Pretzel Rolls

Last spring when Sara and I were traveling, we were at an event in Pennsylvania and they had these rolls backstage. Being the silly Western-raised girls that we are, we said, “Hey, these taste like pretzels! Only they’re rolls!” Little did we know that Pretzel Rolls are a thing, like a big deal. A big tasty deal, I might add.

You know how there are ballpark/street vendor pretzels and there are mall/airport/Sam’s Club pretzels? And how the ballpark/street vendor pretzels have a very distinct taste and how the mall/airport/Sam’s Club pretzels taste like buttery, salty, pretzel-shaped bread? These rolls taste like ballpark/street vendor pretzels, only with the perk of not hanging out (literally) on a rotating wire rack under a heat lamp, potentially for hours  on end. I’m giving y’all fair warning because I foresee emails and comments in my future telling me that these rolls don’t taste like Auntie Ann’s pretzels. You (hypothetical future “you,” not anyone in particular) are right; they don’t. If that’s what you’re after, don’t boil them in the baking soda water, but they’ll just be rolls, not pretzel rolls. Or you can try these rolls or these ones. They’re delicious by themselves or used as sandwich rolls. Or served with cheese. Or slathered with butter. Or dipped in soup.

You’ll need all-purpose flour, kosher salt, water, yeast, an egg yolk, and melted butter. You’ll also need baking soda for the soda water bath.

In a large measuring cup, combine the water, sugar, and yeast

and allow to stand for 10 minutes and the mixture is frothy. Word to the wise: if it still looks like this after 10 minutes, try again. Which is what I had to do. Better to re-do the yeast-proofing than to think/say naughty words an hour later when your dough doesn’t rise.

While the yeast is proofing, combine the salt and 4 1/2 cups flour in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer (or a large bowl, if mixing by hand). Add the melted butter,

egg yolk, and the bubbly yeast mixture. Mix until combined. If necessary, add up to an additional 1/2 cup of flour, about a tablespoon at a time, until the dough pulls off the sides of the bowl and barely sticks to your finger when you touch it.

Cover the bowl and place it in a warm, draft-free area and allow the dough to rise for an hour or until doubled in bulk.

When the dough has risen, turn it onto a surface lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Divide into 12 equal pieces or use a scale to measure out 3-ounce pieces of dough. Shape the dough into balls, place on a lined baking sheet (parchment or a silicone liner),

cover, and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

While the dough is rising the second time, preheat the oven to 425. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. When the water begins to boil, add the baking soda

and bring back to a full boil. Working with one roll at a time, carefully place each roll, seam-side down into the baking soda bath. Boil for 30 seconds then flip and boil for another 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to remove the boiled roll from the water and place, seam-side down, on the baking sheet. The rolls will be semi-deflated and ugly. Don’t be scared. It will all be okay. Repeat with remaining dough balls.

Whisk together the reserved egg white and 2 tablespoons of water.

Brush the egg white over the boiled dough balls and then sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 12-18 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets. Makes 12 rolls.

Pretzel Rolls from Our Best Bites

Pretzel Rolls

These pretzel rolls are great for sandwiches, dipped in soup, or or even just devoured on their own.
Servings12

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water 105-115 F
  • 1 tablespoon rapid rise or bread machine yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 3/4-5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg separated
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 8 cups water

Instructions

  • In a large measuring cup, combine the water, sugar, and yeast and allow to stand for 10 minutes and the mixture is frothy.
  • While the yeast is proofing, combine the salt and 4 1/2 cups flour in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer (or a large bowl, if mixing by hand). Add the melted butter, egg yolk, and the bubbly yeast mixture. Mix until combined. If necessary, add up to an additional 1/2 cup of flour, about a tablespoon at a time, until the dough pulls off the sides of the bowl and barely sticks to your finger when you touch it. Cover the bowl and place it in a warm, draft-free area and allow the dough to rise for an hour or until doubled in bulk.
  • When the dough has risen, turn it onto a surface lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Divide into 12 equal pieces or use a scale to measure out 3-ounce pieces of dough. Shape the dough into balls, place on a lined baking sheet (parchment or a silicone liner), cover, and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
  • While the dough is rising the second time, preheat the oven to 425. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. When the water begins to boil, add the baking soda and bring back to a full boil. Working with one roll at a time, carefully place each roll, seam-side down into the baking soda bath. Boil for 30 seconds then flip and boil for another 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to remove the boiled roll from the water and place, seam-side down, on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough balls.
  • Whisk together the reserved egg white and 2 tablespoons of water. Brush the egg white over the boiled dough balls and then sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 12-18 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets.
Author: Our Best Bites
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I am so happy!!! I served my mission in Germany and these are one of my all -time favorite things!!!! 🙂

  2. Un-related, but very important comment! After living away from Utah and all things cafe rio for years and years, I caved and tried your guys’ knock-off cilantro lime dressing…. I don’t know how you gals do it, but you made this pregnant gal one happy gal! It’s wonderful and has become my new obsession/craving!

  3. How do you store them for eating in a day or two? I tried making something like this once before and they were so good. I stored them in plastic bags and the next day they were soggy and the salt was all melted from the moisture. We ended up tossing them because they just didn’t taste good anymore.

  4. What did I just get home from Costco with? Pretzel rolls! May be the last time I have to buy them! Thanks for the recipe!

  5. Oh, Hubs and I are in for a treat! These sound like a fabulous addition to my bread-baking. I bake all our bread and rolls, all the time, but I’d never heard of these. I think I’m going to have a new love!

  6. Had these rolls for the first time last April when we did a week-end trip to “CHI” town.

  7. I’ve never had them, but saw them once on DDD on FoodNetwork and then my husband traveled to once of those restaurants while on a business trip. He reported that a sandwich on one of those is just as good as we thought!

  8. I’ve never heard of pretzel rolls but I love rolls and I love pretzels. Not to mention that these look delicious!

  9. You have no idea how much my husband thanks you. He is addicted to the pretzel rolls from Costco and takes 2 sandwiches on them every day. This is such a great option!

    1. I am finally going to make these and I am terrified! Haha! I have *zero* self control 😉

  10. I love pretzel rolls! I think I’m going to attempt to make these! Yum! Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Yeah!!! I live in Lancaster County PA – so pretzel rolls are pretty common around here….but I’ve yet to find a recipe that “works”. Looking forward to trying this one!!!

    1. Yea for Pennsylvania! Pretzels in all varieties are a big deal here. I live in the Harrisburg area and got to see you ladies when you came for Time Out for Women. I’ve been addicted to your sight ever since.

  12. I had these, not on the last cruise we went on, but the one before that. I loved them, but they were hard to come by because everyone else loved them too, so they were always gone quickly! Now I can make them myself!

  13. YUM! I think Costco does something like these and I ALWAYS have to get a sample but refuse to buy them because they come to like 50 cents a roll and I keep thinking I need to figure out how to make them. Thank you!

    1. I love those rolls from Costco too, but won’t buy them either. 🙂 I’m adding this to my to do list for tomorrow! YUM!!

  14. Oooh yum! Had these at Costco a few weeks back and fell in love. Guess it’s time to make them!

  15. These look good. I’ve never heard of them either. I might have to experiment with stuffing them like the chicken bacon ranch rolls? Or maybe not because of the boiling?

    1. Yeah, I wouldn’t stick anything in there that you wouldn’t want to get wet. 🙂

  16. I’m from PA, and I love pretzel rolls, but I’ve never been inclined to find out how to make them. But now I can. Thank you!!!

  17. I make these every now and then. The German bakery in our town sells these with a slice or two of salami and Swiss cheese on top, then broiled until the cheese is melted – so amazing!

  18. thanks ladies for the recipe. they look wonderful. think they could be made into pretzel bowls???

    1. Like bread bowls? It would take some practice. 🙂 One thing about these is that they flatten out a little when you boil them. I had some big, round rolls before I boiled them, but they lost some height/fluffiness when they were boiled. There may be a way, but I don’t know what it is. 🙂

  19. Oh, YUM! This will be a fun project for me and my little boy! As always, your recipes look mouth-watering!

  20. I am so happy to attempt to make these at home now. Thank you! Can you explain the different yeast options and if/when you can interchange them?

    1. Here’s a really old post that has some tips on yeast and yeast doughs:
      https://ourbestbites.com/2008/03/tips-for-yeast-doughs/

      Really, most yeasts are fairly interchangeable. I don’t have a ton of experience with the blocks of yeast that you can buy at places like Sam’s Club and Costco, and you can’t use that special pizza crust yeast in things like this. There are some food snobs out there that say that quick-acting or bread machine yeast isn’t as good or as cool or as foodie or whatever, but seriously, if you’re making you’re own bread, that’s better/cooler/foodier than most other options. I just like bread machine yeast because it’s the least temperamental and gives you the most consistent results.

      Hope that helps! 🙂

      1. I use the blocks of yeast they have at Sam’s Club and in my experience it works the same as all the other yeast….you just get a ton of it…i keep it in the freezer.

        1. I confess, I am not a fan of some brands of the big block stuff…Red Star in particular seemed like the flavor was a little bit off. I do like Saf-Instant, and can get a ton of it for $3.50 at Smart and Final, and I keep it in the freezer too–I use it within a year and never have a problem with it. I do tranfer it to a freezer safe container, though. 🙂 Thanks for this recipe, they look sooooo good!

  21. I’ve been meaning to try making pretzels. I think this will be a good place to start!

  22. WOW! You have nooo idea how excited about this I am!! The German Bakery in my town has these, and they are such a hot item if you do not order lunch early you will not get one. I love to get a roast beef sandwich with this roll! Thank you!!