Best Homemade Soft Pretzels

I found an amazing soft pretzel recipe this weekend. The pretzels came out so good, I don’t think I’ll ever buy a soft pretzel again.

I previously made soft pretzels a few times using this recipe. While the recipe was good, one of the problems is that the pretzels didn’t taste so great the next day. I also thought the pretzels were a bit too skinny. I missed the thick pieces of dough that you usually get in a soft pretzel.


So when I kept seeing this recipe for soft pretzels by Alton Brown floating around, I decided to try it out, with the help of baby bro’s girlfriend. This recipe uses more butter than the original recipe I used and also boils the soft pretzels before baking. This allows the pretzels to puff up, making them come out fat and plump, just the way I like it. (The previous recipe only had me dip the pretzels in hot water and baking soda, but I think actually boiling is key.)


These pretzels tasted great. The surface is shiny and golden brown, the dough is nice and soft and thick. They kept well too and still tasted great the next day. The recipe makes eight large pretzels. I thought that these were a bit too big and chose to make a personalized size pretzel, so we did 16.

Soft Pretzels (adapted from Alton Brown)

  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt


1. Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

3. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan.

4. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces (or 16 if you want smaller pretzels). Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope (12 inch for smaller pretzels). Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

5. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula.

6. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt (I chose to omit the pretzel salt since I usually just pick this off anyway. I think the pretzels are salty enough on their own.) Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 minutes (or 6-7 minutes for smaller pretzels). Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.


21 comments on “Best Homemade Soft Pretzels”

  1. Great work, they look very pretzel-y 🙂 I’ve never tried to make pretzels before, must give this recipe a try.

  2. They are pretty easy to make. And they taste just like the ones that you can get from the vendors at fairs or other spots. I was amazed at how great these came out. I think I may try making extra next time and freezing the dough so I can enjoy these whenever I want.

  3. Rad! I’m gonna try homemade pretzels someday soon. I need to get over my fear of yeast!

  4. Yum…
    Need to pick up some kosher salt to make this.

  5. I love soft pretzels but they’re always so expensive at the mall. Yours look fantastic and I bet they’re much better than the bought ones.

  6. I have a fear of yeast too, but these worked out. You should give it a try!

  7. Yes you should definitely make these. I think you’ll like them!

  8. It is definitely cheaper to make your own and they taste just as good.

  9. I love soft pretzels but I simply can’t find them anywhere here in Portugal, so I guess I’ll have to bake them myself next time I crave one 🙂

  10. Hi,
    So I’ve been following your blog for quite some time.
    I really love all your posts about san diego restaurants so your blog has inspired me to start my blog
    but anyways, I tried this receipe and they turned out pretty good. I was surprised because I rarely make anything from scratch. Though mine look more like swirly buns then pretzels. 😀

  11. Hi Sophie! I’m happy to hear you’ve joined the SD food blogging community. =)

  12. It’s cheaper to bake your own too!

  13. Pingback: Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe : Alton Brown « Sophie's Dish

  14. I just made these, and I have to say that I was a little disappointed! I think dipping them in the water and baking soda may have ruined mine! It made them super salty! Oh well.. live and learn I guess! Other than being super salty they look great!

    • I don’t think dipping it in water and baking soda would cause them to be oversalty. The water baking soda let’s them expand properly or else the dough is really tough and doesn’t have the right texture. I suspect maybe the problem might have been the salt you added? Did you add kosher salt or table salt? Because they aren’t equivalent. If you used regular table salt you would need to reduce the amount.

  15. Could it be that I left the water and baking soda boil for a long while before I began to dip? When my husband tried them he said they tasted like baking soda? You are probably right, I may have fooled up the recipe ! hahhaha! I will have to try it again and hopefully they will turn out better! 🙂

    • Hmm, how long did you leave the baking soda baking for? I usually dip mine soon after; I haven’t left it boiling for a long time before so I’m not sure. I’m trying to figure out about the baking soda taste. Did you have enough water? I think if you have too little water compared to baking soda that could cause it. Also making sure that they boil for at least 30 seconds each, or else that might cause the baking soda taste.
      As for the salt thing, I actually did that the first time I made this recipe. That’s why I asked! I didn’t realize there was such a difference between kosher salt and regular salt, so the first time mine were salty and then we corrected it after and it tasted perfect. I would reduce salt to 1 tsp if you are using table salt. Hope this helps!

  16. I will say your recipe is spot on with only a couple changes to the one I use. The butter in mine is optional, and for pretzels you are eating right away you don’t need it, but the fat in doughs helps it stay good for longer. And traditionally pretzels are simmered in a lye/water solution, lye is Sodium Hydroxide, a caustic base. This is integral to the “pretzely” flavor. It seems scary, but it’s very easy to buy in granular form online, and you just mix it in with water and bring to a simmer then drop the dough forms in for about 15 seconds and make sure to bake on stainless steel, or parchment, not aluminum or foil. The baking soda is similar, but not caustic enough to really eat away at the outside of the pretzel to cause the flavor. This won’t add any salt flavoring to the pretzel. It also helps produce that shiny skin on the outside once baked and helps the big grains of salt adhere. Not trying to hijack your thread, but to just provide some more info on pretzel science.

  17. Won’t be putting parchment paper on next time I make these. It’s not coming off and aren’t edible.

    • They should not stick to parchment paper…You might want to try a diff brand. And are you sure you aren’t using wax paper? Because people often confuse the two but they don’t work the same. I’ve never had anything stick to parchment paper.

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