miniature soft pretzels

I wish I had something more eloquent to say about the miniature soft pretzels I made for the two Super Bowl parties we attended on Sunday, but every time I look at them, intelligent words escape me: they’re sooo cute! Are they not the fattest, more adorable little things you have ever seen?! They were so plump, all their holes closed up and while I tried to twist them into the traditional pretzel shape, as if all they really wanted to be when they baked up was a dinner roll. With turkey and mustard, I believe they requested.

rolling and rolling and
tying the knot

Ever since I made bretzel rolls (something I just learned are actually called Laugenbrötchen, such a cooler name) in October, I have been looking for excuses to do so again (and not leave them to stale and condensate in a plastic bag this time). It hasn’t helped that I am suddenly seeing varieties freshly-baked pretzels in all sorts of places, above and beyond the stale street cart fare. First, there was an impulsive trip to the Schaller and Weber store on East 86th Street two weekends ago, where the most gorgeous soft pretzel sticks were sold in threes, clamoring to be dipped in something fantastic and spicy. Then, I saw them again at the Garden of Eden by us last night. And, could fuel for my pretzel obsession not get any stronger, there is apparently a place called the Columbia City Bakery in Seattle whose charming s-shaped pretzel slits might alone be enough reason to visit.

fat little pretzels, boiling
miniature soft pretzels

This time, I used Martha Stewart’s recipe, mostly because her 1-2-3 easy diagram for making the pretzel twists alone make it a worthwhile click. The recipe barely differs from the bretzel one in proportions, though a less-speedy yeast, less glutinous flour and slightly more salt and sugar are used. However, the one place with a noticeable variation — her boiling bath calls for just 2 tablespoons of baking soda and no sugar versus 1/4 cup soda and 2 tablespoons sugar, though equal poaching times — my best educated guess tells me is the part the made a difference I didn’t want. I had really hoped for that dark, stunning and shiny brown exterior I had last time, but even with several extra minutes in the oven, these remained lighter in color, like the ones bought on the street. Their flavor was spot-on, however, I just might revert to the more soda-heavy poaching liquid next time.

miniature soft pretzels

As I learned last time, store these open and uncovered for up to a day or two, though they are best eaten soon after they are baked. Storing them, however, is really a non-issue because they barely made it to halftime, which is a shame because I bet they would have loved the Prince-in-a-doo-rag show, too.

a large dollop for a tiny knot

Finally, because something I made last week too just doesn’t warrant a separate post, I also made icebox cakes in cupcake form on Sunday. Just like the cake, they were super-easy to make, but be wary! It uses even more cookies. From three packs of Nabisco Chocolate Wafers, I was able to make about 22 cupcakes (5 cookies high) before running down to just the broken ones in the pack. Another trick: always use way more whipped cream than you think you’ll need (the cookies should stack, freshly made, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart). Once it sits overnight, much of it gets absorbed into the cookies (yum), so if you put too little, you end up with a stack of cookies, and no white ribbon-ed effect.

I expected that we’d have to eat them by fork or spoon, but they were surprisingly easy to eat by hand, or, really no more messy than picking up one of those abundantly-frosted cupcakes from Billy’s or Magnolia bakery.

Finally, the discs are slightly big for a standard cupcake liner. I centered them over it, flattening the paper a little, but if you have any big muffin liners, this is a good time to use them. Oh, and if you want one for yourself it’s best to grab these, too, in the beginning of the party. But you already knew that.

icebox cupcakes

Soft Pretzels
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Updated with a few tweaks 2/20/2009

Makes 16 full-sized or 32 miniature

2 cups warm water (100°F to 110°F)
1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons canola or other neutral oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1 large egg
Coarse or pretzel salt

Vegetable-oil cooking spray

1. Pour warm water and 1 tablespoon sugar into bowl of electric mixer fitted with a dough hook* and stir to combine. Sprinkle with yeast, and let sit 10 minutes; yeast should be foamy.

2. Add 1 cup flour to yeast, and mix on low until combined. Add salt and 4 cups more flour, and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat on medium-low until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add another 1/2 cup flour, and knead on low 1 minute more. If dough is still wet and sticky, add 1/2 cup more flour (this will depend on weather conditions); knead until combined, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a lightly floured board, and knead about ten times, or until smooth.

3. Pour oil into a large bowl; swirl to coat sides. Transfer dough to bowl, turning dough to completely cover all sides. Cover with a kitchen towel, and leave in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.

4. Heat oven to 450°F. Lightly spray two baking sheets with cooking spray (parchment paper, ungreased, also works). Set aside. Punch down dough to remove bubbles. Transfer to a lightly floured board. Knead once or twice, divide into 16 pieces (about 2 1/2 ounces each) or 32 if making miniature pretzels, and wrap in plastic.

5. Roll one piece of dough at a time into an 18-inch-long strip. [I find the pretzels much easier to roll on an unfloured board, oddly enough, but see what works for you.] Twist into pretzel shape; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel. Continue to form pretzels; eight will fit on each sheet (you may need a third sheet if making miniatures). Let pretzels rest until they rise slightly, about 15 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, fill large, shallow pot with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Add baking soda (and step back, it foams up quickly) and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Reduce to a simmer; transfer three to four pretzels to water. Poach 1 minute on each side. Use slotted spoon to transfer pretzels to baking sheet. Continue until all pretzels are poached.

7. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush pretzels with egg glaze. Sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on wire rack, or eat warm. Pretzels are best when eaten the same day, but will keep at room temperature, uncovered, for two days. Do not store in covered container or they will become soggy.

* These days, I mix all of my bread doughs by hand, with a wooden spoon. I find it a fantastically easy process, and not very hard to stir by hand. No need to mix for several minutes, just a minute or so after it looks combined. To save even more dishes, I rinse out the bowl, oil it and use it for proofing the dough. And you thought making bread wasn’t simple!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

215 comments on miniature soft pretzels

  1. Soft pretzels are a childhood comfort food for me. If I was at one of those parties and saw you getting out of your car with that tray, I’d knock you down and bolt with them! Being a yeast-fueled fugitive would totally be worth it! Gorgeous!

  2. LyB

    Hi Deb! Those pretzels look gorgeous! I was wondering how you twist them into that traditional shape and you answered my question with that Martha Stewart diagram! It looks so easy but I bet it’s quite time consuming especially making them so tiny! Thanks again for a great post!

  3. Both of the recipes look great! I love dipping pretzels in honey or honey mustard. This another recipe on my “To Be Cooked” list. Thank goodness Excel has 67k rows (Office 2003), I’m already up to 1298 and I just started it in July. Also, the cupcakes…OMG! How did you apply the icing? Did you have any problems with the wafers cracking? Also, I wonder if this would work with vanilla wafers? Oh the mind is racing and my jeans are crying out, “No, Jen! No!”

  4. RA

    I just love mini food. What great twists (ha.) on traditional football fare!

    I made three-bean chili myself, and my veggie friend was very grateful. Even with 8 quarts of chili in total, 12 people only left 3 small lunch servings for me. Boo. Ah well, it was a happy crowd. :)

  5. Lauren

    The more of your entries I read, the madder I get that I do not have the time to cook all day long. I need to make both of these recipes now but somehow I don’t think my boss would appreciate it. (The woman doesn’t eat pasta or cheese, can you believe it?)

  6. I made exactly this for my super bowl party too! I found you can substitute the water with beer on the pretzel recipe which gave it a wonderful smell. And I added a tablespoon of kahlua to the ice box cake to round out the alcohol extravaganza. Though, I made my ice box cake smaller than normal (only 2 cups of cream and 1 box of cookies), I think next time I am going to have to try the individual servings idea. Genius!

  7. One of my strongest childhood memories was going into Manhattan from Queens and getting those (at the time) amazing pretzels from the street vendors. It seems as if the art of pretzel making has gone downhill since then. Have you ever tried the awful pretzels they make at shopping malls?

  8. Oh My Gosh. I have been wanting to make homemade pretzels for so long….. I’ve mostly been lazy (and, as usual, scared of all recipes involving yeast), but all the time I’ve just really, really wanted to make my own pretzels. I keep dreaming of my house smelling like a freshly boiled/baked pretzel – like a bagel place…mmm…

    These look adorable!

  9. They are indeed cute, Deb. Insanely so! Thinking of fresh pretzels like these reminds me of long stick pretzels, once sold five in a paper bag, on street corners in St. Louis. I can taste them right now.

  10. Maggie

    Perfect timing with the cupcakes. Check out this month’s Bon Apetit that just came out to subscribers yesterday. Their’s are orange flavored, but otherwise pretty similar. I like simplicity though, so I’m going to try your recipe first. Thanks for keeping my sugar craving high!! :)

  11. shana

    Ginger Man on 36th street does a FABULOUS soft pretzel. Ask for the spicy mustard with it.

    (and the Lindemans Pomme Lambic they have on tap, too.)

  12. chris k

    Those look great! I’ve recently lost my favorite soft pretzel recipe. It had brown sugar in it, and the pretzels baked up nice and dark. I can’t remember how much baking soda went in the boiling water either. I tried a different recipe and was sorely dissaponinted. Perhaps I give yours a try.

  13. Eric

    I made this recipe last weekend and they were incredible. Between myself, my roommate and a friend from work we polished off 16 of them in two days. I’ll definitely be making them again. Thanks to you (and Martha) for the great recipe.

  14. the pretzels look oh so good, I love the soft variety. But, what really caught my attention was that little chocolate concoction at the end. OMG- they look amazing! I am looking forward to making them- that is after I come off the sugar high I’ve been on for the last 6 weeks! As always, beautiful photos too.

  15. Neesha

    i’ve always loved pretzels but where i live you can’t get them in the malls (yeah am far away from civilization) so i am dying to try your recipe. it’s the rolling that i find daunting however. oh well… i guess i just have to get over it. :)

  16. Sara

    At what step would I stop if I were to prep these ahead of time? Would I put them in the fridge after the boil and before the bake or before the boil right after I knot them? What about freezing? I’m thinking these would make delicious buns for burgers at my BBQ this weekend!

  17. deb

    Hi Sara — I would do so at step 5. What you can do is form the pretzels, put them on the baking sheet and cover the sheet with oiled (oil side down) plastic wrap. They’ll rise slowly in the fridge overnight–possibly up to 24 hours (you’ll want to watch to make sure they’re not over-expanding). Once you get them back to room temperature, you’re ready to boil them.

  18. Jess

    These are a MONUMENTOUS recipe, my head is bemoaning all the steps it took, but they’re in the oven and the smell is promising me that they will be delicious! THANKS for always putting great recipes up, when I think of something to bake, I always check here first!!!!

  19. Jess

    I just ate one…okay 4…OMG OMG OMG they are so delicious, i just swore loudly to my empty house because they are so good.

  20. I made these baby pretzels last week. They were delicious and much easier than I expected. Next time I’ll follow your directions for making ahead and I’ll have a crowd ready to eat them right out of the oven!

  21. Joyce Lopes

    hi there
    love your website!
    did you use plain whipped cream for the icebox cupcakes? or sweetened? thanks. my mom always made that as a kid, haven’t had it in forever. cupcakes is a fabulous idea

  22. kinsey

    Ignored my fear of working with yeast and made these for a Super Bowl party and guess what – they turned out great! Thanks, Deb!

    My mistake was not spritzing the parchment with oil before baking, which left one tray of pretzels permanently glued to the paper with egg wash. I learned my lesson with the second tray and there were still plenty to take to the party.

    Love the idea of using them as a hamburger bun, or maybe for a hot ham and cheese…

  23. missdk

    Made this tonight as a vday treat for my love. I was having a hell of a time getting them into long skinny snakes to twist into pretzels (my poor palms are sore) but I found getting my hands a tiny bit wet helped a lot and your tip to have no flour on the table. Oof. I just ate 6 in a row. I’m gonna burst.

  24. Nadia

    I’ve been reading (and loving) your blog forever but had to comment for the first time because I made these and they were amazing!!!!! My boyfriend liked them more than the fancy dinner he got on valentine’s day. Pretzels might be the way into anyone’s heart!

  25. Kandy

    I just finished making these and they are delicious. There does seem to be a typo in the first sentence. Regarding the water and a small bowl? I mixed my yeast, water and sugar in the mixing bowl. (Martha’s recipe says the same thing-so maybe I am missing something?) Rolling them was the hardest part-I did some streching too which didn’t hurt them. I also substituted kosher salt for the coarse sea salt.

  26. Andrew

    I hope this question doesn’t sound really stupid, but I want to make sure that when I follow this recipe I don’t mess anything up! I’m confused by the very first step – first it says to put the water into the mixer’s bowl, but then it says to combine the water and sugar (and yeast) in “a small bowl”. It then never says anything about putting the yeast mixture back into the mixer’s bowl, but then it continues on by adding up to 6 cups of flour to it and I’m pretty sure that much flour wouldn’t fit in “a small bowl”! I’m assuming we are supposed to just put the water into the mixer’s bowl and add the sugar and yeast to that, but I would like to know if I am misinterpreting the steps.

    Thanks! I can’t wait to try the recipe.

  27. Andrew

    Oops! I hadn’t refreshed my page since yesterday when the last comment was posted so I didn’t see it before I submitted my comment!

    Anyway, sounds like it works to just combine everything in the mixing bowl, but it might help to clarify this in the first step.

  28. I’ve made soft pretzels before but didn’t get that brownish shiny coating that is desired. As a connoisseur of the Philadelphia Soft Pretzel (lived here for 20 years), I know what they taste like warm and fresh out of the pretzel bakery oven.

    I’m so going down to my kitchen after I post and starting the dough! Thanks. They are adorable!!!

  29. heather

    i made these today and they turned out perfect! they were really fun to make and even more fun to eat. i’m full!

  30. melissa

    just made two batches of these for a preschool potluck. yum! i am going to serve them with different types of mustard.

    thank you for the great idea.

  31. Kim

    So, not sure what I did wrong, but these were incredibly salty and tasted of baking soda… perhaps its just a personal preference?

  32. Cheryl

    I would so love to make those pretzel, however I have a question for you. I’m in Europe right now and I’d like to know how many ounces or grams is 1 packet of dry yeast that you’re using?? The packet of yeast I have here is 11g.
    Your help is greatly appreciated.

  33. The first step should read:

    1. Pour warm water into bowl of electric mixer fitted with a dough hook*. Add 1 tablespoon sugar, and stir to dissolve sugar. Sprinkle with yeast, and let sit (proof) 10 minutes; yeast should be foamy.

    Those changes should help those confused with that step. Hope you dont mind the edit. BTW, I’m in the middle of making these right now and I am already surprised at how easy they are to make!

    Cheers! Allie

  34. Pam

    Deb, I HATE it when you do this to me! This is one of those recipes you posted and I immediately had to try it. My dough is rising now! I had to halve the recipe, since I only had just over 3.5 cups of flour, so hopefully it turns out ok. I’ll report back.

  35. Pam

    Okay these are AMAZING! I was in NYC last week and went to DB Bistro, and they brought out this pretzel bread that was everything I always want NYC street pretzels to be (but somehow whenever I get a street pretzel it’s stale, tough, and flavourless). These pretzels are like mini versions of that pretzel bread – just what I wanted! Thank you SO much Deb!!

  36. Soph

    just wondering if I can mix by hand or with a hand mixer or even in my food processor – do not have a proper kitchenaid type machine… These pretzels would make me the bestest wife in the world you see – I have to make them!!! Thanks for the info!

  37. Mine came out tasting of the baking soda too. I think I didn’t drain them well enough after poaching? Or I didn’t let the dough rise enough? I’m not sure. I’ve made bread-dough-type recipes maybe six times in my life. I had a four-year-old helping me, so it’s possible I was distracted.

    So they taste a little weird, but I’m still eating them! Baking them a bit more and letting them dry overnight has helped, as has liberal application of mustard.

  38. Meghan

    I made these this afternoon and they were wonderful! Thanks so much for the recipe (and the link to Martha for the twisting diagram). I took them to a potluck with a jar of hot mustard and they were a hit!! I mixed them with a wooden spoon and baked them on non-greased parchment paper. Love the site!

    1. Stacey Sarnicola

      I made the full batch of dough, but I want to freeze half for another time. Should I freeze the raw dough or continue and freeze them after they are cooked? Or after they are shaped? Or after they are boiled? Thanks

      1. deb

        At any point. I’d probably do it after boiling so all you have left to do is bake them, but I haven’t tried it in a long time. Don’t put salt on until it’s time to bake them.

  39. Jeniyo

    hey Deb. Thanks for posting this. I am bringing these for a post marathon recovery food. I am sherpa-ing for their race tomorrow. So much better than stale bagels! My friends and I thank you.

    I didn’t realize these are so easy to make. When i was growing up, before they have the bad food from central kitchens, our elementary school lunch lady makes these thick and taller and slices them for ham and cheddar sandwiches, toasted and nicely melted in the oven until all the kids get in the lunch line. It is a fond memory because i was helping her when she made these. I find those sandwiches one of the best things i’ve ever had. Now i get to show my husband what i was blabbering about all these years!

  40. Stephanie Beall

    I have read this recipe a dozen times and am dying to try making the pretzels. However, i am trying to figure out how much warm water you put in the small bowl with the sugar and yeast. It doesn’t say, and I am not the greatest cook, so I need very specific directions. Thank you!!!

  41. jesse

    Stephanie. Step one could read:

    1. Pour 2 cups warm water (100°F to 110°F) into bowl of electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.

    Hope that helps.

  42. Kevin

    These were great. For something a little different, we mixed in jalapeno peppers and cheddar cheese to about 1/3 of the batch. Next time I think it will be 50-50.

  43. So when the no-knead bread recipe came out in Cook’s Illustrated, I made a loaf a day for about four weeks. Then I weened myself down to two a week. And all of my friends were sad because they weren’t getting homemade bread.

    Then this pretzel recipe comes along. And I am here to tell you that I am in love with it. I made them this past weekend and that was it. I am hooked. Another batch will come out of the oven tomorrow and then another on Thursday.

    I am good around the kitchen. But you can make me look like a domestic goddess in the time it takes for the house to fill up with the smell of pretzels. I am thinking one of those batches should have cinnamon and sugar on them.

  44. Kate

    So I made these today but they all came out tasting like baking soda. Did I not let the mixture boil down enough?

  45. Lise

    I made a half recipe this weekend (but used the full amounts for the egg wash and the water/baking soda mixture). They were great. I made half with salt and half with cinnamon sugar (brushed a bit of butter on the pretzels when they came out of the oven and then dipped them in a plate of cinnamon/sugar). Thanks for the recipe!

  46. Katy Belle

    I’ve had these on my ‘to do’ list for a while. The boys and I made them tonight and they were fantastic! I used a wooden spoon and had no trouble! I’m very proud of myself for making such a great looking product. Thanks for all the great recipes!

  47. Rebecca

    I just made this recipe yesterday for football-watching and the pretzels turned out fantastically! Instead of the egg wash, I melted some butter and brushed that on the pretzels before baking. I already have many requests to make them again.

  48. I’ve been wanting to try some of your recipes for awhile and finally tackled the pretzels and 44-clove garlic soup yesterday. I was astonished at how easy the pretzels really were!

    Thanks for being specific about the temperature of the water for the yeast step. The first time I tried to prepare the yeast I just waited for the water to seem warm enough and the yeast did not get foamy at all. Second time, I actually used a thermometer to make sure and it came out perfectly. As someone brand-new to baking bread, that very specific direction really helped the process go smoothly and let me problem-solve – I’m pretty sure I would have given up otherwise.

  49. Shayna

    Do you think this could be transformed into pigs in pretzel blankets? My favorite treat is a bagel dog at Katz bagels. :) Also can you freeze the dough so they are ready to boil and bake?

  50. Tifara

    I made these yesterday … but of course i ran out of regular flour (i have no clue how :( ) and it was snowing … so I used half whole wheat flour and dipped the pretzels in cin and sugar …. YUM!!!!! they are even good now, a day later!!

  51. morgan


    this may be a stupid question, but how many oz. is one packet of yeast? i have a pretty large packet, and am a little worried that the recipe does not call for the whole packet.

  52. Linda

    These look delicious! I’m going to make them for a Superbowl party, but it’s for a non mustard loving crowd. Does anyone have suggestions for a different dip or spread to make? Maybe something cheesy? (I’m a vegetarian, so ideally not something meat based.)

  53. Heidi

    Today, I introduced my two-year old to the stand mixer, pretzels, and the fantastic fun of rolling dough balls into snakes, all through this recipe. Delicious! We each ate 4 hot out of the oven. I am using the eyes in the back of my head to contemplate the rest while I type. I will surely eat more before bed.

  54. Nance

    I’m making the pretzels right now – but just noticed that Martha’s recipe calls for one teaspoon of yeast while yours says one packet? That’s almost double! I’m worried now, because we’re two days away from game day and I promised my friends some top notch superbowl fare! :S

    Anyways, just wanted to bring that to your attention. I’m also just freaking out because I realized I only have 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Tempted to use the box in the fridge…

  55. Beth

    Mmmm! These were really good. My dough was a little finicky. For some reason, some pieces rolled out really well, and others were sticky and pulled apart. Despite this, they came out of the oven all tasting delicious. Finally, a recipe that is what I remember my mom making when I was a kid! Also, thanks for the directions on how to make these without the mixer.

  56. MeShell

    Actually, Nance, I would definitely not use the box in the fridge, although it’s probably too late now.
    If “the box in the fridge” that you speak of is an odor absorbing box, I have one word. Yuck. I’ve never actually tried it, but I read it in numerous places once when I was as desperate for baking soda as you seem! From what I hear, these boxes do just what they say, absorb odors. And depending on what kind of odors they are and how long the baking soda has been absorbing them, using this baking soda can really mess up the taste of your food.
    I hope I wasn’t too late and I hope I’m not stepping on any toes here! I guess I’d have to try it to really find out if it’s that terrible, but I really wouldn’t risk it… I wouldn’t want you to think it was Deb’s recipe tasting so bad, but if you’re smart you know that’s not possible, haha! <3

    1. deb

      The reason I hadn’t been concerned is that the baking soda is only being used in the cooking water, to help create a shiny, pretzel-y shell. The age or even odor (you know, if mild or not even noticeable) shouldn’t affect that. However, if it were in the pretzel, or any baked good… I’d probably wait until I had a fresh box. Hope that helps clarify!

  57. MeShell

    And in my ridiculously tired state I forgot to even comment on the food itself. The pretzels look absolutely amazing and if it were the right time of day (7 AM right now) I would march right downstairs to make them! I’ll save this one for lunch. Thanks so much for all your recipes, Deb. =)

  58. MeShell

    I’m sorry, I didn’t even think about that fact until I started making them a little over an hour ago! You’re right, (it would probably be perfectly fine to use in the poaching process) although I’m not surprised, haha.
    Hope I didn’t step on your toes or anything, I was just trying to be helpful. Thanks for your enlightenment, as always.

    When I was trying to activate the yeast, it didn’t foam as much as I would have liked but the dough rose just fine. I’m getting ready to poach them now. I’m so excited!

  59. Nance

    argh my post disappeared. starting over…

    I ended up poaching them in the one tablespoon of baking soda i had left in my baking supply, and they tasted great the day of…unfortunately by the time game day rolled around (2 days later) they were rock hard. I should have just eaten them all by myself :D And I didn’t really need the pretzels for superbowl since I had also made the Jalapeno Cheddar Scones, Corniest Corn Muffins, and Molly’s Dry Rubbed Ribs. Those all turned out fantastically delish! Thanks for the great recipes!

    btw…I ended up using the odor-absorbing baking soda for some Rich Buttermilk Waffles the next day (for shame…) but they still tasted good. The maple syrup probably masked any bad flavors :D

    and my mom went out and bought a 6 pack of baking soda from costco on monday. too little, too late. :P

  60. Beth

    I have made these twice now and both times I have made vegetarian pretzel dogs out of them (wrapped a vegetarian hot dog – i used smart dogs in the dough and then blanched and baked them according to your directions). I just wanted to report that they are AMAZING, and that I highly recommend trying it. thanks for the recipe!

  61. Beth

    ooh, I should update my comment above to say that I made mini versions of my veggie pretzel dogs for a small foods party tonight and they won the Yummo Award for tastiest treat there!

  62. Christina

    Oh no! I forgot to do the egg wash and my pretzels look phenomenal, but taste horrific! Like baking soda! Never forget the egg wash. :( I blame it on my husband for distracting me during that last step.

  63. jenniegirl

    My friend ALWAYS has soft pretzels for her Superbowl party. I only get them once a year…I should probably learn how to make my own!

  64. Oscar

    These were a lot of fun to make, and they were pretty tasty, but I’m wondering what what happen if we would cut down on the amount of baking soda during the poaching step (Step 6)?? They tasted sort of metallic-like and we wanted to make them again to eliminate that effect.

  65. Charis

    I have been trying out a number of pretzel recipes and this is my family’s agreed upon favorite. The dough is easy to work with, they taste wonderful and are not greasy like some other recipes I have tried.

  66. Just made these and boy are they good! My first time making any kind of bread you have to boil before baking, and your instructions were awesome. Thanks again for another fab recipe!

  67. Alexa F.

    Replenished some ingredients last night and decided to finally make these today. So delicious! I already can’t wait to make them again.

  68. Charlotte

    Absolutely perfect! Better than any pretzel I’ve had before. Thanks a bunch for the recipe and… well, for existing, Deb. All of us kitchen-phobic pretzel lovers appreciate it. :)

  69. Shayna

    P.S. I followed the nytimes/Kim Boyce recipe just now and it is SO good. Subbed in a cup of whole wheat for the ap flour. So it was 1 cup rye, 1 cup whole wheat and 2 cups ap flour. And the direction in the Boyce recipe to put in boiling water twisted side down made a huge difference!

    The knob on my oven is wacky. 450 is difficult to get, usually it’s 400 or over 500 (it’s a really old gas model) I ended up turning the tray at 5 min in and then tacking out after 10 minutes.

    AND I froze half of the pretzels after boiling and salting, wrapped in the buttered parchment paper. Will report back to ya. Since I already ate 3 (SO GOOD) it will probably be soon ;)

    1. Helen in CA

      This confuses me (unless your intent was to recommend using the ratio of whole grain/ap flour). Why review on Deb’s page, a recipe from a different source?

  70. Katherine

    I just made them and we basically ate them all! I put the poaching time down to about 20-30 seconds per side and they were a little softer. They are just so cute! Thanks!
    P.S. It is crazy what a difference in flour you need in Arizona compared to New York!

  71. Britt

    I had so much fun making these last week. I did as a previous reviewer and wrapped a sausage in some of the dough pre baking soda bath. MMM tasty.

    I’m curious to see know how Shayna’s pretzels turned out after freezing. I refrigerated half the dough after the first rise (it was 2 AM after all) & unfortunately was crazy distracted for 2 days before I could come back to them. Though they were still good they were more of a crunchy pretzel than the delicate soft ones I yielded without cruelly refrigerating that pillow soft dough.

  72. Anne

    These taste exactly like ball park soft pretzels (except I used half whole wheat flour and I can taste the difference this made). Nice recipe!

  73. Lucy

    These look great! I was wondering what kind of sweet topping I could put on these pretzels though? There are pretzel shops here where they put some sort of cream cheese topping thats really sweet and sugary? Im wondering if you have seen this before and how to make this sort of topping.


  74. Lovelle

    Your pretzels look yummy ;) I tried this recipe last night but I was too tired to bake it so I refrigerated the pretzels after the shaping process. Baked them this morning, but it turned out to be tough and chewy! I used a mixer (dough hook) to knead the dough, used 5.5 cups of flour and let it rise for 1 hour before shaping. Any idea what went wrong? Thanks for your help, Lovelle ;)

  75. G

    Just made these and they taste well with butter or mustard, albeit a bit on the chewy side. Alone, I find that I can taste the baking soda. Any idea why?

  76. Maria

    THANK YOU. Baby is sick and it’s 20 degrees outside so we were looking for indoor activities. These are glorious! My only problem was the parchment – I know I didn’t drain them enough, so they ended up glued to the parchment after baking. I did the second batch on a silpat and they came off like a dream. The first batch still tastes so good I’m eating the paper anyway.

  77. Val L.

    This recipe was delicious! Even my husband, who is something of a pretzel snob, loved them. I saved a few to make as “dessert” pretzels, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and topped with creme anglaise. What could be better than pretzels for dinner AND dessert?

  78. Sarah

    Hi Deb,

    One question, how long do you think you could wait between poaching and baking? I am going to someone’s house for the super bowl and would love to bake them there… Do you think the poached pretzels could wait an hour before being baked? Thanks!

  79. Sharon

    Oh, yum. Made a half recipe of these for the Super Bowl. I left the proportions in the poaching liquid the same. They are going into our permanent rotation! I made 12 minis, may try 15-16 next time. Kids loved them!

  80. Claudia

    I want to try this recipe, but how much yeast do i need? because in my town (San Salvador, El Salvador, Central America) they sell different sizes. Thanks.
    Great blog, by the way!

  81. Ace

    I was just curious if it would be possible to use bread flour for these? I have this massive bag of bread flour that I’ve been trying to chip away at but can never seem to find a recipe to use it. And this would be my 3rd trip to the grocery story in a week just for more AP flour, which is mildly embarrassing. Thanks!

  82. Wow…amazing. I never put together until this recipe that baking soda was the secret ingredient to give soft pretzels that distinctive flavor!

    I did a couple variations in addition to the regular salt:
    – wrapped hot dogs in the dough before the rise, boiled and baked to make pretzel dogs. Fantastic!
    – Did a cinnamon-sugar one. Might leave the baking soda out when doing that next time, as the taste clashed somewhat, in my book, though they were generally quite popular.

    Very exciting and fun to make. Thanks!

  83. StrawberryJane

    I made these, but switched the recipe up in a bad way: I used the full quarter-cup of baking soda in the boiling water, but absolutely no sugar. Metallic taste of the baking soda without the lovely sugar to cover it up made for an almost inedible pretzel. (And by “almost inedible”, I mean they were edible only after being dunked in a sugary frosting first.)
    Lesson to take from this: keep the baking soda in proportion to the sugar. If I had used Martha’s recipe (less baking soda, no sugar), that would probably have been fine; if I had used Deb’s recipe (more making soda, 2T sugar), that probably would have been fine. But don’t do what I did, unless you’re baking for an enemy or unwanted houseguest or something. . . .

  84. Jennifer

    I made these pretzels today. Not sure they are gonna last long enough to take to the Bronco watching party. I love that they worked at 8k feet without any alterations. They are so delicious and beautiful.

  85. Charlotte

    These were so much fun to make! I love baking things that are labor-intensive (your apple pie cookies are another favorite).

    I’m sad though–only about half of them turned out nice-looking, and the rest are okay but they have soggy edges. I wonder what went wrong.

  86. Ila

    Hi Deb!
    I’ve been living in Germany for a while. Last week my BF bought some brezel (it’s called here so)l for me to taste. They were too hard and have no taste. I couldn’t eat. That was strange. I told him that in USA I used to had more delicious and soft pretzels. And then I found your site and surprise!!there is a pretzel recipe! Today I made your pretzel. I did exactly what you said in your recipe. I’ve made 36 pieces and they all came out excellent and delicious! My BF said that those pretzels were more delicious then their brezel! :))) Thank you very much sharing with us those wonderful recipes! Love…

  87. Shelly

    These look great! Deb, can you tell us a specific amount for the yeast? I buy mine in bulk and I don’t know which specific packets of yeast you mean and how much they contain? Thanks!

  88. Cindy

    I just made the pretzels for the 3rd or 4th time this afternoon and they just get better and better. I have often made 1/2 the dough into hamburger buns but today I made a few hotdog style buns for some brats and the rest proper pretzels. SO SO SO GOOD!

  89. natalie

    i just made these for the second time, and they were delicious both times! even with half of the dough made with spelt flour. while poaching, the dough on a lot of them split open, and even though it obviously didnt affect the flavor, they didn’t look as polished and delicious. do you think i was boiling them at too high a temperature? or maybe for too long? i did about a minute each side before taking them out of the baking soda bath.

  90. Hi Deb,

    I would like to make these this week for a pre Super Bowl party. Can the dough be made ahead of time before baking so they are fresh?
    Also, how do you think these would work with whole wheat pastry flour instead of regular flour and honey or maple syrup instead of sugar?

    Thanks so much for your postings- I love your site and just bought your book for a gift!

    1. deb

      Jessica — The dough can be kept in the fridge until needed, up to a day. I haven’t tried your substitutions. In general, when I’m trying a whole wheat swap for the first time, I don’t go over a 1/3 swap without testing it first. A liquid sweetener will add more moisture, which might lead to you needing a pinch more flour, but be careful not to overflour it or the dough will get tough.

  91. Grace

    These are delicious. Time-consuming as all get-out, though. I made 20, right between 16 and 32, and they came out mid-sized, which was exactly what I wanted. My housemates loved them. I used table salt and olive oil instead of an egg wash, and they just came out slightly less pretty. Also, a note: if your counter is like mine and is super-slippery even when unfloured, wetting the counter/your hands/the dough works wonders.

  92. Leah

    I made these for the superbowl, followed the recipe exactly, and they turned out perfect. After boiling I let the pretzels sit on a dishcloth for a minute or two to make sure they didn’t get soggy but I don’t know if that was necessary.

  93. Stacey

    once again I wasnt let down by your recipe, these were absolutely devine, i made some with salt, some topped with a mix of cheese, some mushroom & cheese, some sugar and then dipped in choc ganache… absolutely loved them… did my DH & I. Thanks again!!!

  94. eternalluna

    I made these for lunch today, and they looked beautiful and smelled amazing, but when I bit into one I had to spit it right back out- it tasted overwhelmingly of baking soda :( I’ll try again tomorrow with the other half of the dough and less baking soda.

  95. Amy

    Hi Deb –

    I worked at a pretzel shop in high school and I remember just dipping the pretzels in a mixture of hot water and baking soda before baking – we didn’t have to actually poach them. Would that work with this recipe?


  96. Helen

    Hi Deb! I want to make these pretzels for an Oktoberfest party we’re going to next weekend, and I was wondering about the water-bath. Do you think it would work to replace the sugar with malt syrup (a la Peter Reinhart’s bagel recipe)? And if so, what would you recommend the amount be? (a one for one trade?) Thanks!

  97. Claire

    We moved to Pennsylvania from Canada last summer and I fell in love with the pretzels (I was pregnant at the time and couldn’t get enough of the salty carbs!). I tried making these last night on a cold, snowy (again, sigh) afternoon and my partner said (over the course of the process):
    (When I was wondering if I should have just bought some): “Well, I didn’t want to say…”
    (When they were on the baking sheet): “Those really look like pretzels!”
    (When they came out of the oven): “Those look great!”
    (When he ate one off of the cooling rack): “These really taste like pretzels!”
    (When he came up to the nursery while eating his third in 20 minutes): “You could sell these at the airport!”

    So … thank you from a new Pennsylvanian!

  98. Susan

    At the risk of seeming slightly obsessive, I did some investigating of freezing/make ahead options with these last night (in hopes of making them ahead for a birthday party). I made a batch of dough and divided it into 5 groups (all were mini pretzels):
    1) bake start to finish and serve the next day – this was my least favorite – the pretzels were a bit chewy the next AM
    2) Freeze after the 15 min rise but before the poach. (Let come to room temp for 30 minutes in the AM and then poached)
    3) Fridge overnight after the 15 min rise but before the poach (Let come to room temp for 30 min in the AM and then poached)
    4) Freeze after the poach and bake straight from freezer – did the egg wash in the AM, added 2-3 minutes of extra baking time, but did not thaw first.
    5) Fridge overnight after the poach and bake in AM – did the egg wash right before baking and went straight into oven from fridge, no extra baking time required.

    All were totally edible, by least favorite was the day-old pretzels the next morning (group 1). The other four groups were essentially indistinguishable in a head to head taste test and all looked identical, so I think freezing after the poach would be easiest, and then straight into the oven prior to your party. Hope my little experiment will be useful to others.

  99. Katy Belle

    I made the dough a week ago, then had to leave town unexpectedly, for a funeral. The dough had risen. I basically punched it down and put it in a freezer bag, stuck it in the freezer. Now what? Thaw and roll into pretzels? Start all over?

  100. Mary

    I have made the minis several times, always to rave reviews. Once I accidentally used nearly half,wheat flour and they still turned out great.. I also once put half of the dough in the fridge and mixed it up with my pizza dough and found it makes a fab pizza crust. Thanks for the great recipe! I’m making them tonight for a New Years Eve party and everyone is excited

  101. Christy

    Just wondering, I want to make these to take to my mother in laws as an appetizer. Can I take the recipe through the boiling stage and let them sit on a pan for a while before baking at her house or do they have to bake right after boiling?

  102. Ingvild

    Here in Norway most people have never tasted or even heard about soft pretzels. I tasted my first as an excangestudent i Canada 20 years ago. It tasted wonderful! The second time was in KaDeWe in Berlin last year. Wow!
    So, today I decided to try to make them my self. My pretzels look really awful, but they taste just as I remember them. My daughter loves them too but she removes the salt on top. I will make these again, that is for shure, both with and without the salt. Thanks for the recipe!

  103. Anne

    Re: making these ahead and holding the dough in the fridge, I’m wondering if less yeast should be used (similar to pizza dough)? What would it do to the texture/chew? I would experiment myself but have to make them for a party so no time now! Thanks.

  104. Sarah

    These are a family favorite! We make them for every Super Bowl game, and for other family-fun days. The kids like to help roll out the dough to make the pretzel shapes.

    They do take a bit of time, but certainly worth the effort.

  105. Alex

    Would it be an absolute travesty to use pre-made dough? Dying to make these for the super bowl but don’t have the time to fully commit to the whole thing.

  106. Erin

    Made these last night! They were a huge hit and not as complicated as I thought! My notes:
    -made the dough several hours before using and eye balled cutting it in half. Put one half in the freezer and made 13 small-medium sized pretzels with the other half.
    – def easier to roll the dough without flour though it was still a bit of a challenge. Having wet hands helped big time.
    -sprayed a pan rather than using parchement paper due to Michelle’s comment
    -didn’t quite understand how to shape the pretzels from the written description but after watching a quick YouTube video it clicked for me.
    -made javacupcake’s German beer spicy mustard & the comfort of cooking’s cheese sauce to go with – delish!

    Thanks Deb!

  107. Katharina

    Thank you Deb for this recipe. I did two little loafs out of 500gr. White flour. I baked them for 25 min. and they turned out just perfect and exactly like I remembered them from back home in Switzerland. I will definitely make this again.

  108. I’ve just recently made bagels for the first time, and browsing through the kitchn to get the story behind boiling bread, I’ve stumbled upon this recipe. Pretzels are definitely not something sold in Casablanca (Morocco, where I live), only the hard tiny pretzels you find at the supermarkets in a box, so I’m definitely eager to try them out. I’ve had them on my mind ever since I was watching the office, and their pretzel day :D My bagels were pretty kick ass yesterday so I’m hoping it’ll be the same for this recipe, crossing fingers !

  109. Third time making these pretzels for my annual Oktoberfest Party! This year, I took your advice and prepped the pretzels the night before up to Step 5 and this was SOOOO much easier than doing it all in one day. I have some tips! If you prep the pretzels the night before and cover with oiled plastic wrap, don’t let them sit out at room temperature for too long when you’re ready to move to Step 6 or else the dough will get too soft and it will be difficult getting them off your baking tray and the bottoms will be hole-y. Since I made a double batch, I found that letting the pretzels sit for about 10 minutes was perfect out of the fridge. I was able to pick them right up and put them into the baking soda water. If the legs of your “knots” disconnect from the pretzel in the bath, it shouldn’t be a big deal as they will hold their shape and be perfect after they bake in the oven. I used Maldon, a flaky sea salt since I didn’t have rock salt and they came out delicious! Also, I found that if the dough is well-oiled after the first hour long rise, I didn’t need to wrap each of the individual pieces in plastic wrap while I was shaping them into pretzels. I just cut/portioned and covered the dough I wasn’t ready for with a tea towel. I’m sure oiled plastic wrap sitting over the top of them would work just fine too. I got pretty quick at shaping the dough into pretzels though, so if you think it’s going to take you a while to get through all the dough, maybe wrap them like Deb does above. Wish I could post a picture, they came out so beautiful and most importantly delicious! They only last a day, but don’t worry there are never any leftover :)

  110. Abby

    I’ve made these and loved them several times! I feel compelled to say it since most of the comments are about wanting to make them :) They are a favorite at my house and the recipie works as is- even for an amateur like me! Only advice: read the recipie several times to make sure you have enough time to do it. Otherwise pop your dough in the fridge and finish later!

  111. Jo-Ellen

    I made these a couple of years ago for a party and remember the boiling part being a bit chaotic, and my pretzels all coming apart at the seams so they ended up being pretzel sticks. They were nevertheless very tasty and a hit at the party.
    Just made them again and they turned out great! I didn’t do anything different – just followed the instructions and took my time doing so. I used a little water to seal the pretzel joints so they wouldn’t come apart during the ‘boiling’ part. I also took the boiling part nice and slow – made sure my bicarb sugar water was at a good simmer before i started boiling the pretzels. I used Glad Bake parchment paper (aussie here) and nothing else (no spray/ oil) and I didn’t have any issues with them sticking. I also used maldon sea salt, and didn’t bother wrapping the 16 dough bits in glad wrap before rolling them into shape – just had them laid out on the bench.
    Thanks Deb!

  112. cathydellinger

    I have to say the King Arthur Flour recipe for buttered soft pretzels is pretty amazing with a baking soda bath, but no poaching. Have to say, coming from NYC (transplanted to VT) they’re the real deal.

  113. Julia

    I made these yesterday! I am super proud of myself because for me pretzels are something you BUY, like a fully assembled car. I’m super excited that they were actually really easy (mix and then wait? I totes have that down). The dough got a bit dry after the first rise, but I just wet my hands a bit when i deflated the doughball. And I made sure to use wet hands when rolling out the pretzel shape and none of them fell apart.
    Thank you Deb!!

    1. deb

      No. The plastic is just to keep the dough from getting dry while you roll all the pretzels. Once they’re formed, in Step 5, there’s a 15-minute rise.

  114. bageripv

    these turned out amazing. and the flow in which the recipe is written is excellent. one small tip in case it’s helpful is when you poach them, use a tong to flip them and move them back and forth to baking sheet. the slotted spoon approach was a little clumsy. what a hit!! i will be making these again!

  115. Julie

    Deb, my husband requested these for Superbowl and boy, does the house smell incredible! So easy and delicious! Thank you again for making baking so manageable and fun!!

  116. Nina

    Yum! We just made these for the Super Bowl and they are getting devoured. I put Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel sprinkle on some of them. They were super easy and I’ll definitely make them again.

  117. Nicole

    I make pretzels for my kids every so often. Only I never save the recipe so the next time I have to search for a new one. When yours came up this week on Instagram I realize I haven’t made them for awhile. So today was the day and they were yum. The kids loved them and so did I. I made 12 so I guess they were a little bigger than yours but not huge. Thanks!

  118. Denise

    Made these today for Super Bowl and they were so tasty! My daughter and I had fun rolling out the dough. Wish I’d read the “I Made This” comments first, some great tips that would have helped. We let our shaped pretzels rise a little too (making jalapeño poppers), and they got too puffy and misshapen (also stuck to the parchment) when we boiled them. Few tweaks for next time and we’ll be perfect.

  119. Made these for a Superbowl Sunday party and they were a hit! Made the dough the night before (using bread flour and whole wheat flour) and refrigerated overnight. I let them thaw from the fridge for 10 minutes before boiling and baking. Thanks so much for a new recipe I will be using again and again!

  120. Liesl

    These were fabulous!! A completely perfect pretzel. I made half of a batch. I needed a bit more water for the dough to come together. Thank you, Deb!

    1. Abby

      Agreed. I think next time I’ll start with 4 cups flour and add from there. I had to keep adding water because the dough was so stiff I didn’t think it would rise.

  121. Abby

    These are so delicious and easy! And since the minis make so many I had enough for 2 different get togethers out of one recipe. Now I need Deb to tell us what she dips these in? Spreads on them? I need ideas!

    1. Nanny G

      Pretzels were amazing, but the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Spiced Honey Mustard I served in a bowl next to them was a bit boring (even with that long name! :). I’ve always loved cream cheese with regular, out-of-the-bag pretzels, next time I’m going to thin out some cream cheese with milk or alternative milk and add some mustard to that.

  122. Krista

    If you do a pretzel tour of Seattle, it needs to include kaffeeklatsch in the North end (lake City). Get it with a side of quark. Super delicious

  123. Hi Deb, Is there any chance we could get weights associated with these measurements? I know on your conversion page you’ve listed several different amounts for flour and just want to double check.

  124. Natalie

    Would it be possible to get a measurement for the yeast? We just bought some in bulk (after COVID led to it being out of stock for months…) and so I don’t have the measurement for a “packet.” Thanks!

    1. Hi,
      YOUR recipes are WONDERFUL! = PLEASE discover a recipe for Chocolate Cherry Soft Pretzels. I purchased these pretzels in Philadelphia. They stopped making them because of the price of dried sour cherries. Another bakery in Philadelphia makes Chocolate Cherry Bread = not in a loaf pan = a free form round shape with sour cherries I think = the sweetness of the chocolate, the tartness of the cherries, the crunchy texture of the chocolate on the outside of the loaf and the soft texture inside of the bread makes for a complicated, delicious taste!
      Chocolate Cherry Pretzels or/and Chocolate Cherry Bread = I am up for baking BOTH = THANK YOU!!! Rosa

  125. Elizabeth

    Oh heavenly goodness! These turned out perfectly. My long lost comfort food is back. These bring back so many good childhood memories of Philly vendor pretzels. Where do those amazing street pretzels disappear to? I cheated a touch and used my bread machine for the dough, making the whole process easy peasy. Just like so many Smitten recipes, this will be in my regular rotation.

  126. Liz

    First time making these was a success! Cooking spray worked quite well (didn’t have parchment paper), I wish I had followed the suggestion to *not* flour the surface for rolling (made the dough too flaky), and it didn’t make quite as many pretzels as expected (but for the best)! Would also recommend not adding the entire 1/2 cup flour at the beginning if the dough is already on the drier side.

  127. Katie

    Made these for a 4th of July party and they got rave reviews. I made them in two batches and for the second batch I made them smaller/thicker, poached them a little longer, and put fewer on the sheet pan. Both batches were great, but the second were perfect! Thank you!

  128. Jenn

    I’ve never made pretzels before. I followed this recipe exactly and they turned out absolutely perfectly!
    Can’t wait to make the for a Super Bowl party next weekend!