Introduction: Easy Soft Pretzels

About: Just your average, everyday geek!

Looking for something to serve at your Super Bowl or Oscars night party? These easy to make pretzels will earn you high praise from your guests without having to kill yourself before your own party starts!

You can make them sweet or savory and, like bagels, these pretzels are boiled and then baked which isn't as hard as it sounds. So, let's get baking!

Step 1: Time & Materials

Active time: 30-45 min; Total time: 2 hr 15- 2hr 30 min (a bit longer if making extra toppings)

1 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water for proofing 10 cups for boiling 1 teaspoon for egg wash
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
4 1/2 cups All Purpose, non-bleached flour
2/3 of a cup of baking soda
4 tablespoons of butter
1 egg
Kosher salt for topping

Topping Options:

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup honey

2 large bowls
1 small bowl for melting butter
A cutting board or other larger surface
1 or more cup, measuring cup (liquid)
1 cup measuring cup (dry ingredients)
Dutch over or other large pot
Baking sheets (2 or more generally)
Parchment paper
Plastic wrap
Vegetable oil (spray or liquid)

Optional Materials:
Dough Divider/Scraper
Bagel strainer

Step 2: Proofing the Yeast

There are many forms of proofing in baking, this type of proofing just makes sure the yeast is active and ready to do its job!


1 tsp of active dry yeast (not rapid rise or 'bread machine' yeast)
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tsp of salt
1 and 1/2 cups of warm water (110 degrees F, at the temperature of a comfortable bath. Any hotter and you risk killing the yeast), stir to dissolve.

Let the mixture sit for five to ten minutes. The yeast is active when the mixture is foamy and smells a bit like bread.

Step 3: Preparing the Dough

In one of the large bowls


4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
4 tablespoon’s of melted butter
add in yeast and water mixture

I started with a non-stick spatula and then moved onto my hands, but you can start with your hands if you want, but a mixer or food processor is NOT recommended. Mix the ingredients just enough to create a shaggy dough.

Step 4: Kneading the Dough

Flour a clean work surface and roll the dough onto it.  Keep your flour nearby!

Knead for 5 minutes. If the dough sticks, re-flour your surface just enough to stop it from sticking.

Step 5: Proofing the Dough

Another kind of proofing in baking bread is where you let the dough rest and rise before baking.

Oil a large bowl with a thick coating of vegetable oil. You can use liquid or spray. Place the dough inside, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.

Step 6: Pre-heat the Oven

About a half hour into the rise, pre-heat your over to 450 F

Step 7: Knead and Divide

Again, flour a clean work surface.

Take the dough out of the bowl and knead again for about 5 min. 
Once kneaded, divide the dough (or cut with a dough divider/scraper) into 8-12 equal size pieces.

I tend to make a few pieces smaller than the others if I am making pretzels as just a snack--that way if you just want a small snack you have it!

Step 8: Roll & Twist

Next, roll the pieces out until they are about 2 ft long and thick as the diameter of your thumb. Then:
  • Form each piece into a U shape
  • Twist them around and roll corners towards the center
  • Twist the ends over each other once
  • Flatten ends down to the top of the bottom of the dough to make a pretzel shape
Place the pretzels on a baking sheet until you have them all formed.

Step 9: Boiling the Pretzels

Cut parchment paper to match the size of your baking sheets then oil the sheets well. Spray oil works best here.

Meanwhile bring 10 cups of water and 2/3 of a cup of baking soda to a boil in a dutch oven.
Once fully boiling, place pretzels in 1 at a time for 30 seconds. This is where a bagel bagel strainer comes in handy, but a slotted spatula will work as well. You can place 3 or 4 in at a time depending on the size of the pretzels.

Remove and then set aside on the oiled parchment sheet on a baking tray.

Step 10: Toppings

Beat 1 egg yolk with a tablespoon of water for egg wash
brush the pretzels with egg mixture and add sprinkle on your toppings.

Topping Options...

Kosher Salt

For garlic cheese pretzels:

Combine 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (don't use grated Parmesan cheese in plastic can if you can at all help it)
1 teaspoon garlic powder

For cinnamon pretzels:

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup honey

In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and cinnamon with 2 tablespoons water, just enough to make a glaze and not be soupy.
Instead of brushing the pretzels with the egg wash, brush with honey. Once they have come out of the oven, brush with cinnamon-sugar glaze.

Step 11: Bake

Bake the pretzels at 450 F 12-14 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets once half way through to ensure even baking. If you're only making one sheet, just bake in the middle rack.

Step 12: Eat and Enjoy!

No one really needs an Instructable on how to enjoy fresh bread (or do they?!) but I like my savory pretzels with mustard and a root beer or cream soda to wash it down. How about you?  Let me know how YOURS turned out!

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