Homemade Soft Pretzels {And Cinnamon-Sugar Pretzel Bites}

CATEGORIES: Other Breads

I have vivid memories from my childhood of running errands with my Mom, often at Bellevue Square Mall (oh how I miss that mall!) in my hometown.  It seems like we were always there doing something or other and even with my toddler-sized memories I can still recall the exact section of the parking garage we always parked in.  I think it had less to do with the layout of the stores we were going to and more to do with the fact that it was the closest entrance to Mrs. Field’s Cookies.  I can’t remember a single mall trip when we didn’t take a break for either a cookie (we both always chose White Chocolate Macadamia Nut) or a Cinnabon Cinnamon roll (always with extra frosting!)  Taking my own children to the mall with me is something I try to avoid at all costs, but sometimes it’s inevitable.  And when I do, we always stop for a treat.  Partly for nostalgia purposes and partly to keep their little hands and minds occupied in the stroller for more than 4 minutes so I can walk them into a store without them destroying it.  Mrs. Fields is a regular on our route, until recently when my kids discovered the pretzel shop.  And of course I’m super smart and let their first discovery of the soft and chewy carb dream be bite-sized ones covered in gobs of cinnamon sugar so now that’s the only kind they want.  Which means they’re covered in gobs of cinnamon sugar.  Any sane person would stop that habit right away, but not me.  Because I like to steal their pretzels.  My husband suggested we make them at home, so here we are.

These actually require very few ingredients and the payoff is huge.  It’s a perfect weekend baking project, so have fun!  Start by combining warm water, yeast, some sugar, and some salt in a bowl and let it sit until it gets foamy.  Remember, if your yeast doesn’t foam- it’s better to start over now, then ruin a whole batch of pretzels!

When the yeast is ready, add some all-purpose flour and melted butter.

That’s all!  You’ll mix and knead and then let the dough rise until it’s nice and puffed.

Now you have a few options.  Obviously you can make traditional pretzels.  Creating a pretzel shape isn’t complicated,

but don’t feel bad if it takes a few tries to get it right.  I should post a photo of my out-takes, they were sort of hilarious.  I kept my dough possibly a little too soft which made it hard to shape! Don’t worry though, they don’t have to be pretty to taste amazing.  I’ll show you another shaping option down below.

One step I admit I’ve skipped in the past is the boiling step.  Traditionally pretzels are given a quick boil in baking soda water, and it might sound like a hassle that you just want to skip over.  I’ve changed my ways after realizing that boiling step is what gives the pretzels not only their signature flavor, but also that perfect chew.  It doesn’t take long at all to fill up a pot of water and bring it to a boil, so don’t skip that step (you know, like I apparently skipped the pictures of it…)

The pretzels go straight from the water to a baking sheet where you can give them a little brush of egg wash and, if you’re going to leave them plain, a sprinkle of salt.  After they cook up golden brown I like to brush them with melted butter.

annnnd then dump them in a big bowl of cinnamon-sugar.

Holy smokes these are good.

You must, must eat at least one (and possibly all) while they’re still warm.  The outsides have that slightly tangy chew and the insides are so tender and soft.  Perfection.

Now.  All that being said, I very rarely make these in big pretzel shapes.  At my house we make pretzel bites.  They’re quicker, easier, and more fun to eat. Instead of forming those ropes into pretzels, just slice them into 1-2 inch pieces.  Follow the same baking process and then make a “dip” (aka frosting) for dunking.



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Homemade Soft Pretzels

  • Author: Our Best Bites


  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110115 degrees F)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast (I used rapid rise yeast)
  • 22 oz all-purpose flour, about 4 1/2 cups
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • optional: additional melted butter and cinnamon-sugar
  • optional: powdered sugar, milk, melted butter for dipping


  1. Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour (tip: don’t add all the flour at once, just in case you don’t need it all. Reserve a small amount and add as needed for a soft dough) and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, scrape the bowl clean and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
  3. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan (non-aluminum pot.)
  4. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
  5. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. If you’re making pretzel “bites” put in as many as will fit without crowding. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula (a metal spider works great). Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with pretzel salt or kosher salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.


  • Cinnamon Sugar Version: Prepare as directed but don’t sprinkle with salt before baking. Immediately after removing pretzels from oven, brush with melted butter and toss in a bowl of cinnamon-sugar.
  • Cinnamon Sugar Dippers: Instead of shaping pretzels into the traditional shape, roll dough into ropes and cut into 1-2 inch pieces. Continue preparing as recipe instructs, brushing with butter immediately after removing from oven and tossing in cinnamon sugar. Create a dipping glaze by mixing about a cup of powdered sugar with 2-3 tablespoons melted butter and then add milk as needed, whisking until smooth. Serve warm.



  1. I can’t wait to make these!! They sound super yummy!! And love the mall memories, started bringing back mine – only my mom never took me, that would be my teenage years when I went with my friends. lol

  2. I know the mall you are speaking of… Sean and I stayed at one of the adjoining hotels (when we were up in Seattle last year for your book signing) and loved it!! These look so yummy and WAY easier than I ever thought they’d be. I’m thinking we’ll give this a try this weekend. 🙂

  3. These look OH SO GOOD–I didn’t know about the boiling part, great information, thanks! I guess that’s what I get for reading that Newsweek article about how simple carbs (white flour and sugar) are horrible.

  4. So fun! Soft pretzels are VERY nostalgic for me. Auntie Anne’s pretzels are a big deal on the east coast and somehow my mom sneaked the recipe so we’ve been making them all my life and I have to say that the baking soda wash actually makes them quite delicious. We never boiled it though, we just dipped the “logs”/”bites” in the warm baking soda solution and then put on the cookie sheet. I think I’ll go make these now, thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Goodness these look good! I would probably eat the whole batch and that’s just what I don’t need when I’m pregnant, but I don’t think that will stop me from making them!

  6. Your pictures are very convincing! I’m trying to decide how many things on my list I can get away with skipping this afternoon to make time for making pretzels. The more I look at the pictures, the more I think I don’t have anything else that really needs to be done today.

  7. Psst…you forgot to write yeast in your directions above the foamy bowl picture. It just says to combine warm water, sugar and salt, and I don’t care who you are, that’s not going to foam.

    🙂 Love you guys, and love sugary pretzels!

  8. I don’t have a stand mixer. Should I use my hands or regular beaters to mix. Sorry is that a dumb question? I get nervous when I hear yeast.

    1. You can use a hand mixer until it’s too hard to mix and then use your hands. I’ve never done it that way though, so I can’t be sure how it will work for ya!

    2. I just mixed it with a wooden spoon until it wasn’t too sticky, then I used my hands to finish mixing and knead the dough. It worked perfect.

  9. I don’t have a stand mixer either. How long to kneed the dough? The the smooth consistency like for bread which would be about 20 min?

  10. I can’t tell you how much I LOVE pretzels. My favorite is just plain with the cheese sauce. When I was pregnant with my first, I couldn’t go to the mall without getting one. And then there were many days where I went to the mall specifically for that. I’ve never been able to duplicate that though, or even come close, and you guys never seem to let me down, so I must try these!

  11. I have never had a pretzel but I’m certainly going to try these ones out! They look amaazing and definitely like something I can justify for a Sunday breakfast 🙂

  12. MMM! I am such a sucker for the smell of pretzels in the mall. I’m always hoping they’d have free samples of the cinnamon sugar ones. But I will admit I have bought a full size one and devoured it in a manner of minutes. Shh, don’t tell anyone . . oh wait, the sugar all over my face and hands gives it away!

  13. Mmmm, love pretzels, love Bell Square!! I’m from WA too (Texas now) and after I had my first baby we spent lots of time there walking around waiting for his Dad to get off work!

  14. I love this recipe. Been wanting to try making pretzels for a while but all the recipes I have looked at so far look so tedious and complicated. Yours looks much better. By any chance do you have a good recommendation for a sugar glaze dip to accompany these delicious pretzels? Thank you and keep up the awesome work.

  15. Now I feel dumb. That’s what I get for just looking at the pictures and not reading to the bottom of the recipe. I just noticed you have included a recipe for making the glaze. Thanks.

    1. Ha, don’t feel dumb- I just kind of slipped it in there! I honestly don’t measure anything for the dip- I should have for this post, but I didn’t. I just take a big scoop of powdered sugar and mix it with a little melted butter and milk. More liquid if it’s too thick, more sugar if it’s too thin 🙂

  16. How much yeast is in one package? I only have a HUGE container of it so I’m guessing I wouldn’t use all of that 😉 This looks to die for and rocks because I’m on a bread making kick!!

  17. My husband saw me reading this post last night and said “Let’s make these right now.” We managed to wait until this afternoon, and HOLY MOLY. He’s in a sugar cinnamon pretzel dipping sauce induced coma, and I’m the best wife ever. So so good! We’ve loved everything we’ve made from your site! Thanks!

  18. Oh man, just finished eating my first batch with my family – and we love you! These were so easy and delicious!

  19. Whoa! I just made these and they are fantastic! Actually…know that I think about it…maybe this would be a trick better left unlearned…I’m having a hard time not eating the entire batch 🙂

  20. My kids love cooking/baking with me so I thought we would bake something each week to give us something to do and work on some skills through the summer (because it’s texas and I either need to be inside or in the water and until those swim lessons take affect the house will be our prison). So we’ll hopefully survive the summer, fat but alive. My kids will love eating and making these. I will have to look up the kids in the kitchen recipes. Thanks!

  21. Awesome! Made these today with my 4-year-old nephew. We had a great time and they turned out soooo good. Thank you!

  22. I made these today, very yummy. The only thing I would change is that boiling them in baking soda water tastes funny when you sprinkle them with butter and sugar they have a baking soda taste.

  23. my bites had a strong flavor of baking soda. is that normal? I only left them in for 30 seconds so, I didn’t know what I had done wrong. Thanks!

  24. Mine turned out really salty tasting, and I made sure to use unsalted butter…besides that they were delicious, do you have suggestions on how to make it less salty?

  25. I just made two batches, one to take somewhere else. They look delicious but the baking soda taste is overwhelmingly awful. Would cutting back the baking soda still allow them to be chewy?

  26. You are so good at taking the intimidating out of baking…I look at your site and say…I can do that. Pretzels turned out GREAT! Thank you!

  27. I’ve been making this Food Network recipe for years. It is absolutely one of the best things you can possibly eat, and makes any day so much better =)

  28. Made these with my four girls the other night and they turned out delicious! Not as beautiful as yours, but delightfully delectable!! Thanks for the recipe!

  29. I’ve made homemade pretzels before with this method. Just be careful what kind of pot you use to boil the water and baking soda solution. I used a Caphalon anodized aluminum pan and I ruined it!!! The dark grey finish turns silver. : (

  30. I tried these tonight. Yummy! Although, I have to admit it, I like it better without the baking soda. I know it gives it the right consistency but it doesn’t taste very yummy.

  31. Who doesn’t miss Bellvevue Square Mall?! I am from Federal Way, but remember those really special trips my mom would take me on to that mall. These look great! I was just thinking the other day I wish I had an easy soft pretzel recipe to make with the kids! Thaks!

  32. Help! I only have salted butter and already added the salt to the batter. Any ideas how to fix this? Should I make another batch without any salt and mix the two (or will that mess up the rise)? Do you think they will still taste alright?

  33. I thought I would add… For those of you without a kitchenaid mixer… I use my bread machine on the dough cycle. I do this regimine for every bread recipe on this sight (as long as it isn’t a recipe with 10 cups of flour… my bread machine holds 4 or 5 cups at max). If the bread has multiple kneads/ rises… I do the whole dough cycle. If it only has one knead and one rise I just do about 10 or 15 minutes of the dough cycle, turn the machine off and then let the dough rise in the bread machine chamber. So for this recipe (and the breadstick/pizza dough recipes on the site), I put the ingredients in the bread machine pan and let it run until I could look in and see a wet dough ball. Then, I turned off the machine and checked back in 50-55 minutes. Hope this helps someone. 🙂

  34. These were absolutely delicious and so easy to make. My husband loved them!! These were better than the Auntie Anne’s At Home Kit!! I can’t wait to make them again!!

  35. These look absolutely amazing! I too have memories of warm, cinnamon-sweet soft pretzels from the mall. There is nothing better than a warm soft pretzel on a cool Northwest day (We are from southwest Washington!). The ingredients list is short but the process requires a lot of patience and dedication! Thanks for the tip about the foaming yeast, I didn’t know that!

  36. Definitely going to have to try these! But on a side note…I grew up going to Bellevue Square Mall! Not only did you cause some serious nostalgia with your mouthwatering recipe but you made me homesick too! Wondering if we frequented the same church girl’s camp 🙂

  37. Thanks so much for the recipe. Pretty much all your recipes have turned out amazing! The only thing with this one is they tasted like baking soda. I even added extra sugar and cinnamoma nd dip and my kids would barely eat them because of the baking soda taste. I boiled them for 30 seconds and was even a little short on baking soda. Any suggestions on what I could have done wrong? Thanks!

    1. Well they’re supposed to have a tangy baking soda flavor, but it’s mild (no stronger than a store-bought pretzel) and I can’t imagine kids would notice, especially when they’re covered in sugar. So maybe your baking soda is bad? No idea!

  38. Do you think that these could be made ahead, frozen, then thawed and warmed up in the oven before serving on the day of a party I am plannng?

  39. I made the cinnamon sugar bites version and the eggy flavor from the wash was overwhelming and off-putting, some of my children refused to eat them and just ate the dip. Next time I will use the egg white, maybe?

  40. I attempted to make pretzels yesterday and I didn’t really like the way mine turned out. It just wasn’t the taste I was hoping for. But I gave this recipe another try today… just not for pretzels. I made bread-sticks, and they were amazing!!! After the dough was done rising, I pressed it into a rectangle then placed the dough on a small lightly greased baking sheet. I spread it with butter, baked until golden brown, removed from oven and spread with melted butter (that had minced garlic and parsley in it) and sprinkled it with Parmesan. Fabulous indeed! Thanks for the awesome soft bread-sticks recipe!

  41. Ok, I have to start out by saying I love everything that I make from your recipes. I am Celiac so I adapt them by using GF flour which usually works great. I’ve had a problem with this recipe. It might just be that I’m not a very good cook 🙂 but you say to use 22oz of flour, which is about 4 1/2 cups. Isn’t 1 cup = 8oz. So that would mean I would use just under 3 cups??? I made the dough with just about 4 cups and they were not right. Help please…

    1. Wendy, a cup is 8 ounces in volume, not in weight. For example, one cup of feathers wouldn’t weigh the same as one cup of rocks, right? The weight is the important part here, not the volume.

  42. You can substitute half of the all purpose flour for whole wheat flour and the pretzels still turn out great! Still the perfect soft pretzel texture. I used about 2 1/2 cups of all purpose, and about 1 1/2 cups whole wheat.

  43. I just used this pretzel recipe for making mini-pretzel dogs last night – wrapped strips of dough around hot dog halves, sealed well, boiled in the soda water, then baked as usual. They were AMAZING!
    I LOVE your method of cutting the dough into bites and smothering them in cinnamon sugar -I will defintely be trying that out. Can’t wait!

  44. I just made these with the kids today. I have a fewer of yeast and working with it. I always screw it up some how. So far both recipes I have done from your site or book, have turned out great. These do taste just like the mall ones. My kids went ape over them. We did bites instead of big ones. The only thing with that is we cooked them at a lower temp for shorter time since they were done in no time. Also, did not have parchment paper so I used aluminum foil. Could be the reason they were done faster. Delicious and fooled the kids to thinking it was the mall recipe.

  45. I loooove pretzels… I even woked at Auntie Anne’s in highschool, we did the baking soda dip…. for some reason these came out soooo bitter and salty. I’m gonna try another batch and halve the salt, and try some without the baking soda. I don’t know, we were kind of all gagging and that is a first from anything I’ve ever made from your blog. I’ll let you know how the second batch goes….

  46. Love these pretzels! I made a few little changes – dried off the pretzels with a paper towel after boiling, and baked right on the sheet with nonstick spray (otherwise they stuck something terrible! don’t know what I did wrong) and I only used probably 2 cups of water and 2 T baking soda. 10 and 2/3 cups sounded like a lot to me. Anyway, thanks for the recipe! I’m making a double batch today and freezing them for my husband to eat for quick breakfasts. They taste freshly baked after 35 seconds in the microwave. Delicious!!

  47. Wow! Working from home today and made these for the first time. I am absolutely in carb/sugar coma! These turned out amazing! Thank you so much.

  48. Making these now… Waiting for dough to rise 🙂 so excited to make these at home so I don’t have to go to the Amish store for their homemade pretzels. Thanks for sharing!

  49. I’ve been wanting to make these since the recipe was posted back in May. I finally did today. UH-MAZING. Thank you thank you thank you for this recipe!

  50. This is actually a really good recipe. This was my first time making pretzels so everything was simple and easy to follow. I did half the recipe and I used whole wheat flour (it was all I had). I’m not a big fan of whole wheat but it came out really soft and I topped it with the cinnamon sugar. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  51. Yesterday,I made these for the third time. Somehow I forgot to put in the butter! I am happy to report that they still taste great. The dough texture was a bit more stiff when I rolled them out, and they puffed so much that they did not have holes any more. They make great ham sandwiches. I may leave the butter out on purpose in the future, depending on what I want to do with them.

  52. I made these a few days ago and am getting ready to make some more! These are definitely going to be baked on a regular basis!

  53. My wonderful roommate just made some of these for me at my mom’s house and we are enjoying every bite. They are delicious! We really wish there would have been a warning about what kind of pot to/not to use. We used an aluminum pan of my mom’s and it’s completely destroyed. Those were some expensive pretzel bites! It might be helpful to include that tip!

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