How to Make Homemade Soft Pretzels

Posted on Sep 27, 2013 in Baking Tips, Breads, Sides & Appetizers | 0 comments

How to Make Homemade Soft Pretzels

 So what’s the secret to making the most delicious chewy Homemade Soft Pretzels? Dipping them in a boiling water & baking soda solution before baking them.  This little extra step is what gives yummy soft pretzels their signature crusty pretzel flavor, color and texture.  Some people skip this step when making pretzels at home.  But DON’T! It’s totally worth the extra 15 minutes to get your pretzels brown & crusty.  Traditionally pretzels are dipped in lye and there is food grade lye but it can be hard to find and you might need safety goggles & rubber gloves, which just seems to weird to me since I will be eating it, so instead I always opt for a baking soda solution which produces nearly the same results.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

The first thing you’ll notice when you place the pretzel dough in the boiling water & baking soda concoction is that it will puff up a little bit.  This helps begin forming the crust while keeping the inside chewy.  Without getting too science-y on you guys, basically when you add baking soda to water, it makes the water alkaline. You remember the pH scale from Chem 101 right? Dipping the pretzels in the alkaline water is what will help brown your pretzels faster without over baking, give them their shiny appearance and help intensify the flavor.  Everything that makes a homemade soft pretzel a soft pretzel.

Homemade Pretzels

In this recipe, I actually double duty the browning and crust formation by boiling and adding an egg wash right before baking.  Delish! I also played around with a few different variations and made sea salt pretzel bites

Cream Cheese Pretzel Bites


& chive and garlic cream cheese stuffed pretzel bites.

Cream Cheese Stuffed Pretzel Bites

If you want the recipe for the stuffed pretzel bites just shoot me an email and I’d be happy to send it on over! 🙂

Homemade Soft Pretzels


  • 1 1/2 cup Warm Water (110 - 115 degrees F)
  • 1 packet Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 11oz All Purpose Flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 11oz Bread Flour or Strong Flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter (melted)
  • Non-stick oil spray
  • 1 Large Egg Yolk
  • Sea Salt

Dipping Solution

  • 10 cups Water
  • 2/3 cups Baking Soda


This recipe is adapted from Alton Brown - the best pretzel recipe I've found to date! I did half & half AP flour & bread flour and added just a tad more salt. Make sure you use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the water before adding the yeast.  It does make a difference.


Step 1
Place warm water, sugar & salt in the bowl of a mixer. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Let stand for 5 minutes until it starts to get foamy.
Step 2
Sift the flour and add it to the bowl with the melted butter. Using the dough attachment, mix on low until it is combined. Begin to mix on medium for about 4-5 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and begins to pull away from the bowl.
Step 3
Take the dough ball out of the bowl, clean and spray with non-stick spray. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place about 75-80 degrees F for about 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Step 4
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spray two light colored baking sheets with baking spray. Bring the water and baking soda to a rolling boil in a large pot or pan.
Step 5
Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a long strand about 18 inches long. To form the traditional pretzel shape, take one side and criss cross it over the other side and pinch together at the bottom. For pretzel bites, cut the strand into 6 equal portions.
Step 6
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water. Place the pretzels or pretzel bites in the boiling water for about 30 seconds each. Remove from the water using a flat spatula and place on the baking sheet. The first 3 times I did this recipe, I used parchment paper and no matter how intense I sprayed the paper there was always paper stuck to my pretzels. Now I just place the pretzels directly on the sheet and I haven't had any problems with sticking.
Step 7
Brush the egg wash over each, salt with kosher salt, sea salt or pretzel salt & place in to the oven to bake for about 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack to let cool about 5 minutes before serving. Serve with your favorite cheese sauce, mustard or if you're from the East Coast, ketchup!

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