Homemade Soft Pretzels are the ultimate snack and the best dipping option for your favorite cheesy dips! There is no bad way to enjoy a soft, warm, iconic Soft Pretzel!
Who doesn’t love to snack on a warm Soft Pretzel?! There are so many occasions and activities at home or out that are just much more fun with a Soft Pretzel in your hand. Whether you like them sweet, salty, cheesy, or plain, you’ll love how perfectly these come out every time.
There’s one seemingly daunting part of making Soft Pretzels, and that’s the twist. Don’t be scared! Even if you mess up on your first (or even second, third, etc.) pretzel twist, you can always laugh it off and start over. Once you master the easy art of twisting pretzels, you’ll get into the groove of it and actually have a lot of fun.
It’s a great family activity! Kids can even make fun shapes with their pretzels like hearts or Mickey Mouse for those more artistically inclined.
Besides the twisting of the dough, the numerous steps required to make a homemade Soft Pretzel may also be intimidating. Be not afraid, friends! It may seem like a lot of steps, but they’re all SO easy to follow and the end results are so very worth your time and effort.
Truly, it’s as simple as preparing the dough, twisting it into pretzel shapes, then cooking the pretzels. You’ll have your new favorite party food mastered in no time flat!
Ingredients You’ll Need:
For the dough:
- Active Dry Yeast – You’ll need to let it bloom for about 5-10 minutes. (See FAQ below if you are wondering about instant or rapid rise yeast.)
- Salt – Use coarse kosher or sea salt.
- Sugar – Plain white granulated sugar works best.
- Warm Water – It should be at about 100-110°F.
- Flour – All-purpose flour is what you need.
- Butter – Unsalted butter is preferred to control the sodium.
- Baking Soda
Step By Step Instructions
Prepare the dough.
Bloom the yeast by combining it with salt, sugar, and warm water. Gently whisk until sugar dissolves and let it bloom for about 5-10 minutes.
Combine the butter and flour together in a large bowl. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Slowly pour the yeast mixture over the crumbs. Stir to combine. Knead the dough first with a wooden spoon, then your hands.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it until it’s no longer sticky. Place it in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for about 2 hours. Poke a few holes in the plastic for the gasses to escape through. The dough will rise best in a warm area.
Twist The Pretzels: step-by-step below.
Cook the Pretzels.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a wire rack with paper towels. Bring a pot of water to a boil and stir in the baking soda.
Add the pretzels to the pot in batches. Boil until the pretzels are slightly shiny, which should take only 45 seconds to 1 minute per side.
Use a slotted metal spatula to remove the pretzels from the water. Place them on the prepared wire rack. Once dry, place them on the baking sheet.
Brush the pretzels with melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 7-9 minutes until golden brown.
How To Twist A Pretzel
NOTE: You can make 12 smaller pretzels or 6 large ones. It is your choice, the bake time won’t change much, bake them until deep golden brown.
Place the dough back onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a 14-16 inch rope.
From a U shape with 1 rope and twist the ends together twice. Fold the twisted portion backward along center of the U shape to form a circle. Gently press the ends of the rope to seal.
Place the pretzels onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover the pretzels with a clean towel and let them rise for about 45-60 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
The recipe is made for the active dry yeast, but you can still use instant yeast just with a couple of modifications. First, instant yeast doesn’t require the blooming step, so you can just mix the yeast right into the flour. You would combine all of your dry ingredients and mix them with butter.
Then pour in the warm water as you mix the dough with a spoon or a spatula. Knead the dough as the recipe suggests.
Secondly, instant yeast will need less time to rise. Check on the dough after about 45-60 minutes.
Yes, you can actually prepare the dough a day ahead of time, BUT you still need to give it time to rise first! Prepare the dough as the recipe instructs and let it rise. After the dough has had the proper time to do the initial rise, gather it into a lightly floured, large zip-top bag, seal it tightly, and refrigerate.
You can also refrigerate the dough in the same bowl where you made it, just make sure to cover it airtight with plastic wrap. When you’re ready to make the Soft Pretzels, take the dough out of the bag and place it into a bowl (if using a bag), and let the dough warm up on the counter first for 30-45 minutes.
Yes, you absolutely can! Make sure to give it time to do the initial rise just like you would if you were making the dough ahead of time. After the dough has time to rise for a couple of hours, gather it, and transfer it onto an airtight, freezer-friendly, zip-top gallon bag. Freeze it for up to 3 months.
Make sure to slow-thaw the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours! Just like after refrigerating, remove the dough from the bag and make sure to let the dough sit on the counter to warm up for about 30-45 minutes.
Store baked pretzels in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days or in the refrigerator for up to a week. Note that at room temperature, pretzels will not last as long, especially if you live in a humid climate.
You can easily reheat the pretzels for a few minutes in the oven or in an air fryer. In the air-fryer, reheat them at 375°F for about 2-3 minutes. In the oven, reheat at 350°F for about 5 minutes. You can always brush them with some melted butter and add a sprinkle of salt.
Make sure that the pretzels are cooled to the room temperature after baking. Place them on a cutting board or a baking sheet and place them in the freezer. Freeze for up to 2 hours and be sure to set timer so you don’t forget them! Transfer the pretzels into one or several freezer friendly zip-top bags. Take all of the air out, label, and freeze for up to 3 months.
You can warm up frozen Soft Pretzels in a toaster oven, air fryer, or the oven. Reheat them at 300°F in the oven for about 10 minutes. In the air fryer, reheat them at 320°F for about 3 minutes. In the toaster oven, reheat them at 350°F for 4-5 minutes. You can always brush them with some melted butter and add a sprinkle of salt.
For the Dough:
- 1/4 oz active dry yeast 1/4 ounce
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 cup warm water – 100°-110°
- 3 cups all-purpose flour plus little more for surface
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- 3 tbsp baking soda
- 2-2.5 quarts water in a wide pot
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1 tbsp coarse salt more or less to taste
Prepare the Dough:
- Mix yeast, coarse salt, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl. Gently whisk until sugar dissolves. Let the mixture stand and bloom about 5-10 minutes.
- Add flour into a large bowl and add softened butter. Using a pastry cutter (Or you can use a stand-up electric mixer set on "stir" setting) cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Slowly pour yeast mixture over flour mixture, stirring to combine. Using and wooden spoon at first and then your hands to gather dough together and start kneading it.
- Once it mostly comes together, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until it is no longer sticky, a few minutes. Place it into a bowl, cover with plastic, and let rise for about 2 hours. (Poke a couple of little holes in the plastic for the gasses to escape. Make sure to keep it in the warm place in your kitchen to help it rise better.)
Twist the Pretzels:
- Take the dough out of the bowl and back into a very lightly floured surface.
- Cut the dough into 12 pieces, try to keep them even in size, and roll each into a 14-16-inch rope. Form a U shape with 1 rope and twist ends together twice. Fold twisted portion backward along center of U shape to form a circle, then gently press ends of rope onto dough to seal. (Don't worry, they will seal better when the twisted pretzels are left to rise the second time.)
- Place twisted pretzels onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet and finish twisting all the pretzels. Cover the baking sheet with pretzels with a clean towel, place it back into a warm plate, and let rise for 45-60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 450°. Line a wire rack with a couple of paper towels. Bring a pot of water to boil and carefully stir in baking soda. (Be careful not to fill the pot all the way up.)
- Add pretzels to the pot a few at a time, depending on the size of the pot. Boil pretzels in batches until puffed and slightly shiny, 45 seconds to 1 minute per side.
- Using a slotted metal spatula, take them out and into the prepared wire rack. Let them dry on paper towel while the next batch if boiling and return them to baking sheet.
- Once all the pretzels are done with the boiling step, brush them with butter and sprinkle each pretzel with coarse salt.
- Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 7-9 minutes.