Do you want the perfect snack for game day? Try these super soft homemade pretzels (just like the kind you get at Oktoberfest). They are perfectly tender and pair well with your favorite dips.

soft pretzels with salts next to white bowl of mustard with spoon.

Homemade soft pretzels are delicious and you wouldn’t believe how easy they are to make from scratch. You just need a few simple ingredients to make the dough! The pretzels turn out golden, tender and sprinkled with salt.

Why this recipe works

The dough can be made in a stand mixer with a dough hook or you can knead it by hand. The baking soda bath makes the pretzels perfectly chewy and salty. They taste just like the kind you’d get at a bar or restaurant!

Ingredients

soft pretzel ingredients in bowls labeled with text.
  • Yeast: Dry active yeast must be proofed for 5 minutes before using. However, you can also use instant yeast (same measurement) without proofing.
  • All purpose flour: For a tender texture, use all purpose flour. I do not recommend gluten-free flour or whole wheat flour.
  • Brown sugar: A little bit of sugar adds sweetness. I prefer brown sugar for the hint of molasses that adds depth of flavor.
  • Baking soda: You will need this to add to the boiling water. It helps creates a chewy texture!

Recipe variations

For sweet soft pretzels, skip the sprinkle of salt. Instead, brush them with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar as soon as they come out of the oven. Whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon for cinnamon sugar topping.

If you prefer cheesy pretzels, add 1/4 cup shredded cheese to the dough when adding the flour. I suggest cheddar or parmesan. Then, after the pretzels come out of the oven, immediately sprinkle more cheese on top.

How to make soft pretzels

photo collage demonstrating how to make dough for homemade pretzels.
  1. Proof yeast: Combine warm water, brown sugar, salt and dry active yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let it sit 5 minutes to proof. The mixture should become foamy.
  2. Make dough: Add melted butter and flour to the bowl. Mix on low until combined.
  3. Knead dough: Once ingredients are combined, increase speed to medium and knead dough for 5 minutes.
  4. Let dough rise: Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover it, and let dough rise for 1 hour. After dough has risen, preheat the oven to 425 F.
photo collage demonstrating how to shape pretzels.

5. Cut the dough: Punch the dough down and transfer it to a floured surface. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces.

6. Shape the dough: Roll each piece into a 20-inch rope and turn the rope into a U shape. Cross the ends of the rope over each other once, then twist over each other again, and pull the ends to the bottom of the U (see photos).

7. Boil pretzels: Bring water and baking soda to a boil in a large pot. Place pretzels (two at a time) in the baking soda bath and boil for 30 seconds (refer to video for visuals). Place on baking sheet and immediately add coarse salt.

8. Bake pretzels at 425° F for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

soft pretzels on baking sheet with bowl of beer cheese dip and bowl of mustard.

Expert Tips

Keep an eye on the dough as you are kneading it. If the dough is not pulling away from the sides of the bowl after 5 minutes, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time until dough is not sticking to the bowl. To make soft pretzels ahead of time, make the dough and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight (up to 24 hours). Bring the dough to room temperature before cutting and shaping.

When shaping the dough, it helps to wet the ends of the dough rope with water to help them stick and keep the pretzel shape. I highly recommend using a silpat mat to bake the pretzels on. This helps prevent the pretzels from sticking to the pan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to boil the pretzels?

Yes, this step is crucial to getting the right texture and flavor. If you don’t do a baking soda bath, then they won’t have that signature tangy taste or chewy texture.

Can I double this recipe?

Yes, but make sure you have a big enough stand mixer or plan to knead the dough by hand.

How to soften a soft pretzel

A trick I learned is to take a lightly dampened paper towel and wrap it around the pretzel. Microwave on 50% power level for 10 to 15 seconds until it is warm and soft.

How to freeze soft pretzels

Individually wrap the pretzels in aluminum foil and place in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 2 months. To reheat pretzels, keep them wrapped in aluminum foil. Bake it in a 350° F oven for 10 minutes.

hand holding soft pretzel and dipping it in beer cheese dip.

Did you love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and if you REALLY loved it, consider leaving a comment further down the page.

soft pretzels on baking sheet with bowl of beer cheese dip and bowl of mustard.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Homemade soft pretzels are perfectly tender and salty. They are easy to make and taste delicious!
5 (6 ratings)

Ingredients

Soft Pretzels

  • 1 ¼ cup (295 mL) warm water, about 105° F to 110° F
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons dry active yeast, (1 packet)
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 ¾ cups (468 g) all purpose flour

Baking Soda Bath

  • 9 cups water
  • ½ cup baking soda

Instructions 

  • Whisk together warm water, brown sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle dry active yeast over the top and let it sit 5 minutes. Add melted butter, flour, attach a dough hook to the mixer and mix on low until combined.
  • Once ingredients are combined, increase speed to medium and knead dough for 5 minutes or until dough is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl (if necessary add up to 1/4 cup more flour).
  • Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen cloth, and let dough rise for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Punch the dough down and transfer it to a floured surface. Preheat oven to 425° F while you shape and boil the pretzels.
  • Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 20 to 22-inch rope and turn the rope into a U shape. Cross the ends of the rope over each other once, then twist over each other again, and pull the ends to the bottom of the U (see photos or video for visual). Tip: Wet the ends with water so they stick to the dough. Place pretzels on a baking sheet with silpat mat (Silpat is highly recommended! If you don't have one, grease parchment paper with nonstick spray).
  • Bring water and baking to a boil in a large pot. Place pretzels (2 at a time) in the baking soda bath and boil for 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pretzels to baking sheet and immediately add coarse salt.
  • Bake pretzels at 425° F for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Let pretzels cool for 5 minutes on the pan before serving warm.

Notes

Yeast: You can use instant yeast as a substitute (same measurement). Whisk it in with the flour before adding. 
Store pretzels in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 or 3 days. They are best when eaten the day they are baked.
Freeze pretzels by wrapping them in aluminum foil. Place them in an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. 
Reheat in a 350 F oven for 5 minutes or 10 minutes if frozen (keep them wrapped in aluminum foil).
Serving: 1pretzel, Calories: 161kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 391mg, Potassium: 60mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 58IU, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 2mg

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