Homemade Soft Pretzels: A Step-By-Step Guide

Reading time: 3 min.
Beer mug and pretzel on dark background

There is nothing like a fresh soft pretzel. Slightly crunchy on the outside and warm, soft, and chewy on the inside. Kids love them and so do adults. They can be eaten alone or dipped in mustard or other sauces. Paired with beer or simply enjoyed on their own. Soft pretzels are delicious and also easy to make at home. 

Have you been looking for the perfect homemade pretzel recipes? Look no further!

We will show you how to make homemade pretzels. This pretzel recipe is easy, so you can even make it with kids!



For the Soft Pretzel Dough:

  • 350 ml warm water (20°C to 30°C)
  • 20 g fresh compressed yeast or 7 g active dry yeast
  • 6 g salt
  • 15 g of brown sugar
  • 500 g of all-purpose flour

For the Baking Soda Bath:

  • 2.4 L water
  • 160 g of baking soda

For the Soft Pretzel Topping:

  • Coarse sea salt or pretzel salt
  • Melted butter (optional)


  1. Activate the Yeast: Combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes, or until it becomes frothy.
  2. Mix the Dough: Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Then add the activated yeast into the flour mixture and stir until it forms a dough.
  3. Knead the Dough: Once the dough is formed, place it on a floured surface and knead it for roughly 5 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. If it is too sticky, add a little more flour.
  4. Let the Dough Rise: Lightly grease a bowl and put the dough in it. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and put it in a warm place. Let it rise until it has doubled in size (approximately one hour).
  5. Preheat the Oven: Preheat the oven to 230° C. Lightly grease a baking sheet or use parchment paper.
  6. Shape Your Soft Pretzels: Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a rope with your hands. Each piece should be roughly 50-60 cm long. Shape each piece into a pretzel shape by first forming a “U” and then crossing the ends. Press them gently together on the bottom of the U.
  7. Prepare Your Baking Soda Bath: Bring 2.4 L of water to boil in a large wide pot. Add the baking soda. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Carefully place each pretzel into the simmering water for roughly 30 seconds and then turn it one time. This step ensures your soft pretzels will have the right crust and color.
  8. Bake Your Soft Pretzels: Remove the pretzels from the water and place them on the baking sheet you prepared using a slotted spatula. Sprinkle coarse sea salt or pretzel salt on top of each soft pretzel. Bake them in the oven until the pretzels are golden brown. This should take roughly 10-15 minutes depending on the type of oven.
  9. Optional Butter GlazeIf you want to add an extra punch of flavor to your soft pretzels, you can gently brush them with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven.Let the pretzels cool for a few minutes before serving. It is best to enjoy these delicious snacks when they are fresh and warm!

What is the secret ingredient which makes a pretzel taste like a pretzel?

The secret ingredient that gives soft pretzels their distinctive flavor and appearance is the baking soda bath. When the dough of a pretzel is briefly boiled in a solution of baking soda and water before baking, it undergoes a process called “alkalization.” This process gives pretzels their characteristic chewy texture and unique flavor profile. It also contributes to the deep brown color and glossy crust of the pretzels.

Why do you boil pretzels before baking?

Boiling the soft pretzel before baking is essential for four key reasons:

  • Alkalization: The alkaline bath raises the pH of the dough’s surface, which is crucial for the Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction that occurs during baking and provides the soft pretzel with the right color and flavor.
  • Texture: Soft pretzels are defined by their crispy outside and chewy inside, which is achieved by first boiling them.
  • Flavor: the baking soda bath gives pretzels their unique flavor.
  • Glossiness: the alkaline bath also gives the pretzel the characteristic glossy look.

What is the difference between a soft and crunchy pretzel?



The main difference between soft and crunchy or hard pretzels is that soft pretzels are briefly boiled before being baked and crunchy pretzels are not. Crunchy pretzels are also usually baked for longer and at a higher temperature so that all the moisture is removed. This ultimately leads to the main difference which is in the texture. Soft pretzels are chewy and moist on the inside, while crunchy pretzels are crisp all the way through.