soft-pretzels-refreshed Recipes

soft pretzels, refreshed

Now, I know it has been barely two years since I told you about making miniature soft pretzels at home but according to my calculations, at least three-quarters of you weren’t around back then and that means you might be missing out. And that would be terrible.

Because making pretzels at home is such a fun weekend project. It’s a little more time-consuming than your standard loaf, but given the dismally dry, flavorless state of pretzel stands these days, so incredibly more worth your time. While the dough is a fairly standard one — flour, water, yeast, salt and sugar — the magic comes when you drop your little knots into a bath of boiling water and baking soda, as the second the little roll hits the bubbles, your kitchen will smell like a pretzelrie.

soft pretzels

What, no such thing exists? Such a shame. I’d open one and serve these and bretzel rolls and spicy mustards from around the world and chocolate chip blondies with bits of hard salty pretzels baked inside and rich German beers and live happily ever after. Ahem, not that I’ve given this any thought or anything. In the meanwhile, there are these. And you should totally make them.

soft mini pretzels

Dipping mustard: Okay, I am so not one to plug products, but we discovered Herlochers Dipping Mustard while deliciously buzzed at a North Fork winery last fall and seriously, still traumatized by the 1990s, I do not like honey mustard one bit but this, this was something else. We bought a jar which proceeded to collect dust in our pantry for months, only unearthing it to serve with these pretzels at a Super Bowl party. It was a match made in heaven.

“Pretzel salt”: Where to get pretzel salt? The real deal can be bought online or in some cooking/baking supply shops. However, we use an inexpensive, coarse sea salt to fill our salt grinders at home that happens to look almost exactly like pretzel salt. The brand is Baleine and I see it around everywhere. Best part, you won’t get stuck with something you can’t use for anything else.

One year ago: Pear and Almond Tart
Two years ago: Vegetable Dumplings

[Soft pretzel recipe, in the archives.]

See more: Bread, Photo

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150 comments on soft pretzels, refreshed

  1. Susan

    You are so right about pretzel venders and their ho-hum product these days. These look so appetizing! Thanks for taking us on an archive dive! Oh..and you know..crumbled pretzels, the hard kind, are a great garnish over your hot fudge! Yeah..not kidding!

  2. yes, please open a prezelerie. (that might even be good business concept. i’m in!)
    your Apple Crisp/umble is in the oven and the apartment is smelling wonderful. just perfect for a rainy sunday in manhattan.
    (i mixed half a bag of frozen cherries in with the apple chunks and coarsely chopped almonds and a generous pinch of kosher salt in the topping)

  3. Mmm, thanks for the reminder! I made these back when you first posted them and loved them. I even converted the basic recipe in to a bagel recipe once with great success. You’re right– the smell when they hit the water… okay, i need to get in to the kitchen now.

  4. Amy

    Pretzel salt can also be bought at the wonderful Polish Market, on 5th Ave at 19th Street in South Park Slope/Greenwood Heights, in Brooklyn!

  5. cookiemonster

    I really need to make these, and bagels, I need to make bagels again as well. Having read the old post, did you go with the higher soda content in the water with these ones? They look slightly darker, but not bretzel dark. Also, do you think using soda water in bagel making would be good? Give them a nicer finish? I love this site.

  6. deb

    I actually upped the amount of baking soda and added sugar, as I do in the bretzels. They were only slightly darker. Nevertheless, I updated the recipe with these tweaks — I think it helps a little.

  7. These look fabulous. My one and only pretzel making experience was back in the seventh grade in Home Ec. They were supposed to be soft pretzels, but somehow turned out like those hard, stale, bagged ones anyway… I think it’s high time to try again.

  8. MikeyV

    I actually just made the bretzel rolls yesterday… a m a z i n g !!!! and they were so much fun to make :) i think that the rolls would be the perfect roll for a cuban-esque sandwich… with a nice country dijon… falling apart pork… a nice gruyere.. mmm… a refined sort of cuban sandwich…

    p.s. the recipe i made yesterday was my first bread baking experience… and you have opened up a whole new world…

    p.p.s. I actually tried making the rolls a few months ago… and yea… i forgot to add in the yeast… after it didnt rise… i noticed i still had all my yeast packets left over :-/ so yea it was some flour and water that went into the garbage hehe…

  9. As a girl from the Philly area, I have very high standards for soft pretzels–both the Philly style as well as the PA Dutch style (after all–the very first Auntie Anne’s was located in the then-decrepit-now-defunct farmers market where I grew up), so naturally I must try these–just from your photos they look absolutely delectable.

    The world is definitely ready for a pretzelrie as well–I say go for it! :-)

  10. I really love a good mustard and these look like the perfect vehicle to indulge with. The last time I made pretzels at home was about 1987, so I think I’m overdue!
    Phoo-D

  11. I made pretzels (not yours) a year or so ago and they were so terrible we fed them to the chickens. Who may or may not have also refused them. So, on behalf of the chickens, thank you for revisiting this recipe.

  12. There is nothing better, in my book, than a fresh, hot-out-of-the-oven soft pretzel. It’s even better than chocolate (practically sacrilege to say, I know). I agree with you about the baking soda. Considering the original German pretzels were dipped in a lye bath, a paltry tablespoon or two of baking soda in a big pan of water is hardly comparable. This is a also a great baking project for parents and kids – just make sure the baking soda bath is that parent part. Let the kids do the kneeding and the twisting :).

  13. Rachel

    Our local microbrew pub makes a fabulous beer horseradish mustard. We always get pretzels for starter so we can have the mustard. Next time we go I will have to see if they will sell just the mustard and make my own pretzels.

  14. The funny thing is that we made these just yesterday for a gathering with friends. They were a hit and gone in minutes. These pretzels truly are better than anything else out there.

  15. I used eeek a mix from Williams-Sonoma this week to my pretzels. They turned out surprisingly well, for a mix. I had never made before and enjoyed the ease of the mix but would love to try a recipe from scratch next time.

  16. I’m not generally a big fan of pretzels, but those soft ones are just IT for me. The idea of a pretzelrie sounds great… somehow I picture it with a striped awning. *shrug*

    I think I’m going to attempt these for my boyfriend’s birthday. This year’s baking goal is to work more with yeast, so this just may work. :)

  17. Michelle

    I just made a half-batch of these (resulting in 8 large-ish pretzels). I’m taking them to an Oscars party tonight…but I had to – of course – taste test one of them. YUM! Thanks for the inspiration!

  18. I think making a shop featuring any food with “erie” at the end is a great idea!!
    These look amazing! I love the boiling water bath, kind of like making bagels.
    Will give these a try.
    Thanks!!

  19. Soft pretzels remind me of my childhood, when a walk through the mall was never complete without soft pretzels. And I thought THOSE were good….these look fantastic.

    Tried soft pretzels once a few years ago and let them boil for about 5 minutes in the baking soda water. Duh…a little too long. I try not to remember those days…

    Will try these for the boys, I think they would love to help and eat! Thanks!

  20. Santadad

    Lately, I have been patronizing the Pretzel Factory because you haven’t made these in a loooong time. I’ll take three dozen. They freeze well!

  21. You know, I hardly ever eat pretzels. But I’m pretty sure that’s because it’s so hard to find a good one. When I was a surgery resident, pretzels were one of the few things you could eat while running. So I ate a lot of them, completely covered in yellow mustard, but they were baaaad! These sound wonderful. And I have much better mustard now.

  22. Victoria

    My pretzels weren’t quite as pretty as yours (I’m an impatient roller), but they were delicious.
    The first few that I ate warm were a bit too baking soda-y for me, but they mellow as they cool down.
    I halved the recipe and used about half whole wheat flour because I’d (gasp!) run out of AP.

  23. I. LOVE. SOFT PRETZELS. No joke- they’re my absolute favorite. When I lived in Philly, I used to eat (at least) one almost every day. I would definitely support your pretzelrie- in fact, I’d probably be a regular. :)

  24. Sarah

    I have made these twice and I love them. I make a few of them everything pretzels and add minced onion, poppy seeds and all those goodies in addition to salt. I have banned myself from making them for awhile because that whole moderation thing escapes me when I make a batch of these. :)

  25. Renee

    So my dad is a super-picky pretzel eater, and last time you posted this recipe, the pretzels became his favorite birthday present of all time. Seriously, these are fantastic!

  26. These are so yummy looking… :) I’ve decided that I can’t visit your site in the morning (its 10:20 am here) because it makes me crave things like pretzels before I’ve even had lunch :)

  27. Sarah

    I am one of the 3/4s that was not around when this was first posted and I must be honest, I never would have searched for the recipe. BUT, good soft pretzles are one of my loves and I will be making these!! Thank you for sharing!

  28. I have a recipe for soft pretzels that my grandmother gave me. They are buttery, chewy, and I love them so much … and when the weather gets cold I crave them. My grandmother used to wrap them around German sausages and serve them with spicy mustard. So good!

  29. They may be more of a ‘project’, but sometimes a good food project is a good time… By yourself, with your kids, or some friends and family. I always love a project that I can eat in the end!

  30. Collette

    Thank you. Since I’m giving up Sugar for Lent this year, it will be 40 days of Savory. This recipe might make it bearable. And what a fun activity with the kids. Unfortunately, as we live in the midwest, they only think Pretzels come out of a Snyders of Hanover bag.

    Rothschild Farms also makes a delicious Pretzel Dip, one with lots of mustard seed in it. But my favorite is Boars Head spicy mustard.

  31. Coni

    I tried making these two times last year and they turned out awful for me. They stuck to the pan and they didn’t taste right. It was my first time to try – but I just couldn’t get the hang of it. They sure look delicious in the picture, but mine did not turn out like those. :(

  32. ooo… these will be my next bread. Husband got sourdough and i just made some foccacia rolls. i’m craving for one of those pretzel sandwiches with ham and melted cheese- a much refined version than the elementary school kind though.

    and what better way to kill the 5 bottles of nice mustard that somehow all gotten opened (i think that’s me, but, hey! they’re different kinds!)

  33. I gotta tell you I made these about two years ago (after you posted) and a couple times since then, and my husband was just saying the other day that I should make them again because he really liked them.

  34. Lizzy

    I actually revisited this post and recipe myself just 2 weeks ago. There must be somthing in the New York winter air making us both think of homemade pretzels! Thanks as always!

  35. laurie

    Just wanted to give you the name of my favorite mustard: McIlhenny Co.’s Tabasco brand Whole Grain Mustard. The coarse ground is my second fav. I salivate just thinking about it. Not sure where to get it up north. In Dallas, I have found it at Central Market.

  36. Jilly

    I made these after searching for a recipe high and low…knew in the back of my mind that SK wouldn’t dissapoint me, which it did not!
    Mine ended up looking pretty much like yours and might have been even better, had I added enough water in my pan, which caused them to stick in some cases to the bottom. Even still, they baked up golden delicious and FIVE days later are STILL moist!

  37. Liz

    DEB!! PLEASE HELP!!I tried making these today, but the dough came out very dry and tough, making it hard to roll and even harder to shape. I’m going to try again, but do you have any tips or techniques you used? Also, can the recipe be halved?

  38. As a native Philadelphian, I LOVE LOVE LOVE soft pretzels. They are a good “low fat” snack. I make homemade soft pretzels monthly since I live in DC now and there’s not a decent soft pretzel stand around. Wah! No good hoagies and no good soft pretzels. What’s a Philly girl to do? Homemade is the way to go. So easy! My recipe is similar to yours but less baking soda at the end and no egg.

  39. Amy B. from Portland, OR

    OMG, I love Herlocher’s mustard and grew up on it…..spent many college evenings at Penn State dipping hard pretzels into Herlocher’s mustard and drinking cheap wine. Thanks for the fab pretzel recipe- can’t wait to try it at home.

  40. Debby

    My little sister loved these, but I actually found them way too sour-actually inedible. Could it be because I didn’t bother actually making them into pretzel shape and the baking soda soaked in too much?

  41. Cris

    You know, I looked all over a couple of the major recipe gathering sites for a Blondies recipe and ended up with something that wasn’t fantastic. And now, I am back at my favorite site and of course, you had a Blondie recipe and I didn’t know it. Lesson learned … always look here first.

  42. gah… These pretzel pictures are driving me mad with desire. And then the mention of pretzels and spicy mustard? Torture. I’ll have to make a batch and then give them all away to my coworkers so I can enjoy one without eating the whole recipe.

  43. Good Morning,

    Ohmysoul those look awesome. I have seen the first recipe post, but these look even more enticing!

    I might have to try them today. As a means of procrastination as I have a macro-economics exam on Thursday night that I do not want to study for. And when i get stressed I clean and bake. My last exam, I baked your pumpkin swirl brownies… instead of studying.

    :) Have a great day!

  44. Katie

    You have got to be kidding me. I have had some Baleine coarse sea salt sitting in my cupboard for more than THREE YEARS. I finally threw it out TWO DAYS ago. And now I come across a recipe in which I could use it. This is why I never declutter. This always happens to me!

  45. This is getting crazy, we are on the same page. About two weeks before you posted about the bean tacos with the slaw and feta I made them for my family. Then On valentine’s day I made a chocolate sauce to go over vanilla ice cream, and then a few days later saw your post about the hot fudge sauce. Then one evening I was looking over one of the new cooking magazines and asked my husband if he thought the kids might like a curry (he said probably) and then the next day you posted about the red bean curry. Laslty, my husband and I are on an uncle jerry extra dark hard pretzel kick. I am on a kick of making everything homemade (just made my first batch of yogurt last night), so I have been on a hunt for pretzel recipes that I might be able to adapt to a hard pretzel and here is your soft pretzel recipe…

  46. Oooh – will have to try to find some time to give these a shot – have been in a pretzelly mood after making chocolate-rolo-pecan pretzel sweets. Soft pretzels are probably a whole lot healthier to make and eat!

  47. Mary

    I love your site – often make your recipes and have a lot o fun with it. I stay at home with my daughter and as its too cold to be outside we stayed in and made these today – they are absolutely delicious. Not something I would have thought of making on my own, so it was fun. Thanks!

  48. britt

    I made this yesterday they went over wonderfully with friends.

    i sprinkled some with poppy seeds and sugar, cinnamon sugar, and then just coarse salt.

  49. Meiyee

    heyyy. i tried baking these yesterday but i didn’t suceed. :( My pretzels do not keep their shape after I rolled and knotted them so they ended up like clumps. I think there’s something wrong and I suspect that my dough is too sticky. The shape of my ‘pretzels’ were screwed up even with the slightest tug.
    Well, at least they tasted like… bread… and i’m pretty glad considering it’s the first time i’m baking bread. T.T I will try again and perfect my pretzels because yours look so divine!!

  50. KoliCanoli

    Oh My goodness! I made these pretzels last night,I Love pretzels and these ones are TO DIE FOR! My husband polished off the lot of them!…mmmmm. I will definitely make these again soon, though next time I will do it on a weekend when I have more time, as it was quite involved.

  51. Vesna

    I have to admit, these little beauties are the reason I subscribed to this website. I was on a spree to find a recipe a few months back and voila!!!

  52. tine

    Deb, you are so divine and this is why i’m such a sucker for your site. you have been dead on with your recipes recently. i can’t wait to makes these along with those yummy oatmeal cookies! keep ’em coming!~~

  53. I tried this recipe last night and it worked perfectly for me (and I haven’t ever made a yeast bread before – so I was pretty excited about it!). They are delicious and not much more effort than a batch of cookies or the like.

  54. Heather

    Thanks for the recipe – they turned out great! However, I’m part of the apparent minority that actually enjoys hard pretzels. Do you have any thoughts on how these can be dried to make them such? I feel like this should be obvious, but I’m not sure. Thanks again!

  55. Veronica

    Hi Deb, this recipe looks amazing and like such a fun weekend project! i was thinking of sending some to my friend over the weekend, but i’m not sure in what form i could send them so that they’re still soft and lovely. please, help. thank you!

  56. deb, my husband is on a diet that prohibits white flour. would it be possible to use whole wheat or white whole wheat instead? or would it just ruin it altogether? i tried a different recipe once before, but it wasnt very good. i’d love any input you have.
    thanks.

    1. deb

      I haven’t tried it with whole wheat. Usually when people want to swap it in, I recommend starting with only a 1/3 or 1/2 swap, to see the results as a full swap can make it too coarse, but in your husband’s case, I’m not sure. You can always try a half or quarter-batch and see how they work.

  57. Janet

    Made these last night after my husband asked for pretzels the night before. They tasted delicious, especially warm although I need some practice on my shaping. We will see how they are on day 2! Thanks for all your wonderful recipes and photos. Have a great vacation!

  58. Rose

    oh yum yum yum! I love soft pretzels and these taste exactly like the kind you get at football games. Mine didn’t look nearly as pretty, but they sure tasted good! Thanks for the recipe Deb!

  59. cara

    I made these this week. Yum, yum YUM! They are better than the pretzels you buy in the mall! They even tasted great a coupe days later…just popped them in the microwave to heat them up a little bit!

  60. just made these tonight but i replaced the 2 cups of water with pickle juice (brine…whatever) and didn’t salt them before baking. garlicky, salty, so good. thanks for the great recipe.

  61. Kerry

    I made these last night, substituting 2 cups AP with whole wheat flour. Yowzer! They smelled so good that at the halfway point making them, my hubby updated his facebook status talking about how delicious they smelled! Deb, I think he may love you more than me. He even commented that he’s so happy I found your site, which is a huge compliment coming from him! And to those intimidated, these were not difficult at all. Lots of fun, in fact. Oh! They are scrumptious. Almost forgot to mention that. Hehehehe.

  62. Heather

    I made these pretzels extra large and turned them into pretzel rolls, which made for fantastic sandwiches! My family loves them. This was the first time I made a yeast based bread and am encouraged to try more!
    I’m glad my friends suggested this site and look forward to trying more recipes.

  63. Mels

    I just discovered your site today…my G-D I think I’m in love. You have the greatest recipes I’ve ever seen! I have no ability to cook at all…always looking for what I’m thinking of but can never find it. You however have thought of everything I’ve been looking for! I cannot wait to make these, your apple crumble, lamb with tzatziki, chili, and, and, and…

    And even though I don’t obviously know you, a wonderful congratulations on your absolutely beautiful baby boy!!

  64. Jill

    Just made these – soooo yummy. I was curious about poaching them – so I made one batch (the one my kids made into letter shapes) without poaching and one with poaching. The poaching made such a huge difference, softer insides and outsides (in a good way) and much darker. The non-poached were good – but very blah looking and crunchier and took more baking time. Definitely poaching entire batch next time!

  65. Andrea

    These are great pretzels! I am friends with Jill and I poached them all with her testing. I’m pretty sure the baking soda is what makes them brown so nicely. I am now going to stock up on flour and baking soda, so I can make the pretzels on a regular basis. YUM!!!

  66. Jayne

    Oh, can I serve this with dulce de leche? I just made some by scratch yester and am DYING to use them one way or another. These pretzels are perfect for that!

  67. we recently discovered the joy of soft pretzels, too! ours turned out a very dark brown, thanks to alton brown’s baking soda water heavy recipe. we discovered we liked them crispy crunchy on the outside, and they were still tender on the inside – yum!

  68. NW Momma

    Yum! I added some craisins and cardamom, just because. Very delicious. Such a good tip to chill dough before baking. I really like the results.

  69. vincent kelly

    PLEAsE I am a baby boomer…and lived off the old soft pretzels on a stick sold on every corner of New York…they are not made the same anymore…does anyone of the incrediants and the way the old pretzels were made that were sold on the city streets in the 50’s and 60’s.
    thanks please email me where i can find out more info

  70. Sarah

    I made these just yesterday for the super bowl and they turned out wonderfully, all of my guests were terribly impressed. I was a little intimidated about trying this recipe but it was much easier then I thought. Will definitely be making again.

  71. After having hot chocolate and pretzel croissants at the City Bakery this weekend, I’ve been dreaming of some sort of baked good that unites the tangy salt of pretzels and rich chocolatey goodness, like a combo brownie soft pretzel. I can only find recipes that use crushed hard pretzels as a topping, which doesn’t capture the pillowy softness I’m imagining. Any thoughts?

    1. deb

      Perhaps you can tuck a square of chocolate into a pretzel roll? As for the pretzel croissants themselves, the recipe is under lock and key. I will not cop to how many hours I spend in an average year dreaming of cracking the code — is it a pretzel, with a lot of butter laminated in like a croissant? Is it a croissant, with some whole grain flour (actually, I’m positive this is the case) and something they brush on that makes it unmistakeably pretzel-y?

  72. It’s no surprise that these were fantastic, and even my extremely-difficult-to-please little brothers loved them and are always asking for more. They’ll never admit it out loud but I’m pretty sure they like (love) them more than the microwave-out-of-the-freezer variety.

  73. paula

    hey I´m German and go crazy for pretzels or Laugengebäck as we call it;)…I have a tip if you want to try sth. new:
    my favourite filling for a laugenbrötchen is cream cheese ham/turkey breast and honey mustard sauce-have a try and enjoy!

  74. Zoë

    These soft pretzels look incredible (add that I am pregnant and you may understand that they are the objected of my very focused desire) but I don’t see a recipe…? I see images and commentary, but no actual recipe. Can you help a feending sister out?

  75. Kassie

    I’ve made this a few times now and it’s wonderful. My tip – after poaching, rest them on a cooling rack briefly so you don’t get puddles of water on the baking sheet. I do the egg wash there, then move them to the baking sheet. This way, they never stick to the pan. Thanks for the recipe!

  76. Julie

    Have your pretzels ever sort of deflated, gotten wrinkly, and somehow appear waterlogged after boiling? I always seem to have a few do this each batch. This has happened to me when boiling bagels as well and I can’t seem to figure out why!

  77. Ella

    Hey!

    I’m wanting to try these out in advance of a big get-together – make a few and save the rest of the dough to make minis- and I’m wondering what you think the best way to freeze them might be: the unleavened dough, leavened dough, par baked, etc?

    I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    1. deb

      Hi Ella — I think it’s best to freeze after the first rise here. Then, once it defrosts, form the pretzels, and let it finish proofing the second time. If you do it after baking, the salt will end up dissolving.

  78. WifeToAnAmazingCook

    We made these today (mostly to ignore the sleet, freezing rain and distinctly non-spring like weather outside). They were a huge hit! Such a fun recipe to make with little people and the end result was very tasty. Grown ups added a slick of mustard and everyone was very happy. Awesome recipe (as usual). Thanks Deb.

  79. beth

    Hi.
    I wanted to ask you about a problem I have whenever I make hot pretzels. I do everything and then when they are baking there’s always one or two that come out gooey (for lack of a better word) and I was wondering if you’ve ever had that problem and what causes it…? I have made different shapes (regular, sticks, bites) and it happens every time. it’s very frustrating cuz they are sorta gross and I just end up pitching them (which you can imagine how that annoys me!). any ideas? Thank you

    Thanks.

    1. deb

      beth — Is the gooey one thicker? It is soft in the center, not edges? Maybe just needed more baking time? Or is this something that happened long after they’re cooled and packed away?