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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!
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American, German
Cook Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 158kcal


For the pretzels:

For the cheese sauce (see note 2):


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.



  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.


Serving: 1pretzel | Calories: 158kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 1517mg | Potassium: 42mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 109IU | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 2mg