
- Make the Dough. Next, add the flour and butter to the bowl. Use the dough hook attachment to combine the ingredients at low speed until the flour is well-incorporated. Then mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. This should take about 5 minutes.
- First Rise. Remove the dough from the bowl. Clean the bowl, dry it, and then oil it with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, and flip it a couple of times to coat it all over with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it sit in a warm place for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Prepare to Boil and Bake. When the dough has almost finished rising, preheat your oven to 450°F. Line a sheet pan or two with parchment paper, and lightly brush them with the vegetable oil. Set them aside. Next, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, with the baking soda.
- Make the Pretzels. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface, and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope. Next, hold the ends of the rope, cross them over each other, and press them onto the bottom of the U, in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Carefully lift each one onto the parchment-lined sheet pan.
- Boil and Bake. Lower the pretzels into the boiling water, one at a time, for about 30 seconds each. Then use a large flat spatula to take them out of the water. Place them back on the sheet pan, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Bake the pretzels until they are a dark golden brown color, about 12 to 14 minutes.
- Enjoy! Transfer your baked pretzels to a cooling rack, and let them cool at least 5 minutes before serving.
Do You Have to Boil Soft Pretzels?
Boiling may not seem necessary, but it is actually an essential step. Boiling allows the pretzels to form a slightly gummy exterior, with bakes up into that chewy bite that everyone loves. Don’t skip this step!
Helpful Tips and Tricks
Have concerns? No problem! Here are a few extra-helpful tips that can help you achieve success with your homemade soft pretzels. Happy baking!
- Boiling: Be careful not to boil your pretzels for too long. Boiling them for too long can result in soggy, dense pretzels – not the chewy goodness you’re looking for.
- Kneading: Don’t over-knead your dough! Over-kneading your dough ends up making your pretzels stiff and dense.
- Yeast: If your yeast doesn’t seem to froth or foam after five minutes of sitting, it is most likely expired, and you will have to start again with fresh yeast.
Tasty Variation Ideas
Pretzels are versatile and can be eaten in almost any way with anything. Here are a few of my family’s favorite ways to serve them.
- Drizzles: For a salty-sweet twist, drizzle chocolate or caramel over your freshly-baked pretzels. Yummy!
- Shape: Not feeling the classic pretzel shape? Mix it up! Shape it any way you like for some variety! Examples include pretzel bites, rings, and sticks.
- Flavors: Knead Italian seasoning, garlic powder, or any other seasoning that you love, right into the dough. Easy!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- For super-simple storage, wrap your completely cooled pretzels individually in plastic wrap, or seal them into zip-top bags. Keep them at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- To reheat, put softball pretzels in a 350F oven until they are warmed up.
Can I Freeze These Pretzels?
You bet! To freeze your pretzels, wrap them individually in plastic wrap, put them in a freezer bag, and freeze them for up to 1 month. Thaw to room temperature before serving or reheating.
Homemade Soft Pretzels
- 1 ½ cups warm, 110 to 115 degrees F water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
- 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- Vegetable oil, for pan
- 10 cups water
- ⅔ cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Pretzel salt
- Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
- Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
- In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
- Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
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