Homemade Soft Pretzels

Total Time:
1 hr 55 min
30 min
1 hr
25 min

8 pretzels

  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 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
  • Pretzel salt

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 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, clean the bowl 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.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

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.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel 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.

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    503 Reviews
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    Tasty, but I find the dough to be too dry and hard to form. I end up making pretzel bites more than actual pretzels. I live at high altitude in Colorado, so maybe that is the problem.
    These pretzels are amazing! The first batch I made I did half of them them the traditional way and the other half sugar and cinnamon. I melted some butter brushed the front and back of the pretzel with it and then tossed it in sugar and cinnamon. What a treat. Not something I make too often because of the calories! For two years in a row my daughter has requested the cinnamon sugar version for her birthday treat at school. I bought some of the individual pretzel bags on Amazon and put them in those to hand out to the children. These really are best eaten fairly soon after making. I knew I wouldn't have time to make the full recipe before they needed to be at the school so I did make the dough the night before, shaped the pretzels, and let them hang out on the parchment lined cookie sheets in the fridge over night. The next day I proceeded with the recipe as written and then delivered them to the school fresh out of the oven. It worked out perfectly! Thanks Alton!
    Delicious pretzels! I've been searching for a new soft pretzel recipe for many years, as the original one my mom used from the 60s is a little too dense, and the pretzels are heavy. While that's fine with me, it doesn't make for good food to serve to others. This dough recipe fits the bill perfectly. The pretzels are light, but not too bread-like. (Auntie Anne's pretzels are not pretzels in my book, just buttered bread shaped like a pretzel.) I did not do the baking soda and egg wash, instead I used a lye wash, which gives the pretzels the perfect glossy brown finish. This is a keeper.
    Awesome pretzels....only change would be to add the salt with the flour and butter instead of when proofing the yeast. That much salt prevents the yeast from really getting going at first. Otherwise, excellent recipe.
    Amazing! Third time I made this, and it was the first time I decided to do the baking soda thing instead of just putting them in the oven. I noticed a huge difference. This recipe was easy and fun, I made it a few hours ago and me and my family already ate each one! Love it.
    I made this for the 3rd time...these were always so good. On the 3rd time, I replaced the 1 cup water with buttermilk... delish!!!
    We've been making these for years and love this simple recipe.
    These were amazing! My 11-year old son made them as part of a school project and he did a fantastic job (I only helped a little here and there)...I was so proud of him! So soft and tasty...I didn't even need my spicy mustard!
    i read all the reviews, and everybody says it tastes good, i followed everything, watched the video and now very disappointed.. its just eww.. really eww.. all pretzels 8 of them, well 7 1/2 down in the trash.
    CanNOT believe how good these are! I tried making pretzels a few years ago using a different recipe and was so disappointed that I never wanted to try again. So glad I gave this recipe a shot. Dont know if it made a difference, but I used bread flour just bc ive had a bag sitting around that I never use. I weighed it, and im not sure how much it ended up being in cups. After the dough started to mix it seemed a bit dry so I added a smidge of extra water. I also shaped mine into twists after splitting the dough into 1/16ths instead of 1/8ths because the twisty part is always my favorite part of the pretzel anyway :) I really had to make myself stop eating these. So soft with the perfect amount of chewiness.
    Great recipe!
    it really good with chesse
    These are awesome! I love the texture and they were pretty simple to make. The dough was easy to handle. I made them a little smaller (about 3 oz of dough) and was able to make a dozen. Half of them I made with shredded parmesan with a little fresh minced garlic, while the other half I did with a cinnamon sugar mix with a dash of cayenne pepper and a hint of salt. They looked great and I had no problem with them falling apart in the boiling water baking soda bath. I will definitely make this again and will also try making a pizza from the dough. Next up, will be pepperoni and parmesan cheese pretzels.
    These came out really well! I used a salt bath instead of a baking soda bath (I ran out of baking soda). I added roughly 1 tbs of salt when the water started to boil, and the crust was smooth and delicious (and one needn't worry about the possible "metallic" taste that is sometimes the result of using baking soda). I would reccommend this method. 
    We froze the baked pretzels that we didn't eat, and were able to reheat them in the week following... they came back to life surprisingly well, and were not soggy or rubbery. I will certainly use this recipe again in the future.
    These didn't taste like pretzels; more like salty biscuits. Yuck!
    This came out so well!!! I just got a mixer for Christmas and was so excited to try this recipe. My husband loves soft pretzels, and requested them for New Years. I just used cooking spray when rolling out the pretzels, and picked them up by the ends and let the whole thing "dangle" before shaping it. This really helped them stay together in the boiling baking soda water. I had a few that fell out of shape, but they were still delicious. I just used a bit of salt from my TJ's pink Himalayan salt grinder. SO WORTH THE EFFORT!
    The hardest thing about these pretzels will be not eating them all by yourself? they are awesomely delicious. The very minor changes that I have from the original recipe is that I used sea salt (because I had it and not Kosher salt) and I baked them on a pre-heated and lightly floured pizza stone. Using the stone eliminates any problems with sticking. I can see a number of variations in the future?. sesame, cinnamon/sugar, garlic/herb, savory cheese?. better think about renewing the gym membership while I'm having another pretzel.
    Delicious -- definitely plan to make these again. Has anyone frozen them and if so at what step in the process? Would like to make them in advance for parties!?!
    The first time I made this recipe I had more pretzels than I needed, so I froze some after the boiling stage (in ziploc bags, separated by parchment sheets. I later baked them and they came out almost as good as the ones I baked right away.
    I made a batch and froze half of them. After they came out of the oven and cooled off, I placed each individual pretzel in a ziplock bag and stuck them in the freezer... we just reheated them (a week after baking them) in the microwave on defrost and they bounced back to life, and were not soggy or rubbery. Hope this helps next time!
    Perfect! First time working with dry active yeast; first time making Alton's pretzels. Followed the recipe. Only change is when we rolled the 24" strips, we lightly floured the surface. Light, golden pretzels. Delectable - they look as good as they taste!
    Did mine without the egg wash. Used sharp cheddar and jalapenos for the toppings. They were a hit! Thank you, Alton Brown.
    I often find that home baked good just taste a bit off and lack the chewy center I crave with soft pretzels. These were amazing! Totally worth it and doesn't take too much time (1.5 hours or so all told). 
    In the video, AB first flattens out the dough a rolls it up tightly prior to rolling out into the 24" ropes and this step is crucial to a smooth exterior on the pretzels- watch the video, it's worthy!
    this was easy to follow 
    I am not a very experienced baker. I found the video very helpful when I was trying out this recipe for the first time. The pretzels came out great. However they stuck to the paper I had. I would suggest investing in really good parchment paper. There is one on the market that has foil on one side, it's a little pricey but will save you a lot of headache. I also experimented with adding cheese, jalapenos, and other flavorings to this recipe. They didn't turn out as flavorful as I had imagined. I would recommend just making them plain and create dipping sauces to go with them, if you'd like. I've made these pretzels for many special occasions. Everyone loves them. They are a unique treat to have, and you know no one else will bring them to a party. If you have never had a fresh pretzel right out of the oven, you NEED TO!
    I've failed at pretzels before, coming out with ones that tasted stale, but with this recipe they came out as perfect as I've ever had. Using a mixer with dough hook was a big help. The dough mixed, then pulled away into a smooth mass, in just a couple minutes. I put them on waxy parchment paper and they stuck slightly, so maybe next time I'll try a silicone mat. I'd like to try making some sugar-cinnamon-coated ones.
    First-time pretzel maker and they turned out great!! Not without stress, though.... My dough never fully pulled away from the bottom of the mixing bowl and was SUPER sticky, so I ended up kneading it twice as long waiting to achieve total dough/bowl separation & handleability. I finally gave up and moved on to the next step - letting the dough rise. After an hour it was perfect, pillowy and soft and wonderful. I followed the rest of the directions to a tee and they turned out amazing. I've already eaten two and my husband is forbidding me to eat any more. :)
    These were awesome and super easy. It was my first time making pretzels. I added the kosher salt after the yeast had proofed (my first batch didn't foam) and I made pretzel sticks because I didn't have the patience to roll them out carefully. The best lumpy pretzels I ever had! I can't wait to try the modifications people talked about.
    These were great and fairly easy. I will be making them again for sure. They were much better than the giant pretzel I bought at the football game this weekend. That's how you know you've got a good recipe - when you'd rather make it yourself! (Also, I made this with half white and half whole wheat flour and they were still delicious).
    First time EVER making pretzels. Fast, easy and great.
    Awesome!! The star of my Oktoberfest party ... 
    I made these with bread flour, a little extra water, and "kneaded" the dough in the food processor with the dough hook. They came out fantastic, THANK YOU for such a great tasting pretzel recipe ....
    made these in baking class, so easy and delicious! froze them, reheated and had w/curried cauliflower soup for lunch, thank you AB!
    Hi. Did you freeze them after the baking process or before? I love them but don't need 8 pretzels all at once and would to figure out how to freeze for future consumption!!!???
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