I’ve tested and tweaked this recipe many times to achieve the perfect homemade soft pretzel. These pretzels have a thin, crisp golden exterior with a dense and chewy interior. They are delicious all on their own (especially warm out of the oven) but they are also perfect for dunking into all types of dips and spreads.
I have a major sweet tooth so of course, I’m always thinking about how I can add a sweet twist. These pretzels would be delicious slathered with butter and cinnamon sugar. Just leave off the flaky salt and brush on some melted butter then toss in some cinnamon sugar, after they come out of the oven. Serve with cream cheese icing, caramel, or some melty chocolate ganache for dipping!
How to Make Homemade Soft Pretzels
You’ll be surprised how quick and easy these soft pretzels are to make! The dough comes together pretty quickly in a stand mixer and it only needs to rise once. After you’ve made the dough and it doubles in size, then you’ll shape the pretzels. I like to weigh the dough ball and divide it by 8 to figure out how much each piece should weigh. You’ll roll each of these pieces into a long rope and then fold them into a pretzel shape (see more detailed instructions and pictures below). After shaping, the pretzels take a quick dip in a baking soda bath which is simply boiling water + baking soda. Then egg wash each pretzel, sprinkle salt on top, and bake them!
To Make the Pretzel Shape
- Roll a long rope, about 20-22 inches long
- Bring the ends together to create a teardrop shop
- Cross the ends to create an “X” and twist once
- Fold the ends down toward you
- Reshape or gently stretch the dough (if needed) to get the desired shape
- Press the ends gently into the dough
And if you’re not into the pretzel shape or just don’t have time, you can make pretzel rolls, pretzel sticks, or pretzel bites for something fun and just as delicious!
Tips for the Best Homemade Soft Pretzels
- Use a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients. Weighing your ingredients when baking is crucial for the most accurate and successful results. Bread recipes can be especially finicky so I always recommend investing in a kitchen scale. They’re pretty inexpensive and such a game-changer to get great results. You’ll notice that I include gram measurements in all my baking recipes!
- Don’t undermix the dough. In order to get that classic, chewy soft pretzel texture, the yeast needs ample time to develop. Make sure to let the dough mix for about 10 minutes after it has already come together. You’re looking for a dough that is completely smooth, has pulled away from the sides of the bowl, and isn’t too sticky to handle.
- Don’t skip the baking soda bath. The dip that the pretzels take into the boiling water + baking soda helps give them a nice crust, with a chewy interior. It also gives the pretzels their classic flavor and helps with getting that perfect golden color on the outside. It’s simple but makes all the difference!
What to Serve With Homemade Soft Pretzels
- Warm Beer Cheese Dip
- Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Queso Dip
- Mustard (yellow, whole grain, dijon, hot, or honey mustard)
- Cream Cheese Icing, for a sweet & salty treat
These homemade soft pretzels are so versatile from savory to sweet, with different sizes and shapes to get creative with, and a wide variety of dips and spreads you can serve them with. So many delicious possibilities – I can’t wait to see how you decide to enjoy them. Happy pretzel-making!
Homemade Soft Pretzels
- 1¼ cup (297g) cold water
- 2 teaspoons (7g) instant yeast
- 3 ¾ cups (497g) bread flour
- 1½ teaspoons (8g) molasses
- 1½ teaspoons (9g) salt
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
Baking Soda Bath
- ⅓ cup (93g) baking soda
- 4 cups (32oz) boiling water
- egg wash, 1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
- flaky salt for sprinkling, I like using Maldon brand
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the water and yeast. Add the remaining ingredients in this order: flour, molasses, salt, then butter. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together then continue to mix until dough is strong, smooth, and forms into a ball, about 10 minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball and place it in a large bowl greased with cooking spray or oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Once the dough is ready, remove it from the bowl and gently press out any air bubbles. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions.
- Roll each piece of dough into a rope that measures about 22 inches long. For each rope, bring the ends of the rope together making a teardrop shape, then cross the ends and twist. Fold the ends down towards you and gently press to create the pretzel shape. Place the pretzels on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone mats. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- In a large glass or heat-proof bowl, add the boiling water and baking soda. Stir to ensure all the baking soda dissolves.
- Dip each pretzel into the baking soda bath for about 20-30 seconds each, and submerge it by pressing down gently with a spatula. Lift pretzels out and gently shake off excess water. Place the dipped pretzels back onto the prepared baking sheets.
- Brush egg wash all over the top of the pretzels using a pastry brush. Sprinkle on the salt.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes or until deep golden brown, rotating the baking sheets once halfway through.
- Enjoy warm or at room temperature!
- Serving: Pairs perfectly with Warm Beer Cheese Dip!