What do simple ingredients, a little time, and a whole lot of fun create? A soft pretzel recipe that makes perfectly soft, buttery, doughy, and so-good-you-don’t-want-to-stop-eating pretzels!
I’m a total sucker for those big soft pretzels you can get in the mall. They’re chewy and perfectly doughy. Yum! However, I prefer to make my own at home and I have a soft pretzel recipe that tastes just like the store-bought version – but it’s a whole lot more fun.
I love baking these soft pretzels with my kids. They’re quick and easy to put together (you don’t even have to wait for the dough to rise!) Plus, the kids love making their own unique pretzel shapes.
I usually make the dough myself and then call the kids into the kitchen to twist pretzels or make whatever shape they want. I secretly love it when they make letters!
Ingredients Needed For Soft Pretzel Recipe
Here’s everything you’ll need to make this easy recipe. The ingredients are simple, yet create something almost magical.
- Active Dry Yeast – Yeast can be a little…finicky. It took me a long time to feel brave enough to work with it. If you have ever felt intimidated about baking with yeast, this is the perfect recipe to help you gain some confidence.
- Warm Water – It’s crucial to have the right water temperature for the pretzels to rise correctly. Water warmed to a temperature of 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit will make for a very happy yeast.
- Sugar – Soft pretzels don’t call for a lot of sugar, but it adds the perfect sweetness to the dough.
- Salt – You’ll use just a bit of salt in the mixing process – not to be confused with the coarse salt for the outside of your pretzel. You can use any salt that you have on hand for this part of the recipe.
- All-Purpose Flour – Your basic all-purpose flour works best for these pretzels, as it creates the fluffiest end result.
- Egg – An egg is a tried and true method for getting salt to adhere to the pretzel dough before baking.
- Coarse Salt – What would a pretzel be without salt? Use a coarse variety to really enjoy the bits of saltiness on the crisp outer layer of your soft pretzels.
How To Make Soft Pretzel Recipe
Follow these nearly no-fail instructions step-by-step, and you’ll end up with warm, gooey, delicious soft pretzels before you know it:
First, use a microwave to warm the water. Heat for about 10-15 seconds, then use a candy or kitchen thermometer to measure the temperature.
If it’s not warm enough, heat it more. If you warm it too much, just start over. Easy enough.
Next, dump the water into your mixing bowl and add 2.5 teaspoons of yeast. It needs to dissolve all the way into the water. The water will look kind of murky.
Then, when the yeast is dissolved, add 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix gently.
Add 3 cups of flour.
Next, start mixing by hand or with your dough hook.
Note: I made this Soft Pretzels recipe many times before I had my Kitchen Aid mixer – it’s just much quicker with a Kitchen Aid.
Now, mix this for a minute or two and then add another 1/2 cup of flour.
Test the dough. If it’s okay, you can move on to kneading. If it’s still really sticky, you’ll want to add a little more flour – up to 1/2 cup more.
For kneading, you can either do this by hand for 6-8 minutes or continue using your dough hook (much preferred, in my opinion.)
With a mixer, “knead” for about 4-6 minutes. The dough will start pulling from the sides of the bowl.
The dough above isn’t quite done yet. We want it to be smooth and elastic. I had to run the mixer for probably about 6 minutes total.
This is what it looks like when it’s done:
“Smooth and elastic” – see how it pulls away?
Great! Your soft pretzels dough is ready to move to the next step – baking!
Preheat your oven to 425° and pull out a couple of cookie sheets. Line them with foil and grease. This is so important; do not skip this step!
If you don’t do it, you’ll be scraping pans much later tonight. Trust me, learn from my past mistakes.
Next, call the kids because it’s time for the fun part: making shapes! Unless you don’t need to call them because you were brave and had them help you make the dough. Or they were already hanging on you. 😉
Shape the dough into whatever you want!
Nathan and Emily make letters, shapes, and of course pretzel twists. I love it too; it’s fun to mold that dough. It reminds me of playing with play-doh.
Nathan made this awesome twist all by himself:
We made a letter for each of the kids’ names. I just now realized we spelled out “J-E-N” below, lol. It was meant for Joshua, Emily, Nathan – with an L for Luke above
Now, remember the egg at the beginning of the recipe? Now is when we need it. If you haven’t already, beat it.
With a pastry brush, brush the egg onto the pretzels. This will allow for the salt to stick plus add a nice golden color when the soft pretzels are baked.
Sprinkle coarse salt over the pretzels. See how talented I am? I can shake salt and take a photo at the same time.
Bake the pretzels for 12-14 minutes each. You don’t want them to be overdone, so check on them.
Pull them out when they are just beginning to turn golden (or they’ll likely burn).
Cool on a wire rack.
Here are some “Mom-made” Soft Pretzels:
Don’t they look amazing? Believe me – they taste just as good as they look! So yummy!
Easy Soft Pretzel Recipe Notes & Tips
It’s important for water to be at the right temperature when working with yeast. If it’s too hot or too cold, it can kill the yeast or make it inactive, which means your bread – or in this case pretzels – won’t rise. And who wants that?
You can prepare the best soft pretzel recipe ahead of time and refrigerate the dough in an airtight container for up to a day. Alternatively, you can bake and freeze fully cooled pretzels for up to two months.
To reheat frozen pretzels, bake them at 350°F for about 20 minutes until they’re warmed through.
Delicious Soft Pretzel Recipe Variations To Make
This soft pretzel recipe is finger-lickin’ good all by itself. However, if you want to try other flavors, here are a few ideas:
- Cinnamon And Sugar – Simply sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top of your bagels after brushing them with the egg mixture.
- Cheese – Sprinkle shredded cheese of your choice on top of the bagels after brushing them with the egg mixture.
- Everything Bagel – After brushing your pretzels with your egg mixture, sprinkle a generous amount of everything bagel topping.
- Garlic Parmesan – Before baking your pretzels, brush a mixture of garlic powder and butter over them. Then sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese over them.
More Delicious Kid-Friendly Recipes
- Poppy Seed Muffins Recipe
- Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
- Graham Bread | The Easy Paleo Bread For Kids
- Chock-Full-Of-Good-Stuff Morning Glory Muffins Recipe
A delicious, chewy, doughy soft pretzel recipe that’s easy to make and perfect for getting kids in the kitchen!
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 14 mins
- Total Time: 44 mins
- Yield: 15–24 pretzels 1x
- 1 package (1/4 oz) or 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1.5 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- course salt
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 110-115 degree water.
- Add the sugar and salt and mix.
- Add 3 cups of flour and combine. (Mix by hand or with a dough hook on your mixer)
- Add 1/2 to 1 cup more flour as needed.
- Knead for 5-8 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Shape into pretzel twists or shapes as desired. Place on lined greased baking sheets. Brush with an egg; sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Bake at 425 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Pin the image below to save the recipe for later!
Ellen Christian says
These look really good. We love soft pretzels in our house. Sometimes we dust them with cinnamon and sugar too for a breakfast treat.
Great idea, Ellen! Cinnamon/sugar pretzels are the best!
Jacquie, Family Makeover Maven says
These look delicious! Thanks for sharing!
Oh yeah, this looks like something I can make! I need simple recipes. Thanks for sharing
Julie M. says
I make this recipe for myself too!!! These are so yummy!! I have the same exact recipe!!! I think I might make some today! You have inspired me:) Thanks for posting!
Nicole (Mama to 4 Blessings) says
yummy! I am so going to make these with my kids – we are making bread today, I am doing letter of the week with my preschooler so we are on “B” (bread). Thanks for sharing! 🙂
Yay! I did some blends with Emily – she loved it!
Tara (Crock-Pot Ladies) says
This looks easy. I have been thinking about making some pretzels like this because my 5 year old’s new obsession is getting a pretzel at Auntie Annies or whatever it’s called at the mall. But we only go to the mall every once in a while (kind of like only letting the kids get in on the twisting part-I haven’t lost my mind totally). Think I’m going to try this with her. Thanks!
I’m sure she’ll love it! Have fun!
Pamela Halligan says
I love soft pretzels, but never actually thought about making my own. I will definitely use this recipe. Thanks.
This looks like a great rainy afternoon project or one I can do with my Cub Scouts. This is an easy to use/follow recipe. Great!
Mary Dailey says
These look great. I’ll have to try to make them!
Becky Davis says
This sounds quick and easy. Have you ever tried it with cinnamon and sugar? How did it turn out?
This is so cool. The kids love soft pretzels but they get expensive to buy all the time. This would be great to because they can help roll them or do their own design with them.
Thank you for this recipe. I’ve been looking around the net for things to do over the summer with my kids. This one would be great since they will be able to do shapes and twists before they eat it.
i am so glad that i stumbled upon you blog! my attention was captured by your blog name and then i read a little bit about you and i just want to say that i love it that you are not afraid to admit that you are a Christ following woman, mother and a wife! I recently got married and we have couple’s meetings and we have been thinking hard about how to home school our kids (only one couple has a child so far, but the rest of us are still waiting) we just see how much is going on in schools and we are all pretty concerned about our children. So i would just like to say that i am fascinated that you are able to do all this and still be great at it! God bless!
Julie from MA
Thanks so much for the comment, Julie! It’s always encouraging to hear from other moms and know that we’re not alone, isn’t it? ((HUGS)) and God bless you too!
Lorna Lyons says
I am fairly new at the computor but would love to get some of your receipts and pictures such as the pretzel one for kids. My grandkids would love to make those so is there a possible way you can sent me the recepite and pictures to me on e=mail. If not i understand. Thank you so much for doint this iy is greatly appreciated. Thajks again Lorns
Hi Lorna, if you go to the post above you can see there’s a button to click where you can print out the recipe. I hope that helps!
Made these with the kiddos and they are fantastic! We bought a bunch of dipping sauces and are making them again tonight in honor of National Pretzel day. 🙂
I totally forgot about National Pretzel Day! I’m so glad you enjoyed them, Emily! Thanks for stopping by!
These were amazing and so easy. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
Elizabeth Yutzy says
Hello Erika, I tried your recipe with my children at school and they loved the pretzels. Thank you so much for the details.
I’m glad to hear it, Elizabeth! Thanks so much for letting me know. 🙂
Amanda Lanter says
I usually brush mine wiht butter afterwards then wiggle them around in a cinnamon and sugar mixture. Thanks for posting the recipes!
um yea….these are awesome!
Its true these are SO EASY!!!
I don’t have kids but I needed an easy appetizer to make for a dinner party. These were a huge hit! I added an extra layer of melted butter at the end to mimic the “Aunt Annie” flavor. These were delicious!
That’s great to hear, Ashley!
We make the kind you buy at the store all the time. But now that I got this great recipe we can make our own here at home. It will be alot cheaper and the kids will have a ball make their own pretzels. I never realized the recipe ingredients were that simple of products. Thanks so much for the recipe
You’re welcome, Ann. Have fun making them!
The kids in my preschool classroom loved this recipe. My six students have attention and sensory processing issues. Smelling,
rolling the dough, and putting their hands in it made them feel happy and calm. Best of all everyone tried the pretzels! Thank you so much!
My son saw some frozen soft pretzels and begged me for them and I refused. So happy to have found a simple recipe, and can’t wait to try it out! I worked at a pretzel shop years ago and before we baked them we brushed this wash on it that was water and baking soda (or powder, I’m not positive), but no egg, just that mixture. When they came out we would pick them up with tongs and dip them in oil and salt them. I’m gonna try a few each way to see what works best. Thank you for the recipe 🙂
I made these… Tasted ok but not light dough…. Really heavy & I only got 8 pretzels the size of my hand out of this recipe… I think they should have been left to rise alittle before baking. They got to hard baking long enough to get golden brown.
These were tough once cooled, so not ideal for the school picnic. Is there anything I can do to improve this for the second batch of dough i’ve reserved for the second event later today?
I wonder if it was kneaded too much? That’s always possible. These pretzels are best eaten within the first day or two as they do have a tenancy to harden up, but that doesn’t usually happen right after they cool. I hope your next batch turns out better.
Here’s a link with some info about soft pretzels that harden. One suggestion was to bake them at a lower temperature.
Thanks for the recipe — this sounds just like a pretzel recipe we followed as kids, from a kids cook book we had.
You can also make these into some pretty good bagels! Wondering if you ever tried adding anything to make these “more healthy”? Like maybe Flax Seed, or Chia seeds, or even just whole wheat flour? I will try it first just as you wrote it, then maybe next time try adding things. If you’ve tried this, let me know what and how much you added. Thanks!
I haven’t made these in quite a while as we are now gluten-free, but I love your tweak ideas! If you try any healthier options with this recipe, I’d love to hear what you think.