Homemade Soft Pretzels that are soft and chewy on the inside and crackly brown on the outside. Knot or twist your way to the BEST soft pretzels you’ve ever had!

A platter of soft pretzels with a bowl of cheese sauce.
Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Homemade Soft Pretzels Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for homemade soft pretzels.

Ingredient notes

  • Baking soda: Dunking the knots into a boiling baking soda bath before baking gives you that crackly brown outside on your pretzel.
  • Homemade Cheese Sauce:  Transfer to a slow cooker on the “warm” setting for serving if desired. Or, substitute store-bought cheese sauce.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Bloom the yeast in a mixture of warm water (110 degrees) and dissolved sugar until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Yeast bloomed in water.
  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the dough hook attached, combine flour, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Add melted butter and bloomed yeast mixture. Stir until the dough just comes together, pulling away from the sides of the bowl but clinging to the bottom.
A bowl of dough for homemade pretzels.
  1. Coat a large bowl lightly with oil or nonstick spray. Transfer dough to the coiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap coated with nonstick spray. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
A bowl of dough for homemade pretzels.
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Prepare the baking soda bath. In a small bowl, whisk together yolk and water. Turn out dough on to a lightly floured surface and shape into an 8-inch round disc and cut the disc into quarters. Then, cut each quarter into thirds so you have 12 pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a long rope and lay each rope in a horseshoe shape. Twist the ends together, then wrap under the knot and pull the ends through the loop. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
Twisting dough into a pretzel shape.
  1. Working with one pretzel at a time, drop a pretzel in the boiling baking soda water for 30 seconds.
A homemade soft pretzel in boiling water.
  1. Remove and transfer to a prepared baking sheet. Immediately brush with the egg yolk wash and sprinkle with coarse salt. Repeat with remaining pretzels.
Brushing soft pretzels with egg wash.
  1. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the pretzels are dark brown, crackly, and fragrant.
Homemade soft pretzels on a baking sheet.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 12 soft pretzels and 2 cups cheese sauce.
  • Storage: Wrap leftover pretzels individually and store at room temperature for up to 2 days (they will get stale faster if stored in the refrigerator. Reheat in a 350-degree oven for 5 minutes.
  • Freezer: Store wrapped pretzels in the freezer for up to 1 month. Reheat straight from the freezer in a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes.
  • Proofing the dough: Turn your oven on to the lowest temperature it will go, usually 200 degrees. Once it reaches 110 degrees, turn the oven off. Place the dough in the oven and close the door. Opening the oven door will lower the heat a bit, and that’s okay (you’re aiming for 75 to 85 degrees).
  • Knotted up: I went with a less traditional knot shape, but you can twist the dough any way you see fit.
  • Everything Pretzels: For more flavor and crunch on top, sprinkle the pretzels with Everything Bagel Seasoning before baking.
  • More dipping sauces: Try mustard, ranch dressing, or even marinara sauce.
Homemade soft pretzels on a cooling rack.

Ranch Dressing

This made-from-scratch Ranch Dressing is thick, creamy, and packed with fresh herbs, just the way you and your vegetables want it. It’s perfect for dipping, dressing, and tossing! Homemade Ranch is really easy to make.…

5 minutes
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More fantastic appetizers

A platter of soft pretzels with a bowl of cheese sauce.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Homemade Soft Pretzels that are soft and chewy on the inside and crackly brown on the outside. Knot or twist your way to the BEST soft pretzels you’ve ever had!
5 from 5 votes
Cook Time 1 hr 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Servings 12 servings
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American, German
Calories 158

Ingredients 

For the pretzels:

  • 1 1/4 cup plus 2 quarts water divided
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar divided
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup baking soda (see note 1)
  • 1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water
  • Kosher salt for sprinkling

For the cheese sauce (see note 2):

  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

To make the pretzels:

  • In a small saucepan, heat 1 ¼ cups water to 110 degrees. Stir in 1 teaspoon sugar until dissolved and remove from heat. Pour yeast over the top and set aside to bloom until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing mixer with the dough hook attached, combine flour, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
  • Add melted butter and bloomed yeast mixture. Stir until the dough just comes together, pulling away from the sides of the bowl but clinging to the bottom.
  • Coat a large bowl lightly with oil or nonstick spray. Transfer dough to the oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap coated with nonstick spray. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour (see note 2).
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. In a 3-quart saucepan, bring remaining 2 quarts (8 cups) water and baking soda to a boil. In a small bowl, whisk together yolk and water.
  • Turn out dough on to a lightly floured surface and shape into an 8-inch round disc. Using a bench scraper, pizza cutter, or butter knife, cut the disc into quarters. Then, cut each quarter into half so you have 8 pieces.
  • Shape each piece of dough into a long rope and lay each rope in a horseshoe shape. Twist the ends together once or twice, then bring the ends towards you. Separate the ends and fold them down, using water or milk to make them stick to the dough. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
  • Working with one pretzel at a time, drop a pretzel in the boiling baking soda water for 30 seconds. Remove and transfer to a prepared baking sheet. Immediately brush with the egg yolk wash and sprinkle with coarse salt. Repeat with remaining pretzels.
  • Bakeuntil the pretzels are dark brown, crackly, and fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with Homemade Cheese Sauce.

To make the cheese sauce:

  • In a small saucepan, add cheddar cheese and cornstarch and toss until cheese is evenly coated.
  • Stir in evaporated milk and salt and pepper to taste (I like 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper). Heat over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until cheese is melted and smooth, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Baking soda: Dunking the knots into a boiling baking soda bath before baking gives you that crackly brown outside on your pretzel.
  2. Homemade Cheese Sauce:  Transfer to a slow cooker on the “warm” setting for serving if desired. Or, substitute store-bought cheese sauce.
  3. Yield: This recipe makes 12 soft pretzels and 2 cups cheese sauce.
  4. Storage: Wrap leftover pretzels individually and store at room temperature for up to 2 days (they will get stale faster if stored in the refrigerator. Reheat in a 350-degree oven for 5 minutes.
  5. Freezer: Store wrapped pretzels in the freezer for up to 1 month. Reheat straight from the freezer in a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Proofing the dough: Turn your oven on to the lowest temperature it will go, usually 200 degrees. Once it reaches 110 degrees, turn the oven off. Place the dough in the oven and close the door. Opening the oven door will lower the heat a bit, and that’s okay (you’re aiming for 75 to 85 degrees).
  7. Knotted up: I went with a less traditional knot shape, but you can twist the dough any way you see fit.
  8. Everything Pretzels: For more flavor and crunch on top, sprinkle the pretzels with Everything Bagel Seasoning before baking.
  9. More dipping sauces: Try mustard, ranch dressing, or even marinara sauce.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pretzelCalories: 158kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 4gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 1517mgPotassium: 42mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 109IUCalcium: 7mgIron: 2mg
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Comments

  1. DEAR MEGGIN, YOUR RECIPPES ARE UNBELIEVABE, BETTER THAN THE BEST RESTAURANTS MY SON LIVES IN WESTCHESTER AND WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF YOU DO PRIVATE COOKING FOR OCCASSIONS MONEY IS NO OBJECT RESPECTFULLY YOURS, SANDRA

    1. Hi Sandra, thank you! Unfortunately we are not licensed for catering so I do not do any private cooking, I’m sorry! – Meggan

  2. Meggan Hill if the test Kitchen could make a German style Pretzel then why doesn’t the Test Kitchen look into further German style health Breads and baked goods that uses Sourdough starter there are many benefits for many people health my Suggestion would be to look into this further beacuse of the many people that do have health issues that can’t eat any breads or baked goods j
    Have a wonderful Wednesday 18th of August5 stars

    1. Hi Amy! I used regular all-purpose flour. I am not sure what the effect would be with bread flour, so unfortunately I can’t say. :-/ Sorry about that!

    2. No worries. I did use bread flour and they turned out amazing! Love these! Thank you for sharing!!

    3. You did?! Did you use the same quantity? That’s so exciting! I can’t wait to try it out myself so that I can officially add that option to the recipe. Thanks for passing along the info!

  3. Just LOVED reading this post, just as I did reading Nagi’s post about your trip. :-)

    The food does indeed look incredible, and that view… wow!

    As for those pretzels, my mouth is literally watering at the sight of them – you nailed it, Meggan! Must check out the dip recipe too!5 stars

  4. ??? OMG OMG! You totally took me back to our magical holiday!!!! And those PRETZELS! I need some NOW!!! Pretzels here are so sad compared to in the states, I am making these STAT!!! And thank you for the mention re: dip :)

    Seriously makes me so nostalgic reading this….. N xx5 stars

    1. *Magical* is the keyword here! We seriously need to make this an annual excursion. I’m making your DIP stat, it looks so good! Glad you left out the blue cheese. :)