Homemade Soft Pretzels

Thank you to everyone for all of the pointers for my Teach for America interview! I think it went well and I’ll hear from them on March 16th as to whether or not I’m invited to a final interview. I really hope that I get in! I think that I’d really do well in the program and I’d love to teach.

Anyway, the other night Kramer and I were bored and just hanging out, watching television. He had been bugging me to make pretzels for a while, and since he’s such a good helper in the kitchen, I suggested that we finally get around to making those pretzels, especially since my father-in-law got me a bread maker last year for Festivus. The whole process was extremely easy and the result was really tasty! I love soft pretzels, especially dipped in mustard. We even ate them with fried eggs (I will dip anything in egg yolk, I’ve said it over and over again). All we had to do was put all of the ingredients in the bread machine, then roll out the dough and twist them into various pretzel shapes. We got creative and made a bunch of different shaped pretzels, so this definitely something that kids (big and small) will have fun with as well. We only did salted pretzels since this was our first time making them, but I’d like to try Parmesan or poppy seeds or something like that.

Homemade Soft Pretzels
Look at those simple ingredients.

Homemade Soft Pretzels
Add in the ingredients in the following order: warm water, the butter, the sugar, the salt, the flour, and then make a well in the flour and add the yeast into it. You want to make sure that none of the liquid ingredients touch the yeast so it doesn’t activate too soon. Turn the machine to the dough setting and press start.

Homemade Soft Pretzels
When the dough is done rising, remove it from the bread machine.

Homemade Soft Pretzels
Lightly flour your work surface and roll the dough out to a rectangle.

Homemade Soft Pretzels
Cut the dough into thin strips, about an inch wide, then cut all of the strips in half down the center of the strips (see above). If you want to make big pretzels, keep the strips long.

Homemade Soft Pretzels
Roll the dough with your hands and twist into pretzel shapes or knots or braids or whatever you like.

Homemade Soft Pretzels
Bring some water to a simmer and carefully place the pretzels in the water for 30 seconds on each side.

Homemade Soft Pretzels
Remove them from the water and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or lightly sprayed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle with kosher salt or whatever other toppings you like.

Homemade Soft Pretzels
Bake for 12-15 minutes at 425 degrees F until the pretzels are golden brown. Serve warm or cool. The pretzels will store well in an airtight container or Ziploc bag for up to a week.

Homemade Soft Pretzels
Enjoy with some tasty mustard or a cold beer!

Homemade Soft Pretzels
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 25 small pretzels
  • 1⅓ cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (2¼ teaspoons) dry yeast
  • 6 cups of water
  • 6 teaspoons of baking soda
  • salt for topping
  1. Open up your bread machine. Place these ingredients in it in the following order: 1⅓ cup warm water, butter, white sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, flour, and then make a well in the flour and add in the yeast. Make sure that the yeast doesn't touch any of the liquid ingredients.
  2. Turn the machine to the dough setting. Alternately, you can use your hands instead of a convenient bread machine (although if you have the means, definitely get your hands on one). Combine the 1⅓ cup warm water, sugar, and salt in a large bowl (preferably of your stand mixer) and sprinkle the yeast into the bowl. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes or until everything is foaming. Add in the flour and butter and use your dough hook attachment to mix on low speed until well combined. Up it to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, get the largest bowl you own (clean the bowl you're currently using if that's it) and then oil it well with vegetable or canola oil. Place the dough in the oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap (not tin foil) and allow it to sit in a warm place for 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  3. When the dough is done rising, remove it from the bread maker or your oiled bowl and roll it out onto a lightly floured surface into a rectangle. Cut the dough into long or short thin strips, depending on whether or not you want to make big pretzels or small pretzels. Roll with your hands and form into pretzel shapes or whatever other shapes you want.
  4. Bring 6 cups of water to a simmer, then add 6 teaspoons of baking soda (if you need more, just add 1 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of water). When it dissolves, add in the pretzels in batches, for 30 seconds on each side. Remove from the water and place on a baking sheet with either parchment paper or sprayed lightly with non-stick spray. Sprinkle with salt or whatever other toppings you want.
  5. Bake the pretzels at 425 degrees F for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Set on a rack to cool and enjoy! Makes about 25 small pretzels.


21 Responses

  1. Ana Luísa says:


    I’ve been following your blog for quite a long time, and i think it’s great.

    Next time you come to Europe, go to Germany and try the real deal of Pretezels, you can find them everywhere in there, sold frech and warm all day long (btw I am not German LOL, but they are good indeed there =P)

  2. Jane M says:

    I tried making pretzels about a month ago. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! I wonder what the baking soda does when you boil them?! My son saw my blog with the pretzel photos and requested a batch for he and his college buddies. I will be making them again soon. I love BAKING! If you like baking bread, you really should try Jim Leahy’s book NO KNEAD bread – what fun. The bread comes out like Baltazar’s or some other fancy bakery! You will really have fun making this bread – try it some time!

  3. Mary says:

    Ooo I would LOVE to make these! I am completely inhibited by yeast, however. I tried making pizza dough last V-Day and we ended up ordering out (& we laughed about it on this year’s V-Day :)
    Maybe using a bread machine will help. I’ll keep this recipe in mind. Please post if you come up with any new delicious flavors!

  4. Mom says:

    They look so pretty, nothing is better then warm bread!

  5. Jen T. says:

    Those look fantastic- and don’t bread machines make everything that much easier! I got one for my 11th birthday (umm, yeah, I definitely wasn’t a normal child, I know), but I’ve never thought to use it for pretzel dough, I usually used it for cinnamon rolls. Now that I’m in college and don’t have space for it, I think my mom has basically adopted it as her own, so hopefully I’ll be able to get it back someday! I think I’ll give these a try when I’m home for spring break!

  6. genevieve says:

    do you have a version for making them without a bread machine? we don’t have one, but i’d still like to make the pretzels, they look delicious!

  7. VO says:

    Yes, I would love to try them, but don’t have a bread machine either! Thanks!

  8. ingrid says:

    I made pretzels for the first time last month and Auntie Annies had nothing on them! They weren’t the prettiest but they were darn good! Yours look darn near perfect.

  9. Niki says:

    I have so been wanting to make pretzels forever now, but I hate kneeding dough and letting it rise and all that. We just bought a new bread machine, so I am excited I can make them in that!

  10. Holly F. says:

    I am so excited that you made pretzels, I have been thinking of making them and I found a recipe on food gawker at work but forgot to print it out (I don’t think I’ll ever find it again). Anyways what spiked my interest is because I had the most to die for pretzel at Brooklyn Flea the other weekend when my friends and I decided to venture over. All the food there was amazing! (There was Greek Food, Pretzels, and you have to try Asia Dog (hot dogs with Asian Slaw), pretzels, and Kumquat Cupcakery (mini tiny delectable cupcakes). So since you are now in NY I think you should go there I was in food heaven, and I know you will be too.

  11. Liz says:

    Is there a version that doesn’t use a bread machine?

  12. Sydney says:

    Liz, please see step two above.

  13. betsy says:

    I followed Sydney’s directions under step 2 (sans bread machine) and they turned out delicious! We made ourselves sick eating them, but it was so worth it!

  14. Mary Peterson says:

    Made a batch the other night for my son and his friends. They are all chefs. They said they were great!! Having been a foodie cooking everything from soup to nuts for 30 years pays off!!

  15. Cintia says:

    Looks delicious!

  16. Kiley says:

    Have you tried making these with any amount of Whole Wheat Flour?

  17. Rob says:

    I make this recipe regularly. It’s my go-to for soft pretzels. Left as rolls they make great pretzel hamburger buns as well. Thanks for the recipe!

  18. Kendel says:

    I tried following the recipe and read That you called for baking soda in the ingredients list but never could find where you added it into the dough. Am I overlooking something?

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