How to Make Soft Pretzels at Home (It’s Easier Than You Think!)

Baking, Cook, How-To, Learn, Tips & Techniques, Weekend Project

Oktoberfest, Germany’s monthlong autumn beer festival, kicks off this Saturday. If you really want to win friends and influence people, bake a batch of pretzels from scratch, then serve the pretzels┬áto guests while the treats are still warm with Bavarian beer and plenty of mustard. See our step-by-step guide and easy soft pretzel recipe.

Soft Pretzels with Grainy Mustard


Note: The baking soda added to the boiling water makes a massive difference in these pretzels. It’s what helps them turn gorgeous and brown, so don’t skip it.


1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) warm water (110 degrees F/43 degrees C)

1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast

1 Tbs. sugar

3 Tbs. olive oil, plus more if needed

3 1/4 cups (16 1/2 oz./515 g.) all-purpose flour

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) baking soda

Coarse salt for sprinkling

Grainy mustard for serving


In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the warm water, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the 3 tablespoons oil, the flour, and kosher salt. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough on medium-low speed until smooth, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled, about 1 hour.


Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and brush the parchment with oil. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, then cut it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope about 18 inches (45 cm.) long. With each rope positioned horizontally, bring the 2 ends up and toward the center as if forming an oval, cross one end over the other, and press each end into the bottom of the oval to create a pretzel shape. Place the pretzels on the prepared pan, spacing them evenly.


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Fill a large, wide saucepan with 7 cups (56 fl. oz./1.75 l.) water, stir in the baking soda, and bring to a boil. Gently drop 2 or 3 pretzels at a time into the boiling water (be careful not to overcrowd them). Boil for just under 1 minute, turning once with a large slotted spoon or spatula. Return the boiled pretzels to the baking sheet, top side up.


Sprinkle the pretzels with coarse salt. Bake until beautifully browned, about 10 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through. Serve warm with big spoonfuls of grainy mustard. Makes 12 pretzels.


12 comments about “How to Make Soft Pretzels at Home (It’s Easier Than You Think!)

  1. Wendy

    Oh, I just stumbled upon this recipe and decided to try it on a whim. Well, I should have made a double batch because they just came out of the oven and they are almost gone already!!! They are wonderful!!

  2. Mandy

    Such fun! I made these with my young daughters and we devoured them (and shared a few with neighbors). Be sure and get the water to a nice rolling boil before adding the pretzels. We used garlic butter, icing, and spicey mustard for dipping choices. Definitely will do these again.

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  9. Maria

    I had a hard time rolling the dough to 18-inches. Also once a piece of the dough broke off I couldn’t get it back together like you can pie dough. Bread and dough are not “my thing”; any ideas what I may have done wrong do I just need to add a little more elbow grease to roll these out?

    1. Williams-Sonoma Editors Post author

      Hi Maria,
       Without knowing exactly what went awry when you made these pretzels, we aren’t exactly sure what the problem is, but here are a few troubleshooting tips from our test kitchen and recipe editor.
      First, this dough should be much sticker than pie dough, and easy to press back together. If need be, you might try adding a touch more water to see if this makes the dough more pliable.
      Second, pretzel dough tends to constrict, like pizza dough. If you’ve run into the problem of rolling it out only to have it shrink back up, try rolling it halfway out, giving it 10 minutes to “relax,” and then rolling it out the rest of the way.
      And last but not least, our test kitchen cook mentioned that if it was a little cold in your kitchen, the dough may have needed longer than an hour to double in size.
      Hopefully these tips will help you troubleshoot any issues that come up if you try this recipe again (which we encourage!). It’s hard to imagine breads start out as anybody’s “thing” since they take practice, but as they say, practice makes perfect!


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