Buttery Soft Pretzels

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Learn how to make the most delicious, hot and buttery soft pretzels with this simple homemade pretzel recipe!  They’re easy to make in about 1 hour with ingredients you likely already have on hand, and taste insanely good.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Anyone else still go a bit weak at the knees when you walk by those soft pretzel stands at the mall or the airport?!

Oh man — I totally do. ♡♡♡

I mean, I know it’s no longer the 90s, and I’m no longer roaming the mall for hours and hours with my friends, spending all of our allowances on Auntie Anne’s and Orange Julius and Sam Goody.  But whew, I feel like my nose can still smell those hot and buttery soft pretzels from a mile away.  And the moment I do, any willpower that remained to avoid buttery carbs for the day instantly, completely and deliciously vanishes.

I absolutely adore a good, freshly-baked, hot-and-buttery soft pretzel…and always will!

That said, as delicious as the famous restaurant version may be, it’s actually incredibly quick and easy to make your own insanely delicious soft pretzels at home!  You likely have all of the ingredients you’ll need in your kitchen already, and there’s no stand mixer required (unless you would like to use one).  I also love this specific recipe because it only takes about an hour to make from start to finish.  And once you pull that tray of hot and buttery soft pretzels out of the oven, I’m telling you — there’s absolutely nothing better.

Let’s make some homemade pretzels together!

Homemade Pretzel Dough

Homemade Pretzel Ingredients:

To make this homemade soft pretzel recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Milk (or water): I prefer to use cow’s milk as the base of this pretzel dough, which makes it extra tender and adds a subtle touch of sweetness.  But if you prefer not to eat dairy, you are welcome to just use water instead.
  • Sugar: I used brown sugar, but white granulated sugar or coconut sugar would work too.
  • Coarse sea salt: Which we will use in the dough and also sprinkle on top.  (Or you are welcome to sprinkle actual pretzel salt on top, if you prefer.)
  • Yeast: One packet of active dry yeast.
  • Flour: I went traditional with this recipe and used regular all-purpose flour.  But you could sub in white whole wheat flour if you would like to make these a touch more healthy.
  • Butter: Which we will use in the dough and also brush (extra) on top of the pretzels after baking.
  • Baking soda: Which we will add to a pot of boiling water to give the pretzels a quick dunk before baking.
  • Egg: And finally, you will need one egg, which we will whisk together with water to make a quick egg wash to brush on the dough before baking.

How To Make Pretzels

How To Make Pretzels:

Ok, I know these steps look long in writing.  But I promise they are quite simple and quick in real life! ♡  To make homemade pretzels, simply…

  1. Mix and knead the dough. Whisk together the warm water, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer).  Then sprinkle the yeast on top and wait about 5 minutes for it to get foamy and activate.  Add the flour and melted butter.  Then either use a wooden spoon to combine the dough, and knead it by hand for about 4 minutes until smooth.  Or if you are using a stand mixer, use the dough hook to knead it for about 4 minutes until smooth.
  2. Let the dough rise.  Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let it rise until doubled.
  3. Heat oven. To 450°F, and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Prepare the boiling water solution.  Combine the water and baking soda in a stockpot or very large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  5. Form the pretzels.  In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a lightly-oiled work surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into an even 20-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, then cross the ends over each other and press then onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel.
  6. Boil the pretzels.  Very carefully, use a spatula to transfer the pretzels into the boiling water, one at a time, for about 30 seconds each. Use the spatula to transfer the pretzel to the parchment-lined pan, and repeat with the remaining pretzels.
  7. Add egg wash and salt. Finally, brush the top of each pretzel with the egg wash and sprinkle with the coarse sea salt (or pretzel salt).
  8. Bake.  Bake until the pretzels reach your desired level of golden brown color, about 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.
  9. Serve warm.  These pretzels taste best the day they have been baked, and even better hot out of the oven.  So serve warm — brushed with extra melted butter if you would like — and enjoy!

Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe

Possible Soft Pretzel Variations:

Want to customize this homemade pretzel recipe a bit?  Feel free to…

  • Add seasonings: Feel free to sprinkle your pretzels with cinnamon sugar or any other seasoning blends that you love (such as everything bagel seasoning, ranch seasoning, Cajun seasoning, etc).
  • Add cheese: These pretzels would also be delicious sprinkled with some shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese.
  • Make them vegan: To make vegan pretzels, simply use vegan butter, and water in place of milk.
  • Make soft pretzel bitesHere is my full tutorial for how to make pretzel bites!

Homemade Soft Pretzels with Beer Cheese Dip

Dips To Serve With Soft Pretzels:

Because who doesn’t love a good dip with hot soft pretzels?  Here are a few of my faves…

Print

Buttery Soft Pretzels

  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 45 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12 pretzels 1x

Description

This homemade soft pretzel recipe is easy to make in about 1 hour with ingredients you likely already have on hand, and they taste insanely good!  See notes above for possible variations you can make too.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115°F) milk*
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt*, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 (0.25-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter, plus extra for brushing
  • 9 cups water
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg (whisked with 1 tablespoon water)

Instructions

  1. Mix the dough. Whisk together the warm water, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer).  Sprinkle the yeast on top, and wait 5 minutes for the yeast to activate.
  2. Knead the dough.  Add the flour and melted butter.  Then either (a) use a spoon to mix everything in until combined, and then use your hands to knead the dough for about 4 minutes until it is smooth, adding a bit more flour if the dough is too sticky or (b) if using a stand mixer, place the dough hook on the mixer and mix on medium speed for 4 minutes until the dough is smooth, adding a bit more flour if the dough is too sticky.
  3. Let the dough rise.  Transfer the dough to a lightly-oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let the dough rest for 20 to 30 minutes in a warm place until it has doubled in size.
  4. Heat oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper, then set aside.
  5. Prepare the boiling water solution.  Combine the water and baking soda in a stockpot or very large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  6. Form the pretzels.  In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a lightly-oiled work surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into an even 20-inch* rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, then cross the ends over each other and press then onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel.
  7. Boil the pretzels.  Very carefully, use a spatula to transfer the pretzels into the boiling water, one at a time, for about 30 seconds each. Use the spatula to transfer the pretzel to the parchment-lined pan, and repeat with the remaining pretzels.
  8. Add egg wash and salt. Finally, brush the top of each pretzel with the egg wash and sprinkle with the coarse sea salt.
  9. Bake.  Bake until the pretzels reach your desired level of golden brown color, about 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.
  10. (Optional: Brush with extra butter.) If you would like your pretzels to taste extra buttery, brush them with extra melted butter just before serving.
  11. Serve warm.  These pretzels taste best the day they have been baked, and even better hot out of the oven.  So serve warm and enjoy!


Notes

Milk: I used 2% cow’s milk for this recipe, but any kind of dairy milk, unsweetened almond milk or oat milk would also work.  Or you are also welcome to just make this recipe with water instead of milk.

Salt: I just used basic coarse sea salt in this recipe.  But feel free to sprinkle the pretzels with actual pretzel salt, if you prefer.

Rope Length: Feel free to roll out your pretzel dough as short or long as you would like, depending on how large/skinny, or small/thick you would like your pretzels to be.

Make-Ahead Instructions: If you would like to prep the dough the day beforehand, you can follow the recipe through step 3.  Then transfer the bowl with the dough (still covered) to the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, and continue on with the recipe (forming the dough into pretzels, etc.) the following day.

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11 comments on “Buttery Soft Pretzels”

  1. Recipe calls for 2 tablespoons melted butter plus extra to brush on top. When do you add the 2 tablespoons of butter to the dough? Did I miss it somewhere? Sounds like the perfect Super Bowl recipe.

    • Whoops, sorry there was a typo in there! It should be fixed now. The melted butter is added at the same time as the flour. :)

  2. These look amazing! I need to try this asap!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  3. Hi, this recipe looks amazing! Would you have any directions for freezing a batch and then baking when needed? I have a son who loves these after school and your recipe is much healthier than the frozen boxes at the grocery store. Can’t wait for the beer cheese recipe! My favorite. Thanks so much!
    Erin

  4. Do you think you could make this with gluten-free flour?

  5. Could you do pretzel bites? We love Auntie Anne’s cinnamon pretzel bites.

  6. Ali, why are pretzels boiled before baking. Is this a necessary step?

  7. These look so good. I’m trying to figure out my Super Bowl menu. These would impress everyone!

  8. I made these twice. Twice , i was not happy with the waythey turned out. They taste like bread with butter, thats all. No big deal. I will keep looking for that great pretzel recipe…..

  9. These were SO good! The extra butter on top totally made them taste like Auntie Anne’s too. 😍

  10. I loved these!! I did however find the dough really hard to roll out…did I do something wrong maybe?